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Q. Given all the adapter combinations you make for break action guns – how do you test them?

A. The variety of break action shotguns made since the late -19th Century is daunting. Chamber dimensions weren’t standardized in England and Europe until 1902. Many guns were made with chambers shorter than 2 ¾”. Our approach has focused on trying the adapters in as many guns (old & new) as possible. We have had substantial assistance from members of the California Side by Side Society. From them we have borrowed Clabroughs, Horsleys, Darnes, Purdeys, Rigbys as well as many other makes.

Below you will find pictures and descriptions of some of the guns that have recently been used for testing 12 to 20-g and 12 to 28-g adapters.

test1This Over/Under Model 153U was delivered to a customer in Madrid, Spain in 1956. It is a 12-g (2 ¾”) sidelock ejector gun has 28” barrels that are choked Modified/Full. Among its many features are an “assisted-opening” action, articulated front trigger and rolled trigger guard. Ugartechea is one of many gunmakers in Eibar the Basque area of the country. They produced Over/Under shotguns from 1920 until 1963. The Model 153U was the top of their product line.

The London based firm of Boss & Co. has made only best quality guns since they were founded in 1812. This 12-b (2 ½”) extractor gun has 26” sleeved nitro-proved barrels that are choked Improved Cylinder/Modified. The original Damascus barrels were 29”. It is a sidelock, back-action (Perks patent), sidelever that was made in 1886.

This 12-b (2 ½”) boxlock ejector was made in 1904. Its 30” nitro proved barrels are bored Cylinder/Cylinder. Charles Boswell began making guns in London in 1883.

This 12-b (2 ½”) boxlock, sidelever, extractor gun was made in 1888. The 28” barrels, which were originally Damascus, are choked Cylinder/Full. William Powell began producing guns in 1802 in Birmingham, England. They are still in business and owned/operated by the Powell family.

This is a GH grade 12-g Parker that was made in 1906. The 30” Damascus barrels are choked Full/Full.

GaugeMate staff takes every opportunity to use adapters for hunting or target shooting. In March, 2006 - Steve Helsley and Dan Mayers enjoyed a “bird & boar” hunt at Rock Springs Ranch in Paicines, California.

Steve “warming-up” on the “Quail Walk” course. Note the “streak” from the white Remington wad.

Steve and Dan with guns and birds. Steve used a Belgian Lajot & Jonlet 16-g (shooting Remington STS 28-g ammo) and Dan was armed with a 16-g L. C. Smith. Both pheasant and chukar were GaugeMate-Gold “victims.”

Dan’s pig fell to a Henry-actioned, falling-block Purdey .450 3 ¼” Blackpowder Express that was made in 1875. Steve used a Sharps cartridge conversion rifle. Originally made in 1863 as a percussion cavalry carbine, it was modified at the factory in 1879/80 to use the .45-70 cartridge.

Part of our “work” involves “hanging around” with folks from the California Side-by-Side Society. In early 2006, the Society had a pheasant hunt at the Quail Point preserve in Zamora, California. Only muzzle-loading shotguns were welcome. Two members used flintlocks. Steve used a 12-b Westley Richards dating to the late 1860s.



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