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Joined: Jan 2016
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I am looking at this particular gun offered for sale at a dealer in the NE. It's got what I believe good numbers a far as barrels go, etc. I'd post the link but I am not sure if allowed. The SN is 12487. I understand there is some concern over C&H guns but I don't know which ones those would be. The barrels have been reconditioned by an English trained 'smith and are in-proof as I understand it. I'd be most appreciative to any insight you English gun specialists could provide. This will be my first Engligh bird gun and I want to get it right. For what it's worth, it has supposedly been authenticated by David Trevallion as well. I don't know what that means exactly.

Description on website:

Cogswell & Harrison #12487

12 bore Rounded boxlock action with extractor. 30 inch barrels with game rib measuring rt/lt; bores .713/.729, chokes .001/.035, walls .035/.028. Solid straight grip stock measuring; 14x1 3/4x 3x1/8 cast off to original horn butt plate. The barrels have recently been totally reconditioned by Kirk Merrington. Weight is 6-8 Cased in original leather case with original label.

Regards,
Jevon

Last edited by Jamie243AI; 03/08/16 05:57 PM.

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barrels sound plenty safe but I sure can not shoot a gun with that much drop.


http://www.bertramandco.com/
Booking African hunts, firearms import services

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IGC has, as you'd imagine, a good deal of info on Coggies. There is also a book on them, still available. Here you go:

Name Benjamin Cogswell
Other Names Cogswell & Harrison; E Harrison & Co; Cogswell & Harrison (Gunmakers) Ltd
Address1 4 Bengal Place, New Kent Road
Address2 223-224 Strand
Address3 223-224 Strand and 142 New Bond Street
Address4 226 Strand, 210 Strand, and 141 New Bond Street
Address5 226 Strand and 141 New Bond Street
Address6 168 Piccadilly and 226 Strand
Address7 168 Piccadilly
City/Town London
Country United Kingdom
Trade Gun, rifle & pistol maker
Other Address Wimbledon; Ferndale Estate, Harrow; Colnbrook; Malden; 29a Gillingham Street; Feltham; Birmingham; 21 Park Road East, Acton; 26 Avenue de L'Opera, Paris; 210 Strand; 63 Connaught Street.
Dates 1830-1982

Notes

The records of the company state that Benjamin Cogswell established his business as a pawnbroker in May 1770 at 4 Bengal Place, New Kent Road, London. He was first recorded in the street directories at 4 Bengal Place, in 1830. It is not known whether these street address details referred to the founder of the firm, or to his son of the same name (b.1796 in Lambeth).
By 1830 a substantial proportion of the business transacted would have come from lending against the security of customer's guns, hence the later business descriptions of "Gun Repository", "Gun & Pistol Warehouse" and the firm's transition to gun maker. In the 1841 census Benjamin described himself as a pawnbroker aged 45. He lived at Bengal Place with Eliza Cogswell who was aged 30 (b.1811) but the relationship between them is not known. Also living with them was Thomas Cogswell who was described as a pawnbrokers assistant aged 15 (b.1826), but his relationship is not known either. In 1842 Benjamin Cogswell bought the business of Edward Benton who had been trading as a pawnbroker at 223 Strand (and possibly 224 Strand). Benton had previously bought this business from Robert Essex (who had inherited it from Hector Essex). A gun case label dated 1842-1845 refers to Benjamin Cogswell as being "Late Essex". In 1848 Benjamin Cogswell registered a design (No. 1378) for a cap magazine for revolvers, and in 1852 he registered a design (No. 3389) for a six shot revolving pistol. The 1851 Census records Benjamin Cogswell, as a gunmaker at 223 and 224 Strand. He was 55 years old, living with his sister Eliza (b.1806 therefore not the person of the same name mentioned above). This may indicate that he never married or that his wife had died. Also living with them were a servant, Mary Hughes (aged 21) and, more importantly, Edward Harrison (born in 1830 in Kings Stanley, Gloucestershire; he was described as "shopman".

