Today’s gunfight pits a couple of working doubles against each another. Neither gun is anything fancy, but both are classy, traditional, and perfect for carrying in the uplands. They are exactly the sort of guns discriminating gamebirds prefer to be shot with.
Webley & Scott was one of Birmingham, England,’s famous small-arms makers, dating back to 1834. It was known for its handguns, rifles, and shotguns, prior to 1979. Today, the name is licensed to a Turkish manufacturer that, actually, makes some nice higher-grade shotguns, but they lack the history of the Birmingham originals.
A.H. Fox was founded in 1905 in Philadelphia. Savage bought the company in 1929, and discontinued the line in 1948. Fox died the same death as all the other American doubles—killed off by rising costs, and competition from pumps and autos costing much less and holding more shells. Many consider Foxes the best American doubles, given that they are the simplest and most trouble-free. Fox gunsmiths are kind of like the Maytag repairmen of the double-gun world.
Tee Bone’s Webley & Scott
This particular shotgun is an older Birmingham gun, perhaps a Model 720, though it isn’t marked as such. I’ve heard that the new ones are made elsewhere, which is too bad. This one is a 20 gauge, with 26-inch barrels and choked 1/4 and ¾ (improved cylinder and improved modified). The hard case is almost certainly an aftermarket add, but it’s compact and easy to pack. Most important, the gun fits well, helping me to occasionally hit a bird, and it is a dream to carry. Those are about my only two requirements for an upland gun. The fit and finish are as you would expect from this manufacturer, though the wood is unremarkable when compared with others I’ve seen. Perhaps I’ll get it a new stock soon.
Nick’s A.H. Fox
This is an A.H. Fox 16 gauge A grade. (Fox grades start at “A” and get more expensive as you progress through the alphabet.) It has 28-inch barrels, choked modified and full. It was passed down through the family from my great-grandfather to me, and I still have the original cloth tag that came with the gun. This is my go-to pheasant gun; I don’t think I have ever held a gun that points as well. The 16 gauge is also hard to beat, in my opinion. It sure would be nice to buy another for the $52.50 price tag.
There are your choices: a British 20 versus an American 16. You can’t go wrong with either, in my opinion. Vote and comment below, and keep the gun photos coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which gun do you prefer?
Tee Bone’s Webley & Scott
Nick’s AH Fox