We’re off to Rugby for our muzzle loading Helice shoot on the 18th of July, which should be great fun. I’m trying to decide what gun I will shoot. Last Sunday I did much better than usual with my (possibly spuriously signed) D. Egg double 15 bore with back action locks and rather nice Stubb Twist barrels stamped TW with Birmingham proof marks . It’s a typical late percussion gun, probably mostly of Birmingham manufacture despite the D EGG LONDON barrel engraving – to me it has the feel of a Birmingham gun rather than a London gun. By the time this gun was (probably) made Durs Egg had died ( in 1831) and his son Joseph was running the business but still trading as Durs Egg so he may have simply retailed this gun or quite possibly it was made after 1834 when that trading name ceased to be used, in which case it is one of many spuriously named guns. It is of a decent standard – what I would call a good gentleman’s gun – in good condition with a reasonable bore – a very good bet for shooting. I picked it up at Holts in the sealed bid sale earlier this year – I hadn’t intended to look at it as at the time I disregarded anything with back action locks, but it seemed to fit well so I bought it after a slight haggle and I now quite like back action locks – less mess to clean after shooting! Being quite late in the evolution of muzzle loaders many good back action lock percussion shotguns had a relatively short working life. All I’ve had to do is replace the nipples with the ‘correct’ shape to avoid misfires. Here are some pictures of it;
But its a double and so not quite right for the Helice. That leaves a choice between my Henry Nock single lightweight gun, or the single Tim Owen gun I renovated (see both below), or I could do the thing properly and use my Gasquoine and Dyson live pigeon gun – a very nice 6 1/2 bore single. The Helice shoot is limited to 1 1/4 oz of shot, which is perhaps a bit of a light charge as when the big bore pigeon guns were popular there was no shot limit, although one came in later. Still, Martin reminds me that Dave Elvin won last year with a 7 bore with 1 1/8 oz so I’ll have a go using 1 1/4 oz No 8 and 3 or 3 1/4 drams of powder. I have broken a couple of clays with the G & D although it is high in the comb for me – but I think that is how the pigeon guns were. Watch this space for the results!
Here is a picture of my percussion Gasquoine and Dyson live pigeon 6 1/2 bore single – the absence of a ramrod is clear proof that it was a live pigeon gun, but the combination of large bore and relatively light weight and rather refined finish also indicate it wasn’t intended for wildfowling.
20/7/2015 Back from the Helice Shoot – great fun but I didn’t do very well – I did get 4/12 with the Gasquoine and Dyson shooting 3 1/4 drams and 1 1/4 Oz of No 8 and then changed to the Egg to see if I did better, but it was a mistake and I only hit one of the remaining 8. But a lot of our experts did less well than expected – it is a very different sport and luck plays a big part. A larger than random number of ‘birds’ were making a ‘B’ line off to the left from the left trap and most people found them difficult or impossible to hit. But there was some excellent shooting – the winner, Jane Capewell, managed 14/20 so good scores were possible. No photos as my camera was set to RAW mode and I don’t have the software to read the photos!