Never heard of these, but this video was posted on a machinist’s forum remarking on some of the machine equipment. I Ike the hint of horizontals since I have so many and ganged cutters myself. No glasses, and the tie probably just for the filming. Action invented by JK Kavanagh. Aimed for 40/wk production. See it described as a push down top lever twin side lug design via auction write up from 20 yrs ago. Internet gun club had some info “ The gun had a slide-forward breech opened by a push-down top lever which lifted a vertical locking bolt behind the breech face. As the breech opened, assisted by the mainsprings, fired cartridges were ejected with the assistance of a spring operated bar in the action bar. On closing the gun the locks were cocked, and the barrels slotted onto adjustable projections in the breech face the projection making the headspace adjustable (the only part of the gun to be patented). The barrels were fitted to a monoblock at the breech end, while variable chokes were screwed in at the other, full length side ribs were not fitted, a ventilated top rib was optional. The fore-end was fixed.”
Says their patented gun helped birth the first Irish proof house. Interesting to see the proofing at 6:26 - BOING!!
Courtesy Christie’s 6 Nov 2001 catalog, 6508, lot 174
Before he went to Ireland he had a factory in the St.Paul’s district in Cheltenham and kept a chalked score on the inside of the factory door of the number of people (including myself) bitten by his terrier. Fortunately in those days I kept my jeans turned up at the ankle and the extra thickness of cloth saved me from any damage.
Another of his creations was a semi(?) automatic rifle in .250 Savage that came to my attention when he let it off in the underground.22 range at Cheltenham College. I didn’t get a chance to look at it closely but still remember the dust dislodged by the blast falling like rain from over the firing point.
From the calibre I suspect it may have been, like one of Bill Ruger’s early creations, a re-work of a Savage 99.
There was a recent TGS Outdoors YouTube video on his Fenian gun and David Baker did an article in DGJ about 15 years ago. Geoffrey Boothroyd had a chapter on him in his book on British Over and Under Shotguns.
Sad to say the gun is not a thing of beauty , and a joy for ever, though the inventiveness is second to none also I did like that scratch built stock duplicator also the scratch built horizontal stock boring set up for the stock bolt.
The only lessons in my life I truly did learn from where the ones I paid for!
There was a similar French gun, the “Super Charlin”, that cast about the same profile (ugly as homemade sin) built sometime between the wars. I don’t have a picture handy, and only handled one, and being honest, never need to handle another.
The narrator referred to the Irish gun as an “Over/Under”, surprising to me, most people in Europe seem to call them Under/Overs.
I noticed the tie also, and the ring on the finger. Wouldn’t fly at any workshop I was ever associated with.
In volume 3 of the British Shotgun by David Baker,pages 127-132. David provides a detailed review of the of the Kavanagh shotgun including a personal profile of Mr James Kavanagh..I was able to provide input to this article and can confirm that in later years of production the gun was made in England.
Roy, haven’t a copy of D. Baker’s book, does it lockup assisted with those U-shaped grooves on the sides of the frame/arms? Somewhere forward under the monoblock?
Surprised late 60's the geared headstock lathes (Colchester's?) w loose long sleeves, rings, ties - what can go wrong. No glasses neither at the surface grinder (always possible an eject could bounce off the L-shield and deflect off the grinder into the operator- BOOM! always sounds like a shotgun going off when it happens). All that's missing are gloves.
Parabola - can you share anything more about your intersection w the firm/factory? Very "wedge-y" stock head. Looking at the images of the fully open action, I imagine myself in the field and inserting cartridges into the maw of that piece. Visions of my time of squad machine gun loading dance in my head. That said, all closed up the back half carries a bit of a classic Martini look - Interesting nonetheless.
Sadly I don’t recollect a great deal of the Cheltenham factory. I was probably keeping one eye on his dog and didn’t make any intelligent observations of the machinery.
As I heard it he departed somewhat suddenly to Ireland “lock stock and barrel” so the equipment in the Irish video is almost certainly what he was running in Cheltenham.
Whilst the TGS/Holts video refers to their example as a Birmingham made gun, and it would certainly have been Proofed in Birmingham the Fenian production guns, pre-Ireland, were as far as I know made in Cheltenham. He did have an earlier address in Tewksbury just a few miles up the road, but that appears on a different and earlier design.
When he departed Ireland for Cornwall he came into collision with Devon and Cornwall Police and it seems unlikely any further guns were produced other that the 2 Davis built prototypes (to a different design) illustrated by David Baker.
The locking on the Fenian is the inverted U shaped piece cammed up by the top lever being depressed and dropping down into the slots in the breech extensions.
I did see and handle the Tungum barrelled Fenian, which I think was built to demonstrate the strength of a local company’s tubing. That ended up in the hands of one of his engineers, I believe in lieu of unpaid wages.
The French Charlin design, whilst almost as ugly, looks to be an over and under version of the Darne.
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