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DaveB, eeb, keith, LeFusil, mc, SKB, Stanton Hillis, Ted Schefelbein, Tim Cartmell
Total Likes: 32
Original Post (Thread Starter)
by Tim Cartmell
Tim Cartmell
Webley & Scott 400 Series verses 700 Series Shotgun

I was recently viewing the attached YouTube video from TGS Outdoors, re: The Webley & Scott 700 series shotgun.

Webley & Scott 700 Series Shotgun

My question to the British shotgun experts, is the newer Webley & Scott 700 series shotgun superior to their older 400 series shotgun? From what I can see, the 400 series model had the disc-set strikers and the screw-grip rib extension third fastener over the post-1946 700 series model.

Example of the Webley & Scott 400 Series Shotgun

Any opinions on model preference?

Thanks in advance.
Liked Replies
by damascus
damascus
I was expecting gunman to chime in though he may feel that each of us has posted a good number of postings on W & S though I do have some things to say that I have not covered regarding the 700 series. As other folks have said that the 400 series was a more up market gun the reason being it was built and sold before ww2 with the 700 coming after ww 2 at a time when things in Britain was a lot of hand to mouth with rashoning that went on until 1954. Because of this people did not have a lot of disposable income so W & S still had to produce a home market range of shot guns so the 700 series side by side was produced as a cost cut 400 series. There where cost limitations removal of screw grip disk set strikers and back to basic wood, though on the working parts that mattered quality stayed the same with very little alterations. One benefit of the war that a lot of good quality steel was available at low prices. The first guns that came out of the factory where real plain Jane's and that name did stick for many years though the kinder name was a keepers gun with no frills but with ejectors the ability to work well in all situations with very little service if any.
This is my 1950 700 what you see is what you get. But what you cant see is the handling and balance being slightly lighter and is far superior to the models that followed along later.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Also with 21/2 inch chambers

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Just for comparison two actions one very early and a later offering of the 700 the bottom action in the photograph is the oldest

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Finally a mid 70's version but by then w & S would make many barrel lengths and different wood and engraving qualities, including some two barrel sets

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

All with 23/4 inch chambers though the later versions do not handle like their first offerings but as they say what cant speak cant lie a vast am mount of the factory's 700 output is still with us and working well some 60 years later.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Engraving is not generous but it is hand engraved with the engravers having a little personal flexibility on how they engraved the guns as you will see from the action photograph. Could say a lot more but it has already been said a number of times though one thing that is starting to grate with me is the much rolled out fixed hinge pin with you have to do work on the barrel hook if the gun comes off face. From what I have found there are mot many gunsmiths want to go to all the work of removing the hinge pin and making a larger replacement when they could just weld the barrel hook and that goes for many guns.
3 members like this
by Mr W martin
Mr W martin
Hello, as a layman with no technical ability or knowledge , I'll give my short view of the two. I have handled, viewed and used many examples of both, over the years . The 400 series are in general delightful, pleasant and have a lovely feel. Reliable and very nice . The 700s are workmanlike with average looks and fairly lifeless ,again reliable. Pound for pound and all being equalI would opt for 400 without doubt. Pigs ears and silk purses in both series of course. Regards
2 members like this
by damascus
damascus
Le Fusil I have owned 3 400's when I sold them they all had their original strikers, these two 700 both have the original strikers and all their original internal parts still this is not unusual as the guns are practically bomb proof they work on the absolute minimum of parts.
2 members like this
by SKB
SKB
I enjoy nicely made items, especially nice guns when I hunt. A bit of maintenance does not bother me. It sounds like you have had some bad luck. My own guns have not needed near the amount of repair yours have required. I do drive a very practical vehicle, a Toyota Tacoma. To each their own but I'll stick with hand made British guns thanks. I find they suit my purpose just fine, with a minimum amount of hassle and they bring me great pleasure, something that mass produced guns do not do for me.
2 members like this
by mark
mark
Mark, I miss Leonard’s visits to Dennis’s class! Great stories from a wealth of knowledge told by a guy that was there. I can’t look at a Coggy with out hearing Leonard!
2 members like this
by LeFusil
LeFusil
Hinge pin isn’t serviceable. The 400, 500, 600, 700 all have solid pins. The pins are for the cocking levers and I believe the second set is for the ejector trips.

