Charles Boswell BLE

Posted by: graemea

Charles Boswell BLE - 04/05/20 07:13 PM

Hi all,

I'm just looking for information. I bought a Boswell 12G serial 13956 a few years ago. I've tried contacting Chris Batha and, asked if he had any other methods of payment other than US Postal order, but got no response. Since I'm in New Zealand, postal orders aren't easy. I've worked out from this site and other sources, that my gun is from 1901. I purchased a 1910 Boswell catalogue from Cornell Publications, but my model seems to differ from those shown. It has the Deely forend fastener, Purdey hidden bite, Baker style ejectors and Damascus barrels. Has anyone seen this combination before?

Many thanks, Graeme
Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/05/20 08:26 PM

Guns were often sold outside of the catalogue listings. A buyer could get whatever and it could be a gun ordered special or a gun pieced together from available pieces in the shop to use them up.

If you are able to post pictures of the proof marks and the action that can help further.

Boswell made some very good guns
Posted by: graemea

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/06/20 08:17 PM

A few pics. It's not in the best shape.

https://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/18592589-orig.jpg

https://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/18592588-orig.jpg

https://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/18592590-orig.jpg

The action is tight and the bores are excellent however.


Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/06/20 10:22 PM


Posted by: graemea

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/06/20 10:36 PM

Thanks for doing that Michael.
Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/06/20 10:40 PM

Looks look a very nice gun. Definitely a quality A&D box lock when it was made.

I have my doubts about dating it 1901 in terms of manufacture.

My read is pre 1896 proof marks. I also note no nitro proof. It also appears to be Birmingham proofed. It also seems to indicate only the left barrel is choked.

Just because it is not nitro proof does not mean no smokeless, just no high pressure loads, You may want have the chambers checked as they are likely 2 1/2.

The barrels appear to be good quality Damascus, but I defer to others who know better than I do to comment further.

If the barrels are truly sound it may well be worth restoring the checkering and stock finish. Having a good Smith who can evaluate the barrels is key.
Posted by: graemea

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/06/20 11:04 PM

Thanks for your comments.

I'm pretty sure it's 1901. The serial number of 13956 dates it within a few months based on my research, though I'd love to be able to buy the original record. The business of only black powder proofs is explained by the extra cost they paid for nitro. Nitro proofs only became general in 1904. There's some period literature on the net that shows that even in the late 1890's, only a tiny fraction of guns were submitted for Nitro Proof, though it was in general use. It was the extra shilling charged for nitro proof at fault, or something like that.

Boswell had some quarrel with the London Proof house and sent his guns to Birmingham for proof I read somewhere. The gun reads as improved cylinder on the right barrel and improved modified on the left barrel. Yes the woodwork is quite worn and it has a repair to the hand. It would have been a lovely piece of walnut when new though.

https://d6d2h4gfvy8t8.cloudfront.net/18592608-orig.jpg
Posted by: Dan S. W.

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/06/20 11:22 PM

According to Brown, your serial number appears to be spot on for 1901. I would be curious to see what those bores measure as 14/1 seems pretty tight for a 12 gauge (if I am reading that correctly).
Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/06/20 11:59 PM

I believe 13/1 is .719 as opposed to 12 at .729, I have not seen a number for 14/1 perhaps .709?
Posted by: graybeardtmm3

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/07/20 10:16 AM

i understand that 13 = .710; so i would assume that 14/1 would equal .700....
b. r.
tom
Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/07/20 11:02 AM

Originally Posted By: graybeardtmm3
i understand that 13 = .710; so i would assume that 14/1 would equal .700....
b. r.
tom


You are correct 13 gauge is .710, however 13/1 and 14/1 are not the same as 13 or 14 gauge. I have several references that show 13 over 1 as being .719, unfortunately I cannot find a reference for 14 over 1 on a 12 gauge.

Tonight I will dig more.
Posted by: Dan S. W.

