I was really interested in Diggory Hadoke’s ‘Lever-cocking Langs’ article (January issue) as my favourite game gun for many years was a 12g example of this type. Due to ill health I no longer shoot and I parted with my gun last year, but Diggory’s article brought back many happy memories.
My 12g version had slightly different engraving but had those heavily carved fences that gave the gun such a fine look and had “Lang’s Patent” engraved on the top strap. I paid £225 for the gun (I believe it was no. 6253 and originally one of a pair of guns) back in 1996, but despite having had its barrels sleeved for 2.75" nitro-proof loads, it still handled and balanced well.
I was surprised that Diggory omitted to mention the quaint safety- and fore-end-securing latches, something I’ve never seen on any other vintage gun. Instead of the standard sliding safety catch, the Lang had a latch that swung from left to right and was obviously a non-automatic safety. The latch that secured the fore-end was similar and was initially loose, until the gun was serviced and tightened by Chris Tanner at Norfolk Sporting Guns. Although I had an ejector gun, I rarely used it, and the Joe Lang became my main gun for all types of shooting. Despite its age and funny appearance it shot well, as confirmed by better shots than myself who borrowed the gun occasionally.
I was once told that the Lang gun of this type was actually of the Murcott ‘mousetrap’ design, but perhaps Diggory could confirm this. Either way, I hope the owner of the 16-bores featured in Diggory’s article enjoys using them as much as I did my old Lang gun.