If you were to have three English Shotguns

.. you know, if you HAD to…

You could do worse than these three:

Or if it came to two:

Top: Frederick Scott  12 bore SLE proofed for heavy loads, but weighs only 6 1/4 lbs

16 bore Cogswell & Harrison from London, 30″ Damascus barrels. 6 lbs

.410 Thomas Turner with 26″ barrels, again modern proof for loads I wont use, 15″ stock! 4 lbs even.

All have exactly the same proportioms of stock, though the Cog needs a leather- covered pad to bring it up to length.


Thanks to Ron Peterson, John Besse, Gerry Cox, and Tom Qunn, among others.

Above: Gerry, John, Scott; Magdalena; Scott Locks

   UPDATE:Tom, you don’t usually find these on Gunbroker  (maybe from GI); you ind them from friends, whether dealers (like Ron Peterson) or no.t You also need a good gunsmith on standby.

A little on 4 Bores

We know little about the “ten- plus” bores in America, but in England they still build them. The always- innovative Michael Louca of Watson brothers builds them as Best- quality sidelock ejectors– not just for collectors either, though he admits his over twenty pound, 42 inch plus barrel model is mostly a collectors item. He prefers the eighteen pound “light” model for wildfowling. At 49,000 pounds, they are actually what passes as a modestly priced Best– Boss game guns go for twice that much.

Building the four…

And shooting it:

A bit more on Watson here and below.

Beautiful guns plus

I very nearly used Libby’s not unkind but perhaps too accurate term “gun porn”, but quailed at putting it in the title,  fearing just what search engines might send people here. The Stephen Grant 16 is all cleaned up– mechanicals by John Besse, wood by me– safe to shoot, and pretty– now I must decide what else if anything to do to bring it back to life. One set of numbers suggests it was made in 1868, but given its signs of being a converted pinfire, I must wonder if that was when it was converted. But the fine scroll is a mostly 1870 (and later) characteristic.

It really is a BEST gun though– airy balance right on the hinge pin. Adding removable Briley Titanium tubes in 28 wouldn’t get it to 6 pounds!

Here it is with its fellow 16’s– a square- backed Browning from FN in its first year of production, a 30’s Belgian guild gun made for Stoeger in the 30’s and sold at Abercrombie to my friend Gerry, or rather his grandfather, when he was 13, Soon afterwards, his mother took it over and shot enough Yankee grouse with it to shoot it loose. Look how much deeper a typical Anson and Deeley action is than that of a back action sidelock.

 And with its sister English gun, my amazing 4 pound Thomas Turner .410. Recently the Field has published an article suggesting Turner was one of only six provincial makers who made their own actions. If this is true it makes this rare long- stocked .410 even more unusual.  I already knew they were specialist makers of lightweight guns, not just .410’s.


On “Best” guns, from the delightful Westley Richards Blog:

“…the very best work is still done by men with files and chisels and, by definition, best work is what a best gun is about. When asked about the difference between making guns and making best guns, Tom Wilkes made the observation  ‘it all comes down to time and control of the tool, doesn’t it’?”

Speaking of pretty guns…

Andrew, using my former Grant, has a great day in the field.

“It’s taken dumber birds already, but the Grant got its first wild birds today — and in style, limiting out on sharptail on our first day out.

“It was a rough day with winds gusting well over 20mph.  Despite being on private land that we’ve run on a bunch of times and should in theory know where the birds are, three dogs didn’t find anything in the first 2.5hours — including Momo and Jozsi who you’ve met.  I put down Dog #4, the bitch we co-own and a very nice dog in her own right, and we immediately started trailing a covey for over a mile, never getting closer than about 75yds in my guess.  I actually watched them fly off of their own free will (we were downwind, they couldn’t hear us) and turned upwind to back towards the truck.  We hit a scattered covey of five — but being wrong-sided on the wind, the poor dog didn’t scent the first two contacts, but being well mannered stopped on the first bird’s flush and as I walked in, shot the second bird (twice), and then she finally was able to get a point in on a third and the rest is history.”

Frederick Scott

William’s nephew, Frederick built guns in the first two decades of the century, in Birmingham but with London styling. This is a 12 bore, proofed for 2 3/4″ 1 1/4 ounce shells (!- I will not shoot anything that stout in a gun that weighs just over six pounds!), barrles that are an unusual (or rather Continental) 70  cm in length, just like my Darne, Skeet & full. More will have to wait on shooting and my getting a (facsimile) maker’s catalog from Abby at Cornell. But it is as clean, tight, and ergonomic a gun of that age (or any) I have ever seen, with Holland- style locks and perhaps the nicest triggers I have ever owned; only Birmingham features are side clips and a hidden Greener bolt. Built today it would cost more than my truck or probably my house (less than a new pickup, for proper proportion). Thanks as ever to Ron Peterson. And I have more trade credit to come…

Right click to enlarge: