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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double
      #299309 - 20/04/17 07:13 AM

Hello all,

I've brought this over in part from a different forum, to try to determine who might have built this rifle for William Evans. It was recently purchased and has the following details:

Tight on face - Mint bores - no cracks or chips in the wood
Overall unmolested condition - just normal aging over the last 133 years
Full coverage Engraving
Underlever
500 - 3" BPE
28" Barrels
3-Leaf Express Sights
9# 5-1/2oz
14-1/2" LOP
Doll's Head
Fences
Rebounding Hammers
Barrels marked "Henry's Patent A&T 1275P - 1276P"
Forend hanger marked "JB"
Sling Eyes
Steel Butt Plate
Lever Forend Release
Top of Right bbl = "William Evans (From Purdey's)
Top of Left bbl = "95 Buckingham Palace Road London"
Both Locks marked "William Evans / From Purdey's"
Bottom bbl flat = "39" "Crown/P" "Crown/V" "Crown/x"
Silver Shield in stock with initials "C.E.A."
Modern Case with printed label



















When I called William Evans in England, they had this to say.

My rifle was built within the first 2 years of production (1883-1885) based on the "Buckingham Palace Road" address and the fact that it has "no serial number". They indicated that most of the first guns sold by Evans had no serial numbers added because the rifles that were built by others (for Evans) either complete or nearly so. During those very early times it is possible Evans wasn't even sure if his business venture would be successful, so he wasn't keeping very good (if any) records about the first guns he sold.

They indicated that my rifle was likely NOT being built specifically for Evans as evidenced by the lock engraving which did NOT have his name engraved at the same time that the locks were engraved with their borders and patterns. Rather, the "William Evans" "From Purdey's" was merely "added" onto the existing engraved locks that had finished engraving. - (but no serial number?) - Evidence that William Evans's name was added later can be seen in that it actually "overlaps" the existing engraving pattern in places.






So, now the question begs to be asked - "who" built this rifle? One distinguishing feature of this rifle is the "cone" shaped firing pins which are held in place by screws that come up at an angle from the bottom sides of the fences, as compared to most hammer doubles which have their firing pins held in place with "hole-through" nuts screwed in from the back. Could this be a clue as to who made this rifle? Although I've looked at many pictures over these last few days, I cannot find any other rifles with firing pins that are held in place like those on this rifle.

Could the "JB" stamped on the forend hanger be a clue? (see first picture)

Any suggestions?



--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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TH44
.333 member


Reged: 21/02/09
Posts: 457
Loc: West UK
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299317 - 20/04/17 09:58 AM

Hi Buckstix

First, congratulations on getting such a fine rifle. I particularly like the early doubles

It could have been made by many of the trade gunmakers in London as the proofs are London, otherwise Birmingham would be the clear favourite

I also have seen many doubles in the hand and in books but like you, I have not seen such cone shaped firing pins

Clearly early with Percussion type hammers (flash slots at top)

My first thoughts were W&C Scott or Phillip Webley who made most double rifles for Holland & Holland before 1892 and with Evans "With H&H for 12 years" he would be very aware of their quality but the London proofs?

But then I saw this pic



Courtesy Donald Dallas

A similar cone firing pin and securing screw but on a later rifle, (side as against back action locks) maybe for special order?

Hopefully someone will come up with more info

Good luck

Tony


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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: TH44]
      #299324 - 20/04/17 11:40 AM

Hello TH44,

Thanks for the reply.

YES, that looks like it could be the maker. The fellow at William Evans mentioned that W.& C. Scotts & Son (and others) as one of the possible makers. I think that feature in your wood-cut print might prove it. I'll start searching for other examples by Scotts.

Is that line art from a catalog that you have?

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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jvw
.224 member


Reged: 15/05/08
Posts: 44
Loc: South Africa
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299339 - 20/04/17 06:07 PM

It looks like a Perkes action, but I may be mistaken?

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buckstix
.333 member


Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: jvw]
      #299343 - 20/04/17 10:24 PM

Well,

In searching through old catalogs, for sale posts, and various internet forums, I've found half-a-dozen pictures of W. & C. Scott & Sons doubles like the one shown in the line art from TH44 above. It seems that their method of retaining the firing pins with a screw was a feature used by them.