Edward Harrison was the eldest son of Elizabeth Harrison, a school mistress (father not recorded). He appears to have married in about 1853/4 (name of wife unknown) and in 1855 had a son, also named Edward (in 1861 described as an assistant to warehouseman), but his wife appears to have died prior to 1876 because another son, Edgar, was born in 1859 and then there was a gap of 17 years before three more children were recorded. Between 1851 and 1860 Benjamin retired and Edward Harrison took over the business. Benjamin was recorded in the 1861 census as a retired gun maker living at Hollybrook House, Broughton Gifford, Wiltshire. In 1863 the firm was re-named Cogswell & Harrison, this may imply that Benjamin had died. Edward Harrison was a good friend of William Tranter, which is not surprising considering the number of revolvers sold by Cogswells. On 1 February 1864 E Harrison registered patent No. 271 for a part self-cocking rotating bolt single bite snap action pin-fire gun. This was very similar to the William Fletcher patent of 1863. In the 1871 census Edward Harrison was recorded living at 224 Strand with his son, Edward, and a housekeeper, Ellen Gibbs, and her husband. An Edgar Harrison (b.1859) was recorded in the 1871 census as a pupil at a school in High Road, Tottenham, London, presumably this was Edward's second son.

In 1874 Edgar Harrison joined the firm, and by 1879 he appears to have had some say in running the business because he signed the lease in that year for additional premises at 142 New Bond Street. The recorded owner of this new shop was named as Julia Adlas Chaplin, but in fact she was Julia A Harrison, Edward Harrison's new wife. It is likely that all the firm's properties were put into her name. On 22 January 1880 with Thomas Southgate, Edward Harrison patented a back action lever cocking hammerless mechanism (No. 278). In the 1881 census Edward was recorded living at 224 Strand with Julia, Gertrude F (b.1876), Claude C (b.1879) and Sidney C (b.1880). Also living there were a housemaid and nursemaid, and Frederick W Prike (b.1858 in Ipswich) who was described a "shopman" (see Frederick W Prike of R B Rodda & Co of London and Calcutta). On 14 April 1883 patent No. 1903 with Frederick Beesley covered an action which cocked one lock on opening the gun and the other on closing by means of cocking rods one cammed on the underside of the pivot and the other on the top side, this rod had a hinged end which rode over the cocking stud on the tumbler allowing the tumbler to fall. This patent was used by Cogswell & Harrison. In 1883 the firm's Strand shop and main offices moved to 226 Strand, here they also traded as E Harrison & Co, and expanded their activities to include golf and tennis equipment. This shop was also owned by Julia Chaplin. E Harrison & Co was a firm reportedly established to sell second-hand and lower quality guns made by the company. Cogswell & Harrison were not the first to do this (see, for example, Boss & Co who used the Robertson name), but it seems some E Harrison guns were of good quality and were also sold from the Bond Street shop. E Harrison certainly traded up to 1887, and could have traded until 1897.

In 1884, Edward Harrison patented the "Star" walking stick air gun. On 18 August 1884 Frederick Beesley and Edward Harrison registered patent No. 11382 for an intercepting trigger safety. It was probably about 1884 that the firm acquired in Wimbledon a small "factory" and the Blagdon Shooting Ground, the object of shooting ground was to provide facilities for customers and to test guns, powder, shot and bullets. In 1886 the owners of Cogswell & Harrison were recorded as Edgar Harrison and Julia Chaplin, so although no record has been found, Edward had almost certainly died. On 29 January 1886 together with W J Jeffery, Edgar patented a Vernier rifle sight (patent No. 1326). On 25 May 1886 together with W J Jeffery he patented a fore-sight protector (no. 7029). On 23 November 1886 Edgar patented an improved cocking mechanism for breech action guns (patent No. 15272). On opening a barrel cocked action the gun is cocked and the mainspring put under tension. The object of this patent was to be able to ease the mainspring by means of hinged noses on the cocking levers and modify the fore-end iron so that the gun could be assembled without cocking the action. On 10 November 1886 Edgar registered patent No. 16214 for an opening cocking mechanism for breech action guns with an ejector mechanism. The cocking mechanism had a hinge pin with a collar which rotated as the gun was opened. A rod was hinged to the collar and hinged at its mid point at the other end was a vertical lever which was pivoted at its base so the the movement of the top end of the vertical lever was magnified and moved another rod which cocked the tumbler. The ejector mechanism had a short cocking lever pivoted on the same centre as the joint pin and this engaged with the vertical part of a T shaped lever pivoted about halfway along the action bar. As the cocking lever moved backwards the rear end of the top part of the T lever cocked the tumbler while the front end bolted the ejector stem. When the gun was sufficiently opened the front end of the T lever disengaged and the ejector would fire. In 1887 the firm rented from Julia Chaplin a larger factory on the Ferndale Estate at Harrow, the site included enough ground for a test range and it was here that in 1888 (apparently in addition to Wimbledon) the firm first offered live pigeon and starling shooting, on which substantial betting took place. On 24 November 1887 Edgar and Edwin George Anson of Harrow, London registered patent No. 14444 for a modification of the Anson & Deeley boxlock mechanism. In this the pivot of the cocking levers was above and behind the barrel pivot and included a slide which fitted under the cocking levers and was also a fore-end catch. The arrangement eliminated wear in the cocking levers. The patent title was for " ... and making safe hammerless guns and rifles." but no mention was made of a safety feature.

