Frequently Asked Questions
“Unfortunately, we cannot tell you anything about the history of your gun. We are not the original firm of Trulock and Harris.
Because it suited our need and purpose as gunsmiths, we registered the name of Trulock and Harris as a limited company in 1991. The original company was based in Dublin, Ireland. There was also a London branch at one point. The company ceased trading sometime around the early mid 20th century. It could be that there are some records of guns made by the original company; but we don’t know of their existance.”
“It is impossible to value a gun without sight of it. There are many factors that contribute towards the value of a gun. To acheieve top value a gun must be in good condition. The gun must also be in Proof. in the UK it is illegal to sell a gun that is out of proof or hasn’t been proofed. The Proof condition of a gun can only be assertained by measurement of the bore. Visually a gun may appear to be in good order. But careful measurement may indicate otherwise.
In general terms the value of a shotgun is most often dependant on the condition of the barrels. the bores must be free from dents, bulges and pitting. Ideally it should be as close to its original Proof dimension as possible.
The next most immportant factor is that the stock and forend should be free from cracks or repairs. Repaired cracks are not neccessarily a problem, but they will adversly affect value to some degree.
Alterations to the gun that take it away from original specification may also have an adverse affect. These alterations may include an unusally short stock or chokes that have been bored out completely.
Other general factors, such as is the action loose? Are there severe marks and scratches to woodwork and metalwork? Is the gun rusty? There are so many factors involved. In short, to maintain the value of your gun to its maximum, look after it as best you can. Many Gunsmiths or Specialist gun auctioneers are able to value guns, but you will need to take the gun for inspection to get any accurate idea of value.”
“The chrome plating of shotgun bores is done purely to give the highest level of protection against corrosion within the bore.
Although chrome lining gives a degree of forgiveness to those who are not as good at cleaning their gun; it should not be used as a reason for not needing to clean the gun.
Chrome can still pit. This is particularly seen in chambers where the gun gets hot through heavy shooting and then allowed to condensate in a slip without proper cleaning.
Most guns made in Italy will have chrome lined bores; but not all; higher grade Berettas such as the SO sidelock series are not chrome lined.
Perazzi’s tend to have chrome lined chambers for protection but the bores themselves are not, which catches a few people out who haven’t cleaned their guns very well.
Browning B25’s ocassionally have chrome lined bores, but they are very much the exception rather than the rule.”
“Chrome lining or plating shotgun bores does help to make the gun more durable. however, one problem can arise if the barrels are damages in such a way that a dent is caused. dents are very difficult to raise in chrome lined bores, and can rarely be repaired such that no trace of the dent may be seen. It obviously depends on the size of the dent, but very often dents in a non chromed bore may be raised, lapped or honed to restore the bore, and then struck off on the outside and the barrels re-blacked.”
“Because your eye is not inline with your shoulder, gun stocks are often off-set to allow the gun to be shouldered comfortably and allow the eye to line up correctly with the rib. Cast for a right handed shooter is termed cast off. For a left hander it is called cast on.
Shot guns are built with stock dimensions to suit the average shooter. Cast can be altered to suit an individual shooter. the amount of cast required is worked out by shooting at a pattern plate. From this the gun can be altered accordingly. Cast can be seen on a gun by taking a visual line down the barrel rib compared to line of the stock. This may be seen from either the muzzle or breech end of the gun. Make sure the gun is unloaded when checking!!”
“The clue is in the name. Recoil pads are fitted as a way of reducing the amount of felt recoil. Everyone feels recoil differently; some are more sensitive to it than others.
Recoil pads vary in their quality and effectiveness. Often we will fit a recoil in conjunction with other fitting working. I.e we would use the length of the pad to inrease the length of pull. or we can shorten the stock and fit the pad to come to any length shorter than the original dimension.”
“In most cases, yes it is possible to convert your gun to multichoke. there are a few people in this country who can do this work. Probably the best is an engineer and gunsmith called Nigel Teague. There is a criteria to which the gun most conform, if this work can be carried out successfully. Basically this is to do with the convergence of the barrels at the muzzle end. If the tubes are too close together. then there may not be enough room to machine out and accomodate the choke tubes, and still leave a wall of adequate barrel around them.”
