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Auction Date: December 8, 2013

Lot 1719: Lancaster Charles - SXS

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Spectacular Cased Charles Lancaster Quad Barreled Hammerless Shotgun with Accessories
Estimated Price: $60,000 - $90,000
Item Views 250 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Lancaster  Charles  - SXS ManufacturerLancaster Charles ModelSXS
TypeShotgun Gauge16 Catalog Page269
Barrel27 3/4 Inch Concave Rib FinishBlue/casehardened Grip
Stockwalnut ClassCurio & Relic Long Gun RatingSee Condition
DescriptionA second generation London gunsmith, Lancaster made a number of contributions to the design of armaments, including systems for muzzleloading rifled cannons and his signature Lancaster Pistol, a monstrous quad-barreled firearm and logical evolution of the Howdah design. The mechanism from the Lancaster Pistol has been put to work in this arm, in a significant deviation from the single and double barrel breechloaders of the day; departing from the conventional wisdom of using the opening barrel as a lever for recocking an internal hammer or striker assembly, the Lancaster uses a double action internal hammer with rotating striker and four fixed inertial firing pins, with each pull of the trigger cocking the hammer and rotating the striker to line up with the next pin, discharging each barrel in a rotary sequence. The barrels themselves are arranged in a "square" configuration, two up and two down, with a single nickel sight bead in the concave top rib, which is lightly engraved at the breech and bears the legend "CHARLES LANCASTER 151 NEW BOND STt LONDON PATENT FOUR BARREL BREECH LOADING HAMMERLESS GUN", with each chamber bearing London "GP" and "V" proofs along with the number "16". 2 3/4 inch chambers and a single extractor. The frame is engraved with "rope" pattern borders and floral screws, with "CHARLES LANCASTER'S PATENT/LONDON" on each side and a gold inlaid "SAFE" marking underneath the tang safety switch. The breech face bears another Lancaster Patent marking, with the individual recoil shields and pin bushings punch-dot numbered to match, starting at the upper left barrel and running counter-clockwise (as viewed from the front). The stock is sharply checkered straight wrist walnut, with diamond profiles and lightly engraved hardware on the splinter forearm, a golden inscription oval engraved with a crest of a dragon head over a banner reading "MENS FORTIS IN ARDUIS" (The Mind is Strong in Adversity) and a leather covered recoil pad. The symbol has not been positively identified. Length of pull of 15 inches, drop at comb is 1 9/16 inches, drop at heel is 2 5/16 inches. Bores measure .772 (right over) and .773 (left over), .773 (right under) and .772 (left under), the wall thickness is .025 (right over) and .026 (left over), .022 (right under) and .026 (left under), the bore constriction is .000 (right over) (Cyl) and .004 (left over) (Skt), .004 (right under) (Skt) and .005 (left under) (Skt). The shotgun weighs 8.65 lbs., a light weight for a four barrel shotgun. Included with the shotgun is a brown leather covered case, with brass corner reinforcement, the trade label of Charles Lancaster inside the lid, 4 snap caps, a Lancaster marked solvent container, a carved bone small parts container, two ebony handled screwdrivers (one with Lancaster markings), a pack of bore cleaning patches, and a multi-piece cleaning rod.

ConditionVery good as period refurbished, with over 90% of the brown finish on the barrels, showing some light handling marks and a strong Damascus pattern, with some fading along the edges. Bright and vivid case colors are present throughout the frame, with some silvering along the edges and an attractive blue finish on the components. Stock is very fine, with a small chip absent from the left side of the forearm tip, a few light pressure dents and sharp checkering. The case is good, with mild wear along the edges and on the lining. Mechanically excellent. An impressive weapon in fit and finish as well as mechanically intriguing, all but guaranteed to turn heads wherever displayed. This is the only one of these we have ever offered at auction and possibly the only 16 gauge Charles Lancaster quad barreled shotgun in the world!
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