- Double guns: Side by Side Double Barreled Shotguns and SxS Double Rifles

The Everlasting Gun

Gunmaking Practiced Until Perfect!

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by Chris J. Batha
Chief Instructor and Gunfitter
Atkin Grant & Lang Gunmakers London England.

From the first rock thrown in anger Man was quick to recognize its potential. First catapults then bows where used to fire projectiles. With the invention of gun powder came cannon and guns. Matchlock evolving to Flintlock. There is record of taking bird on the wing as early as 16th century. "The Book of Firearms" 1612 and "The Gentleman's Recreation" have illustrations and descriptions of sportsmen shooting at flying partridge.

The real evolution in wing shooting however began with the Reverend Alexander Forsythe's invention of the percussion ignition system 1806 which was not only swift but equally important waterproof. Innovation, improvement and invention followed. On offering his invention to the British Army it was rejected resulting in a partnership with one James Purdey to make the first percussion muzzle loader.

In 1836 the Frenchman Lefauchex invented a gun capable of loading at the breech. Joseph Lang presented his own breech loading pin fire gun in 1852 some say having seen Lefauchex's invention at the Great Exhibition the year before. The final piece of the jigsaw being Lancaster's breech loading base fire a little later.

There followed a period of great vision, sublime skill and the wealth to evolve and perfect the side by side. The gun was re-invented with many innovative ideas. Tried and tested, re-created each time better and better, every time more efficient and beautiful. The quality of materials utilized and the craftsmen that built them will never be repeated. These guns many over 100 years old are, still in use today and with proper care will be shot well into the next millennium.

In use from the 1800's to World War two the game shooting prowess achieved with the classic British side by side's have never been surpassed.


June 15th 1861

The Bristol Mercury related the case of a man who at one shot, killed three pigeons, wounded a fourth, broke seven panes of glass and cured a rheumatic cripple by frightening him into the use of his limbs.

The British side by side is truly a work of art, functional art an investment that can be both admired for its beauty and appreciated for its dynamic and balanced handling when shooting with it. Landmarks in British Gun manufacture.

  • 1806 - Forsythe The Percussion Ignition System.
  • 1836 - Lefauchex The Breech Loading Gun.
  • 1852 - Joseph Lang The Breech Loading Pin Fire Cartridge.
  • 1853 - Charles Lancaster The Base Fire Cartridge.
  • 1860 - George Daw The Centre Fire Cartridge.
  • 1863 - The Purdey Top Bolt.
  • 1866 - Pape Choke (Strongly contested by WW Greener)
  • 1874 - Joseph Needham The Ejector.
  • 1890 - Sir Joseph Whitworth The Fluid Steel Barrel.

Three hundred and eighty plus patents where taken out by British gun makers between 1871 and 1890. They have all had an impact on the development of the British side by side making it the best gun in the world.

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