A Seventy Year Dream Come True

Kawshik Rahman

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Every day , l provide my fellow forum members with accounts of my past experiences as a professional Shikari in Darjeeling , India from 1962 to 1970. However , today l wish to share with you a very recent news which pleases me greatly. It is no surprise that l am patron of English side by side shot-guns . Being a child born in the end of English colonial era , l had seen a very large amount of fine English fire arms being used by the elder friends of the family . My own late father , while indifferent to hunting big animals , was a passionate bird shooter his entire life. He owned a magnificent 12 bore side by side shot-gun made by the English firm , I Hollis . It was made to take the 65 millimeter paper cartridge which used to be made from the firm , Eley in bright red . Father always had a large stock of number 2 , number 4 and number 6 cartridges always on in the house. Our family table was always abundant with quail , pigeon , dove , hare , Horel and jungle fowl . It was a beautiful fire arm and the first gun in my life which l had fired beginning a life long fascination with the sport of Shikar and fire arms.
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Father teaching me to shoot the I Hollis 12 bore shot-gun when l was thirteen years of age. Every Friday , this was common practice in the Rahman estate.

After India became independent in 1947 , imported fire arms were no longer present in the country , barring those which had already been brought into the country prior to 1947.

In my career as a professional Shikari , l made do with a 12 bore Ishapore Arms Factory side by side shot-gun from 1962 to 1970. As horrible a weapon as it was , it was the fire arm l used during my eight year career , but this was merely because it was all that was available.
Screenshot_20191006-230618_01.png

Shooting Horels near the Poojari caves with my 12 bore Ishapore Arms Factory side by side shot-gun.

However , whenever English clients would come to Darjeeling , l would enviously stare at their beautiful English side by side shot-guns. There were so many firms . I would see Holland and Holland , William Wellington Greener , Westley Richards , Joseph Lang and Purdey. I always wanted such a shot-gun for my own personal use. However , it was not to be. Father promised me that l would inherit his beautiful I Hollis 12 bore shot-gun and l could not have felt more lucky. All this , was to change in 1972 after the Bangladesh Liberation War. In India , Indira Gandhi's renegade anti hunting , vegetarian government banned any form of hunting in India. They also banned the sale of beef and heavily ostracized meat eaters I'm general. However , for the purpose of today's article , l will mention the worst crime which they committed. They confiscated every existing imported fire arm in India and had them reduced to scrap metal. In May , 1972 a group of so called " intellectuals " broke into my family home where my elderly parents were and they confiscated the two Royal Bengal tiger skins which my mother was using for decoration ( shot by myself ) and worst of all , they confiscated my father's shot-gun . It brings tears to my eyes to even write what became of that family heirloom. This was the last straw and l moved to Bangladesh with my family in 1979. In 1990 , l acquired my first Imported shot-gun. It was a magnificent 12 bore over-under shot-gun with 70 millimeter chambers made by the Italian firm , Beretta. It had a fully choked barrel over a half choked barrel. It was the model s686 Special. Never could l have been happier and it has been my loyal hunting tool for almost thirty years and hopefully it always will , helping me take every creature from a pigeon with a number 6 cartridge to a 202 pound male leopard with an SG cartridge ( in the half choke barrel ).
IMG_20190920_113834.jpg

My Beretta 12 bore s686 Special.

However , my heart always longer for an English side by side shot-gun and l was determined to have one some day.
Now , unlike India , Bangladesh allows imported fire arms fortunately . Unfortunately , none of those importers import a side by side shot-gun currently. But all was not lost.
Bangladesh used to be East Pakistan , prior to the War Of Independence . Prior to the Pakistani army conducting their genocide upon East Pakistani civilians ( which would lead to the war of Independence ) , they had confiscated every privately owned fire arm from East Pakistani civilians , prior to the genocide on the 25th of March of 1971 ( which is why l am a massive believer in the second Amendment of the United States of America ). These fire arms were stored in a massive armoury called Mal khana . After the War of Independence , these privately owned fire arms became the property of Bangladesh shooting Federation. These were virtually all , English fire arms made prior to 1947 . This is because , before Bangladesh was East Pakistan , it was a part of India which was a British colony. There are five fire arms shops in the capital of Bangladesh ( Dhaka city ) : They are Amin arms , Ahmed Hossain arms , Moin Arms , Gun Max and Columbia fire arms . BSF released these fire arms back to these arms shops . Among them were a substantial amount of traditional English side by side shot-guns . These English pieces can be found in the second hand cabinet of these arms shops in Bangladesh very easily.
Screenshot_20191009-235857_01.png

The second hand cabinet in F Ahmed Arms ( now renamed Moin Arms ) . Thank you , to my beautiful niece Fabliha for providing me with the photograph by using a face book.

