Lot #540
Lot #542

Lot 541: Spode Engraved Watson Bros. 4 Bore Sidelock Ejector Double Rifle

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: May 19, 2023

Lot 541: Spode Engraved Watson Bros. 4 Bore Sidelock Ejector Double Rifle

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: May 19, 2023

Estimated Price: $90,000 - $140,000
Price Realized:

Exceptional, Massive Peter Spode Signed, Gold Inlaid, and Dangerous Game Scene Engraved Watson Bros. 4 Bore Sidelock Ejector Double Rifle with Case

Manufacturer: Watson Bros
Model: Double Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 4 bore
Barrel: 25 inch solid rib
Finish: blue/coin/casehardened/gold
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 2487
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 400
Class: Modern Long Gun
Description:

There are few guns in the world that inspire awe in the way that these absolutely massive 4 bore rifles do. The incredible power that these rifles are capable of putting on target is simply devastating, and will lay low any creature on the planet. This particular rifle is a true masterpiece and the pinnacle of English firearms art and craftsmanship. The massive blued steel chopperlump barrels with a ramped beaded blade front sight and fixed 50 yard rear sight with gold inlaid centerline sitting atop the exceptionally well engraved rear quarter rib which shows floral scrollwork and a gold inlaid circled "4". The barrel rib is marked in attractive gold inlay "Watson Bros. London England." with the cartridge information "4 BORE 4.25 REWA." and "REG. FOR 2000 GRN. BULLET" marked on the left and right barrels respectively at the breeches. Beneath the forend there is an importer's mark and the flats show 2013 dated Birmingham nitro proof marks. The bright coin finished bolstered sideclipped sidelock action displays truly stunning full coverage deep cut broad leafy scroll engraving over a casehardened background surrounding a trio of African game scenes as well as fine gold inlays reading "Watson Bros" on either side of the action. The underside of the action displays a highly detailed relief cut bull elephant preparing to charge standing on the savanna with high grass in the foreground and acacia trees in the background. The fences are both graced by a mirrored bust of roaring lion heads giving the feeling that they are the shooter's sentinels, defending them from harm. The exceptional scroll engraving continues onto the toplever, the trigger guard, and both tangs; the bottom of which shows the serial number hand inlaid in gold. The engraving on this masterwork was completed by English Master Engraver Peter Spode who has signed his work "P. Spode" on the triggerplate to the right of the trigger guard. The rifle features bushed firing pins, gold inlaid cocking indicators, dual triggers, double rolled trigger guard, and a tang mounted manual safety switch with gold inlaid "SAFE". Stunning, exhibition quality, multi-point checkered forend with matching engraved coin finished fittings, including the Anson button release, which shows a niter blue push button. The stock is of the same outstanding quality and features teardrop carved flats, a matching engraved coin grip cap, raised shadowline cheekpiece, blank gold inscription oval, and a red rubber recoil pad. Despite the massive size of the rifle it actually points nicely and is remarkably comfortable to shoulder, and we are informed that the comfort extends to pulling the trigger! Included with the rifle is an oak and leather Watson Bros. labelled takedown case with a canvas cover, a full set of turn screws, a pair of snap caps, two oilers, and a set of cleaning tools all Watson Bros. branded. The length of pull is 15 3/8 inches. The weight is a staggering 25 lbs. 4 oz. A quantity of ammunition, brass cases, cast bullets, bullet mold, and sizing die can be made available. The rifle is accompanied by a statement from Giles Marriot, British Proof Laboratory Certificate, and loading data. Work started on "The Africa" as it became known in 2011. The project was conceived by Giles Marriot who oversaw the build from start to finish, his concept being to showcase the skills of some of the finest craftsman working in the 21st century British gun trade. Michael Louca of Watson Bros. made the barrels and undertook final finishing, Hayden Hill of Birmingham undertook the actioning and jointing amongst other tasks, Keith Thomas regulated the rifle, and Peter Spode engraved various parts of the rifle over a period of 18 months to name a few of those involved in the creation of this magnificent rifle. The rifle was completed in 2022 and is offered for sale for the first time here.

Rating Definition:

Excellent overall, retaining 99% plus original blue, coin, casehardened, and gold finishes with limited handling evidence and sharp checkering on the stock and forend. The case and accessories are also excellent. Mechanically excellent.



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