Jun 272018

I bought this in the June Holts auction – it is a really fine London proofed gun with excellent wood, fresh and crisp chequering and true damascus barrels with  very good bores, and the furniture and locks have high quality engraving.  I keep thinking that there should be something major wrong with it to justify the low estimate, but if so its not obvious to me –  as usual, the possibilities are that its a bitzer – ie the barrel doesn’t belong with the stock, or there are other bits from other guns , but it all seems to belong   It weighs 6 3/4 lbs and has about 3/8 to 1/2 inch of cast for a right hander, and comes up well for me, although it might benefit from a thin pad on the stock.   Here are some photos…..

My motto in gun buying is ‘if it looks too good to be true, it probably is’, but in this case it will do very nicely thank you, with or without hidden mysteries!


The wood would not look out of place on a modern Purdey or H&H etc….

The other side is even better figure.

Slight gap between corners of false breech and breech block – the gap between the rib and breech block is due to poor fixing of the rib 

Lovely true damascus, maybe forgings from Leige, which made most of those barrels…


Butt plate and tang as clean and unmarked as the day it was made.

Chequering as clean and unworn as if done yesterday – maybe recut??

The trigger guard is a bit rifle-like but no other signs it doesn’t belong.  The locks are shotgun locks (no detent).

Escutcheon on the underside of the stock with initials  F P (?).

The barrel has been rebrowned, but in a good colour so I won’t have to redo it – London proof marks.

 Posted by at 9:22 pm

  4 Responses to “Venables of Oxford 16 bore”

  1. Tim, I’m curious that you call this a 16 bore, but the barrels are stamped 15. I’m new to all this. I bought a back action percussion double barrel gun at auction a couple of years ago advertised as 12 bore, but it was stamped 15 on both barrels. Engraved with “Fine London Twist” on the wide rib. I have shot it with 15 gauge cards and wads and it loaded fine and shot well to the patterning board.

    I have been immersed in your site for days. Great work! Hope to contact you via email soon about a Mortimer flintlock pistol acquired from auction last week. Not delivered yet! So haven’t had a chance to see what I bought.

    • Hi John,
      Bore sizes are a bit haphazard! It’s quite usual for guns to be called 12 bore as probably the seller hasn’t taken the barrels off, and doesn’t use a bore gauge and just means ‘of shotgun calibre’. Breech loaders can be called for the chamber size and may have a barrel size one bore less – so a genuine 12 bore may be stamped 13 bore. Only with rifles would you expect precision in calibres!
      Thanks for your interest in the site.

  2. I am so proud to see your post, this gun was made by my great great great Grandfather, John Richard Venables of 100 St Aldates, Oxford. A gunmaker from Yorkshire who set up business in Oxford. My maiden name is Julie Venables.
    Thank you

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