In 1949 James Purdey & Sons purchased the gunmaker James Woodward & Sons. I am sure there were other reasons for the purchase, but the main reason was to get the Woodward over and under design in order they could adapt and use it for themselves. Unlike Boss & Co., Purdey had never been successful in developing an elegant, lightweight and strong over and under. They had built a strong over and under but it was heavy, and certainly not elegant.
Vintage woodward over and unders do not seem to appear too often, I have no idea what sort of quantities they made them in but when you do get to see a vintage pair you can quickly understand why Purdey was in a hurry to buy the company. They are a superb looking gun and I believe it was, amongst other things, the stock shape that was responsible for making them look so nice. I say that as I always seem to remember the stock shape of a pair of 20g guns and a pair of 16g guns I saw many years ago in Las Vegas.
This pair of guns sit here in storage, the stocks on the guns at the moment are replacement left hand stocks but we do have the original right hand stocks also. They are a super pair of guns and came from the same collection as the Boss I have featured on this blog before. I can honestly say that that person had a very good eye, and collected some superb guns, I wish he had many more!
Vance Daigle on April 14, 2015 at 8:29 pm
Good Afternoon Simon,
I want to tell you how I look forward to looking at your Explora page. It is not very often a guy like me gets to see such wonderful guns. Along with you sharing such a wealth of knowledge of hunting and worldly events. Your skill as a photographer is superb, and the guns you have to work with or of the very highest quality. That is not even speaking of your vast knowledge of guns from different era's. So thank you Sir for taking such a large amount of time out your day to provide an Ole Asphalt guy a chance to see such beauty and for sharing so much of your knowledge!!!.
Gratitude that isn't expressed....doesn't exist!!!!
Simon Clode on April 14, 2015 at 11:19 pm
Thank you Vance, I posted these to quietly let you know I was thinking about this make also, a sort of tease!
Gary Duffey on April 15, 2015 at 6:13 pm
The first Boss O/U I held made a big impression on me. A trunnion style configuration of o/u fits me always the best in every make I have looked at or owned. My worthless theory is that the trunnion arrangement comes closer to a S/S than the underhook style O/U. The transition back and forth is easier, at least in my mind. The low or shallow receiver height seems to work for me. I held a Woodward .28 gauge this year at the Dallas Safari Club and that is some shotgun. I am no expert but it seems the Woodward without the addition of the forend frame common to Boss O/U's will reduce total weight. Of course they are both wonderful guns and have their own merits, these Woodward's are quite special. Thanks for showing them, a rare treat!!
Gil De Simone on October 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm
Very impressive pair of o/u James Woodward. I am in possession of a o/u James Woodward 12 G. single trigger ejector built in 1920 with a no. 1 inlaid in gold. serial no.6528. How do I go about finding no. 2. If you can help I will be most grateful. Kind regards Gil.
Simon Clode on October 5, 2015 at 7:23 pm
I think the first thing I would do is to call Purdey who own Woodward and see if they can shed any light on no 2 gun. Find out first if it did exist to start with, as a true pair, and then go from there. It is always a more 'by luck discovery' you will find, and often after a long search they don't match well anyway! Joe Hall of Matched Pairs in England used to run a service to try and reunite guns but that was a long time ago and I am not sure if he still does that.
Bernardo Alves on December 10, 2015 at 7:51 am
I'm locking for a James Woodward single gun over and under 12g 2 3/4 , 1/4 and 3/4choke more or less, do you know any I can find?
Simon Clode on December 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm
There was one in Holts auction yesterday but I don't think it was that good. I think you just have to keep an eye out and we can also do this for you if you wish. They are not common but I am in USA for some shows in January and that is a place to find one perhaps.
Bernardo Alves on December 15, 2015 at 6:51 pm
Thanks for reply!! Is really hard to find one, I have been searching but is really not easy, I will keep looking, and if you arrange One in USA I would be more than grateful!
Looking to ear from you
Gregg on January 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm
Hello Mr Clode-
On your website, it shows that you builds stocks with a "Woodward grip" and with a "Prince of Wales grip".
How do these grips differ?
And why do the OUs pictured appear to have grips which are a bit in between -- part Prince of Wales, part Woodward?
And one more question: How much do you charge to build a new forend & buttstock for a 20g Woodward OU?
Thank you for your time and for your wonderful blog.