The po­tent ef­fects of side bol­sters

Shooting Gazette - - A dog’s life -

Dur­ing the black pow­der era, pres­sure on guns was not high as black pow­der was slow burn­ing and took the whole length of the bar­rel to com­bust.

When nitro pow­ders came along in the 1890s, com­bus­tion com­pletely changed as the new pow­ders were far faster burn­ing and more pow­er­ful. Con­se­quently the ma­jor­ity of dou­ble ri­fle mak­ers had to beef up the ac­tions to cope with the higher pres­sures.

Ex­tra metal was re­tained on the sides of the ac­tion at the breech in the form of side bol­sters. Side bol­sters were care­fully sculpted and finely chis­elled and this not only added to the el­e­gance of the dou­ble ri­fle, it also seemed to give the ri­fle added po­tency.

Purdey was one of the first mak­ers to de­velop side bol­sters, their use dat­ing from the 1890s. In its records side bol­sters are recorded as “strength­ened on an­gle”. Purdey side bol­sters are quite unique, grace­fully curv­ing round to fin­ish just in front of the ac­tion face. Th­ese side bol­sters im­me­di­ately iden­tify a Purdey dou­ble ri­fle and once again added to the Purdey style.

Hol­land & Hol­land also in­tro­duced side bol­sters on its dou­ble ri­fles and it is in­ter­est­ing to note they are quite dif­fer­ent in style, but ev­ery bit as grace­ful and quite par­tic­u­lar to Hol­land & Hol­land. Side bol­sters on a Purdey dou­ble ri­fle.

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