Vintage British Shotguns by Terry Wieland

Vintage British Shotguns

Author’s Note:

In my opinion, the British gun trade between 1875 and 1939 was the greatest the world has ever seen in both the innovation and quality it brought to sporting firearms of all kinds.

Of these, the best of all – and, I believe, the finest guns ever made anywhere – are the sidelock and boxlock side-by-side shotguns that are universally known as ‘game guns.’ The trade was powered by the British devotion to driven-game shooting (red grouse, pheasant, and partridge, primarily) which in turn received its impetus from the passion for shooting held by members of the upper classes from the Prince of Wales on down.

Arriving as it did in the late Victorian era, when craftsmen believed that anything worth making was worth making as well as it possibly could be, aristocratic (and moneyed) demand for the finest shotguns resulted in products which are incomparable. Only the very finest custom guns made today approach the workmanship of these guns produced a century ago. And, the quality and features of the finest guns filtered down and was incorporated in many less expensive guns as well.

Some of the names are familiar, such as Holland & Holland and James Purdey. There are, however, hundreds of smaller makers whose products are not as well known, but which are fine shotguns, and still eminently usable. My purpose with this book is to introduce the American shotgun lover to the magic of the English gun of a century ago.

The book includes more than 100 photographs, including a 16-page color signature with photos of many intriguing but lesser-known designs.

Terry Wieland



Foreword by Michael McIntosh


Part One: History & Technicalities

  1. From Manton: The English trade
  2. Worlds Apart London & Birmingham
  3. Essentially English Elements of the game gun
  4. Through a Hundred Seasons What makes a ‘best’ gun best
  5. The Hammer Gun A glorious anachronism
  6. The Sidelock Gun The pride of London
  7. The Boxlock Gun Birmingham’s favorite son
  8. Bolting Systems Studies in ingenuity
  9. The British Over/Under Few but fine
  10. The Technical Side Nuances of the British gun
  11. Restoration Fitting, refurbishing & modifying
  12. Blacking the Bits Exploring the nooks and crannies of gunmaking

Part Two: Guns & Gunmakers

  • Armstrong & Co.
  • Army & Navy
  • Asprey
  • Henry Atkin
  • Atkin, Grant & Lang
  • Frederick Beesley
  • Bentley & Playfair
  • Birmingham Small Arms (BSA)
  • John Blanch & Son
  • Thomas Bland & Sons
  • C.G. Bonehill
  • Boss & Co.
  • Charles Boswell
  • A.A. Brown & Sons
  • David McKay Brown
  • William Cashmore
  • E.J. Churchill
  • Cogswell & Harrison
  • George Coster & Son
  • John Dickson & Son
  • James Erskine
  • William Evans
  • Daniel Fraser
  • George Gibbs
  • William Golden
  • Stephen Grant & Sons
  • Stephen Grant & Joseph Lang, Ltd.
  • Edwinson Green
  • W.W. Greener
  • Joseph Harkom & Son
  • John Harper
  • Harrison & Hussey
  • Charles Hellis & Sons
  • Alexander Henry
  • Holland & Holland
  • Isaac Hollis & Sons
  • H.J. Hussey Ltd.
  • W.J. Jeffery & Co.
  • Charles Lancaster & Co.
  • Joseph Lang & Son
  • Lang & Hussey
  • James MacNaughton & Sons
  • Manton & Co. (Calcutta)
  • Alexander Martin
  • Midland Gun Company
  • Mortimer & Son
  • William S. Needler
  • Peter Nelson
  • W.R. Pape
  • Parker-Hale
  • William Powell & Son
  • James Purdey & Sons
  • E.M. Reilly & Co.
  • John Rigby & Co.
  • W & C Scott
  • J & W Tolley
  • Vickers, Sons & Maxim
  • Watson Brothers
  • P. Webley & Son
  • Webley & Scott Ltd.
  • Westley Richards & Co.
  • John Wilkes Gunmaker
  • Williamson & Son
  • James Woodward & Sons


  • Appendix One: British Proof
  • Appendix Two: Bibliography


To purchase a signed copy of the book, please e-mail me care of this website. The price is $40 plus $5.00 shipping in the United States. Shipping elsewhere is billed individually.

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