Edwin George Anson was the son of William Anson. Although living most of the time in Birmingham he lived in London around 1887 / 1889 and was recorded in the 1889 electoral register at Hayden's Villas, Station Road, Harrow. On 10 August 1888 Edgar registered patent No. 11550 for an ejector mechanism which used the movement of the mainspring to push down a transversely mounted lever the rear end of which engaged with a shoulder on the knuckle. Also in 1888 the firm opened the "first" shooting school at Colnbrook (The Cogswell & Harrison Shooting Park). On 12 December 1888 patent No. 18157 was for three ejector mechanism for boxlock guns and two for sidelocks, all using the raised cocking lever to lift the rocking ejector sear into contact with the ejector stem. The latter was what they claimed was the "first" ejector gun, the "Avant Tout". On 28 August 1889 patent No. 13591 was for three ejector mechanisms. The first was for the Avant Tout model and in this the front of the cocking lever bore on the bottom of the ejector tumbler while the top engaged with the ejector rods. The mainspring pressure on the main tumbler and cocking lever caused upward pressure on the bottom of the ejector tumbler. A cam on the fore-end iron pushed the ejector tumbler to the rear when the gun was opened, and when the pressure from the cocking lever passed the pivot point the ejector tumbler fired. The second mechanism used the forward movement of the mainspring to push down the rear of a lever the front rising into the bent in the ejector rod the lever being tripped by a projection on the knuckle. The third mechanism used the forward movement of the mainspring to push the ejector tumbler forward over-centre. When unfired the leaf spring assisted extraction of the live cartridge but when fired the ejector tumbler moved only when a cam on the knuckle forced it to do so. In 1`890 Edgar Harrison registered patent No. 20234 for a sidelock ejector mechanism. The mainspring was set slightly to the rear of its normal position and the upward movement of the front of the mainspring raised the rear of a rocking lever which depressed the front which pushed down the rear of a rocking sear in the fore-end which made the front engage with the ejector stem. As the gun was opened the the rear of the sear engaged a stop on the knuckle and the ejector was tripped.

Like his father, Edgar was a creative man and he took the firm into the manufacture of glass ball traps (1888) and clay pigeon traps ("Swiftsure" 1889). In the 1891 census Edgar was recorded living in Hendon Road, Harrow, with his wife, Anna J (b.1868 in Hoxton), and their daughter, Ethel C (b.1890). On 15 June 1893 Horatio F Phillips (later shooting editor of The "Field" magazine) designed and patented (patent No. 11828) a lightweight shotgun which fired a 12 bore cartridge into a barrel that was reduced to 20 bore dimensions in the first third of its length. He named this the "Vena Contracta". H Phillips was, or had been, Works Manager at Harrow (a Mr Meadows was Foreman at that time). Although the gun handled well, it had excessive recoil and it was not a success (but guns of up to 6lbs 10 oz. in weight are known). Joseph Lang & Son and Charles Lancaster both bought out similar guns (which today, because there are fewer of them, are worth more). In 1894 the Harrow factory burned down and manufacturing moved to 29a Gillingham Street, Victoria; but the land at Harrow continued to be used as a shooting range. Sidney Harrison worked at the Gillingham Street factory which employed several hundred people who, in addition to guns, made shotgun and metallic rifle cartridges, wadding and caps; several chemists were engaged in developing new powders. The factory had a 150 yard underground testing range. On 25 February 1895 Edgar registered patent No. 4005 for the "first" double barrelled gun with a single trigger, the patent was later modified due, like many other single trigger mechanisms, to a tendency to double discharge.