I might be going out on a limb here, but the only serviceable hinge pins that I can remember were found on a FEW W&S 700 actions when H&H acquired the company and they built the Bowood & Northwood model, and not all of those models were built on that unique hinge pin action. The actions made with a removable hing pin are pretty rare birds.
2 members like this
by SKB
SKB
One more Len story before I forget. This morning I am fitting a pad with a widows peak and happened to remember Len telling me about an especially picky client while working at H&H. The client had a new pad fit to his gun and felt the LOP was off, by less than a 1/16" of an inch. The shop managers solution?

Bend the F@%&ing trigger.
2 members like this
by LeFusil
LeFusil
“ If you don’t know if you can get the discs out, or, own the tool or a spare set of strikes, dollars to donuts the gun is in the field, and hasn’t been serviced.”

Huh? Or Ted, dollars to donuts, maybe they have their guns serviced by a gunsmith? I’d hazard a guess and say an extremely high percentage of people who own doubles, vintage or modern, don’t posses the proper tools, parts, skills or experience to repair, strip & clean or inspect a doublegun.
And let’s be honest here…..90+% of vintage/modern double gun owners don’t have their guns serviced on the regular….usually the only time a gun gets serviced is when something goes wrong. The fraternity that has their guns completely serviced on the regular is very limited to almost non existent.
The vast majority of guns that come into a good friends shop for complete strip & cleans are almost entirely best grade guns owned by very well off people. You don’t see too many “regular” type guns, boxlock or sidelock, in the shop for strip & cleans. Most people who own doubles are not willing to pay $300+ for for a complete strip & clean of a boxlock actioned gun.
I have quite a few local pals and a few more abroad who own doubles….none of them seem to own the tools nor posses the skills to completely take down or adjust a boxlock or sidelock shotgun, especially ejector mechanisms. They mostly all take very good care of their guns and have them serviced by a reputable gunsmith, and sometimes even trust their guns to me for minor fixes and strip & cleans, finishing etc.
Point being, they don’t do any of the work themselves and their guns hit the field ready to go and provide them with virtually flawless service.

Yep, in the world of doubleguns, you’re an anomaly. One of the few that can take down & service most of his own guns. That’s awesome and the skill set is definitely beneficial. Like doctors…the goal is to do no harm. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of instances of lots of harm being done by unskilled hands. Trying to remove stubborn disk from the breach face is one them. Trying to remove pins and screws with ill fitting turnscrews is another. Cocking actions or squeezing springs using hardened steel tools is a common bugaboo too. Imagine just anyone digging into a Perkes, Wem or Baker ejector mechanism, or trying their hand at completely taking down a Purdey. Catastrophe.😳
If you don’t posses the tools, skills or knowledge….let a pro or well stocked, skilled enthusiast handle it.

Hell Ted, most people who own extremely simple guns like 1100’s and 870’s barely know how to break down their guns for a service! I just had a friends Browning A-500R on the bench for a strip & clean, there was enough dirt, seeds and crap in that gun one could’ve planted a field. Said his dad shot it for over a decade and one day, about 10 years ago, it just stopped working. Hmmmmmm. What a mystery.😂
I don’t think the gun had ever been taken apart other than to clean the barrel and wipe down the outside. I believe this is pretty typical when it comes to a majority of gun owners.
2 members like this
by LeFusil
LeFusil
Integral strikers are on approx 98% of British boxlocks. Disk set strikers on boxlocks are relatively rare….kinda like intercepting sears.
The 400’s do have disc set strikers, and that’s great…if you have additional strikers already made to fit and, and this a biggie….if you can remove the disk itself. Simply having a tool that fits the disk isn’t enough in most cases, especially if the disk tool is a hand tool like the type you find in gun cases, etc. In my experience, to get the disk out, it is done with a tight fitting, custom made tool that is also fitted into a belly brace or hand impact driver to get the disk to even budge. Many disk are damaged so badly during removal that another must be made and fitted in.
400’s and 700’s suffer from the same flaws. The barrel hook. I don’t think the screw grip bite adds much of anything, probably why they redesigned the gun into the 700 series.
Either one is a proven performer and with proper maintenance and care will last a lifetime or 2.
I do like 400’s for the same reason MC stated, the higher graded guns were wonderful. Beautifully engraved and the fit and finish are usually very nice. I’ve owned a few. Nice guns.