“Put simply, choke will enhance the performance of a gun by giving it more range. It does this by squeezing the shot load at the point that it leaves the muzzle of the gun. This squeezing of the shot load also has an effect on range, so as well as tightening the pattern of the shot, a greater degree of choke will also make that pattern travel further. Choke comes in varying degrees depending on the gun and its intended use. For instance a skeet gun is used for shooting close fast targets so it has little or no choke to give the maximum spread. At the other end of the extreme, a trap gun is used for long-range targets and so will be choked very tightly. Sporting guns and game guns are somewhere between these two poles and so will have choke pretty much in the middle.”
“Choke is a restriction in the muzzle end of the barrels. It is some where between 1 and 2 inches long. It will usually have a cone or taper that leads from the bore and then the restricted parallel area of the choke itself. Sometimes the choke may a continuous taper with no parallel section it depends on the view of the Gunmaker.”
“There is no set measurement for choke. It is only relative to the bore size of the gun.
There is a fairly wide tolerance that the diameter of a bore can be, and still be known nominally as that bore size. For example, 12 bore can be anywhere between 0.710″ and 0.752″. but the precise measurement that 12 bore should be is 0.729″. In manufacture it is very often the case that guns will be turned out to finished size with slight variations either side of this standard, which is perfectly acceptable, and is why there are tolerances.
However, let us imagine that a gun in question is exactly 0.729″ bore diameter. On this basis a straight parallel tube out to the muzzle would be known as true cylinder.
Improved cylinder would have a restriction over the bore size by 0.005″
¼ choke would have a restriction over the bore of 0.010″
½ choke would have a restriction over the bore of 0.020″
¾ choke would have a restriction over the bore of 0.030″
And full choke will have a restriction over bore size of 0.040″
These are the basic British gunmaking terms; to confuse things further the Continental and American gunmakers have a whole different set of terms for their choke designations, but that is a story for another day.”
“Bend is another word for the drop of a stock. If we imagine a straight line coming back off the top rib of the gun and extending back over the stock. Then bend is the measurement or dimension taken from the line down to the heel and comb of the stock.
Typically a sporting or game gun would have bend dimensions of around 35mm at comb and 50mm at heel. Trap guns would usually be higher or less bend so that the shooter see more rib; hence the gun shoots higher.
Skeet guns have slightly more bend, so the effect is that the gun shoots lower. This is because skeet targets are flatter or even dropping slightly. Bend can be measured by laying the gun on a table with the rib down, and flat on the table. if the heel and comb are run to the edge of the table then bend can be measured with a ruler from the edge of the table up to the point where it touches the stock. Care should be taken that the foresight doesn’t rest on the table and lift the barrels, thereby distorting the reading.”
“There is no definitive answer to this one; it is largely a matter of how much you use your gun and under what sort of conditions. If you shoot clay pigeons your gun will certainly fire many more cartridges than the average game or rough shooter. However, clay shooting is not such as harsh environment as the game, or certainly rough shooting field. With game or rough shooting you are more likely to have to withstand rainy days; the clay shooter may have the luxury of being able to stay under cover until the sun comes out!!! In fairness, every shooter, will, at some stage get caught in the rain. There is no reason why normal cleaning procedures, if carefully adhered to will ensure that this is not a problem. However if you are caught out in the rain on a regular basis – obviously this is pretty likely for a game shooter, then it is probably as well to have your gun stripped, cleaned and oiled to be sure that no water has caused any corrosion. As well as water there is plenty of other muck that can find its way into the mechanism of a gun. These include: powder residue, mud, twigs, grass, feathers, even dead insects. Left unchecked this combination can turn into an abrasive paste that will speed up wear and tear, and may stop the gun functioning altogether. In my opinion, depending on how and where you have used your gun, probably once every 1 to 2 years is fine.”
