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Thanks to Ivanhoe's continuing trawl effort through his Weller & Dufty catalogues 1970s, the following British pinfires were listed. It also adds a few names to the list previously compiled from Ivanhoe's efforts, which is helpful. There are a few single-barrel game guns on the list, always a rare item. I wish I was in Britain collecting pinfires back then, some of these look like superb pieces.

George William Bales, Ipswich; 12-bore underlever, back-action locks.

John Blanch & Son, London; 16-bore underlever No. 3589, back-action locks; 16-bore No. 3729, forward underlever, back-action locks; 14-bore forward underlever No 4495, grip safety, back-action locks.

Benjamin Cogswell, London; 12-bore underlever No. 4116, back-action locks.

Cogswell & Harrison, London; 12-bore underlever No. 6250, back-action locks.

John Dickson & Son, Edinburgh; 12-bore underlever double rifle No. 2587, back-action locks.

J. D. Dougall, London; 16-bore Lockfast-action double rifle No. 2596, back-action locks.

William Dooley, Liverpool; 12-bore underlever No. 2316, back-action locks.

Gasquoine & Dyson, Manchester; 12-bore underlever No. 1579, back-action locks.

William Golden, Huddersfield; 12-bore, horn-covered push underlever in front of the trigger guard.

William Green, London; 16-bore underlever, back-action locks, 138 New Bond St. address.

W. W. Greener, Birmingham; 12-bore underlever No. 7851, fitted with percussion chamber adaptors, back-action locks.

Joseph Harkom, Edinburgh; 16-bore underlever double rifle, bar-action locks.

Thomas Robert Hasdell, Islington (London); 12-bore game gun.

Isaac Hollis & Sons, Birmingham; 14-bore double rifle No. 6851, bar-action locks.

Thomas Horsley, York; 28-bore double-barrelled pistol; and 16-bore No. 894, forward underlever game gun, back-action locks.

John Ilsley, Salisbury (converted by); Robert Rhoades, Salisbury on barrel (1854-1866); 14-bore conversion from percussion; back-action locks, birds-eye maple stock; Ilsley in business 1867-1885.

Geo Jeffries, Norwich, turn-over action (pivoting and side-opening barrels), No 1144, 12-bore, back-action locks.

Thomas Edward Kither, Sevenoaks; 16-bore single barrel, Lefaucheux underlever and metal fore-end; back action lock signed Peter Powell (Tunbridge), twist barrel, in Powell case.

Joseph Lang, London; .500 forward underlever double rifle made in 1857, back-action locks, Plate 37 gun in Akehurst’s Game Guns & Rifles.

Leech & Son, Chelmsford; 12-bore underlever, back-action locks.

Daniel Leonard & Son, Birmingham; 12-bore underlever, back-action locks. In business 1866-1900.

Masu Brothers, London & Liege; single 90-bore rook rifle; back action lock, “Masu Frères A Liege & 10 Wigmore St London” address.

William Rochester Pape, Newcastle-on-Tyne; 15-bore underlever No. 1291, barrel marked “Winner of the London Gun Trials 1858, 1859 and 1866, back-action locks.

James Purdey, London; 12-bore underlever No. 6146, made 1861, converted to C-F.; and .450 underlever double rifle No. 6549 made 1863, trigger guard as underlever; Plate 36 gun, Akehurst’s Game Guns & Rifles.

John Rigby & Co., Dublin and London; 12-bore Needham side-lever No. 12762, bar-action locks.

J & T Snow, Market Drayton (unknown?); 12-bore underlever, back-action locks. (Local reseller?)

Robert Stanton, Oswestry; 12-bore underlever, back-action locks. (Stanton in business 1827-1867)

F. Sharp (unknown?); 12-bore single barrel underlever, back action lock. (Possibly a worn R, not F?; there is a Richard Sharp, Worthing, 1838-1869; also a William Sharp, Cranbrook, 1844-1866.)

Westley Richards, London; 12-bore pull-top-lever No. 3396, bar-action locks; and 12-bore double rifle No. 10866, pivoting top-lever, bar-locks.

Benjamin Woodward & Sons, Birmingham; 12-bore single barrel No. 5353, back-action lock.

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Thanks, Ivanhoe.

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Joseph Lang, London; .500 forward underlever double rifle made in 1857, back-action locks, Plate 37 gun in Akehurst’s Game Guns & Rifles.

Very interesting list. Thanks to Ivanhoe for the heavy lifting.

