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eeb Offline OP
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I’m looking at a Wm Evans (from Purdey’s) 32” hammergun made in 1915 for pigeon shooting. The gun was completely refurbished 20+ years ago in England and the owner has documentation for all work performed. Specifically, 2.5” chambers were lengthened to 2.75” and reproofed. Also, the Forend is a snap-on, which I associate with lower end guns. This gun checks all the boxes, but am I wrong to assume higher end guns should not have snap catch forends? I’m not keen on the lengthened chambers but it was done in accordance with British proof laws. Thanks for any input.

Last edited by eeb; 09/26/21 07:06 PM.
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Indeed snap on forends are automatically associated with lower priced guns. However, I think I have read in some older material that the snap on has the advantage of keeping pressure on the action bar and reducing the rearward forces on the face of the action. It might be that the Evans was built with this in mind. I dunno……

Regarding lengthened chambers, I too would prefer them left original but nothing wrong with the lengthening. To err on the cautious side I’d keep my longer ammunition pressures within the new proof limits.

I would ask: what is it about the gun that the seller is saying it was made as a pigeon gun? I imagine a lot of so called pigeon guns are just heavier shotguns, perhaps made for waterfowl or mixed bags.

Last edited by Joe Wood; 09/26/21 08:18 PM.

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Didn't a lot of pigeon guns made in that era have 1 1/4 ounce proofs and 2 3/4 chambers to begin with?

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Yes, but not necessarily. There is no simple formula of weight, bbl length, stock dimensions, engraving, et. cet. After all, pigeon shooters vary widely in size, strength, and muscle speed. I can't cite the date off top of my head, but guns were restricted to sub eight pounds at one point. Likely this was to end an arms race that would have ultimately ended in a crew served 12 bore.

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Pigeon guns were finished to a higher standard. Pigeon shooting was a big money pastime with larges sums bet on the outcome. The rich could afford to buy the best guns for this and while waterfowl guns had many of the same features waterfowl hunting was much rougher and guns tend to be less finished to high standard. I have two wildfowl gun but both are plain guns that fit the job. Eight plus pounds, tight chokes, proofed for heavy loads and one with a wide flat rib. A pleasure to shoot and if only I could use lead shot they might Thor’s hammer for long range pass shooting.

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Thanks for the replies. I think the gun started out as a hunting gun, but the UK dealer advertisement called it a pigeon gun.

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It's interesting to note that on the Ithaca NID, they went with a snap-on forend rather than the Deeley latch they'd used on the Flues guns.

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Originally Posted by Joe Wood
Indeed snap on forends are automatically associated with lower priced guns. However, I think I have read in some older material that the snap on has the advantage of keeping pressure on the action bar and reducing the rearward forces on the face of the action. It might be that the Evans was built with this in mind. I dunno……

Snap on forends have been built by many makers, English and American. They are likely not all the same, but I did some looking into them as pertains to A H Fox guns some years ago, specifically Kremer and Russell styles, and found that the spring tensioned roller does NOT provide the pressure to keep the forend iron tight against the knuckle. It provides spring pressure UPWARDS, keeping the forend wood tight against the underside of the barrels. If the wood is still fitted as it was when it left the factory there is no way it can be fit any tighter when the forend is snapped "home", and no way for that fit to provide any significant pressure rearward. It would have to be pushing the "flat" on the front of the forend iron away from the back of the forend lug. THAT fitment is what provides the pressure to keep the rear of the forend iron tight against the action knuckle, not any spring pressure associated with the snap on design.


"With one foot in the grave ..........and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel" T.P.
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Just to prove that there is nothing fixed in gun history, I worked on a Purdey hammergun with a snap forend catch not so many years back. It was contemporary with other Purdeys I have worked on with either Anson and wedge forends.
What the customer wanted, the customer got!

Last edited by Toby Barclay; 09/28/21 01:13 PM.
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