Make: Charles Boswell
Model: Hammerless, Single Selective Trigger, Side by Side
Serial Number: 15904
Year of Manufacture: 1904 – 1922 (Based on Proof Marks and Barrel Rib Address)
Gauge: 12 Gauge, 2 ¾” Shells (The Forcing Cones have been Lengthened)
Action Type: Top-Lever, Hammerless, Single Selective Trigger, Side by Side with Extractor
Markings: The top of the barrel rib is marked “Charles Boswell . Maker .126 . Strand . London W.C.” and the underside of the rib is marked “AM”. The underside of each barrel is marked with “15904”, a London proof, what appears to be “MARSHALL’S INDEXSTEEL” formed as a circle and on the left barrel only “R”, “24” and “C.C”. Both of the barrel flats are marked with “13/1”, an “NP” proof showing an arm and sword, a Crown over “V”, a Crown over “CP”, a Diamond with a “12” over a “C” inside it, “NITRO PROOF 1 ¼”,”CHOKE” and “C. BOSWELL”. The inside of the forearm metal is marked “15904” and the exterior shows full coverage engraving. The left side of the water table is marked with “15904” and a Crown over “V” while the water table’s right side is marked C. BOSWELL” and a Crown over “V” view mark. The receiver is marked “Charles Boswell” on each side, with a Pheasant scene on the left, a Quail scene on the bottom, Dogs on the right side and another on the trigger guard. The lower tang is marked “15904”. The receiver has full coverage scroll engraving surrounding the game scenes and some on the barrels’ chamber areas.
Barrel Length: 32” – The Forcing Cones have been Lengthened.
Choke: The left barrel is about Light Full and the right barrel is about Extra Full.
Sights / Optics: This shotgun is mounted with a large white bead front sight and a small white mid-rib bead.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are checkered walnut. There is one small mar in the splinter forend’s checkering, it’s located in the middle of the lower left side and perhaps half a dozen handling and compression marks in the smooth portions. The checkering in the wrist of the buttstock appears unmarred, the smooth portions show light handling marks some shallow compression marks. There is the start of a “U” shaped crack running under the safety on both sides of the upper tang. The LOP measures 15” from the front of the trigger to the back of the ventilated orange rubber recoil pad. The recoil pad shows damage at the toe and will need to be replaced. The drop at the comb is about 1 7/16” and the drop at the heel is about 1 11/16”. The stocks rate in about Very Good to Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue Barrels and the receiver is in-the-white.
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bores are bright. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 95% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows thinning on the barrels and wear on the engraving of the trigger guard. There are some spots of pinprick surface erosion on the sides of the barrels, but none on their tops or bottoms. There are what may be some file marks on the lower tang at the forward screw and on the screw itself. The screw heads are marked by use, as are the pins. The markings are mostly clear. Overall, this shotgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The barrel selector switch is located to the right of the trigger, where the right trigger would be if this gun were equipped with double triggers. The tang safety does not engage, we believe this is intentional. It may be possible for a competent gunsmith to make it functional. We have not fired this shotgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: This is a Charles Boswell Side by Side 12 gauge shotgun with 32” barrels choked Light Full and Extra Full. We believe that this was built in the early 1900s to be a ‘Live Pigeon’ gun for competitive use. Being made for Live Pigeon shoots, it was neither necessary nor desirable to have a working safety. This explains why the safety button is fixed in place; we believe it is largely there just to cover the hole in the upper tang. The gun balances about 1” forward of the barrel pivot, it mounts and swings well. Although this is not a ‘Best Gun’ it belongs to the tier just below. It is stocked with a straight wrist and the drop at the comb and heel are very similar to today’s trap guns. This is a Fine English double and could very likely hold its own on the 27 yard line if occasionally given the chance.