Re the above gun, I've been told repeatedly that the first existing Lang pin-fires are from 1858. This gun would be the earliest (Mark Crudgington did say he had heard of a couple of Lang's with paperwork from 1854....but no confirmation of this received.) It would be interesting to know how Weller & Duffy dated that gun and what was its serial number.


Baluch are not Brahui, Brahui are Baluch
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Steve, I'll have a look through some of my old catalogues when I get the time to see if I can add any more to the list. I did find this one that might be of interest in a Holts December 13th. 2007 catalogue. No illustration but I'll give you the description. Lot. 912. An American 8 bore pinfire double barrel lift up top lever wildfowling gun signed J.E.EVANS, PHILA. Serial No. 435. 34in. re-browned twist sighted barrels signed 'J.E. EVANS. 230 SOUTH ST. PHILA.' brushed bright border and scroll engraved single bite action with serpentine fences and back action locks, the latter each signed 'J.E. EVANS. PHILA.', blued top lever engraved with scroll work and a hound, well figured walnut stock with chequered grip and forend, blued trigger guard engraved with scroll work and a pointer, blued butt-plate. Birmingham black powder proof marks. £2,000 to £2,500 estimate. Holts did mention that there was an illustration on their web site so maybe they still have a picture they could supply. Sounds an interesting gun and at the price expected would have been a nice one too. Looks as if the barrels at least may have been sourced form Birmingham. Hope it's new one to your listing. Lagopus.....

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You are welcome. More to come

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I've just spent 4 hours re-reading the entire line for a small project. And I must say the pictures and scholarship are amazing. It was worth it. It's interesting how gun books...even by the most noted authors...miss things and by missing them they enter "facts" into "gun legend" which become truisms.

Last edited by Argo44; 02/12/22 11:02 PM.

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Thanks, Argo44. The story of the pinfire gun has surprising depth and significance, for a subject that has been largely overlooked!

I am behind in summarizing Ivanhoe's recent findings from old auction catalogues, which I will shortly address. Adding more names to the list of confirmed pinfire makers is a useful contribution to the knowledge base.

However, research continues, despite a long period of silence on this thread. A picture was recently posted online of an interesting extractor system. It reminded me of a curious extractor I had noted earlier on a Theophilus Murcott pin-fire converted to centre-fire. I have covered this gun on page 15 of this thread. The extractor wasn’t quite the same, so I began searching for the inventor responsible for the extractor on the Murcott. It took some digging, but I finally identified it as the design of the Birmingham gunmaker W. S. Riley.

William Spinks Riley was born in Birmingham in 1833. In 1861 he opened his business at 34 & 35 Lench Street as a gun finisher, employing one man and three boys. He obtained patent No. 491 of 16 February 1866 for his extractor, a striker, and cocking indicators, for centre-fire guns. Guns showing all elements of his patent periodically turn up, and very attractive they are, but I am most interested in the extractor, which appears to have been used in pin-fire conversions. The extractor is a variation of the Schneider extractor that appeared on George Daw’s breech-loader; it has twin legs, and a cylindrical guide pin. The extended parts of the legs have wider pointed ends, which slide in two corresponding slots in the action bar. As the gun opens, the extractor is raised, and the cartridge cases are pulled out. While it is mentioned in Volume One of Crudgington & Baker’s The British Shotgun, no example is shown. In the conversion of the Murcott gun to centre-fire, the slots were cut into the action bar, and a hole drilled between the barrels, to accommodate Riley’s extractor. Very clever.

In 1868 WS Riley moved to Stafford Street to what he called the Eagle Gun Works, as a gunmaker. In 1878 he opened a shop in London, at 63 Bishopsgate Street Within. In 1881 the firm moved to 40-41 Vauxhall Street, still with the name Eagle Gun Works, but Riley described his occupation as a gun finisher. In 1887 the London shop closed, and the firm was no longer recorded in Birmingham.

If one looks at these guns long enough, there is always something more to be gleaned!

Here is the extractor in closer detail, and Riley's specification drawing:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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I am somewhat reluctant to revive this thread, as I don't want to overstay the wonderful welcome given this subject so far. However, one of the main aims I had in starting this thread was to elicit responses and turn up new information. Coming across another Irish pin-fire has reminded me of the lack of information on Irish guns and lesser-known Irish gunmakers.

