Holland and Holland “best” English Classic Double Rifle
I had the opportunity recently to handle a fine Holland and Holland English classic double and must say what a surprise. The surprise was that the entire rifle was created from some form of plastic or polymer. Seem odd? Let me explain. Several years ago a good friend of mine was studying engineering at The Ohio State University. As part of a computer aided design project he created a CAD version of the action of a family heirloom rifle, a classic H&H. Many years later this little project has blossomed into a full-blown obsession, the result of which is a fully rendered and modeled Holland and Holland classic double.
I am sure you are asking yourselves why would anyone build a fully operational plastic H&H rifle. Well it’s not for the toy market. Apparently the full 3D modeling of a device is one of the final stages to accomplish when reverse engineering a project. I don’t believe my schoolmate has any intention of marketing a reverse engineered Holland double rifle, but it did raise a question in my mind.
Is it possible with today’s technology to create an exact copy of a classic rifle utilizing modern materials and techniques? I have researched the John Rigby rifles produced on modern machining by the California Company; once you get past the political and ethical debates it seems that the rifles themselves were sound and reliable versions of the original. The art of the hand made rifle is not going to be reproduced in a CNC machine but it certainly is possible to get close.
The raw materials and machine techniques available today are far superior to any of the age when these rifles were originally created. The availability of consistently similar billets of high-grade carbon alloys would allow for precise repeatable machine work. The accuracy of modern computer machine techniques would allow for duplication to within fractions of a percentage of the original. So the question is, in your opinion would it be possible to produce a modern version of the classic rifle utilizing modern materials and machining? If you did produce the rifle would it be of a similar quality? Aside from the ethical/legal questions of trademark and copyright infringement what are your opinions on the viability of this type of manufacturing. Is it too small of a niche to be profitable? Would the “ethics” of such a project render it unacceptable, much like we have seen from the California Rigby guns? What are your thoughts?