I hope “gunman” comes along shortly, he probably is the most knowledgeable guy on here about mechanics of W&S stuff…..he apprenticed with them.
1 member likes this
by mc
mc
The 400 were made for a lot of other names the 700 not so much
1 member likes this
by LeFusil
LeFusil
Ted,
The guns were talking about are British guns, some of them dating back to the early 1900’s. Yes, there is several very good reasons for difficult to remove disk……The disk have been in the breech face for literally thousands of rounds….some of them corrosive primers and black powder… and then factor in the weather, time, maintenance practice, etc…and now you have disk that will not budge. I highly doubt you’re ugartechea has seen any where near that amount of use or abuse in its relatively short lifespan. Fitted poorly? In fact they were fitted so well that any amount of corrosion will end up locking them up for practically an eternity.
That’s awesome that your Ugartechea disc come out so well. From our past discussions on the gun…it sounds like it’s a very lightly used specimen. You’re lucky. My model 30’s disk used to like to come loose all on their own.😳.

Get real? C’mon. Take a poll on how many people actually have spare, fitted strikers and a proper, well fitted tool to go along with their guns with disk set strikers (for any makers guns) or for that matter…a new set of fitted mainsprings or top lever springs to slap into the gun just in case. Doubt many people at all have everything ready to go like you do. Most guys into this hobby just bring along a back up gun in case something goes wrong.
In my time dealing with British guns….I’ve NEVER needed to replace a striker in the field or at home. I did have a 130 year old mainspring shit the bed during a hunting trip. That’s it. I didn’t have a spare with me. It got fixed later. Gun got cased, I grabbed another gun and the hunting continued. That’s getting real.
1 member likes this
by Joe Wood
Joe Wood
That’s a Scott Reliance made from 1900 to 1935. Notable characteristics are the reinforced bolsters on side of action, side clips, and Greener type cross bolt*. Very nice guns and the one you mentioned seems to be of the very highest grade. Very unusual fancy back action.

*information from “The History of W. & C. Scott Gunmakers” by Crawford and Whatley
1 member likes this
by Ted Schefelbein
Ted Schefelbein
Dustin,
I’ve never replaced a striker, either. But, I had a spare for the BSS, and I’ve got ‘em for the Uggy. If the design allows for making a repair easier, why wouldn’t you take the few extra steps to line up the tools and parts, put ‘em in the case, and check to see if the discs could be removed before you had to find that out? Probably explains why the 700 came with a less serviceable design, people maybe didn’t do it anyway. ‘Kinda like the new automatic transmissions, that have no provision for maintenance, and get new fluid and filter, at rebuild.
Tim, there are GREAT gunsmiths who live in Canada. I’m not up on who is working and who isn’t, but, Canvasback, a poster who is here regularly, can put you onto some of the best. You wouldn’t regret either gun, but, whoever described the 700 as more “workmanlike” nailed it. They built a lot of them, the 400 not so much. I have but one 2 1/2” gun, a 12, and if ammunition is tough to find, I slip some of the lighter AA loads in it, 1 Oz or 1 1/8th Oz, the 1150fps loads, and don’t worry too much about it.
Good luck.

Best,
Ted
1 member likes this
by SKB
SKB
Len was the best, not very PC and no real interest becoming PC. I liked him quite a bit and took several classes from him. A real character that is for sure. I ended up going to school at TSJC right after he retired from full time teaching but got to know him through summer classes and when he would stop by our classes to chat. I miss him too.
1 member likes this
by LeFusil
LeFusil
The model 400 was made from approximately 1900 to 1946. W&S made a shit load of 400’s in every gauge and in few different grades.
The 700 was produced post WW2, with production starting around 1947.

I’d venture to say that there were more 400’s produced for the trade than there were 700’s….by the time the 7 hundy came along, the trade was really starting on its downward slide.

I guess the answer to your question Ted is not many people have run into catastrophic problems with their guns and for the most part, probably don’t feel the need to carry spare parts and special tools with them. I think it’s safe to say that the majority of shooters of vintage guns arent as diligent as you are in making sure they’re prepared for a failure in the field by stocking up on fitted pins, springs and tooling. You’re a well prepared guy, pretty mechanically inclined, where a good many vintage shotgun shooters are not.