Ireland has had a long history of gunmaking. While proximity to Great Britain meant close access to the gunmaking output of Birmingham, London and elsewhere, guns were also built in Ireland. While there was no doubt many a Birmingham gun assigned an Irish maker’s name, the skill and ability to make the component parts and finished products were also available in Ireland. The name Rigby arguably achieved the most fame. Still, other names, such as Murray and Richardson in Cork, Braddell in Belfast, and Trulock, Calderwood, Pattison, and Kavanagh in Dublin, also deserve to be recognized. A Braddell pin-fire game gun was examined earlier in this thread.

William Kavanagh established his business in Dublin in 1796. In 1822 his sons William and James were made partners in the firm, trading as William Kavanagh and Sons. In 1853 William Senior died, and his sons continued the business as William and James Kavanagh, operating from 12 Dame Street. In 1872 James died or retired, and William continued with his son as a partner, under the name William Kavanagh & Son, until 1928. While fine guns carrying the latter name do turn up, earlier guns are much harder to come by.

Here is an example signed William and James Kavanagh of 12 Dame Street, a 12-bore pin-fire game gun of exquisite proportion and execution. The barrels carry no proofs or bore markings, suggesting this is a home-grown gun and not one that was brought in from the Birmingham trade. The 30” barrels are acid-etched damascus, a finish popular on Rigby guns but also with other Irish makers. Unusual features on this gun include heel and toe plates instead of a solid butt plate, and the addition of sling swivels, most uncommon on a British game gun. The engraving and acanthus scrollwork is amongst the most attractive I’ve come across on a pin-fire gun. It weighs 7 lb 1 oz.

Does anyone have any information on Irish guns of this period?

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

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Steve, I went back and read some of your posts again, and I have used some of your information in my own history. But never fear; this line is part of the research lines on this board and is pretty unique. It will always be referenced and you are not really "bringing it back." It's there for reference and should be added to.


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This has been such an enjoyable thread to catch up on, I hope that even though it has been in abeyance for some time now, no one will mind me reviving it to add some details of a Fuller pinfire I own (S/N 858). Information on the maker was kindly provided by Mr. Nash in post 576479
The gun has a silver oval with a unicorn motif set into the underside of the butt stock. I have researched this, but it is associated with too many different families to be a sufficient means of identifying the purchaser. As far as I'm aware, Fuller's day books no londer exist. There is also a mark of "6 5 2" on the curve of the fore-end iron at the knuckle. It has been suggested to me that this might indicate a date, i.e., February 1865. This would be nice, but it's not a practice I've come across before.
I hope you will enjoy seeing the images below, and though I regret they are not of better quality, I think they will be good enough to give you an idea of the distinctive features of this old gun. I take it shooting a handful of times each year, and find it both steady and quick, and thus a real pleasure to use.
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/z74o...rlkey=xutlt9tqrt46fpuqgx7yznc0q&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/oxf9...rlkey=vnzj76zxpbisss144zhzmpja9&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/whtf...rlkey=h2dwbkwbt15jin209zav2e8yf&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/xfyd...rlkey=b6ok1c02pakp2jcqc0vroy93a&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/qv2v...rlkey=049eqxry5km042e4jme51gmo3&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/15i8...rlkey=62v8vdrqy3rrhginy34l56b2a&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/8k1n...rlkey=9gzu3ep0jysktnyadefk4mf9u&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/hlpr...rlkey=t6p4vfpsqrn7hcrdhu475l840&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/1l46...rlkey=hqbfuvfv55ki8488otx7tp3ey&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/vhsg...rlkey=wnwoqd5pwz8euanhlmdpz6qq7&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/24l4...rlkey=ayu4xtwsdx8n0kr7cqpfpaxt8&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/3bb6...rlkey=1r9giepbmfls5ynmxxukzhnnh&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/kt7v...rlkey=icmjghpq2bmwwq59clok6umso&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/hddp...rlkey=sghlm5k4npe6qquzuj7q5c2az&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/o5t1...rlkey=67bmvq76cnzq4yk0v74md9ejf&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/bm6r...rlkey=dbibcmzya4oh0ade0wltx7rky&dl=0[/img]
[img]https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/gv34...rlkey=fh8a7jf0utr2rdod09q1aqmq8&dl=0[/img]

Last edited by JulesW; 08/24/23 05:06 PM.
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Jules, I've just sent you a private message regarding Fuller.

Steve, I may have found a pin-fire double 12 bore by Henry Drew of Romsey in Hampshire. Someone is bringing it along to the next black powder clay shoot for me to look at. It may be for sale and I hope to purchase. In any case I will obtain photographs. Next meet is on 17th. September. Lagopus.....

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