August
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
Who's Online Now
7 members (bsteele, bill schodlatz, marty weatherup, eddiel4, 2 invisible), 82 guests, and 6 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Forums10
Topics36,646
Posts518,836
Members14,194
Most Online462
Aug 5th, 2016
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#610512 02/03/22 04:19 PM
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 105
Likes: 16
AGS Offline OP
Sidelock
*
OP Offline
Sidelock
*

Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 105
Likes: 16
I just purchased a used gun from a Gunbroker listing, and had a couple of questions.

The gun is a Watkins double made in Banbury, between London and Oxford. I have searched extensively and there is little info available for the maker. I found a helpful writeup about pinfires on this board about the founding of the company, which goes back to an early date and started under this name with a T J Watkins. I have found scattered pinfires and single barrel large bore fowling pieces listed on auctions which sold well but only one listing ever for a hammerless double. The one I bought is marked simply "Watkins" on the action sides and "Watkins Banbury" on the rib. The proof marks would indicate a date between 1875 and 1896. It is a boxlock, very well grained wood, 30" 12 gauge, 1-1/2" DAC, 2-1/4" DAH, 2-1/2" chambers, 14-3/8" LOP, and a total weight of 6# 4 oz. Buttplate is Buffalo horn just staring to show a little chipping. Engraving is floral, decent coverage , is sharp and crisp. Barrels are 3 crolle Damascus that have gone brown but still show the pattern well. The left barrel is marked 14 over 1 and has a a bore of .700, as is the choke. The right barrel is marked 13 over 1 with a .722 bore with .700 choke. I believe these are original since the right barrel is marked CHOKE and the left is unmarked and would be correct for that period and configuration. The bores are smooth and shining. I suspect it has been polished at some point but not honed. The wall thickness in both barrels is .035-.04 behind the chokes, .05 in the fore end area,and .14 in front of the chambers. The action closes very easily and snaps shut almost by itself, much like an LC Smith.
Overall, the gun looks in excellent condition with good wood fit and finish, quite a bit of case color left (completely intact under the forearm), and good barrel finish with no corrosion, wear or dents. Unless the stock has been given a fresh oil rub, I believe it is original and about as "like new" as you will see in a gun 125 years old.

The odd thing was that the listing made you strongly suspect that the barrels were bad. It was listed as a 12/28 gauge because it came with a set of 28 gauge inserts, which sounded like they were permanent, and the weight was listed at 7-1/2#. There were a lot of bids, but they were low. The gun just looked too clean and in too good a shape to have horrible barrels, so I bid and got the gun at barely over $700. When it arrived, I tried knocking the tubes out and they popped right out. You can't believe my joy at seeing the shiny bores, or my next reaction when I saw the tubes were a new looking set of $695 Briley 28 gauge companion tubes. Barrel measurements sealed the deal.

The question I have is does anyone have information on the later Watkins company? I have to assume it might have been the son of T J. I found only one listing on a UK gunlist. It was exactly the same model as this gun, as near as I can tell, but was in nowhere near the condition of this gun. It was listed at about $1200 US. Is this a known maker, what is the reputation and what is their percieved quality? I have a 16 gauge Parker DH on an O frame that weighs exactly the same and to me seems identical to the Watkins in handling feel. I can't imagine it won't make an excellent game gun.

Last edited by AGS; 02/03/22 04:24 PM.
AGS #610514 02/03/22 05:00 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,163
Likes: 103
Sidelock
**
Offline
Sidelock
**

Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 7,163
Likes: 103
It looks like a interesting find. Have you measured the barrel walls thickness. That is the real issue with any double. Are they too thin or still thick enough to shoot? Anything under .020, within the first 20" are thinner than what I shoot. Also I would check the chamber length very carefully. If they are now 2 3/4" instead of 2 1/2" they may be too thin in the chamber area to shoot safely with anything other than the tubes. Sometimes when they fit tubes they lengthen the chambers to gain enough metal for the tube chamber area.

As to the maker, I suspect it is more a finisher or even a retailer than a maker who made the gun from scratch. Perhaps it was brought in in the white. Many, if not most boxlocks, seem to have been built by the trade and had the retailer/maker name added to the side and ribs. If it has a Birmingham proofs, instead of London proofs I would expect that it was made in Birmingham for the trade. They made a lot for the trade as they say.

[Linked Image from p1.gunbroker.com]

Last edited by KY Jon; 02/03/22 05:27 PM.
AGS #610531 02/03/22 07:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 11,996
Likes: 232
Sidelock
**
Offline
Sidelock
**

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 11,996
Likes: 232
Congratulations on a great buy, AGS. You did well.


May God bless America and those who defend her.
AGS #610533 02/03/22 07:58 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 567
Likes: 13
Sidelock
Offline
Sidelock

Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 567
Likes: 13
Sounds like a nice gun at a very good price.

