A key stage in the production of any new gun, is when it is ready for stocking. Although still essentially a box of parts the gun is in fact at this point, a fully working gun, it just has no means of holding it to discharge it.
When a gun is delivered to the stockers, along with its chosen piece of wood, most of the 'action or metal work' has been completed. The barrels are bored and chokes made (Teague multi chokes in this instance above), the gun cocks, fires and ejects and the safe work is in place. The action has been filed up into shape and polished although not to a fine polish for engraving, this will be done after stocking.
The stockers will take around 100-120 hours to stock the gun and forend, this depends on the features. Pistol grip, cheekpiece, woodward grip, tip & toes, horn butt plates all add extra hours. A Sidelock and a Hand Detachable lock gun take a similar amount of time to stock. On the above gun you will see the forend loop is a block of steel, this will be cut to fit the Deeley forend catch by the stockers.
I think for our customers also this is a milestone in the production, it will be normally the first time they see the gun looking somewhat like the finished article, albeit not embellished. They will see the file up and shape of the action and know that after another few weeks work the gun will be a fully working model that can then be shot and tested. More importantly they will get to see how nicely their chosen piece of wood will turn out.
The customer of the above gun has had his piece of wood for many years waiting to go on a project and I know he is looking forward to the next photograph of the gun stocked and his wood revealed in all its glory.