By 1890 English gun production was on the skids.
Could you kindly validate this statement please Pete?
The only thing better than a well stocked library is the ability to remember what you read:RE: the British Arms industryThe Birmingham Gun Trade
by David Williams
Gun exports to America
Thank you Pete.
I gather what you intended to say was that the import of British guns into America was on the skids by 1890. English gun production was increasing at that time. And I do have the Williams book!
As the lone Englishman referred to here (Edit: Oh good, Mike is here too!), I do not intend to wade in and defend the British shotgun in what would then turn into a rather futile and potentially nationalistic argument about our own ideas of which company makes the best gun.
When it comes down to it, it is the person firing the gun and their own skill that determines how good a shot they are. Although a well fitted and regulated gun helps a good deal, an ace shot, whether game or clay, will more often than not bring more birds down with whatever gun they may be shooting with.
To get back to the original question from Forester, I can only give you some idea of English game gun prices around 1890, taken from a London makers catalogue of the time. Incidentally, I would say that we should attempt to compare like with like in terms of quality. So the cheapest gun 'suitable for use at sea or rough work' is £5/0/0 ($24.3); a good hammer with rebounding locks and Damascus barrels is £10/0/0 ($48.6); a top lever, bar action hammer with rebounding locks and Damascus barrels at £15/0/0 ($72.9); a plain, sound hammerless A&D at £13/10/0 ($65.6); the same but with hard English Damascus barrels and better quality and finish at £22/10/0 ($109.3); fitted with ejectors for £5 ($24.3) extra; very best quality built to order sidelock at £50/0/0 ($243)and extra for fitted case. (Exchange rate in 1890 of £1=$4.86)
I hope those descriptions and figures give you something to go on when some kind soul digs out comparative American gun prices.