Most of these English side by side shot-guns were purchased immediately by hunters and shooters of refined taste. However , as per the records of BSF , there are still ten English side by side shot-guns in these shops which remain unsold. If an owner of such a shot-gun passes away and their children or next of kin do not wish to apply for a fire arms license , then these shot-guns are re acquired by BSF and they reappear in the arms shops again. The varieties are countless.
Screenshot_20191010-000758.png

Ahmed Hossain Arms second hand cabinet. I had been to the shop earlier this year as part of an annual BSF authorized inspection.
Thank you , to my wonderful niece , Fabliha for providing me with the photograph by using a face book.
Observe the last three shot-guns in the left side . From left to right : Exposed Hammer 12 bore side by side shot-gun by William Wellington Greener , Exposed Hammer 12 bore side by side shot-gun by Holland and Holland , hammerless 12 bore side by side shot-gun by Joseph Lang.

The reason why these shot-guns remain unpurchased in these shops is because , they were built for taking the paper cartridge . However , Bangladesh imports plastic shot-gun cartridges from Winchester , Remington , Federal , Sellier and Bellot and Game Bore ( whom l personally use ). Majority of these arms were built for the 65 millimeter cartridge. A few were built to take the 70 millimeter cartridge . At least four shot-guns from William Wellington Greener have 76 millimeter chambers . These models were called the Empire model and were invariably fully choked.
A few years back , an over enthusiastic young man accidentally destroyed his father's 12 bore William Wellington Greener Empire shot-gun upon firing it. The exact reasons as to why the shot-gun barrel had burst remains unknown. But at the time , the employees at Bangladesh Shooting Federation had speculated that the reason was because the young man had put a modern plastic 76 millimeter SG cartridge into the fully choked barrel of the shot-gun. My learned fellow forum members , Red Leg and Co Elk Hunter believe that there were other factors at play too ( having seen the photograph ) and l am inclined to believe them . Immediately , Bangladesh Shooting Federation issued a warning that these old shot-guns should only be used with paper cartridges and should be checked by a BSF approved gun smith. Unfortunately , since paper cartridges are not imported into Bangladesh on a commercial basis ( yet ) , the only people who might be interested in these fire arms would be those who regularly travel to foreign countries and regularly bring in cartridges from there into the country privately.
However , l was determined that l would have one. Last week l received the excellent news that my application for a second shot-gun license had been granted by the Honorable Ministers ( l had applied in September ) . I immediately made my wonderful niece , Fabliha get in contact with all the five major arms shops in Dhaka city ( l live in Sylhet division ) to get me some pictures of what is currently available . Being that she has that new popular social media device , Face book , she was able to acquire many of the photographs for me from their face books ( some of which l show today ) . I made many phone calls to discuss . It was the one at Columbia fire arms which attracted me the most.

