E.M. Reilly & Co. London 4 Gauge Single Shot Underlever Shotgun, Antique

SOLD FOR: $9975

LSB#: 230912WS010

Make: E. M. Reilly & Co.

Model: Underlever Single Shot Shotgun

Serial Number: 10952

Year of Manufacture: 1875-1887, re-proofed post-1983 based on proof marks

Gauge: 8 Gauge

Action Type: External Hammer Top-Break Double Barrel Shotgun

Barrel Length: 44 1/2”

Choke: Full, Fixed (0.031″ constriction)

Sights/Optics: There is a bead at the front of the barrel.

Weight: 13 lb., 9 oz.

Stock Configuration and Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered walnut with nose-capped forend, straight grip, straight comb and ventilated black rubber Pachmayr White Line recoil pad. The forend has small chip-losses at the top-rear corner, each patch-repaired with the patch pinned in place. There is finish wear around the rear of the buttstock consistent with shaping. There are some scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. The checkering is generally well defined. LOP measures 14 1/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the recoil pad, 13 1/8″ to the back of the wood. The pad has light wear at the heel and is still fairly supple. Overall, the stocks rate in Very Good-Fine condition as refinished and repaired Antique.

Type of Finish: Browned Damascus and Bright

Finish Originality: Refinished, the guard has a non-matching serial number.

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. There is some scattered minor erosion and stubborn fouling in the bore, mostly at the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 7 or 8 out of 10.

Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases, the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors’ firearms.

Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 87% of its current metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. The barrel has generally strong damascus patterning. There are a couple of nicks at the muzzle on the outside edge. The frame is generally bright, there is some discoloration on the water table and infrequent minor surface oxidation. There is some erosion under the finish on the guard and lever, most notable on the top of the lever. There are some scattered minor nicks and scratches. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are generally clear, the guard’s serial marking is shallow and incomplete. Overall, this shotgun is in Fine-Excellent condition as refinished Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The barrel locks to the receiver with no play. The trigger is crisp. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: Edward Michael Reilly was born in 1817, son of not-yet-gunmaker Joseph Charles Reilly. Owner of a jewelry shop, the elder Reilly had apprenticeships as a jeweler and clockmaker, and likely did some cosmetic work on firearms for resale. It wasn’t until about 1828 that Reilly would actually begin making guns. Edward would begin marking some guns with his name and would present at exhibitions in London and Paris in the late 1840s and early 1850s. The elder Reilly would retire around 1857 and E.M. Reilly would become the brand name by the 1860s. He would remain in charge of the company until his death in 1890.

While the brand name would later be bought and used as a bargain line by Charles Riggs, this shotgun was produced when some of the finest Reilly products were being made. It is a massive 4 gauge single shot with a 44 1/2″ damascus steel barrel, coming in at just under 14 pounds. While the gun was made in the late 19th century, it appears to have been re-proofed in the late 20th century and may still prove to be serviceable if you can lay your hands on some 4 gauge shells. This is a fascinating gun that will display well in any collection and certainly draws the eye. Please see our pictures and good luck!

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

E.M. Reilly & Co. London 4 Gauge Single Shot Underlever Shotgun, Antique
E.M. Reilly & Co. London 4 Gauge Single Shot Underlever Shotgun, Antique