Cogswell & Harrison also brought out their version of Fosbery's patent "Paradox" gun, the "Cosmos", but it never gained a strong foothold in the market. Edgar Harrison went to the USA at about this time to see what machinery was being used in their factories and study production methods. The "production line" method of manufacture so widely used throughout the World today was largely developed and perfected in the Springfield gun factory in the USA during the American Civil War. In 1897 the firm became a limited liability company and either moved or changed its address to 141 New Bond Street, maybe it occupied both 141 and 142 New Bond Street but only used the 141 address. In 1900 the shooting school moved to Malden in Surrey, the manager was Richmond Watson (who in 1901 set up his own at the West London Shooting Grounds at Perivale). On 3 March 1900 Edgar registered patent No. 4097 for a bolt action magazine rifle. In 1900 the company established a new firm, the Victoria Small Arms Company, which was recorded only in 1900 and 1901. The reason why the firm was established is unknown, its addresses were given as 226 Strand and 29a Gillingham Street, Victoria, London. Only one gun so marked has been seen, a standard 12 bore boxlock ejector game gun serial number 24565 which dates its manufacture to 1898.

In 1901 a shop was opened at 26 Avenue de L'Opera, Paris. In the 1901 census Edgar was recorded living at the Blagdon Shooting school (so named because the ground was formerly part of Little Blagdon Farm), West Barnes Lane, London, with Anna and their son, Cogswell (b.1893 in Harrow). On 1 July 1901 Edgar Harrison together with J V Bonel registered patent No. 13382 for recoil operated semi-automatic firearm. This was Edgar's and the firm's last patent. In 1905 the shooting grounds moved back to Colnbrook where a powder mill was also established. At about this time the company made a 14 3/4 bore lightweight shotgun in several grades and designed to shoot Cogswell's own 1 oz cartridges. The cartridges were loaded with "Vicmite" smokeless condensed powder. Not many of the guns or cartridges were sold. In 1907 the company took temporary premises at 210 Strand, why is unknown but it may be that the reason was connected with the take-over in 1908 of the business of William Moore & Grey of 8 Craven Street, Strand; Cogswells had made guns for Moore & Grey for some years. Robert Grey (d. 1927) joined Cogswells, the Craven Street shop closed, and everything was moved to 226 Strand. It was also in 1908 that John Peskett joined the company, he stayed until he died in 1969.

In 1911 the company went into a joint venture with the Schultze company, they established Cogschultze Ammunition & Powder Company Ltd with an initial capital of £10,000. The company was to manufacture and market shotgun cartridges (and perhaps other cartridges). The company appears to have traded until the start of the First World War in 1914, it may have traded longer because ammunition was one of the products supplied to the War Department during the war. Other products supplied by the company included Verey pistols and spare parts for small arms. In 1915 Cogswell Harrison (only son of Edgar) was killed along with three others in an explosion at the Colnbrook powder mill. Edgar closed both the mill and the shooting school because of this, and also because during the war there was little demand for the facilities provided. The property was sold. In 1918 the shop at 141 New Bond Street was closed and a new shop was opened at 168 Piccadilly where John Peskett was made Manager, but business was slow and remained so for two or three years. In 1919 a depot was opened in Exeter at 94 Queen Street, but who ran the shop is not known. In 1920 the company was recorded at 43 Loveday Street, Birmingham. It is highly likely that from time to time the company used the Birmingham gun trade, but this office or factory may have been established for a particular project. In a repeat of history, in 1922 the factory in Gillingham Street was burned down and all the stock, machinery, guns in for repair and some of the records were lost. The insurance payout did not go far towards covering the losses. A new factory of similar size was established at Feltham, and the company began to diversify into fishing and sports equipment.

