May I please disabuse my good friendly Americans of the fact that any Victorian Englishman who shot was a titled heir to a fortune. Of course the newspapers, magazines and books of the period tended to concentrate on the glamorous end of the social spectrum. But that does not mean that plenty of ordinary folk didn't shoot; they did.

Then, as now, there were plenty of farmers shoots, rough shoots, wildfowling and one man with his gun and dog walking the hedgerows. These attracted not only those with money - the newly wealthy, professionals and so on, but also clerks, warehousemen and the like. Not un-naturally their guns tended to reflect their means. One only has to look at the gun catalogues of the time to see that gunsmiths offered weapons for all types of shooting and all pockets.

Furthermore it strikes me that, since the engineering tolerances used in the manufacture of guns have to be very fine, any sporting gun that is well cared for (regardless of whether it is given a regular service or not), should last several generations.