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Since 2017 , they had a beautiful 12 bore side by side shot-gun made by the English firm , Westley Richards . It was in pristine condition . With 28 inch long muzzles ( with a quarter choke and a half choke ) and 70 millimeter cartridge chamber , l was immediately attracted to it.
I immediately acquired their phone number and l gave them a call by telephone . They are willing to sell me the fine piece for the Bangladesh equivalent of 1300 American Dollars.
According to the gentleman whom l spoke to , over the phone this fine fire arm is also capable of taking plastic cartridge safely . However , l am a cautious person who knows that employees at an arms shop will tell you anything to sell you a fire arm. Therefore , l decided that l need a more sure way of knowing. It is here that being a fire arms instructor at Bangladesh Shooting Federation ( Sylhet branch ) is advantageous . I had a formal letter sent by fax to the owner of Columbia fire arms , asking if the fire arm is perfectly functional .The owner has requested some time to verify if the claims made by his over enthusiastic employee are correct. Personally , however , l prefer to use paper cartridges in this grand old piece. My niece's magnificent boy friend , Daniel has offered to send me paper cartridges from the United States of America , as has my young friend and fellow forum member , Hoss Delgado and his grandfather , Don Fernando Delgado ( my former client ). I can also purchase excellent paper cartridges from the firm , Eley whenever l visit England. Given that l am capable of loading my own cartridges , l do not think that l will have a problem in acquiring a stock to last me for sufficient periods of time.
Of course , as my friendly forum member , Shootist43 notes , it is unwise to try using SG cartridge in such a gun ( l use SG plastic cartridges from the firm , Game Bore which l order from Gun Max for my Beretta over-under ). No. This is a piece for winged creatures and hares . Pigeons , quails , doves , Horel , hares and such creatures are my intended quarry for this excellent piece. I will use number 2 , number 4 and number 6 through this lovely fire arm ( of course , if my fellow forum members advise any modifications to this arrangement , l will oblige ) .
It is not as beautiful as my fellow forum member , Red Leg's splendid William Cashmore piece ( no hammer model ) . It will never take the place of my father's I Hollis 12 bore side by side. However , l should think that one could do a lot worse than to acquire a Westley Richards bird shot-gun built prior to 1947 .
I would like to thank my wonderful niece , Fabliha for using her face book to acquire me some of the photographs used of the arms shops. Without her , l would not have been able to share these excellent pictures to this lovely forum. Perhaps some dreams do come true. Even if they take seven decades.
 

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Kawshik Rahman

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Hey :D This looks so familiar !
When l visited Ahmed Hossain Arms for 12 gauge 00 Buckshot , l remember that hammer 12 gauge Greener shottie :) 3 inch Chambers right ? And full choke barrels. I held it :p
Hoss Delgado
That is correct. It is a beautiful piece of art . I have held that gun. Unfortunately , the ejector mechanism has a problem.
 

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Nice looking shotgun. I hope all works out for you to acquire it. I suspect that you will get a great deal of enjoyment out of it.
Bruce
 

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Hoss Delgado
That is correct. It is a beautiful piece of art . I have held that gun. Unfortunately , the ejector mechanism has a problem.
Aww :(
I was planning to buy it next year during crane season from the Hossain dude.
If l reamed out those chokes to improved cylinder , it would do great with Buck shot for White Tails , here ;) .
BTW , l still think your Beretta is a more masculine gun :D
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Aww :(
I was planning to buy it next year during crane season from the Hossain dude.
If l reamed out those chokes to improved cylinder , it would do great with Buck shot for White Tails , here ;) .
BTW , l still think your Beretta is a more masculine gun :D
Hoss Delgado
You are like my grandson so l can be informal with you.
Young man , you should be ashamed of yourself . Why would anybody want to mutilate an English piece of art like that ? You will do no such thing .
 

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Hoss Delgado
You are like my grandson so l can be informal with you.
Young man , you should be ashamed of yourself . Why would anybody want to mutilate an English piece of art like that ? You will do no such thing .
:( Fine . I'll find a nice Stoeger shotgun for my project :p . Cool ?
 

Kawshik Rahman

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It is a shame that your fathers shotgun was confiscated but I am glad that finally you have got a chance to acquire a beautiful shotgun such as this.
JPbowhunter
Thank you for understanding my sadness. Nothing will ever replace father's I Hollis. I wish l had hidden that gun in the water tank of my house during the confiscation. Another friend of mine did that and managed to bring the gun to Bangladesh where he still uses it now.
 

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Mr Rahman,

Excellent news and enjoy your purchase, it looks a fine piece and is clearly in excellent condition.

Without trying to patronise you at all, I have had some experience with english pieces of this vintage here in the UK, I can assure you that, if the gun is in good condition, then plastic hull cartridges (of a length suitable for the chamber) will perform admirably and pose no danger compared to paper cartridges. The main difference between paper and plastic is really the aesthetic, although some users of the paper loads do claim they grip the chamber better and give less percieved recoil.

Either way, they are loaded to the same pressures and with broadly equivalent loadings, so I would have no hestitation whatsoever in using plastic hulled cartridges in this gun.