In about 1922 Major Michael Ralph de Cordova who, having married Edith Clara Harrison was Edgar's son-in-law, joined as a director to run the tennis venture. He and Edgar formed a partnership, De Cordova & Harrison, to manufacture of tennis rackets at the factory in Feltham. The partnership also made golf clubs and riding gear and other accessories. Major de Cordova had interests in Jamaica and one of his companies were appointed agents for Cogswell & Harrison in Kingston. Very few guns were sold in the second half of the 1920s. In 1928 John Peskett became a director, due to lack of business the Strand shop was sold, the Exeter depot appears to have closed as well. It is thought the Feltham factory also closed at this time, and that the company operated only from Piccadilly. In 1931 the shop in Paris at 26 Rue de L'Opera closed. By 1932 the situation had become very bad, Edgar Harrison was the controlling shareholder and he had no choice but to put the company into voluntary liquidation. A new company, Cogswell & Harrison Ltd, was formed, the directors being Edgar Harrison, Major de Cordova, John Peskett and a Mr Hazeldine. In 1933, having lost the skilled staff in Feltham, Edgar opened a factory in Birmingham but this closed in 1935.

In 1934 Randolph Stuart Murray joined the company, in 1937 he was appointed a director and bought 10 £1 shares in the company. In 1937 production was re-started on a small scale at 21 Park Road East, Acton, London. In 1938 Edgar Harrison died and Major de Cordova, the largest shareholder, became chairman. At about this time, Major de Cordova appears to have been resident in Jamaica for much of the time, so John Peskett was appointed managing director. For the duration of the Second World War the company was involved in gun repairs and spares, and making Sten gun parts. Dorothy Peskett joined the company during the war, and in 1948, she married Edward Lumsden (Ted) Holden who became sales manager in 1950, he later became a director. Major de Cordova had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and Edith de Cordova became a director. At this time, the shareholders in the company were Lieutenant Colonel de Cordova (134), John Peskett (31), Edith de Cordova (18), Stuart Murray (10), Gillian Glynne-Davies (2), Valerie Cornish (2), Ilone Main (2), and Ted Holden (1). The lower levels of gun sales in the immediate post war years took the company into the surplus weapons business, they also started to sell diving equipment, but these were difficult times. Reportedly, in these post-war years the company had premises in Lots Road, Chelsea, London; John Blanch, at the time managed by Frederick Wood, operated out of these premises. By 1956 the prospects for the company were not good, the overdraft had reached its limit, and the directors, John Peskett, Stuart Murray, and Edith De Cordova, sought a buyer for the company. Sam Cummings of International Armament Corporation of America and Canada and Arthur C Jackson of Western Arms Company of Los Angeles were both known to Stuart Murray, and he persuaded them to offer to buy the company. Arthur Jackson eventually pulled out of the purchase but the company was sold in 1957 for about £67,000, Sam Cummings buying 110 shares and Stuart Murray buying 90. Under the terms of the deal, John Peskett, Stuart Murray and Ted Holden were directors, De Cordova remained as titular Chairman.

In 1957 Andrew St G Tucker, an expert rifle shot, joined the company as sales manager. In 1958 Sam Cummings was made a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers. In 1959 John Peskett handed the title of managing director over to Stuart Murray, Ted Holden and Tom Littlewood were the other directors. At the end of this year, Sam Cummings bought the firm of E J Churchill and opened a new company named Churchill (Gunmakers) Ltd. Stuart Murray and Leonard Pearce (ex Holland & Holland) were joint MDs of Churchill (Gunmakers) Ltd. A new factory was opened at Cannon Works, Bollo Lane, Acton, and both companies used it. Harry Ware was production manager and Edwin Churchill was foreman. In 1960 the company acquired S Wright & Sons, gunmakers of Birmingham (who made the Konor, Markor and Blagdon models for them), QUERY the following ????? it also acquired Charles Boswell Ltd, the Hercules Arms Co, and the Crayford Shooting School. William Moore & Grey's name was included in this group. In March 1963 Sam Cummings and Stuart Murray sold the name and retail side of Cogswell & Harrison to the other shareholders who established their own workshop at 63 Connaught Street. John Peskett was appointed chairman, Teddy Holden became managing director; the other directors were Dorothy Holden (John Peskett's daughter), Andrew Tucker and Ron Cheeseman. Fred Wright of Atkin Grant & Lang joined them, as did Henry Haggerty, formerly of Churchills. Attempts were made to diversify the business but they were not very successful; ventures into overseas government contracts, agencies for civil engineering, sales of naval equipment, fashion houses and furniture making all failed.

