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Joined: Jul 2010
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Sidelock
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Sidelock
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I've got a pile of old London boxlocks that I've hoarded over the years, but for whatever reason, I've been spellbound by the one in the bunch that would seem to be "least valuable". This ever happen to any of you?

Amidst the collection I have two Westley Richards boxlocks. One is what I'd call "premium grade" with spectacular chain damascus, nice engraving and great wood. The other is what I'd call "gamekeeper's knockabout". The gamekeeper's gun has ZERO engraving, twist or bernard damascus (my naming for the lower grade damascus escapes me), slightly above average wood. Many times the latter gun is called a "gold letter" Westley Richards because it has the maker's name in gold across the sides of the boxlock.

For whatever reason, I just couldn't stop enjoying the beauty and the understated nature of that WR boxlock...the plain jane one. I've decided to have the gun completely restored top to bottom including new case coloring and see what I'm left with.

Any of you fall in love with a gun that is like this? The lines and action filing is just so beautiful I think it's the prettiest boxlock I've ever touched even though it was never meant to be anything but a modest gun.

Would love to see pics of your minimalist gun that has all the right aesthetics.

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I have an Isaac Hollis of London that is much like that. It has a Westley Richards patent top lever action, boxlock side by side, damascus barrels with no engraving except the name. It has such a graceful line with a half pistol grip stock with rounded butt. I was shooting it at sporting clays only the other weekend which was the first time it had been out for a couple of years. I will see if I have any photos on file.

The other is even plainer being a Bland 'Keeper's Hammergun' model which is about as plain as they get. It is only proofed for blackpowder but I seem to shoot it well. I did get a straight 25 at sporting clays with it once. Sometimes something plain can exude a sort of understated elegance; well at least in the case of the Hollis. Sometimes a gun can just be a bit overdone. I think here of American Parkers (no offence intended) but I wouldn't want anything higher than a 'C' grade. Higher than that and they are guilding the lily. There is something about a 'Trojan' grade with good colour hardening on the action that has appeal. Lagopus.....

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The Johann Fanzoj site has a number of "over the top" rifles and shotguns, an example of which is:

http://www.fanzoj.com/en/gunroom/flagship_guns/lionfire_rifle/index.html

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Rookhawk, Be careful. The unexplained attraction that has you spellbound may disappear if you have the gun refinished.
terc

Joined: Jan 2006
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I was spell bound by a Boss with ported barrels once....

Joined: Jan 2002
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Sidelock
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Me Too!...Geo

P.S.: Still am to some extent. I'm sort of deflated about 'bringing it back' at present, but I bet something good will come of it yet. Wouldn't be surprised if someone desparately needed parts off of it!...Geo

Last edited by Geo. Newbern; 08/15/12 04:24 PM. Reason: added ps
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Sidelock
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Originally Posted By: terc
Rookhawk, Be careful. The unexplained attraction that has you spellbound may disappear if you have the gun refinished.
terc


Agree with Terc.
JR


Be strong, be of good courage.
God bless America, long live the Republic.
Joined: May 2008
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Sidelock
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Originally Posted By: lagopus
I have an Isaac Hollis of London that is much like that. It has a Westley Richards patent top lever action, boxlock side by side, damascus barrels with no engraving except the name. It has such a graceful line with a half pistol grip stock with rounded butt. I was shooting it at sporting clays only the other weekend which was the first time it had been out for a couple of years. I will see if I have any photos on file.

The other is even plainer being a Bland 'Keeper's Hammergun' model which is about as plain as they get. It is only proofed for blackpowder but I seem to shoot it well. I did get a straight 25 at sporting clays with it once. Sometimes something plain can exude a sort of understated elegance; well at least in the case of the Hollis. Sometimes a gun can just be a bit overdone. I think here of American Parkers (no offence intended) but I wouldn't want anything higher than a 'C' grade. Higher than that and they are guilding the lily. There is something about a 'Trojan' grade with good colour hardening on the action that has appeal. Lagopus.....
Any boxlock side-by-side, no matter the maker's marque and or embellishments, has all the grace and beauty of Aretha Franklin- especially the over-heavy Winchester M21's, M24's and the Stevens 311- exceptions are the Dickinson round actioned and the Westley Richards drop lock series-- a Fine Boss sidelock, no matter what port it was shipped to, whether side-by-side or even the semi-gauche under/over (as the Limeys like to phrase it)is a graceful and a joy to handle as the late Ingrid Bergmann or Carole Lombard. Just as the late Paul A. Curtis wrote in his 1934 tome- "Guns and Gunning" the British sidelock is the thoroughbred, the gentleman's gun-- the boxlock is the ploughhorse"!!


When The Man In Black Comes Around- Rev: 6-8
Joined: Oct 2010
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Sidelock
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Joined: Oct 2010
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Not a gun like that, but THAT particular gun, is how I would say it. Yes, there have been several over the years. A 16g Model 12, a John Dickson side pedal with very little engraving but plenty of patina and knicks and scratches, and several others. They all were well used guns that bore their scars with grace.

One of the ugliest guns I ever saw was a brand new shiny Winchester 101. One of the most attractive guns I ever saw was the same gun three years later. The American walnut stock had dulled and darkened to a red-black almost color, the surface of the action looked like antique silver, the barrels went from shiny black to a soft charcoal grey. It had been heavily used by a champion skeet shooter to prepare for major tournaments, the constant handling had mellowed it.

So be careful with the restoration. Beauty and patina are literally skin deep. That translates to 5/1000 of an inch in guns, if that.

And do remember the process of distressing of new furniture so it gets to look old real fast. There is a reason for the hefty premium for distressing.

As for lines, you have it spot on. No amount of engraving can compete with inherently graceful lines. The WR Heronshaw, if I recall the model name, is one of the most graceful boxlocks ever built.

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"exceptions are the Dickinson round actioned and the Westley Richards drop lock series-"

Perhaps you meant Dickson? And it is NOT a boxlock, not by a long shot!

Meybe you have not seen boxlocks by speicalists, like the Ivor Roberts, the Ferlib Europe, the Famars Zeus. They are truly beautiful guns with exceptional lines.

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