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/07/20 11:03 AM

From the Hallowell bore size chart:

12 .729"
13 .700"
14 .693"
15 .677"
16 .662"

Not sure what that would make 14/1.
Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/07/20 11:24 AM

From Greener, the gun and its development p.301 14/1 is .701

However another article I found online:

With a double gun, even one in original condition, the two barrel sizes may not be stamped up the same. With one that has been worked on in the bores and reproofed they may be quite different and even carry proof marks from a later period marked to another system. A very early breechloader marked up 12B 13M means that the main bore is gauged at 12 and the muzzle is gauged at 13, so it is choked. Not for ball was also an old way of signifying a choked barrel.

https://www.shootinguk.co.uk/answers/technical-answers/explaining-shotgun-bore-4610.

Bottom line: I cannot answer the meaning of the 14/1 with 100% confidence without being able to measure the bores and they may have changed enough over time to blur an answer.
Posted by: graemea

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/08/20 08:33 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Yes the 14/1 is puzzling. I'm used to seeing 13/1 on most of the old British shotguns. I took the action off the stock today with a view to refinishing the woodwork. I had quite a battle removing the butt pad, the bottom screw took some effort.

The action appears very nicely made. I'll post some photos if there's any interest.

Cheers

Graeme
Posted by: 2-piper

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/08/20 09:20 PM

14/1 =.702". This stamp means at time of proof it would accept a .702" gage but not accept the.710" one. It could have been anywhere in between. I have a Birmingham proofed W Richards made by J P Clabrough which has the bore marked 14. It has pre-1887 proofs though, so "Tween" sizes were not used then so could have been anywhere from accepting a 693" gage to not accepting a .710" one. It is currently just under the .710" size by a thou or two. I cannot, of course, prove it has not been altered over the years but it was my Grandfather's gun & I do not believe it was done so after he acquired it, but do not know when that was. I don't believe he bought it new.
Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/08/20 10:18 PM

More photos is always appreciated
Posted by: justin

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/08/20 10:18 PM

Other than the what,the why is far more interesting. Why would a barreler bore a tube to 14/1 or 14. What is gained?
Posted by: old colonel

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/08/20 11:11 PM

I believe the theory was based on fiber wads getting good tight seals ultimately yielding good velocity. At least that is 13/1 theory, 14/1 not sure
Posted by: graemea

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/09/20 01:35 AM

1901 - Boswell Action BLE


Safety On


Safety Off


Action and Trigger Plate


Action - Safety Off
Posted by: Steve Helsley

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/09/20 02:25 AM

I have 7 Boswell Bfs from that period and they are all different. Wonderful guns.
Posted by: Dan S. W.

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/09/20 09:10 AM

Looks a lot like the internals on my old James Lang BLNE with the dickie bird safety except yours, I believe, has better lever work. Pictures are in the thread below:

https://www.doublegunshop.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=446295&page=1
Posted by: graemea

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/09/20 05:11 PM

Hi Steve

Wow, 7 Boswells is a good few. Are any of them similar in spec to this one?
Posted by: Steve Helsley

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/09/20 06:48 PM

graemea,

No.86xx 28" factory steel replacement barrels (2 3/4") ejector semi pg Anson carved
fences
No.121xx 28" sleeved extractor side plated semi pg Anson
No.122xx 28" sleeved extractor straight hand
No.129xx 30" Damascus ejector straight hand Anson carved fences
No.13xxx 28" sleeved ejector straight hand Anson
No.14xxx 30" Steel ejector straight hand Anson carved fences 1904*
No.17xxx 32" Steel w/sideclips extractor semi pg Anson (3" pigeon gun) 1922*

All are 12-b and have the Greener cross-bolt
Posted by: graemea

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/09/20 11:17 PM

Hi Steve

Thanks for that. So in a word, no, they're all different which does surprise me. Even though at least a couple must be only a few months apart. Interesting that I assume none have the Deely forend fastener.

Also strange that they all have the Greener crossbolt, when mine uses the Purdey hidden bite. Mine is 30" barrels too.

It came with a hard leather case, but in very poor condition. I'd thought about salvaging it, but the leather is too far gone.
Posted by: Steve Helsley

Re: Charles Boswell BLE - 04/10/20 05:00 PM

All have Anson forend bolts.
I sent you a PM