The magnificent six.
In the ensuing 149 years Holland & Holland has built almost every kind of firearm, from massive double barreled 4-bore elephant rifles to diminutive rook and rabbit rifles. They have even produced cannon! Their name will always conjure up the image of the belted magnum cartridge as we know it today, still produced in this country as the .300 and .375 H&T Magnums.
Above all Holland & Holland stands for quality, the type of quality demanded by Indian rajahs and princes, British royalty and the crowned heads of Europe.
Depending on your bent you might, when you think of Holland & Holland, imagine a Royal or Modele De Luxe Express double barreled High Velocity Cordite big-game rifle, or, if you are a bird hunter, a superb side-by-side shotgun in the same grades.
Over the years H&H has built many special sets of guns including the Queen's Silver Jubilee set in 1977 which consisted of two parts of guns, 12 and 20 bore, a three-inch chambered 12-bore wildfowling gun and a petite 28 gauge.
In 1983 Holland decided to make another superb set of guns christened the "Wildfowl and Wader" series of six, single trigger, "Royal," self-opening guns. These guns commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.
The set consists of a single 12-bore, three-2nch chambered gun with 29-inch barrels, a pair of 12-bore, 28-inch barreled guns with 2-3/4-inch chambers, a pair of 20-bore, 2-3/4-inch chambered guns with 27-inch barrels and a single 28-bore with 2-3/4-inch chambers and 26-inch barrels.
Each gun is stocked in exhibition grade walnut and features a rib inlaid with white gold and the legend, "The 1983 Holland & Holland Set of Wildfowl and Wader Guns," along with the individual set number. Incidentally, the fore-end finials and safeties are inlaid with red gold, along with the set number, while the serial number on the triggerguard is also inset with red gold. Bands of white and green gold encircle the breaches, and golden ovals set into the pistol grip also carry the set number.
Not content with ornamenting the exterior of these guns, H&H has gilded the insides of the locks and ejectors and even engraved a water plant on the bridles. Actually, the interior gold plating serves a practical use as it helps to reduce rusting, an important factor for guns that are used around salt water.
The full sidelocks of each gun are distinctively engraved; the No. 1 gun has two barnacles and a crab on the right lock and two red-breasted geese and a wheatear on the left lock. Other portions of the gun are also suitably engraved. All of the engravings are from the designs drawn by the well-known British sporting artist Roger McPhail and reflect wildlife and wader birds from around the world.
Each gun, or pair of guns, carries engraving that matches the intended use of the gun, from upland game to geese, and each gun is totally different from the others, even within a pair.
The set is mounted in an imposing upright case of "blind curl" mahogany which is inlaid on all four sides with blond boxwood in a geometrical design.
The cabinet is actually in two parts and is detachable. The upper portion houses the guns themselves while the lower section consists of two drawers and a storage cupboard. The upper drawer houses an elaborate set of gun cleaning equipment consisting of ivory handled "turn screws," or screwdrivers as we would say, ebony cleaning rods and an assortment of brushes and oil bottles, some engraved.
The lower drawer contains a mounted set, in gold-tooled Morocco leather, of the artist's drawings.
The cupboard contains the gun cases, cartridge magazines and cartridge bags.
To top it off the handles are all hallmarked sterling silver and the cabinet is lined with buff leather and with gold-tooled lines.
In short, this is a magnificent set of guns and accoutrements that reflects old-world craftsmanship at its best. Who says: "They don't make them like they used to"?
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|Title Annotation:||Holland & Holland commemorative shotgun series|
|Author:||French, Howard E.|
|Publication:||Guns & Ammo|
|Date:||Apr 1, 1984|
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