In 1968 Richard Cooper was promoted from Export Sales Manager to the Board. In 1969, after 60 years with the company, John Peskett died, and later that year Andrew Tucker left to set up his own business. The Board was reorganised with Ted Holden as Chairman and MD, Dorothy Holden as a director, Ron Cheeseman as Export Contracts Director, Richard Cooper as Home Sales Director, and Christina Street as Secretary and Chief Accountant. In 1972 Sam Cummings became a citizen of the United Kingdom. In 1982 the company ceased trading and Farlows of Pall Mall bought the name, goodwill and records, these were licensed to J Roberts & Son from 1984 to 1989 but then reverted to Farlows; in 1993 Farlows sold them, and Cogswell & Harrison (Gunmakers) Ltd was formed by the new owners. Professor Mike J E Cooley owns the company, Alan Crewe (ex Purdey) is Director of Gunmaking. The factory and showroom is located at [Cogswell & Harrison (Gunmakers) Ltd], Heathcliffe, Parkers Lane, Maidens Green, Bracknell, Berkshire RG42 6LE. Tel; 01753 520866 Fax: 01753 575770, or email info@cogswell.co.uk. In 2009 the company was bought by David Brennan of Ardee Sports Company in Ireland where the records, including some of Moore & Grey and Harrison & Hussey, are now held. The address is Pepperstown, Ardee, Co Louth, Ireland. Tel: 00 353 41 685 3711. Fax: 00 353 41 685 3072. Email: info@cogswell.co.uk. Website: www.ardeesports.com and www.cogswell.co.uk (not updated since 2002). The UK registered office still remains at Maidens Green, where all the gunmaking repairs are still carried out.

Other Info

The company made numerous models of guns. The Victor, Primic, Crown and Konor models were available in "Twelve Major" (27 1/2" barrels) and Twelve Minor (25" barrels)versions. The firm sold shotgun cartridges under many names (some taken from the names of the models of shotguns): "Avant-Tout", "Blagdon", "Certus", "COS" (Pegamoid waterproof post 1900), "Kelor" (1900-1927), "Konor", "Markor", "Victor", "Victor Universal", "Universal", "Huntic", "Ardit", "Pink Ardit" (double brass post 1900), "Blagdonette", "Kelor", "Konkor", "Markoroid", "Midget", "Nitro", "Pegamoid", "Victoroid" and "Swiftsure".



Tim

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Wouldn't you want to know barrel wall thickness at the breech/forcing cones as well as 9" from the breech? You often see minimum wall thickness stated but what really , in this case, is .035 signifying except for the wall thickness in that area which is not where pressures are the highest? Or am I off track?

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Does anyone know when they started using fluid steel barrels? If the SN is right, this is a really old gun.


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Whats involved in barrel Re-conditioning, exactly?...re blued?, honed out pits?fixed loose rib?, bulges/dents fixed?lol.
Im not sure I've heard that said of a set of bbls before.
Dave Trevallion is an A+ Purdey trained Gunsmith who checks out alot of your mans Guns for him.
He has some nice stuff, eh?
good luck
franc

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Looks like a Westley Model C dolls head sliding bolt action.

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If the bores now measure 713 & 729 it would be ideal to know what they were prooved at.

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Cogswell & Harrison serial number 12487 would have been made in 1884, per Brown Vol I

Tim

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I'd get a confirming letter from Kirk Merrington tied to the serial number of this gun-on his letterhead, and then, as Reagan always said "Trust is fine-but always cut the cards- twice"- I'd call him to make sure the letter is NOT a counterfeit. The only gun dealer I would trust w/o this caveat on a Limey made shotgun is Kirby Hoyt. Hope to meet him face to face at the up and coming Ann Sothern clays event in April.


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