C. Hunt & Co - help needed

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Kim Westerlund 697
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 4:00 pm

C. Hunt & Co - help needed

Post by Kim Westerlund 697 »

I have in my possession a S/S 12 gauge sidelock shotgun w/ ejectors. On the right hand lockplate you can find engraved "C. Hunt & Co. Ltd" and on the left "Birmingham & London". It is nicely engraved and has a square crossbolt and a doll's head engraved "Varriales Patent". The bottom of the barrels are stamped:

The barrels are stamped:
- NP, BV and BP with crowns
- NITRO PROOF
- 1 1/4
- Choke
- "12" above a "C" in a diamond
- "13" above a line and what appears to be a "1"

The gun is pretty much identical to this one: https://www.morphyauctions.com/jamesdju ... ase-40884/

The database only has this information: "C. Hunt were established in about 1907 at 2-6 Vesey St. From 1908 - 1919 they occupied 2-4 Vesey Street. They were not recorded after 1919."

Any additional information about the gunmaker or the gun is appreciated including an estimate of value in good working condition.

I also wonder if the "1 1/4" marking truly suggests that it has 2 3/4" chambers? What kind of modern day ammunition would be safe to use in it?

The gun is currently at the Gunsmith's for a thorough cleaning but I hope to be able to shoot it in the future.

John 39
Posts: 318
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: C. Hunt & Co - help needed

Post by John 39 »

Hi Kim,

It is likely that Hunt was employed by one of the big trade makers such as Webley, W & C Scott or others, and when he retired he started his own business. I very much doubt if he actually had a branch in London, he probably just thought having a reference to London would be good for business - which it would be. From the start of the first World War steel was hard to come by so he probably didn't make any guns between 1914 and 1919 so your gun probably dates to 1905-1907 but could be later. I've never come across Varriales Patent, probably something unimportant to do with cross bolts. No further info on Hunt available.

The gun in Morphy auctions was made as a pigeon gun for live pigeon shooting, very high quality but smaller chambers than I expected, I don't know when or where chamber size was restricted to 2 3/4 let alone 2 1/2. At 2 1/2 your gun seems to have been of pigeon gun quality made for shooting ordinary game.

The proof marks are normal, BV (the View mark), means the gun was inspected before proof, BP is the Birmingham Provisional Proof mark, NP stands for the final Nitro Proof sometimes repeated with the words Nitro Proof. 1 1/4 is the shot load it was proved for (quite a heavy shot load for ordinary game, Choke means one or perhaps both barrels had a degree of choke so should not be used with solid ball ammunition. 12 over C in a diamond means 2 1/2 inch chambers (only 2 1/2 inch cartridges to be used - No 2 3/4 inch cartridges). 13/1 gives the size of the bore in the barrels in front of the chambers, useful info in case the barrels have been re-bored to remove rust and pits.

Value in the UK £2000 to £4000 - a wild guess!

Use it and be happy!

Kim Westerlund 697
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 4:00 pm

Re: C. Hunt & Co - help needed

Post by Kim Westerlund 697 »

John,

A great many thanks; truly useful information.

I was a bit disappointed though because of the short 2½" chamber length (by modern standards). I found the advice below - presumably written by yourself - on the forum from 22 May 2017. I assume the same advice goes for my gun as well in order to find appropriate ammunition?

"You really need to fire a cartridge and then measure the length of the fired case. If it is more than 67mm don't use it in the gun. Some so-called 67mm cases are actually less and can be used safely."

And a maximum shot load of 1 1/4 oz, right?

John 39
Posts: 318
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: C. Hunt & Co - help needed

Post by John 39 »

Yup, can't remember writing that but it is 100% accurate (and very useful - not a lot of people know it)!

1 1/4 is the maximum shot load which is interesting, most guns were proved for 1 1/8oz so yours is a quite heavy load - maybe for live pigeon or even duck and goose shooting! As mentioned, live pigeon rules varied from time to time with the country. If you are in the USA or bought the gun there it may be that they allowed 1 1/4 oz at some time or the first owner had the gun made with duck shooting in mind. I can't imagine why he didn't order 2 /34 inch chambers!

John

Kim Westerlund 697
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 4:00 pm

Re: C. Hunt & Co - help needed

Post by Kim Westerlund 697 »

Thank you again,

...tremendously helpful. With this information I am - if possible - even more keen on shooting the gun!

Kim

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