High Grade Hollis and Sheath 12 gauge double barrel percussion shotgun made for the American Civil War and Frontier market. Hollis and Sheath were well known and well established Birmingham, England Gunmakers. They made exceptionally high quality arms from 1852-1862. What is interesting about this fine example is that it was made not for the gentle shooting in England in which “beaters” ? typically marched through the woods on vast estates driving game and birds in front of stationary shooters. Shotguns intended for this type of sport shooting were built less robustly and lighter in weight. On this subject shotgun, the build was very robust and reinforced for harsh service. This is apparent by the heavy and long upper and lower tangs on the top and bottom of the wrist area of this shotgun. Extra long tangs, such as these, were used to support this normally vulnerable area of the stock from cracks and damage from rough handling especially on horseback. This feature is often seen on frontier muzzle loading plains rifles of the period. The engraved upper tang extends all the way back to the comb of the stock while the lower tang extends even further. Both lend great support to this area of the stock which was certainly effective as the stock is completely free of cracks or breaks in this area- which most arms of this type generally exhibit. It is a known historical fact that the double barrel percussion shotgun was used extensively by the Confederacy during the Civil War. This type of arm was also considered a staple on the pre and post Civil War Frontier of the West. It is remarkable to find such a shotgun in this fine state of preservation. During this time, there were virtually no American makers of fine double barrel percussion shotguns and the American arms trade depended upon shotguns imported from Europe. Many of these were inexpensive utilitarian shotguns from Belgium, while the best quality and most expensive shotguns came from well known makers in England. This fine side lock example is in particularly fine condition showing nice checkering on the wrist and fine scroll engraving on the lock plates, trigger guard, tangs, butt plate, hammers, rear of the barrels and smaller furniture. The barrel rib is marked “FINE LONDON TWIST” referring to the steel barrel material. The forward part of the barrel rib is further enhanced with silver inlays of a decorative pattern around the front sight bead. There is also a silver oval initial plate on the bottom of the butt stock. Fully functional, this example shows no polishing, restoration or alterations that would detract from its fine appearance or value. It is rare to find an arm made for the American market of the 1850s to early Civil War period in this fine and undamaged state. This shotgun exudes both grace and history. The firearm qualifies as an Antique shotgun and does not require FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.
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