Red Leg , l am really sorry if l sounded disrespectful about the English pieces. I should probably expand on my statement a bit. First , we both Agree that William Evans is Amazing .Jeez Hoss, I hardly know where to begin with this.
"British high end pieces can be a little finicky….." "and are very overrated ....." Really? And upon what specific experience do you base this conclusion? And you have a lot of experience with Holland & Holland Paradox guns? Is it the period or current production guns that seem not up to snuff - based on your observations and experience? Just curious. The new production Holland & Holland paradox that I was recently firing put 740 gr bullets into four inches at sixty meters and shot perfect 1 1/8 ounce IC patterns with number six shot. The gun, regrettably, wasn't mine, but the owner has rolled hogs in North America and an eland across the way with it. We were shooting clays the day we decided to play with it. In what way was your experience different? And what do you mean by high maintenance? That has not been my experience with better English guns at all - or the experience of many colleagues - but perhaps you have a unique perspective?
My Westley Richards, H&H, Cashmore, Evans, MacNaughten, et al are the finest works of the gunmakers' art that I have ever used - and I have used them extensively. They are in some cases a hundred years old and function today, after many thousands of rounds, exactly as they did when they left the bench all those many decades ago. Others are of recent production and demonstrate the same level of perfection. Not something that I have seen in the average Valmet. That perfection is matched by many of the best Continental makers as well. I am a particular fan of the better Francotte and Darne models. All of these guns, which I have used extensively, both in hunting and competition, function flawlessly (rather important in a pigeon shoot where rather meaningful amounts of money are on the line) and are balanced perfectly. They shoot exactly the patterns to whatever degree they are choked.
You are a fan of William Evans guns. So am I. I own a paradox and a SxS. Both are excellent. However, neither is a Holland & Holland Royal, a Purdey, or frankly, a Westley Richards. That said, with my Evans paradox, I have rolled warthog and piled up sand grouse from the same waterhole on the same afternoon. It is a shame that Greener had to mark many of its export guns "not for ball." The typical 12 bore English game gun is proofed for 1 1/8 ounces of shot, weighs about 6 1/2 pounds and was never intended to fire a slug of any type.
My experience with guns, as with most things, is one gets what one pays for. I don't own a Valmet - I prefer a drilling for that sort of work - but I do own Remingtons, a Black Eagle, and other things. They go bang and are appropriate for the right environment (a salt marsh comes to mind). But they are not English game guns.
The English gunmakers are superb. I just wanted to point out to Bee Maa , that they aren't infallible . I apologise to you ( and other fans of the English pieces ) as l should have worded my post much better and respectfully. Let's knock my Statement about Greener out of the way , first. They make great guns. I have a close friend who owns three of their shotguns ( two old and a new 2018 one ) . But the old ones have " Not for Ball " written on it. The new 10 gauge which he ordered was choked and Graham Greener himself directly emailed my Friend that none of their choked guns are built to fire slugs . I can show you a copy of this email if you like. It's not that there's a flaw with them. I just am not particularly keen about a gunmaker in the 21st century who can't make a choked shotgun shoot slugs ( something which a cheap J Stevens shotgun from the 1930s can do ) . I can produce the letter from Graham Greener to my friend
Regards to the Westley Richards , this is something l personally asked the guys there when l was there. It's not a flaw . Certainly not. I just don't like the fact that they lowered the calibration of their .425 Westley Richards Mausers from accurate handling 2350 fps loads to 2150 fps loads.
In my experiences hunting , lowering 200 fps of velocity for a 410 grain bullet doesn't do good penetration at the same distance a 2350 fps would . I actually made a note in my journal to discuss this point with the people at Westley Richards. Their answer was that " At the close ranges , you typically shoot elephant or buffalo these days , and with a professional Hunter backing you up , 2150 fps is adequate ". Again , this is not a flaw. Maybe a 2150 fps load for a 410 grain bullet is adequate , but l prefer the higher Velocity loads of the past.
The Rigby .470 Double is ( admittedly ) not one of their new rising bite models , but a vintage " Best " piece from 1953 which my friend got in an auction . It actually does sometimes double if you have both barrels loaded. I am sadly one of the victims of that I posted about that one of the threads in the past .
My comment about the Holland and Holland paradox is the only one l have no direct personal experience with. I read about it in an article which " Shooting Classics " did on the new Holland and Holland Paradox in 2015 , after Holland and Holland re introduced the paradox In 2012. The guy's testing it found that the best shot patterns using paradox gun came from shells with natural fibre wads , while other shells didn't do so well. Naturally , being the inquisitive gun enthusiast that l am , l made an enquiry about this to the Guys at Holland and Holland during my 2016 trip. Using their usual British Diplomacy they replied " Well , we find fibre wad light loads to be the most consistent performers in our paradox guns . Like our 1 ounce Royal game load " . Now , they are great guns . Pieces of Art , even. But to me , they appear to be highly " specialized ". For instance , a pigeon gun is suitable ONLY for upland game , while a Duck Gun is full choked with longer barrels , making it unsuitable for anything other than waterfowl. A Double barrelled cylinder gun from them may only be suitable for Slugs and not throwing shot very consistently . This is a strict contrast to US shotguns or continental shotguns , where you can basically use the same shotgun for Ducks with #1 , Quail with #6 and Deer with a Brenekke slug . I praised William Evans guns because like yourself , l have fired them and really , really liked one of their 12 gauge side by side upland shotguns. It belongs to my father in law. I can't comment on Purdey or Dickson or Watson brothers or Boss or Grant & Lang , because l have no experience with their. Guns. Am l averse to British guns ? Certainly not ! They are the pioneers in the field of making guns for this sport that we love and adore so much . I myself do plan on getting a WW Greener 10 gauge full choke side by side for Goose shooting if someday l learn to shoot side by sides like l do with over unders. But that will be a specialized Goose gun. At the moment , l own 4 guns in Total : My .375 HH Winchester Model 70 , my .350 Rigby Magnum ZKK-602 custom , my 12 gauge BRNO full choke Over under and my 10 gauge Browning semi automatic Gold Shotgun . Each of them is used for a wide range of applications. For the moment , I prefer guns which act as " Swiss army knives " ( if that analogy makes any sense ) which can be Versatile. For many years l had to make do with just the Winchester and the Browning . It's only in the last 2 years that I've been able to start affording custom guns and new rifles to supplement my battery
I am most apologetic if l sounded like I was bashing English guns. I should have worded my views more sensibly .
Finally , given that you have much more experience with these pieces than l do , l happily concede that l am wrong
I like the Valmet Combination gun which has the upper barrel as a .22 Savage Hi Power Barrel and the lower barrel is a full choke 12 gauge . I have seen a beautiful example of one of these guns In Sweden being used on Roe deer with #1 shot or AAA alternatively. I am also a fan of The Turkish Dehaan shotguns and Spanish Aya shotguns .
One thing l DO dislike about British Side by sides , is that they have a fore end which is contoured in such a way that you end up having to put your non shooting hand around the barrels for a good grip. After Firing a couple of shots , the barrels get so hot that you either burn your hand , have to give the gun time to cool , or most practically , use a glove . I experienced this phenomenon on a 12 gauge Westley Richards side by side in the UK . Continental shotguns don't seem to have this issue. If l were to make an educated guess , l would have to say the fore end contour has something to do with it.
Again , l sincerely apologise for my insensitive comment on British guns