Sunday, May 8, 2016

4 Bore Muzzle Loader Double!

A mate on the east coast specializes in punt guns but acquired this magnificent 4-bore front stuffer. He says: It's a double barrel 4 bore smooth rifle or ball gun made by Henry Beckwith between 1864-1868. The barrels are just 20" long. It was owned by a minister who held a mission in India. Apparently the gun was kept on hand to supply meat for the mission and to dispatch rogue elephants and other dangerous game if the need arose. It was sourced from the mission and brought to the US around the time of WWI where it remained in the same family until the gentleman who had it at Baltimore bought it. I wish I could find more info regarding who originally used it but I don't have any names to start with. The date 1871 is carved in the stock which may have some historical meaning? I mainly collect large waterfowl guns as you know but always wanted one good elephant gun and am excited to own this one. Take care!

4 comments/questions:

Dennis Howard said...

Good day! I have just stumbled over your article and have fallen in love with your 4 bore double! I am a proud owner of a 1868 Hollis and sons single barrel 4 bore (It has Damascus octagonal barrels the lot). I have been looking for someone that owns a muzzleloading double, they are very rare. I would love to talk about your double some more if possible? Do you shoot the gun as we shoot mine very often (Or as often as the shoulder can handle). I have been a lover of 4 bore rifles since the age of 8 when my father bought one. I am not registered to this site but if you could please respond via email at I would be most happy!!
Thank you for posting about your rifle!

Dennis Howard
South Africa

Anonymous said...

Hard men those Victorian nimrods !! Sir Samuel White Baker had a 2 bore, 14drams of powder and a half pound ball, luckily he was 30 stone of muscle and the rifle weighed about 22 pounds. That is a lovely rifle, please do wake her up after a long sleep !!

Unknown said...

Samuel bakers gun 'baby' was actually also a 4 bore. The gun exists in the Royal geographic society museum and still belongs to the current Baker descendants. Where the confusion occurred is people read half pound shell in bakers writings and assumed it meant 2 bore, since a 2 bore would indeed use a half pound ball. However baker never specifies the guns calibre in his writings, nor does he use the term 2 bore ever. Again this has confused writers and gun fans for over 100 years. I had the guns bore measured by the RGS librarian and its almost exactly 1.00". Id say when Baker had H&H commission he probably specified this diametre directly. He also worked with the explosives expert at the time, Forsyth. Its possible the gun was a collaboration of all three parties. The half pound shell would have been a longer conical or cylindrical shape. Which would make sense as it was filled with high explosive and not a ball.

Unknown said...

I altered the wikipedia article twice to reflect the above. 150 years later and people still getting it wrong

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