I wolud however urge you to find out the choke fitted to the gun and select your shot size and loading accordingly. Personally, with a gun of this vintage, I would not be using anything much bigger than an English 4 shot in a barrel of half choke or more and I would also advise that perhaps lighter loads of 28g or less (assuming 12 bore) might provide a more pleasant shooting experience as well as applying less stress to the gun.

Other than that, it looks too 'modern' for you to have issues with black powder vs nitro proof (although you will be able to confirm this for certain through examination of the UK proof marks and a quick online search), so the only watch out would be pitting in the barrel and possibly an assessment of the chamber wall thickness (the internet, whilst not entirely reliable) can also provide a guide as to what is normal and what might be unusually thin in this instance.

Only my personal opinions and I'm sure many on here know more, but I hope this is of use to you.

Above all, enjoy it. A fine piece of craftsmanship like that will provide years of shooting pleasure, both to yourself, and perhaps even as a new family heirloom after you have had your fill!
 

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My friend I just about spilled a very good glass of wine when I saw the pictures and the price you paid for your lovely "new" SxS. As you know, Westley Richards primarily built boxlock action guns, and one with that level of engraving would be one of there best products. I don't suppose the seller indicated if it were a "drop lock" or not? If it isn't, it is a very, very finely finished gun of superb quality, and if it is a drop lock (which most such engraved guns were), it is as good as they made - truly a "best" gun. If simply a highly engraved boxlock with no meaningful issues, that would be a 3.5 to 5K USD gun in the States. If a drop lock, then it would start in the 7k range, and most that one sees for sale are over 10K - often quite a bit more. In short, you made a very good buy.

The barrel flats will tell you if originally a 70mm gun and its original proof load. It will also confirm that it is nitro proofed - I am 90% sure it is just by the photos. Assuming it is a 1 1/4 ounce proofed gun you can safely shoot standard velocity loads made from plastic or paper. I personally would limit my loads on a gun of this age to 1 1/8 ounces. Remember the shell material matters not at all - it is the load that can cause damage. Fiber wads, which are typical in modern paper loads like old ones will, however, often pattern a little better with traditional chokes.

Finally, WR has extensive records of their guns (particularly their better SxS's). You can go to their site, send them the information, and for a fee, they will research the gun and send you photo copies of the appropriate ledgers. Were it mine, I would have to try and find out if it was ordered by some regional Maharajah or perhaps it accompanied some British Colonel on his assignment to India. My sincerest congratulations on a wonderful gun. (It makes my Cashmore look like a poacher's gun - but I have a few others that might look OK in the gun rack alongside it.)
 
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Nice report! Glad you found such a fine shotgun!
I owned a Beretta 686 for many years until I sold it to a friend to give his daughter for her birthday. Great o/u shotgun. Light, but very well built. I miss mine, but she has done very well when I take her pheasant and chukar hunting.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Mr Rahman,

Excellent news and enjoy your purchase, it looks a fine piece and is clearly in excellent condition.

Without trying to patronise you at all, I have had some experience with english pieces of this vintage here in the UK, I can assure you that, if the gun is in good condition, then plastic hull cartridges (of a length suitable for the chamber) will perform admirably and pose no danger compared to paper cartridges. The main difference between paper and plastic is really the aesthetic, although some users of the paper loads do claim they grip the chamber better and give less percieved recoil.

Either way, they are loaded to the same pressures and with broadly equivalent loadings, so I would have no hestitation whatsoever in using plastic hulled cartridges in this gun.

I wolud however urge you to find out the choke fitted to the gun and select your shot size and loading accordingly. Personally, with a gun of this vintage, I would not be using anything much bigger than an English 4 shot in a barrel of half choke or more and I would also advise that perhaps lighter loads of 28g or less (assuming 12 bore) might provide a more pleasant shooting experience as well as applying less stress to the gun.

Other than that, it looks too 'modern' for you to have issues with black powder vs nitro proof (although you will be able to confirm this for certain through examination of the UK proof marks and a quick online search), so the only watch out would be pitting in the barrel and possibly an assessment of the chamber wall thickness (the internet, whilst not entirely reliable) can also provide a guide as to what is normal and what might be unusually thin in this instance.

Only my personal opinions and I'm sure many on here know more, but I hope this is of use to you.

Above all, enjoy it. A fine piece of craftsmanship like that will provide years of shooting pleasure, both to yourself, and perhaps even as a new family heirloom after you have had your fill!
Alistair
I find all your input most helpful. If l do use plastic shot-gun cartridge , l will use Game Bore cartridges . I see that l have chosen two sizes too large for the old gun. I will not use number 2 and will use number 4 then maximum . It is not worth the risk. I suppose l can try using a plastic cartridge of number 8 as a test to see if it will work on the BSF shooting range ground.
Thank you for taking the time to assist me. I am most excited . I should have low expectations but l dare say that it looks unmolested
 

Kawshik Rahman

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My friend I just about spilled a very good glass of wine when I saw the pictures and the price you paid for your lovely "new" SxS. As you know, Westley Richards primarily built boxlock action guns, and one with that level of engraving would be one of there best products. I don't suppose the seller indicated if it were a "drop lock" or not? If it isn't, it is a very, very finely finished gun of superb quality, and if it is a drop lock (which most such engraved guns were), it is as good as they made - truly a "best" gun. If simply a highly engraved boxlock with no meaningful issues, that would be a 3.5 to 5K USD gun in the States. If a drop lock, then it would start in the 7k range, and most that one sees for sale are over 10K - often quite a bit more. In short, you made a very good buy.

The barrel flats will tell you if originally a 70mm gun and its original proof load. It will also confirm that it is nitro proofed - I am 90% sure it is just by the photos. Assuming it is a 1 1/4 ounce proofed gun you can safely shoot standard velocity loads made from plastic or paper. I personally would limit my loads on a gun of this age to 1 1/8 ounces. Remember the shell material matters not at all - it is the load that can cause damage. Fiber wads, which are typical in modern paper loads like old ones will, however, often pattern a little better with traditional chokes.

Finally, WR has extensive records of their guns (particular their better SxS's). You can go to their site, send them the information, and for a fee, they will research the gun and send you photo copies of the appropriate ledgers. Were it mine, I would have to try and find out if it was ordered by some regional Maharajah or perhaps it accompanied some British Colonel on his assignment to India. My sincerest congratulations on a wonderful gun. (It makes my Cashmore look like a poacher's gun - but I have a few others that would look OK in the gun rack alongside it.)
Red Leg ,
It means a great deal that you have complimented my purchase. It took me seven decades but l finally secured an excellent piece. By drop lock , if you mean that the locking mechanism is removable , then you are correct. It comes with one duplicate mechanism. I will need your advice and use the loading which you describe. Fabliha is in Bangladesh now and l will make her write an electronic mail to Westley Richards firm in the morning. I believe your reassurance that this gun can use plastic cartridges. I will use Game Bore cartridges which are imported into Bangladesh from England. As Mr. Alistair notes , l will not use number 2 shot in this piece and will use no size larger than number 4. This fire arm actually used to belong to a Lord Justice in British era .
Fortunately , due to lack of appreciation , these pieces can be had at fairly reasonable price in Bangladesh . I find your William Cashmore most beautiful. Especially as it is a unusual no hammer design. However , nothing will ever replace my father's I Hollis 12 bore in my mind . If only l had hidden it in the water tank .
On a related subject , l have the option to purchase it with it's original wooden case and cleaning tools for the Bangladesh equivalent of 100 American Dollars more.
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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Nice report! Glad you found such a fine shotgun!
I owned a Beretta 686 for many years until I sold it to a friend to give his daughter for her birthday. Great o/u shotgun. Light, but very well built. I miss mine, but she has done very well when I take her pheasant and chukar hunting.
Ridge Walker
Thank you so much . Mine has traditional chokes but some models imported into Bangladesh have removable chokes . I use SG in the lower half choke barrel for hunting Sambhar deer .
 

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Exactly! - a drop lock then. Congratulations on owning one of the finest guns ever produced by human hands. I don't suppose that shop owner has the original oak and leather case tucked away in a back room somewhere? Depending on condition, it alone could be worth more than you paid for that wonderful gun. Game Bore are great loads. I use them a lot here (almost exclusively in older guns like yours). I would restrict that gun 1 1/8 ounce loads, and with American size No. 6 shot you could cleanly take any pheasant or duck that ever flew.
 

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