“Chequering has two reasons for being cut on a gun. The first is decoration; in other words to make the gun prettier or more pleasing to the eye. Many British gunmakers will use a standard pattern that is particular to them. For instance Purdey™s have a pattern at the hand, which comes to a point below the end of the trigger guard and crosses over at the top of the hand below the action strap. Holland and Holland on the other hand always have an area of wrap over below the point of the trigger guard. The second reason for chequer is to provide grip. To make the gun more secure in the hands. And as a consequence more comfortable to use. This becomes very important when the gun is used in wet weather.”
“Walnut is used almost exclusively for gunstocks. That is for shotgun stocks. For cheaper rifles beech, birch and a variety of laminates are used. There are many types of walnut though in England the most popularly used today is Turkish walnut. This is because it is readily available and a wide choice of qualities. American walnut grown in California is also popular as it looks and has very similar characteristics to French walnut, which is often said to be the best. French walnut is still available in limited quantities and is consequently very expensive. English walnut used to be used by the British gunmaking trade though this has now become quite scarce and is not generally as pretty as Turkish.”
“Obviously this refers to the size or diameter of the bore. Basically, the term came about from many years ago when there were very few ways of accurate measurement, as we know it today. Or perhaps more importantly, no standard that could be used by any Gunmaker, the length and breadth of the country, and each is the same measurement. So the way in which 12 bore was designated was by taking 1 lb of lead, dividing it into equal portions, dictated by the bore size required, eg. 12, 16, 20, 28 bore and many others that did not become standards such as 14 bore and 24 bore. That portion of lead would then be formed into a perfect ball or sphere, and the diameter of that ball is the size of the bore. For 12 bore this equates to 0.729″. The obvious exception to this rule is 410, which does refer directly to the diameter in thousands of an inch. For those that are curious this is 36 bore.”
“Length of pull is the dimension we use to make the finished length of a stock. It is measured from the inside curve of the trigger – where the finger bears – to the mid point at the back end of the stock. On a double trigger gun it is measured from the front trigger. Average length of pull on a shotgun will be around 375mm or approximately 14¾”.”
“There are a number of ways in which a stock may be lengthened. The most obvious way is to fit a recoil pad. Recoils pads are made in various thicknesses from around ½” to just over an inch. they come in various degrees of softness, shapes and colour to suit a variety of applications.
Sometimes we leather cover recoil pads for looks and also because it makes the pad go into the shoulder easier, but will grip nicely when the gun is fired.
There is much more work to leather covering a recoil pad but the effect can be well worth it.
Other types of lengthener are Vulcanite; a type of hard black plastic, which is really an immitation of Horn. Or Horn itself can be used. both these are hard extensions and give no recoil reduction. For long extensions; say over about 1½””, I often use wood as this can often look better for a large extension. It may be a little more complicated for an gun with a stock bolt as we still need to gain access to the bolt, but this can usually be achieved with a hole through the extension and maybe a plug to hide its whereabouts.
It can also be difficult to match colour and grain.”
“Most stocks can be shortened, but there are limits as to what is practical. Most side by side guns that do not have a stock bolt can be shortened and then the butt end re-shaped and re-chequered. On OU and SS guns, or semi-autos that have a stock bolt will usually have a butt plate or recoil pad. The stock may then be shortened and the pad or plate re-fitted. Sometimes it may neccesary to fit a new pad.
This is certainly true of Berettas’ that have a wide variety of pads that can be retro fitted to fine tune stock length. However, if you need to make the gun shorter than the minimum sized pad then a different type of pad may need to fitted as the standard Beretta pads will only fit the wood at its standard factory length with its set periphery to suit the base of the pad.
As a general rule; yes, most gun stocks may be shortened.”
“With a sidelock gun, the main firing mechanism of the gun is held on a plate that may be removed from the gun as a complete unit. Known as a lock plate. Occasionally single barrel guns may be seen with sidelocks, but more commonly sidelock guns are double barrel guns with a lock plate on either side of the action frame.
With a boxlock the mechanism is more basic, Usually four main parts make up the firing mechanism of the gun; hammer, sear, mainspring and cocking limb. These parts are held within the body of the action frame in a slot in line with the barrle. In other words, a box.
Generally sidelocks would be deemed the better quality gun, but there are exceptions to every rule with gunmaking. Best guns tend to be sidelock, but there have been some very poor quality sidelocks made in years gone by.
