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William Ford 32 Bore Trigger Guard Opening Hammer Gun

A leisurely 5 minute stroll from the Westley factory, towards the city centre, leads you into the heart of the historic and once thriving, Birmingham Gun Quarter. Based around St Mary’s Chapel the surrounding streets of Loveday, Shadwell, Weaman, Steelhouse Lane and St Mary’s Row housed some of Birmingham’s best known gunmakers, the likes of W.W. Greener, Webley & Scott and Isaac Hollis & Sons to name but a few.

William Ford 32g #320-2543-Edit

One such maker to call the Gun Quarter home was William Ford. Respected gun fitter, famous for barrel boring and supplying award winning barrels to the likes of W.W. Greener, Lincoln Jeffries and many others in the trade, he made some quite superb guns under his own name. Initially occupying No. 23 Loveday street, he moved to 15 St Mary’s Row in 1899 and stayed there till 1948 when the company made a brief move round the corner to Price Street, a street which still accommodates self-employed stockers, barrel blackers, colour hardeners and general repair gunsmiths and is really the only active gunmaking street left in the Quarter today. After a short spell on Price Street, William Ford moved back to St Mary’s Row at No. 10-11 and in 1953 amalgamated with James Carr & Sons, another Birmingham gunmaker.

One such gun made by William Ford, which we were lucky enough to have at our factory, is this diminutive and beautifully made 32 bore triggerguard opening hammer gun. Featuring a rebounding lock, treble bite, double trigger action, c-scroll hammers with hare’s-ear spurs engraved with stunning ornate scroll, 22” etched Damascus barrels with a sunken game rib, snap forend with a horn tip and a handsome straight hand stock measuring 14 ¼”. The gun weighs 3lbs ½oz and fits neatly into its oak and leather case with brass corners. The dainty gun, in an almost forgotten calibre, is a joy to handle and a pleasure to view. The triggerguard opening system is operated with ease with just a small amount of pressure applied with the trigger and middle finger on the front of guard, it slides it back and draws all three bites to release the barrels. It is a truly exquisite example of skill, craftsmanship and ingenuity from a fine Birmingham gunmaker.

William Ford 32g #320-2412-EditWilliam Ford 32g #320-2408-EditWilliam Ford 32g #320-2402-Edit William Ford 32g #320-2386-EditWilliam Ford 32g #320-2390-Edit


  • Neil McVeigh on May 10, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Ricky forgotten is right!Never knew a 32 bore existed.Thanks for continuing to educate me.Keep the posts coming please.

  • Peter Buckley. on May 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm

    Dear Ricky

    What a superb little package!
    Unusual opening system, but by using this method it gives the top line an elegant uncluttered look, the hammers tucked closer in to the top strap, viewed from above gives a more slender looking gun.
    Those English Damascus barrels lovely, engraving beautifully executed, and cased as well who would pass this bye, not I.
    Obviously built for a man with the stock at over 14".
    Those barrels at 22" would nowadays put this shotgun on your FAC, and a weight of just over 3lbs, please enlighten me as to what this super little gun in 32 bore might be used for, I have my thoughts but would love to have yours ?

    Very interesting post Ricky thank you.

    Kind regards. Peter.

  • Allan Kirk on May 11, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    Fascinating! I have a late 19th century Rook rifle in .300 Rook calibre, but it also has a spare barrel chambered for the 32 bore cartridge. I imagine this might have been a 21st birthday present for some lucky young gentleman.

    32 bore cartridges are easily available in France, where they are also known as 14mm cartridges.

  • Ken Hill on May 12, 2017 at 3:50 pm


    This is a neat gun. What I don't see is the firing pins for the hammers. Are the external hammers contacting anything or are they moving an internal hammer?


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