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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Huvius
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Reged: 04/11/07
Posts: 2523
Loc: Colorado
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299355 - 21/04/17 03:06 AM

Looks like many William Powell hammer guns have similar firing pin retention.

The "JB" could very well be John Blissett. Many of their guns have the same pin setup too.



--------------------
He who lives in the past is doomed to enjoy it.


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Wayne59
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Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 526
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Huvius]
      #299356 - 21/04/17 03:18 AM

I have an early P Webley with the same setup. as yours and the same hammers. Notice the hammers are different from the W&C Scott.

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Huvius
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Reged: 04/11/07
Posts: 2523
Loc: Colorado
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299359 - 21/04/17 03:38 AM

This style of pin retention isn't really exclusive to any maker.
Here are a few I pulled fom a quick search:















Even Continental makers


--------------------
He who lives in the past is doomed to enjoy it.


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buckstix
.333 member


Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299363 - 21/04/17 04:26 AM

Hello Wayne59,

Thanks for the reply.

I'd like to see a few pictures of your gun for comparison.


Hello Huvius,

Thanks for the reply.

You are right. With further searching I am now finding several makers with this firing pin retaining method, even Holland & Holland. So...., its still a mystery as to who built my rifle. Any more thoughts?

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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Wayne59
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Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 526
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299372 - 21/04/17 06:23 AM

I will try and post the pic as soon as the internet speeds come up. I am plagued with poor internet service.

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Wayne59
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Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 526
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299373 - 21/04/17 06:36 AM

Here you go.

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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299374 - 21/04/17 06:47 AM

Hello Wayne59,

Very nice. Thanks for showing the pic.

What caliber is your double?

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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Wayne59
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Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 526
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299395 - 21/04/17 11:11 AM

That is a 10ga. Every time someone looks at the engraving they find a new bird in it. I found this gun down in the Louisiana swamps.

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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299439 - 21/04/17 10:34 PM

Hello Wayne59,

Very Nice.

When you mentioned "Birds" it reminded me of a Double 10ga that I had squirreled-away at the back of the safe. Low and behold, it also has firing pins held in with side screws.



--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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Wayne59
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Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 526
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299451 - 22/04/17 03:09 AM

Thats an interesting name that I hadn't heard of. Where is that one made.

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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299457 - 22/04/17 05:08 AM

Hello Wayne59.

This shotgun was sold in the 1890's by Frank Percy & Co. (1872-1913) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The business successor was Dunham-Fulton Gun Co. Although there have been a few single shots known in 20ga, 16ga, and 12ga, and a few doubles in 12ga, this is the only known 10ga double with the Oshkosh Name.

In addition to Sporting Goods, Frank Percy's Co. was a Hardware Store. He bought guns from various Companies over the years and used the Trade Brand Name; "Oshkosh Arms" - "Oshkosh Trap Gun" - "Oshkosh Field Gun" - etc.

Most guns were made by Forehand Arms Co., and a few by others such as Harrington & Richards, Stevens, etc. This particular 10ga was made by "H. Pieper / Leige" as reflected by their Logo on the hard rubber Butt-plate. It has Belgium Proofs throughout. It is above average quality with Horn Forend Tip, Doll's Head Rib Extension, Matted Rib, Rebounding Hammers, and Dainty Engraving.

Since I grew-up in Oshkosh, it had to be collected. I have 3 other single shots with various Oshkosh Names. Two in 12ga, and one in 16ga.

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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Wayne59
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Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 526
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299460 - 22/04/17 06:07 AM

So far I havn't found any guns with Chicago on them but there probable are some. I will have to keep an eye open. I have an old Belgium 10ga around here some were that looks just like yours except the name. It needs to be put back on face but other wise its in pretty good shape.

