Blacked barrels respectively signed "E.J. CHURCHILL (GUNMAKERS) LTD." and "ORANGE ST. GUNWORKS, LEICESTER SQUARE, LONDON." on each tube and engraved with a spray of scrollwork at each breech. Matted raised quarter rib with rear sight of two folding leaves respectively graduated to "50" and "100" yards, and matted ramp mounted bead front sight with tunnel cover. Casehardened action signed "E.J. CHURCHILL" on each side and with scalloped back to the action, blued top lever, manual safety with gold inlaid "SAFE", and blued floor plate with gold inlaid "22 HORNET". Casehardened trigger plate with two casehardened triggers, and blued trigger guard. Finely figured 14 inch stock with checkered butt, grip and forearm. The underside of the butt is inset with a vacant gold escutcheon, and profuse best quality scroll engraving throughout. Weight: 3 lbs. 12 oz., London nitro reproof marks for 1987. In maker's lightweight leather motor case with some accessories including cleaning rod and oil bottle. Provenance: Valerie Masters, the custodian of the Churchill records, has kindly confirmed that this rifle was ordered by Major (later Lieutenant) General HRH The Maharaja of Patiala in circa 1931-1932. The records note the caliber as "22" with ditto marks indicating that this was built to the same chambering as the 22 Hornet rifle noted immediately before it in the records for a John Watson.
Professionally restored and excellent. The barrels exhibit 95% plus blue finish showing only very minor high point thinning and scattered collector type handling marks. Action is excellent, engraving clear and crisp throughout, very slight loss of gold inlay on one of the numerals on the floor plate. Stock with very minor storage and handling blemishes, checkering remains sharp. Mechanically fine. An exceptionally rare and highly desirable rifle with a wonderful ownership pedigree. Provenance: William J. Feldstein Collection, purchased in 1986 from John Saunders, noted as refurbished by John Rigby & Sons; Provenance: Robert M. Lee Collection.
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