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The British Ordnance Company

 

 

The British Ordnance Company

The British Ordnance Company


Every year I receive enquiries from people interested in buying a Bespoke Best Gun. However, when they find out the price of a bespoke Best London Shotgun, they often discover it is way beyond their budget.

Recognizing that there were a fair number of people who wanted a British-inspired Bespoke Shotgun that could be sold for somewhere in the $30,000 to $35,000 price range, in 2013 I acquired The British Ordnance Company and began to produce handsome shotguns for this market.

Coincidently, many of the Best London Gunmakers and others have reached the same conclusion; James Purdey and Son, Holland & Holland, E.J. Churchill Gunmakers, Atkin Grant and Lang, Boxall and Edmondston and Longthorne have all begun producing good guns that cost considerably less than their bespoke models.

But I wanted to offer the aspiring Best Gun aficionado the same experience he or she would have when buying a Charles Boswell shotgun! The only way to achieve this was to have the British Ordnance Company gun made to my design by a top flight Italian Gunmaker. 

I chose the Italian Gunmakers Perugini and Visini. These two distinguished gentlemen partnered together in the 1960s to hand-craft best-quality shotguns and rifles. Then, in the early 2000s, like every other Gunmaker in the world, they embraced CNC machining technology. This enabled them to produce the excellent, reliable and handsome products for which they are so well-known today. But, unlike other manufacturers, the P & V guns are still stocked, engraved and hand-finished to the traditional London Best benchmark. 

Then P&V started using their high-tech infrastructure and traditional skills to private-label premium shotguns. Notably, in 2005, James Purdey and Sons commissioned P&V to manufacture the breakthrough Purdey Sporter.

I wanted something unique for the British Ordnance Company gun and so asked my good friend and ex-Purdey action filer, Richard Barnes, to reshape the P&V Maestro Imperial. Richard created a unique design on a round action theme - his distinctive carving of the fences and action body resulted in a very fluid and beautiful action. 

P&V have two in-house engravers: Claudio Tomasoni was the master who engraved the first British Ordnance Company 20-gauge action. Of course, being Bespoke, the purchaser can choose from any of the great Italian engravers in the Gardone Valley. 

For example, for one client, I commissioned Diego Bonsi of Incisioni B & B to create a Celtic knot engraving pattern to give the gun a unique identity. This Celtic Scroll, and the extension of the pattern in the oval grip cap engraved with the British Union Jack and “British Ordnance Company”, became the company's official logo.

Each British Ordnance Company Shotgun features a long trigger tang, Prince of Wales stock crafted from select Turkish walnut with fine checkering, Boss-style forend and detachable trigger group with adjustable shoe. The purchaser has the choice of a shotgun in any traditional gauge - .410, 28, 20, 16 or 12. They can choose barrel lengths from 26" to 34" and all barrels have elongated forcing cones topped by a vented rib and they have the choice of Teague or Briley chokes. 

Clients are invited to visit the Perugini and Visini factory in Brescia, Italy to select their stock blank, discuss engraving options and meet the craftsmen and Gunmakers. Delivery from date of order is six to nine months.

My goal, using my lifetime of shooting and gun making experience, was to create a beautiful, affordable shotgun that captures the handling and balance of British Best Gun but for one quarter the cost and one fifth of the delivery time. 

With the growing popularity of The British Ordnance Company shotguns, I believe that I have succeeded.