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93x64mm
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Reged: 07/12/11
Posts: 788
Loc: Nth QLD Australia
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299464 - 22/04/17 07:45 AM

What a lovely old piece Buckstix!
True it might not come directly from the biggest makers of the high end double rifle, but it was worked on by one of only a handful of workmen that were that good & that actually did the real work for those companies!
I hope she shoots as good as she looks - with a steel butt plate it will be stout with full BP loads!
Certainly a keeper to pass on as an heirloom; there is something about these old BP guns that can't me 'made', it's the patina from ages past that makes them what they are!
Well done mate - we're all rather envious of you!
Cheers
93x64mm


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Huvius
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Reged: 04/11/07
Posts: 2523
Loc: Colorado
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299475 - 22/04/17 09:06 AM

Quote:

So far I havn't found any guns with Chicago on them but there probable are some.




You could always go with a Chicago palm pistol.



--------------------
He who lives in the past is doomed to enjoy it.


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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299476 - 22/04/17 09:27 AM

Quote:

So far I havn't found any guns with Chicago on them but there probable are some. I will have to keep an eye open. I have an old Belgium 10ga around here some were that looks just like yours except the name. It needs to be put back on face but other wise its in pretty good shape.




Hello Wayne59,

I'm sure there's something out for you to find where Chicago will be in the name.

My 10ga is also slightly off-face, but a single wrap of aluminum foil around the hinge-pin solved that issue. And, since I'm not likely to shoot this old Damascus barreled behemoth more that a time or two, it should stay tight for a very long time.

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
Loc: Whitetail Country
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: 93x64mm]
      #299477 - 22/04/17 09:40 AM

Quote:

What a lovely old piece Buckstix!
True it might not come directly from the biggest makers of the high end double rifle, but it was worked on by one of only a handful of workmen that were that good & that actually did the real work for those companies!
I hope she shoots as good as she looks - with a steel butt plate it will be stout with full BP loads!
Certainly a keeper to pass on as an heirloom; there is something about these old BP guns that can't me 'made', it's the patina from ages past that makes them what they are!
Well done mate - we're all rather envious of you!
Cheers
93x64mm




Hello 93x64mm,

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I really like the looks of this one.

I took it out for a test run today. 14 rounds through her to get the feel. Recoil was very tolerable. I tried some 435g lead gas checked bullets, and some 435g SP Hawk bullets, both with 55g of IMR 4198. Both loads were crossing at 50yds to the tume of 3-1/2" to 4-1/2". Average velocities were 1693fps, and 1562fps, respectively. Next time we try some heavier bullets at a little higher velocity.

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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Wayne59
.375 member


Reged: 20/06/15
Posts: 526
Loc: Lagrange Ga. USA
Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: buckstix]
      #299481 - 22/04/17 12:10 PM

Those old Palm pistols are really cool. Thats a nice one you have there.

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93x64mm
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Reged: 07/12/11
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Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: Wayne59]
      #299508 - 23/04/17 08:43 AM

Buckstix,
Good to hear that you got the old girl singing again...might be just a bit off key at present but that's all!
With the bullets crossing that means that you have to increase speed to correct this & with the 500BPE didn't they normally use lighter 340gn pills?

So with a heavier bullet it obviously will be slower for a given load; but then running 'light Nitro' loads, how do you then determine what would be the equivalent of a full BP load without overdoing it?
93x64mm


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buckstix
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Reged: 07/11/12
Posts: 492
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Re: William Evans 500 bpe Underlever Hammer Double [Re: 93x64mm]
      #299513 - 23/04/17 11:23 AM

Quote:

Buckstix,
Good to hear that you got the old girl singing again...might be just a bit off key at present but that's all!
With the bullets crossing that means that you have to increase speed to correct this & with the 500BPE didn't they normally use lighter 340gn pills?

So with a heavier bullet it obviously will be slower for a given load; but then running 'light Nitro' loads, how do you then determine what would be the equivalent of a full BP load without overdoing it?
93x64mm




Hello 93x64mm.

Thanks for the reply.

Seems to me that according to Grahm's book, I need to use "heavier" bullets at "lower" velocity to uncross them. (more barrel time for the bullet) I'm sure things will come together. I love the experimentation - working up loads for these old beauties.

--------------------
"You never pay too much for something, you only buy it too early."


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