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Book Review: “Gun Craft” & “Vintage British Shotguns”

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December 28, 2010

Book Review: “Gun Craft” & “Vintage British Shotguns”

By Phil Bourjaily

by Phil Bourjaily

Once again Santa Claus forgot to leave a British 12 bore under the tree. Next year, maybe if I am extra good, he will remember. In the meantime I can console myself by reading a pair of very interesting books about gunmaking: Vic Venters’ “Gun Craft” and Terry Wieland’s “Vintage British Shotguns.”

If the subject of fine guns interests you, read both these books. Taken together, they tell the story of the past, present and probable future of the once-flourishing British gun trade.

Venters’ “Gun Craft” is a brand new collection of his Shooting Sportsman magazine columns of the same name, dealing with contemporary fine gun makers -- mostly British, although it includes chapters on other makers. “Vintage British Shotguns,” published in 2008 but new to me, as its name suggests, is a look back at the British trade which began late in the 19th century.

The theme of “Gun Craft” is how traditional makers are surviving by adopting 21st century technology like modern CAD-CAM/CNC manufacturing, while still making guns of breathtaking quality, beauty and price. In most cases, Venters personally visited the shops of the craftsmen he profiles in the book.

Some of the chapters explain a certain facet of gunmaking such as case-hardening or choke regulating, while others discuss a particular gun – Purdey .410s, for instance. There are also chapters on some older guns. The book contains a good glossary and bibliography and makes an excellent reference.

“Vintage British Shotguns” covers everything you want to know about the classic game gun: how they were made, why they were made the way they were, and brief histories of the more important firms that made them. Terry Wieland, whose “Dangerous Game Rifles” Dave reviewed earlier this year, is Shooting Editor of Sporting Classics, a double gun authority and a lucid, engaging writer.

To put it simply, “Gun Craft” is a fascinating book about how gorgeous guns you can’t afford are made, while “Vintage British Shotguns” is a nuts and bolts guide, a history, and a valuable guide for anyone who thinks they might like to find an old British gun to take hunting. (They are out there, and many are more affordable then you might think). The books are available from shootingsportsman.com

 

Comments (4)

Top Rated
All Comments
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 16 weeks ago

I've long dreamed of a fine English double in 20. Thirty two line to the inch checkering, straight grip, splinter fore end, triple A grade Circassion walnut with a hint of a cheek piece and hand rubbed oil finish!
I'd like it choked IC/IC, single trigger, selective ejectors!
Many years back, I stumbled into, free for the taking, a catalogue and order forms from Purdey & Sons!!
I'll never own one, but drooling over the catalogue sure does this old heart good!!!

For anyone that cares, send in the completed order form. In time, you will receive notification from Purdey, requesting your presence.
At that point, you and the arm are driven to the "proving ground" and you get to test drive it. After the test drive, you and the arm are delivered BACK to the factory and any required "regulation" is made!
At that point, the gun is fitted into a handmade, hard case, you turn over a King's ransom and retreat to your hovel to drool over perfection!!
Must be nice!!!

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott in Ohio wrote 3 years 16 weeks ago

Last year I finally bought a classic double SxS 16 ga. and have not regretted it for a second. If you ever consider purchasing such a gun I recommend the books put out through Shooting Sportsman.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dreabour wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

esting lol, i will try it this week end. don't know about other states, buty worried about r would be illegal in California. The regulations state that it must be a one pi
http://www.free-vidz.com/

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

I would like to find a book that explains the different types of double shotgun mechanisms and styles with drawings and/or photos to illustrate.

For example:
O Why do I prefer a SxS vs O/U (I think I know, but I need more evidence when my hunting buddys ask me about this)
O there was a great article in a recent "Double Gun" magazine about the differences in O/U guns and receiver height, trunion pins, etc. (ask the next salesman about this and watch their eyes for the blank stare)
O Box lock vs. side lock
O Mono block construction (I understand this relates to joining the barrels, but can't find actual diagrams or alternatives)
O Single vs. double triggers: Michael McIntosh, may he rest in peace, had some info on this in his #3 book, but no pictures or schematics to illustrate
O Choke design (yes there are differences)
O Chopper lugs (yeah I know what they are but why are they so good and what are the different approaches to locking an action?)
O Safties
O Barrel design and steel differences
O Bead sights vs other types
O Stress tests of different makes
O Price vs design: after $2,000 is it really woth it unless you want fancy engraving and wood?
O Firing pin design (disk sets?)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 16 weeks ago

I've long dreamed of a fine English double in 20. Thirty two line to the inch checkering, straight grip, splinter fore end, triple A grade Circassion walnut with a hint of a cheek piece and hand rubbed oil finish!
I'd like it choked IC/IC, single trigger, selective ejectors!
Many years back, I stumbled into, free for the taking, a catalogue and order forms from Purdey & Sons!!
I'll never own one, but drooling over the catalogue sure does this old heart good!!!

For anyone that cares, send in the completed order form. In time, you will receive notification from Purdey, requesting your presence.
At that point, you and the arm are driven to the "proving ground" and you get to test drive it. After the test drive, you and the arm are delivered BACK to the factory and any required "regulation" is made!
At that point, the gun is fitted into a handmade, hard case, you turn over a King's ransom and retreat to your hovel to drool over perfection!!
Must be nice!!!

Bubba

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Scott in Ohio wrote 3 years 16 weeks ago

Last year I finally bought a classic double SxS 16 ga. and have not regretted it for a second. If you ever consider purchasing such a gun I recommend the books put out through Shooting Sportsman.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dreabour wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

esting lol, i will try it this week end. don't know about other states, buty worried about r would be illegal in California. The regulations state that it must be a one pi
http://www.free-vidz.com/

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from New Age Bubba wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

I would like to find a book that explains the different types of double shotgun mechanisms and styles with drawings and/or photos to illustrate.

For example:
O Why do I prefer a SxS vs O/U (I think I know, but I need more evidence when my hunting buddys ask me about this)
O there was a great article in a recent "Double Gun" magazine about the differences in O/U guns and receiver height, trunion pins, etc. (ask the next salesman about this and watch their eyes for the blank stare)
O Box lock vs. side lock
O Mono block construction (I understand this relates to joining the barrels, but can't find actual diagrams or alternatives)
O Single vs. double triggers: Michael McIntosh, may he rest in peace, had some info on this in his #3 book, but no pictures or schematics to illustrate
O Choke design (yes there are differences)
O Chopper lugs (yeah I know what they are but why are they so good and what are the different approaches to locking an action?)
O Safties
O Barrel design and steel differences
O Bead sights vs other types
O Stress tests of different makes
O Price vs design: after $2,000 is it really woth it unless you want fancy engraving and wood?
O Firing pin design (disk sets?)

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment