|W. R. Sidley, 20 GA British boxlock with 30" barrels and chambered for 2 1/2" shells.|
|British 10 GA - Steve's ideal in a sitting turkey gun.|
|The Sidley arrived in Laramie - on the leather covered counter at N.L. Heineke.|
|Nathan Heineke in his shop - a former bank building - looking for some 2 1/2" 20 GA shells.|
Steve's twenty (now mine) is indeed a very elegant and light gun. When I first picked it up I was astounded by how light it was and good it felt in the hand. Light guns are not necessarily favourites of experienced gunners - that's because they tend to not have enough inertia through a swing, The 30" barrels make up for that on this gun. In one email regarding the gun Steve wrote:
You will rarely see any 28 as slim and elegant as this 20 -- if you are not used to good English shotguns its lines will amaze you, and the smallness of the action. I wanted it the moment I saw it, and all romantic analogies apply! Good Brit 20's compare in looks with US 28's and 410's and pattern better.It really is a light gun, I believe Nate's scale read 5 lbs 2 oz. He went over the gun carefully and declared it sound. The gun shows more wear on the outside than it does inside with the locks in near new condition and it's had some work done on it to try to mitigate that difference. It was reproofed in London in 2002 and, based on barrel wall thickness measurements, it is still in proof. The right choke is a "bell" or "trumpet" choke (-.005") and the left barrel is what Nate called a tight quarter choke at (.009") - others would call it Improved Cylinder. We patterned the gun and it shoots to point of aim. I thought the gun balanced perfectly - Nate says it could loose 2 ounces from the butt end and be better balanced. To prove it to me he taped 2 ounces to the barrels about 14 inches north of the triggers. I have to admit that there was a subtle but noticeable difference. This is one of those ineffable things. You can't specify the point on the gun (say 4" in front of the trigger guard) where it should balance, it should feel balanced when you naturally hold it in your hands.
A twenty chambered for 2 1/2" shells is essentially the British equivalent of a modern twenty-eight. The standard load in a 2 1/2" twenty gauge shell is 7/8 oz of shot while modern 28 gauge shells carry 3/4 ounce - an eighth of an ounce less. So a light weight 2 1/2" twenty is a lot like a twenty-eight carrying 16% more shot. You can find 7/8 ounce loads for the twenty-eight (Fiocchi makes them) and you can find 2 1/2" 20 GA shells loaded with a hair less than an ounce of shot (Gamebore makes them). In fact, I was able to buy a few boxes of these at Jax in Fort Collins so I do have some shells - if not grouse loads. These heavy loads are pushing the limits. The standard loads for my gun are made by RST and they sell them by the flat (250 shells per) reasonably priced and in every possible configuration you might like.
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