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Joined: Jul 2009
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CBL1 Offline OP
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Good evening - new member here from the UK so please go easy!

I would value the forums view on a lovely E.M.Reilly I have recently purchased at the CLA Game Fair in the UK where I live. I got the gun in question from the Kelbrook Shooting School/Lodge who in turn had bought the gun at the Dec 13'07 Holts main auction. I was wisely counselled by Small Bore (Diggory) on the day so did not purchase in isolation.

The gun in question was obtained after a year of researching & looking and is a 12 bore push-forward underlever snap action hammergun, serial number 17393. It has 30" Nitro reproved bold Damascus barrels (in excellent condition and with c .025 remaining in both barrels), is engraved on the rib "E.M.Reilly, New Oxford Street, London and 2 Rue Scribe, Paris" with 2 3/4 chambers, bored true cylinder in both (reproofed 2007). The action incorporates the Purdey 1863 patent doube-bite locking bolt (patent 1104 of 2nd May 1863, use number 948.

It has a sprung push-forward underlever, carved percussion fences, round bar, rebounding sidelocks with carved faceted hammers, and is nicely engraved with fine acanthus scrolls and ropework borders. Fortunately, it also retains good traces of original colour hardening and finish, and the 14" (well figured) stock including horn butt plate is in excellent condition (original stock, rechequered well). Weight is 7lbs 4oz, and came with a two tired leather and wood case with removable oak tray and some original accessories. The case lid has a brass escutcheon inscribed 'A. HOLFORD GOWER. MORDEN HOLT. DATCHET" and has several old rail travel labels still visible.

My main queries are now as follows...

- the guns manufacture date/history if possible?
- any ideas on what type of Damascus barrel is shown (sorry for poor pics)?
- whether anyone has any ideas as to the original owner? All I can find is an Arthur Holford Gower who married in Cornwall, England in 1887.

Really looking forward to owning and using the Reilly in seasons to come. Also interested to hear whether others have any Reillys out there..
[img]http://[/img]
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[img]http://[/img]

and a final picture

[img]http://[/img]

Last edited by CBL1; 08/07/09 03:35 AM.
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Beautiful gun CBL...outstanding......I can see why you are excited......there are a few guys on here who go way out in the research area and I am sure they will respond shortly....

Enjoy that handsome shotgun.....

Best,


Doug



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Beautiful gun.....if it only had choke.

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That is Two Iron Damas Crolle', English Two Stripe, or 'Oxford.' A similar pattern William Powell & Son 12b Bar-in-Wood hammergun sold in 1870



I would expect Three Iron or Laminated Steel on a gun of that quality in that era. More information here http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/18059733 and
http://www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/20258609

Last edited by Drew Hause; 08/07/09 02:42 PM.
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I hope I can find a picture of a similar gun I just consigned to Greg Martin. #17476, Purdey thumb push opener, also with the London and Paris addresses. The dual cities markings seem to only appear on his earliest guns; some later guns carry two street numbers on New Oxford, London. Nigel Brown lists a numberr of his addresses, but not this dual cities marking. I think it is circa 1860 based on looking at a number of his guns.

Your gun, as is true of many of his products, has far more flamboyant wood than was utilized by his contemporary gun makers. I think it is one of the features which make Reilly guns attractive.

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A production date could be estimated by the original proof markings.

The Purdey double underbite is a clue. From the pictures you posted I would guess it was built in the mid to late 1860's.

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CBL1 Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: HomelessjOe
The Purdey double underbite is a clue. From the pictures you posted I would guess it was built in the mid to late 1860's.


That was my thinking as well Joe - the gun also has pretty large hammers/strikers which, along with the wedge foreend, would give me a feeling 1865. Either way, it is still incredible to think this could have been made over a bench in candlelight.

Many thanks for the positive comments and input on here gentlemen - very much appreciated. As regards choke, although I would have liked a little in one barrel, I can live with Cylinder for most of the shooting I do here in the UK. I intend to use the Reilly on a mix of UK "rough" shooting and driven days, and unless I am going on a shoot with really high birds, cylinder should be fine with the right cartridge. It should have its first formal airing on a shoot with Diggory/Small Bore in October.

Drew - apologies for my ignorance of Damascus, but is two-stripe considered "better" or "worse" than three-stripe/laminated barrels (crude comparative terms I know - either in terms of strength or perceived quality? Keen to learn more.

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Originally Posted By: CBL1

That was my thinking as well Joe - the gun also has pretty large hammers/strikers which, along with the wedge forend, would give me a feeling 1865. Either way, it is still incredible to think this could have been made over a bench in candlelight.


I think they were helped by Aliens.

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The Birmingham Proof House Trial of 1891 showed that well made Two Iron/Stripe is just a strong as Three Iron.
Lots more on Damascus Quality here http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dfg2hmx7_22ddqshmdq
Bottom line: Pattern welded barrel quality is best judged by the quality of the gun to which they are attached

Last edited by Drew Hause; 08/07/09 10:17 AM.
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EDWARD MICHAEL REILLY (b.1816, son of J.C. Reilly q.v.) , gunmaker, worked with father 1841; air gun maker 502 Oxford Street, 1848-1860; EDWARM M. REILLY & CO., s.a. 1861-1869; 502 and 315 Oxford Street,1870-1874; 502 Oxford Street only 1875-1882; 10 New Oxford Street 1883-1898; succeeded to business of REILLY & CO., q.v. 1899; 277 Oxford Street (315 renumbered 1881), t.a. E.M. REILLY CO., 1901-1902.........British Gunmakers, Nigel Brown Volume One - London. Your beautiful cased Reilly brought 2,800 GBP exclusive of Buyer's Premium at Holt's December, 1977 Main Sale. You gun was made between 1883-1898 as he was at the New Oxford Street address during those years.

Best Regards, George


To see my guns go to www.mylandco.com Select "SPORTING GUNS " My E-Mail palmettotreasure@aol.com
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