Wil­liam Evans St. James

Sporting Gun - - GUNS -

Nor­mally I don’t like the idea of guns bear­ing tra­di­tional Bri­tish names but are re­ally made abroad – usu­ally in Italy. But I make a to­tal ex­cep­tion with this gun be­cause it is so el­e­gant and so, well, English-look­ing. And some of the fi­nal fin­ish­ing is done by Wil­liam Evans, whose head­quar­ters are in Lon­don’s ex­clu­sive St. James area.

Evans has the gun made by Cae­sar Guerini in Italy, and many won­der why the Lon­don crafts­men don’t do the fab­ri­ca­tion. One of the an­swers, of course, is cost, and when for­mer Sport­ing Gun gun­smith Ja­son Har­ris first eval­u­ated the St. James in 2009 the re­tail cost was £9,500. I note that the Wil­liam Evans’ web­site now asks us to call to dis­cuss the cost, which to me sug­gests that the price has gone up. An­other rea­son is speed of de­liv­ery, and Guerini is not afraid to ad­mit that it uses so­phis­ti­cated mod­ern ma­chine tools rather than la­bo­ri­ous hand work.

The bar­rels are im­ported “in the white”, and blacked in Bri­tain. The gun is avail­able in 12, 20 and 28-bore – the gun il­lus­trated is the 20-bore. Can Brian af­ford a sec­ond­hand gun? I think he would have to stretch his bud­get to some­where around £7,000. And he would have to be pa­tient, too, be­cause sec­ond-hand ex­am­ples are quite rare. Both cost and rar­ity bring me to my sec­ond choice, which shares the St James’s Ital­ian ori­gins.

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