However, boxlocks can be of a very high quality and in some instances made with detachable lockwork which can be removed from the gun as a whole unit in the same way that a sidelock may be removed.”
“In fact, it is actually most correct to say Browning, irrespective of the colour. Browning is the original term referring to the finish applied to barrels. Though these days the term blacking is the most common used.
Browning refers to the finish applied to Damascas or twist steel barrels. it can vary enormously in shade, from deep plum brown to silver, depending on the exact make up of the material from which the barrel is made, and also the nature of the browning solution used.
These days shotgun barrels are made from steel and are blacked. Although sometimes a deep blue can be detected in the colour; again dependant upon the steel and nature of the chemicals used.”
“There are two ways in which barrels can be blacked. One is called ‘hot dip’, the other is the traditional hot water method. Hot Dip is a process where the parts are dipped into a boiling caustic solution. they are left for about 15 minutes then flushed with clean water and oiled. it sounds simple, but there are a number of factor that are critical to a good job. The parts must be prepared well; the finished surface will be a mirror of the prepared surface. A matt surface comes up matt black and a highly polished surface comes up gloss. Between these two poles, any marks on the surface of the steel will show through the black. Some marks can even seem enhanced by the blacking procees. In other words hot dip does not hide any marks. The parts must be properly degreased. and the temperature of the solution is critical as well as its strength. When the solution is the right strength it will boil vigorosly at around 285deg F. below this temp, the parts won’t black. Above it they will go green or red and need to be prepared again.
Generally hot dip is used for small parts or the furniture of guns. I.E. trigger guards, top levers etc..
Hot dip can be used for barrels but care must be taken. Because of the temperatures and the caustic nature of the solution it will eat away soft solder. Some mass produced guns have soldered ribs that can stand this process. But many have not.
For barrels with soft soldered ribs the traditional hot water method must be used. Again, preparation is important. Polishing and degreasing. A chemical cocktail is them applied to the barrels. This is left to rust. Putting the barrels in a heated cabinet can accelerate this stage. Once covered with a fine coat of rust the barrels are boiled in a tank of soft water. This turns the rust black. After about 10 minutes, the barrels are taken out and left to dry. the loose black rust is the then wire wooled off to leave the blackened surface underneath on the steel. The black is faint to start with and must be built up by repeating the process a number of times. Mostly, somewhere between 8 and 12 coats will give a good colour, it depends on the make up of the steel. The barrels are then oiled when the desired colour is reached.”
“A backlock is where the mainspring is located behind the hammer in the lock. With a bar action or conventional sidelock, the mainspring is in front of the hammer lying along the bar of the gun; usually beside the cocking limb. The backlock sidelock is seen largely as a less expensive version of the sidelock, although in some instances they can be very ornate. Probably the most commonly seen backlock gun is the Holland No2, later known as the Dominion. Double rifles are very often built as backlock. This allows the bar of the rifle to left as solid as possible and consequently as strong as possible. Paradoxically, double rifles are generally the most expensive guns that are made.”
“Most rifles can be fitted with a sound moderator. The UK is one of the few countries in the world that will allow sound moderators to be used on a rifle.
On any rifle it makes the gun much more user friendly as the noise is greatly reduced. This is particularly true of a 22 rimfire with subsonic ammunition.
A sound moderator also makes the gun less obtrusive to other quarry and promotes less disturbance to the general population and livestock. On top of this, with larger calibres it can be a Health and Safety issue to help protect the users hearing.
Fitting a sound moderator can sometimes make a rifle more accurate. The weight added to the muzzle has a steadying effect, and the moderator will reduce recoil by its effect on the bullet in a similar way to a muzzle break.
Barrels need to be screw-cut to accept the moderator. There are now a number of thread sizes and forms used so that the best size may be chosen to suit barrel diameter and calibre.
Of equal importance to the thread being cut square and correct, is the shoulder behind the thread that the moderator backs up to and becomes tight against when screwed on fully. The shoulder must be square to the axis of the barrel and provide a good stop for the moderator. As a rough rule the barrel needs to a shoulder of at least 0.030″” around the thread to provide a broad enough shoulder.
