A former action filer for some of England’s better-known Birmingham gunmakers, Albert Author Brown established his own firm in 1930. Eventually joined by his sons Albert Henry Brown and Sidney Charles Brown, A.A. Brown & Sons specialized in supplying complete sidelocks and boxlocks to be sold under the names of other makers and firms, many of them prominent London makers such as Churchill and Holland & Holland. (The Browns are one of the very few Birmingham makers to the trade who have built some of Holland & Holland’s best “Royal” models, completely made and engraved in their workshop.) In 1977, Gough Thomas, writing in The Shooting Times & Country Magazine, acknowledged their skills, noting that Albert Brown stood in the “front rank of our fine English makers.”
A.A. Brown & Sons and Westley Richards & Co. worked together for many years, with A.A. Brown & Sons even occupying part of the Westley Richards & Co. factory in Bournbrook during the 1960’s and 70’s. During this same time, A.A. Brown made the Bishop sidelock ejector for Westley Richards & Co. as well as many of the Connaught model boxlocks. However, in 1974 the firm turned to making bespoke guns under its own name, A.A. Brown & Sons (ABAS). Now under the direction of the founder’s grandson and great grandson, Messrs. Robin and Matthew, A.A. Brown & Sons completes a small number of best-quality sidelocks each year––the Supreme de Luxe model.
This 20g Supreme de Luxe, No. 79786, was completed in 2001. Best quality in every sense, the modern ABAS actions are based on an H&H type bar-action sidelock with a distinct semi-rounded action body with double beads hand-filed into the bar of the action and complemented by slightly domed lock plates. In addition, the action has ribbed cocking indicators, disk-set strikers, charcoal blued pins and pegs, gilded lock work for corrosion resistance, two triggers, and an automatic safety with the word “SAFE” inlaid in gold.
Engraved by the very well-known and highly regarded (and now retired) Keith Thomas in the maker’s house pattern bouquet and scroll with the maker’s name inside unfurled banners. On the bottom of the action fine scroll surrounds a game scene of a flying woodcock and “Supreme De Luxe” engraved below the game scene’s vignette.
The subtle roundness of the lock plates and action body continues through the wrist of the highly figured walnut stock and that shape contributes to the feel of the ABAS guns. The stock has a 15 9/16” LOP over a checkered butt paired with a “Woodward” style pistol grip. Originally made for a left-hand shooter, the guard bow edge is rolled on its left side, but the triggers and stock are now filed and cast for a right-hand shooter. The stock oval carries the initials: V.V.
The splinter forend has an Anson push rod and is slightly elongated giving the gun a sleek profile and allowing for the support hand to stretch out a bit. The forend and pistol grip have a flat-top checkering, a very specialized skill and something not often seen on today’s best quality guns, with Mullered borders.
The chopper-lump barrels are just over 30” and were proofed in Birmingham in 1999 with 2 3/4” chambers. Each barrel is precisely bored at .615” with .007” choke in the right and .014” choke in the left.
The Supreme De Luxe also incorporates an H&H style self-opening mechanism mounted to the bottom of the barrels under the forend.
The gun was specially commissioned to be built as a 20g on a slightly larger 16g frame for volume shooting. The gun weighs a lively 6 lbs. 2.6 oz.
The gun is finished with a traditional color hardened action body, lock plates, and forend iron with blacked furniture and complete in a vintage oak & leather case refitted for this gun and relined in a green baize with the Maker’s leather trade label.
Gun remains in excellent condition and is available here at the Westley Richards U.S. Agency for immediate delivery.
Special thanks to Vic Venters for help with this blog.