Wednesday, August 06, 2014

English guns, big and small

I am tempted to agree with Bob Braden and Cyril Adams, authors of Lock, Stock, and Barrel; for SHOTguns, at least side - by - side doubles, you really can't beat the English. The new ones' prices are barking mad, far more than my house; for the Best London ones, easily three times as much as my house, and they can't keep up with the demand. I can't imagine who buys them- I have known exactly one person who has bought new London guns, though more than a few who have owned older examples.

Because for the rest of us, a little scholarship goes a long way. Consider this Thomas Turner boxlock .410, which is an expensive gun by my humble standards now, but not unaffordable, and was almost cheap when I bought it. Or this flawless (though it needs a stock refinish, and I would like to get the Damascus figure in the barrels to show more)  ten bore by Williams and Powell, which weighs twice as much as the little one, and cost less. Yet both are harmonious and graceful. There are few ugly English guns, especially ones made before WW II, and no two are quite alike unless built as pairs.

And that brings to mind another maxim from Braden and Adams: how many still- functional English guns 100 years old and more exist-- ones that need no repairs to shoot.


Chad Love said...

I've been seeing (at least to my mostly uninformed eye)some really good (sounding, anyway) deals on English doubles lately, mostly the plain-but-elegant working guns in the $1,500-2,000 range. Of course this coincides perfectly with a particularly nasty case of empty pockets syndrome right now.

Steve Bodio said...

That is the zone, though the 410 would cost more NOW.

uplandish said...

I am smitten with that .410.

Steve Bodio said...

Me too (;-))

Anonymous said...

Older English guns were made entirely by hand , and had a distinct feel when used. Modern ones are "Hand finished" after majority of work by CNC machines, and are not really comparable .
Many artisan European manufactures still produce in the time honoured way, and make fantastic weapons.
I agree that small bores are tactile and attractive,( I use a 20G exclusively myself for all my shooting ), but 401's involve the use of 3 in magnum shells in US. This can make for uncomfortable, and inaccurate shooting, jarring both teeth and action !
The old gun makers , Maximum, recommended loads for all calibres have stood the test of time for pattern, accuracy and comfort, and if exceeded, performance all round can decline.


Steve Bodio said...

All true, John--and of course these are hand made.

This is the first 410 I have ever been able to shoot. It might have something to do with its LONG straight stock (15 inches and a little). Though it weighs only 4 1/2 pounds,it points very well,and for anything but "sustained lead", it hits, at least at close range.

As most of my shooting locally is quail, rabbits,and dove, it is my preferred gun these days. With chokes of "Skeet" and full it is good for two different ranges so to speak.

Incidentally, it is proofed (or rather, RE proofed), for 3 inch shells, but i don't use them.

Anonymous said...

"Incidentally, it is proofed (or rather, RE proofed), for 3 inch shells, but I don't use them."

Wise man!

Chokes are whatever works for the shooter.....

Enjoy your new season


Gil said...

Every time Steve trots out that little pea shooter I drool green envy. Chad, it's been said for the past handful of years that the best buy for the $$ in a quality shotgun is a light 12 British BLNE. Gil

Steve Bodio said...

! would agree-- plus maybe 16's, same configuration.

Anonymous said...

Hi steve

How true, My elder son, David, has just bought a 16g ej Damon Petrik, o/u, from Herve Bruchet, same design as my 20 G. I know he will not be disappointed with 26.5 grams English No 6, as a driven a game gun. Bet he leaves his 12 G Beretta o/u behind most days now!