Stutzen rifles can be difficult to fit a sound moderator to as the forend of the stock extends forwards to fit flush with the muzzle. In certain circumstances it may be possible to fit a moderator though this will have to be of a type which extends forwards from the muzzle, rather than a reflex type which sleeves back to partly cover the barrel.”
“The short answer to this is yes. For a fuller explanation please look at the memorandum on re-proof after alteration of barrels on the Birmingham Proof House website.
From a gunsmiths perspective, submitting the gun for proof after screw cutting ensures that the work has been carried out to a standard that has not compromised the safety of the gun or rifle. it also ensures the integrity of the moderator.
There are firms that will screw cut and fit moderators without re-proof which is consequently cheaper for the customer. However, we will only carry out work of this type if we submit the gun for proof to fully comply with Proof House guidelines.”
“Shortening a rifle barrel can adversly affect accuracy if it it is shortened too much so that not all the powder is burned before the bullet leaves the muzzle. This can be as a result of a loss of velocity. Accuracy may also suffer if the barrel is not then crowned correctly following shortening. However, accuracy can be improved if the crown was damaged prior to shortening, or with a light contour barrel it can be that shortening has the effect of stiffening the barrel because it is shorter and so will be stiffer relative to its length.
As a general rule, because of the risk of incomplete powder consumption, the larger the calibre, the less it can be shortened. In the past we have shortened .22 centre fires down to 18″” and .243 and .308 down to 20″ without loss of accuracy. With the increasing use of reflex type moderators that sleeve over the barrel; 22″ seems to be a good minimum length for most calibres that we encounter in this part of the UK.
Rimfires can be made shorter; typically .22 down to 16″” and 17HMR to 18″” without problems.
Anschutz have made both .22 and 17HMR rifles with 14″” barrels with no detriment to accuracy.”
“We do not pretend to be gun fitters, as to correctly fit a gun we believe you need to watch someone shoot and adjust accordingly. We do not have a shooting ground so it is not possible for us to do this.
However, we do help and advise many shooters with gunfit and we are able to carry out all the neccessary alterations that may be required. We are happy to work to dimensions that have been given by a shooting school or instructor. Or we are happy to work with a customer to attain good gun fit. This is how we work when a customer buys a gun from us.
When a customer has bought a gun, unless there are any glaring errors to be addressed immediately, then we would always suggest that the customer gets used to the gun; in other words, make friends with it. This may take weeks or months, but we feel that particularly shooters that are new to the sport need to develop style and technique which comes from the shooter rather than the gun itself. Over time we can work with the customer to fine tune the gun’s fit to best effect. After finding their feet, many customers find that they shoot well without the need for fitting work. Afterall, modern production guns are made with dimensions to fit Mr Average, and some of us still are made average!!
When advising on gun fit we will look at length when the gun is in the shoulder, so that the shooter can get the gun into the shoulder without snagging and that the length is comfortable.
To assess requirements for cast and bend, we advise that a shooter shoots at a pattern plate. We can then assess how much adjustment the shooter needs.
A pattern plate can simply be a large piece of paper or cardboard or paper – roughly 1 yard or metre square – set up on a hedge or fence. Be sure you are safe to shoot into the background of the plate. Be aware of the possibility of ricochets as well!!
The pattern plate needs to be at eye level. Step back from the plate 16 yards. Then fire 6-10 shots at the same plate. This builds up a dense pattern showing the direction of shot. Having a number of shots gives a good average to the direction.
When mounting the gun, do not be too deliberate as you will ‘rifle’ the shots and be too precise. What we are looking for is instinctive shots; not too fast or slow to give the best results.
From the pattern plate we alter the gun stock 1/16th of an inch for every inch of errror. Whilst we can always help and improve a customer’s shooting, it must be bourne in mind that we may be limited by the gun itself. A stock can only be cast or bent so far. Limiting factors can be the wood quality itself and whether it is a gun with a stock bolt or not; most OU guns have stock bolts which make the gun stock stronger, but less easy to cast or bend.
Guns that are mass produced are not made with the intention that they can be altered, but the fact remains that in most instances adjustments can be made to improve fit.”