SOLD FOR: $2,012
Make: Robert Hughes & Sons
Model: Cape Gun
Serial Number: 17097
Year of Manufacture: 1880-1887 (Robert Hughes’ sons were made partners in the firm in 1880 and the proof marks used were discontinued in 1887)
Caliber/Gauge: 20 Gauge Right Barrel, .500/450 2 3/4″ Left Barrel
Choke: Cylinder Bore
Action Type: SXS Side By Side Sidelock Exposed Hammer Dual Trigger Bottom-Lever Top Break Combination Gun
Markings: The top of the barrel rib is marked “ROBERT HUGHES & SONS. MAKERS. BIRMINGHAM”. The bottom of each barrel is marked “17097” and with British proof marks including “20B / 21M”, “NOT FOR BALL” on the bottom of the shotgun barrel (proof mark in use 1875-1887). The top of the forend iron is marked “17097”. The water table is marked “17097” and with British proofs. Each lockplate is marked “R. HUGHES & SONS”. The bottom tang is marked “17097”. The receiver, guard, lockplates and lever have decorative scroll and border engraving.
Barrel Length: 28”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade which was dovetailed to the front of the rib. The rear sight is an express-style sight with a fixed “V”-notch marked “100” and three folding leaves marked “200”, “300” and “400”. The leaves do not have notches but each of the leaves and the fixed notch have a vertical platinum aiming reference line. The rear sight is dovetailed to the rear of the rib.
Weight: 8 lbs. 0.2 oz.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered walnut splinter forend with ebony tip, capped pistol grip, straight comb, case-color steel heel and toe caps, inlaid silver initial plate in the belly, and a sling eyelet in the belly (the other is mounted to the bottom of the barrel rib forward of the forend). The stocks show minor handling wear with some discoloration from age and oil where the wrist meets the metal, some scattered light compressions, scratches and scuffs, mostly in the buttstock, and two compressions behind the grip which appear to be proofs or cartouches. The checkering is well defined, showing little in the way of wear. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 14″ and 13 1/8″ from the fronts of the triggers to the back of the stock. The heel and toe caps show scattered light wear and some minor surface oxidation with the case coloring slightly muted. Overall, the stocks are in about Fine condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bores are bright. The rifle barrel’s Henry-style rifling shows little in the way of wear. There is no erosion in either bore.
Overall Condition: This cape gun retains about 87% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at some edges, most notable at the muzzle and breech. The top and bottom tangs show handling wear with some light surface oxidation on the bottom tang and trigger guard. The receiver, lever and lockplates show surprisingly strong case-color. There are only a few other scattered minor marks. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this cape gun is in about Fine-Excellent condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The barrels lock up with no play to the receiver. We have not fired this gun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: It is not everyday that you see side-by-side combination gun or “Cape Gun” as they are now called. This example was made by Robert Hughes & Sons, a Birmingham gun maker which operated until 1908 when it was purchased by another gunmaker. Chambered for the .500/450 2 3/4″ cartridge and 20 gauge, this gun would have been quite the modern piece in the British Empire at the time of its production, the .500/450 2 3/4″ having been developed in the late 1870s. Able to take game and fowl, it made for a great all-purpose gun to take on a hunt. This example is in about Fine-Excellent condition with shocklingly little in the way of wear or oxidation. It’s really amazing to see a gun like this, which would have been intended for the field, in such great condition after more than 130 years! This would make a great addition to any Antique sporting arms collection and is a beautiful piece that would be perfect for any sportsman who can appreciate its mix of beauty, versatility, and quality. Please see our photos and good luck!