Those bores are tight for a 12 - I had one that had a barrel at .719 that a plastic wad got stuck in that could have easily blown the barrel if the guide didn't say that load sounded weird. Maybe that is why someone was shooting 28 gauge tubes?

I have never shot anything but plastic wad factory loads, but maybe a fiber wad would be better suited to those bores?

AGS #610535 02/03/22 08:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 8,756
Likes: 97
Sidelock
***
Offline
Sidelock
***

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 8,756
Likes: 97
"The wall thickness in both barrels is .035-.04 behind the chokes, .05 in the fore end area, and .14 in front of the chambers."
Those are very reassuring, if not generous, numbers for a light weight British Game gun.

Jon: did you mean to say "Anything under .020", within the first 20" are thinner than what I shoot."?

AGS #610538 02/03/22 09:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 8,894
Likes: 149
Sidelock
**
Offline
Sidelock
**

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 8,894
Likes: 149
That is a pretty little gun. I just checked (again) RST doesn’t have any short ammunition for you, just yet.

You are not the first who has noticed that an English 2 1/2” 12 gauge is typically par with an American 16 gauge. Some of the English guys who post here will likely have more information on that name for you.

At the moment, I don’t have any “thin” wall shotguns. I’m too much of an oaf for those guns.

Just measured the wall thickness on a Halifax, 9” from the breech, they are .056”. Gun weighs about 6 lbs. A V19 20 gauge was .050 at the same point, it weighs 5 3/4 lbs. So, maybe they could be dented, but, I’d likely hurt myself in the process.

Use it in good health. Prices on guns like that in England are almost free.

Best,
Ted

AGS #610541 02/03/22 10:44 PM
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 105
Likes: 16
AGS Offline OP
Sidelock
*
OP Offline
Sidelock
*

Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 105
Likes: 16
The measurements I gave were actually pretty conservative. They are much thicker than a couple of early graded Parkers I own. The numbers are very close to a prewar LC Smith 20 gauge I just purchased. I was surprised the gun weighed as little as they did with those numbers. I load 7/8oz 2-1/2" loads at 5500psi for my Parker Damascus guns and this should be totally good with them. I may try some nitro wads (which I keep) in it.

The thing I like about the gun is the wood quality, the balance and the handling. The gun was very muzzle heavy with the tubes but really dynamic alone, even with the 30" barrels. Of course the best thing is, that with the almost new Briley tubes, the gun was very nearly free.

Two weeks ago, I saw a listing that no one bid on for an LC Smith field grade 16 gauge with a detailed writeup. I instantly realized from the pictures that it was a 20 gauge NID field grade (1935 variation) in really nice shape except for the aftermarket recoil pad and some oversprayed varnish which I have removed. The owner confirmed it was an Ithaca but told me he didn't know the gauge (he was an FFL). He never corrected the listing and I bought it for the really low opening bid. Totally original except for the pad and overspray and a lot of good condition for a small bore NID. I was happy about that one too.

AGS #610542 02/03/22 11:08 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 163
m-4 Offline
Sidelock
Offline
Sidelock

Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 163
He is listed Heer Der Neue Stockel.....Watkins TJ Branbury Oxon/GB erw 1862-69 75 High Str

AGS #610544 02/03/22 11:20 PM
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 105
Likes: 16
AGS Offline OP
Sidelock
*
OP Offline
Sidelock
*

Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 105
Likes: 16

AGS #610552 02/04/22 05:13 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 64
Likes: 8
Sidelock
Offline
Sidelock

Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 64
Likes: 8
Looks rather like a 14Gauge gun.

Page 1 of 2 1 2

Link Copied to Clipboard

doublegunshop.com home | Welcome | Sponsors & Advertisers | DoubleGun Rack | Doublegun Book Rack

Order or request info | Other Useful Information

Updated every minute of everyday!


Copyright (c) 1993 - 2022 doublegunshop.com. All rights reserved. doublegunshop.com - Bloomfield, NY 14469. USA These materials are provided by doublegunshop.com as a service to its customers and may be used for informational purposes only. doublegunshop.com assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in these materials. THESE MATERIALS ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT-ABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. doublegunshop.com further does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information, text, graphics, links or other items contained within these materials. doublegunshop.com shall not be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, or consequential damages, including without limitation, lost revenues or lost profits, which may result from the use of these materials. doublegunshop.com may make changes to these materials, or to the products described therein, at any time without notice. doublegunshop.com makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. This is a public un-moderated forum participate at your own risk.

Note: The posting of Copyrighted material on this forum is prohibited without prior written consent of the Copyright holder. For specifics on Copyright Law and restrictions refer to: http://www.copyright.gov/laws/ - doublegunshop.com will not monitor nor will they be held liable for copyright violations presented on the BBS which is an open and un-moderated public forum.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5
(Release build 20201027)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.0.33-0+deb9u11+hw1 Page Time: 0.054s Queries: 35 (0.030s) Memory: 0.8564 MB (Peak: 1.8991 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2022-08-14 14:56:18 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS