Fine Joseph Bourne & Son percussion rifle with an unusual twist consigned to our 28th March Arms and Militaria Sale.
The 1860’s rifle displays all the qualities of a fine English gun, with a .700 bore octagonal Damascus barrel, engraved folding leaf sights graduated to 100, 150 and 200 yards, scroll engraved lock and steel furniture all fitted to a figured chequered stock.
The unusual twist is in the stock itself, there is a cast, (the stock has a slight bend over to one side) to accommodate a left handed shooter, when a right handed shooter puts the gun in their shoulder and sights down the barrel it is distorted and the sights do not line up. Left handed people in the 19th century were still heavily discriminated against with deliberate and brutal attempts to suppress left-handedness still endemic in the education system. The fact that this rifle has been made for a left handed person makes it quite different.
Joseph Bourne’s business was established in 1849 at Whittall Street Birmingham. His ancestors were well grounded in the gun making industry, the name Bourne can be found in Government contracts for the supply of ‘Musquettes’ as early as 1693. As with many of the Birmingham gun makers, Bourne had a ‘shop front’ address in London which allowed him to prestigiously engrave ‘London’ on the barrels of his guns and use the city name on his trade labels. This is seen in the rifle included in the 28th March sale. In 1867 the business name was changed to Bourne & Son, and by 1885 the company had moved to St Mary’s Row Birmingham. By the 20th century Bourne and Son had acquired an important export business of Robert Hughes and Sons, as well as acquiring the business of Walter Edward, the company occupied several premises in Loveday Street and Bath Street.
The rifle has presale estimate of £1,000 – 1,500 and will be sold with a period case bearing facsimile Bourne and Sons London label, and includes accessories such as sling, cleaning rod, oil bottle, wad punch, round ball bullet mould, powder flask bearing the name Hawksley.
Now accepting entries to our 26th September Arms, Militaria, Shotguns, Firearms and Air Gun sale. Closing date 23rd August. Consignments for this sale are now invited. Please contact Chris Large on 01270 623878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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