The Peak of the Flintlock Double

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Oct 4, 2003
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Phoenix, AZ
As I was looking thru one of my books I couldn't help of thinking about this Smoothbore Site.
The book is the kind which often is on the big bookstores bargin counter, not because it is poor but because it is going out of print and/or it is forign so the stores picked them up for a song. This book cost me $2.98 back in the mid '80s.

The photos below came from "Sporting Guns" by Richard Akehurst
Copyright 1968, Published by Octopus Books Limited, London pp 42,45 and 46.

Although shooting birds on the wing was popular on the Continent for many years, it took some time for it to catch on in England.
When it did, the English Gunsmiths were quick to develop the shotgun into some of the best in the world.
The photos below show what the books author feels is the ultimate in Flintlock Doubles and in these photos you should note that in an effort to reduce the width and bulk of the guns, the locks are positioned in board from their usual position along side of the barrel.
This was accomplished with the use of the Patent Breech and machining the barrel sides down so the touch hole is just outside the breech chamber. It does make for a slim gun.

The first picture is of a Durs Egg Double made around 1820:

Notice the flats and position of the pan cover are a considerable distance in board from the outside of the barrels. The frizzens seem to be cocked outboard to clear the outside of the barrel.

This gun was made by John Manton in 1820. Note the machined flat which the platinum liner screws into. Also note that the frizzen swings up clear of the barrel sides.

This gun was made by James Purdey around 1820 and gives a nice view of the pan and fence. It also shows the same deep cut into the barrel. It looks to me like the sideplate at the frizzen spring is actually narrower than the forearm.

Right-on. thanks for showing those photos and the print.
: Taylor followed Manton's inboard breeches for the one he made. You probably can't really see it from the pictures I've posted, but in file ofpictures you can also see grouves in the sides of the barrel ahead of the vent-flats, for the frizzen to swing into. The sides of the plugs are recessed for the locks to fit tighter to the sides of the barrel.
: Actuallly, Track now sells the proper inset breeches for building doubles, rifles as well as shotguns.
: Notice also in the pictures of the Durs Egg, the width at the frizzen springs as opposed to the width at the back of the locks. Notice also the skinny wrist behind the lock panel. The locks are a lot wider than they first seem to be.
: This tapered width is necessary due to the recessed breeches, for the main springs to clear the sides of the barrel, yet have the pan against the inset vent liner- usualy platinum or gold.
: Once Cap Locks became popular, back-action locks were used, however top-grade shotguns and rifles stillhad side locks.
: Some London Sporting singles (rifles an shotguns) also had the recessed sided breeches.
: In the Purdey Gun picture, the plate under the waterproof pan is cut away quite grossly (a lot) and is quite dished at the bottom and sides of the pan for rain gutters. This was quite common, especially on guns with very elaborate cocks and pans. Some pans looked to be actually perched atop a pedistle. With the frizzen spring on the oustide of the pan, though, the frizzen had to be in line with the pan underneath, even though the plate was relieved underneath.
: For a flinter to have two barrels, the breeches really do have to be recessed, else the locks would be much too wide and cumbersome.

: In the top picture you can make out the recessed breech- none of the pictures I have really show them off. Looks like I'm going to have to get some new pictures at the rendezvous this May.