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#260434 01/11/12 10:33 AM
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This is a program on the Science Channel. Today, they had a brief segment on how Purdey shotguns were made. If was only about 12 minutes or so, but it was worth watching.

It also showed the proof house proving the gun, or proving the barrels to be more precise.

Lots of hours in a Purdey gun. I can see why they're so expensive.

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It is very capital-intensive to set up a manufacturing plant with the most modern CNC, ion-discharge, ultra-precise computer controlled machining capability. But these tools can work to micron dimensions and, if you don't count the amortization costs of the machinery, produce remarkable guns that may be the equivalent of the traditional "bests"

The next time I'm in Britain I'm going to look at the Longthorne-Hesketh O/U.

http://www.longthorneguns.com/

This gun is made by the most modern machinery available - the barrels are machined out of a single forging that begins at over 22 kg. The gun is made in Lancashire and I really don't want to travel up there so we're trying to set something up in or close to London.

Apparently the maker is a large manufacturer of precision parts and the machinery was already owned so he began making guns.

I don't want to start a fight with the traditionilists (I am one of them, by the way) but in principle there is no reason why a fine gun can't be mostly machine-made. I love Spanish SxSs which still have a lot of hand work in them, much like the Purdy and H&H method but both the latter makers are using more CNC and outsourcing altho they don't like to talk about it.

Has anyone on this forum actually seen or handled/shot a Longthorne?

Last edited by Gnomon; 01/11/12 11:01 AM.
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Yes, I have handled a couple at gun shows but not shot them. I think the manufacturing technology in principle employed by any manufacturer (and every British maker is using CAD/CAM CNC etc) is great and it allows to make some superbly engineered guns but it can be taken too far. I just felt the Hesketh could be so much more and that costs are cut dramatically further down the line in production in terms of the final fit and finish. Just my opinion though.

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Thanks for that info, Fletchedpair - How did the guns feel when you mounted them? Do they have the "it" factor?

Their minimally-engraved model would cost about USD15,000. which would be a very fair price if the gun is as good as the reviews suggest.

I ownder if the fit and finish is any better on the more expensive model?

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I'm a fan of incorporating modern methods/equipment to improve a product. But, I just don't understand the rationale for machining the barrels from a single solid piece. I don't see an end product benefit. It's certainly not a cost savings. Can anyone elaborate on why this "monolith" construction was pursued?

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I'm trying to get more specific info on this gun and cannot yet answer for certain but I suspect it is indeed less expensive than joining and regulating two individual barrels.

They must have solved the regulation problem but their literature (scanty) only states that the barrels were machined for a calculated POI.

"The Field" had an article on an Italian maker (can't remember for certain - maybe Piotti?) that also was producing an entirely machine-made top-end gun (about USD150,000) but they didn't mention that the barrels were monolithic.

If the Hesketh shoots well and has a sweet feel to it then USD15,000 isn't bad. I would love to handle one. They have one in Lancashire that you can shoot on Sundays.

Mike Yardley who is (in my opinion) a pretty good gun critic had nice things to say about the Hesketh.

I also suspect that every metal piece on the Hesketh is interchangeable with no hand fitting required. It's an extremely sophisticated manufacturer - take a look at their other website that can be accessed from the gun site.

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Gnomon,
I think The Field article that you are referring to is about a Boxall & Edmiston gun.
These are superb guns manufactured using CadCam & CNC but then hand finished and assembled by some of Britain's finest artisans. Ex-Purdey, Ex- Holland & Holland employees now self employed, and dedicated to producing 'Best'.
A number have all ready been made and snapped up by the mysterious 'collectors' perhaps never to see the light of day for a good many years. But there are an increasing number of them beginning to appear in the field. They appear to be very functional & reliable. So much so that I hear talk that they are considering offering a lifetime guarantee. You will only have to pay for repairs to guns that have been damaged or worn out with fair wear and tear.
A very brave venture but testimony to the build quality.

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salopian - thanks for input. I think the gun actually is a Fabbri but Yaerdley didn't review it. It was a non-review article that discussed the Fabbri enterprise and I cannot find it now.

Yardley's review of the Hesketh is at

http://www.thefield.co.uk/gunreviews/528960/Longthorne_Hesketh_OverandUnder_Sidelock.html

The Fabbri article pointed out that you can't just copy parts of a H&H using CNC and snap them together - one has to design the gun for this type of manufacture. And that is hugely expensive.

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A few years ago, I measured handling on the Wilks O/U with monolithic barrels. It was a 6# 14.5 oz 20 bore with 26" barrels and 14 3/4" LOP. It balanced at 4 1/2" forward of the trigger, had unmounted swing effort of 1.36, mounted swing effort of 6.8 and a half weight radius of 9.55". This profile is virtually indistinguishable from a 26" bbl 16 bore W-W M-21 in the data base.

I don't know if the M-21 16 bore has "it," but I think it is generally considered to not be any slouch. The learning there is that monolithic barrels can be made to handle like assembled barrels. Not that all will be, but they can be.

My guess is that who ever figures out the econoimical machining of monolithic barrels and gets tooled up will probably wind up supplying most of the industry.

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Good morning All

I came across your discussion by chance, thank you for considering us discussion worthy!!

I just thought it would be helpful to answer some of your queries.

We do indeed manufacture our guns completely in-house in Lancashire England from the best quality materials, we use cnc technology (as do most manufacturers these days) but can assure you they are all hand finished to a very high level.

Our barrels are manufactured from one piece of high specification steel to precision tolerances. The design of them ensures that they are very strong but also very light which results in a gun which is very easy to point and well balanced with negligable recoil, which our reviews verify and of course they aren't going to fall apart as there is no solder holding them together. In fact there is a picture on our website of a range rover parked on the barrels.

http://www.longthorneguns.com/np03.shtml

Nearly everyone who has shot our demo guns comments that it feels like a 20 bore because of the weight and lack of recoil.

The guns we have previously been displayed at shows are our original working prototypes, all our production guns are made to order so final fit and finish are to an exacting quality, these would rarely be displayed as they go to the customer on completion.

One of our working prototypes is our demo gun which has shot between 30,000-40,000 rounds, many of which have been 50g-4’s and it is still going strong.

We can manufacture these for the price because we have invested heavily over the years (and continue to do so) in the best equipment available and our background is precision production manufacturing combined with an expert knowledge of metalurgy.

We do have several very good reviews on the website, but if you would prefer hard copies please just contact us and it would be our pleasure to send them to you.

In the meantime, if I can be of further assistance let me know

Very best wishes and safe shooting

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