The only time I see gunsmiths messing with the disc is during complete strip and cleans and or repairing a wonky striker. I see alot of strip and cleans….and that’s where I see the problems with removing the disk. More often than not…a tool must be made and fitted to the disk for proper removal. There is no one tool fits all for those things.

I think W&S figured that there was no longer a reason to incorporate disk set strikers in their actions because they weren’t worried about integral strikers breaking very much at all, which they don’t. That was probably a pretty good cost saving feature eliminating the extra machining and fitting of those disk.
Same with the screw grip extension. Over 50+ years of making them…they probably figured that the screw grip didn’t add much of anything to the function or strength of the gun and therefore eliminated that feature as well, thus reducing cost of the action again.
1 member likes this
by Shotgunlover
Shotgunlover
Reading about the hardships involved in minor repairs on the Anson and Deeley type boxlock brings to mind the ease of maintenance and repair of the Beretta 626 action which technically can be defined as a boxlock since the lockwork is housed in the action body.

The stock is pulled in seconds due to its bolt. Every single part can be replaced with a simple punch, no screws. Parts drop in and work with no fitting. And it has secondary tumbler bents to prevent accidental discharge. IF a firing pin breaks the tumbler is a fairly inexpensive part to replace. Our local Beretta dealer has a bunch of them, never sold one because none broke apparently. Actually he did sell one that I turned into a key fob.
1 member likes this
by damascus
damascus
Guns go off the face only with use the size of load used is also a contributing factor so no make of gun is immune from this. I have repaired nearly new guns with loose ribs and more Spanish offerings than I care to remember. Of course gunman's opinion is just his a opinion the same as mine just opinion, he cant have seen every gun built by w & S over the years." having heard of" as far as I see does not carry any weight for a convincing argument as they say talk is cheap fact is costly. For so many guns to be out there and working their reliability must be high enough for the thousands sold around the world. Finally all the working parts of a 700 can be made by hand with a file occasionally a lathe if necessary I do know this because over the years I have done it they are internally so basic.
1 member likes this
by Rocketman
Rocketman
Damascus, absolutely no offense intended, but I feel a need to remind folks that any gun's objective handling is a combination of weight, balance (teeter-totter point) relative to (front) trigger, unmounted swing effort, and mounted swing effort. Subjective handling is an individual shooter's personal feeling/satisfaction as to the combination of handling factors (above). None of these four factors is stand-alone. There is no single factor that sums up handling.

Weight requires a weigh scale, balance requires a fulcrum and a ruler, and swing efforts require measurement of the moment of inertia at the balance point. Balance is often misused to mean handling. Unfortunately, there is no overall "balance" of a gun and there are no secret magical ways of "making a good handling gun."

DDA
1 member likes this
by Shotgunlover
Shotgunlover
What Le Fusil said!

Especially this: "Most people who own doubles are not willing to pay $300+ for for a complete strip & clean of a boxlock actioned gun."
1 member likes this
by Remington40x
Remington40x
Morphy's Auctions has a 16 gauge W&S 400 in its next auction. Lot no. 2193. They certainly were handsome guns.
1 member likes this
by LeFusil
LeFusil
Well, at least Coggie had a real factory and made most of their own guns in house…that means multiple known craftsmen actually ran the machines, sat at the bench and did the work…..completely opposite of what happened at E.M. Reilly’s super Walmart/Sears catalog store.😂.
I know, that wasn’t nice at all.😒

I wonder what Len Bull would say about a Extra Quality Victor?
1 member likes this
by mark
mark
What ever the part was I’m sure he could have made one from an old file 🤪🤪!
1 member likes this
by Ted Schefelbein
Ted Schefelbein
Dustin,
After I’ve been through a gun, it won’t get touched again for years. I don’t get to shoot thousands of rounds through them, or clock out of my day to day life for a few months, hunting birds. But, everything gets taken down when I come into it. And, you do the same. It should be the case for any old gun, but, I’ll bet you are correct, guys just run ‘em until they break. That’s a shame, but, it is what it is.
That 400 at the auction house is a neat old gun. I’d be interested from the posters in England what a gun like that would sell for, today, in an English gun shop. Bet it isn’t anywhere near the price Morphy’s thinks they are going to get.

It isn’t heavy, either.


Best,
Ted
1 member likes this

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