Sold For $2,475.00
Make: Holland & Holland
Model: Hammerless Rook & Rabbit Royal Rifle
Serial Number: 21329
Year of Manufacture: Donald Dallas’ Holland & Holland The Royal Gunmaker has rifle number 18,653 at approximately 1900, this rifle was most likely made within a decade or so of that date.
Caliber: .295/300 Rook
Action Type: Single Shot, Top Break Rifle
Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “WINNER OF ALL THE FIELD RIFLE TRIALS / 295. SEMI SMOOTH BORE”, the right is marked “HOLLAND & HOLLAND 98 NEW BOND ST LONDON”, the underside has a crown over scripted “B” proof mark and the serial number, seen again on the lower tang. The watertable is marked “3” with another proof mark. The receiver is marked “HOLLAND / & / HOLLAND” in banner amid beautiful scroll engraving. The scope and rings have matched serial numbers to the other items, the top of the scope is marked “PATENT NO. 8,501 / RIFLE NO. 21329”.
Barrel Length: The octagonal barrel is approximately 26” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a low profile beaded blade on a wide base, dovetailed onto the barrel; the top of the barrel is finely matted for glare reduction. The rear sight is a standing “V” notched base that is marked “50”, two other flip-up leafs are hinged on the base, marked “100” and “150”. There is a two piece scope base system aft of the rear sight, holding a pair of serialized rings and serialized Henry Holland’s Patent No. 8,501 of 13 June 1887 scope, the factory case even has a compartment that fits it for full disassembly. Our consignor adds that the scope was refurbished in England at some point with new lenses and gaskets. The objectives have a foggy haze, there are spots of fowling inside of the lenses, a top mounted knob gives ranged elevation adjustments. The scope rings have light play in the base and have cleaned erosion under the finish, it rates in about Very Good condition as refinished.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are beautiful dark stained walnut with intricate burl and good fit overall to the metal. The splinter forend has a polished horn cap, the wood has wrap around checkering and scroll engraving on the bracket. Both stocks have rubbing in the checkers, which switch in pattern on the underside, we believe they were re-cut when restored. There are a few filler repairs at the rear and top edges of the forend; some filler material at the rear has chipped off before the bracket. The butt stock has a rounded pistol grip with a scroll engraved cap, the butt also sports a proud left side cheek piece. There are small chip losses around the receiver and tangs, there are several scrapes and small dings, the heel has a crack. The LOP measures 14 5/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The stocks rate in about Very Good condition as refinished.
Type of Finish: The barrel, grip cap, butt plate, trigger guard and underside frame plate are blue, the receiver appears to be nickel plated, its original finish was case colored.
Finish Originality: Professionally Refinished / Restored.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray with nice definition to its ‘semi-smooth bore’. There is light erosion in the bore with a few sparse instances of mild pitting.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 90+% of its current metal finish. The blue items have shifted to mottled plum in tone, the left of the breech has a scratch mark and small dark freckles, only a few areas show erosion under the finish on the barrel, the frame has mild erosion under the current finish, the receiver surfaces have a dimmed tone with sanding marks evident on the smooth portions. The grip cap and trigger guard have a heavier shift to purple/red patina, some details of the engraving were made shallow. The screw heads have mild tooling but are serviceable. The markings are shallow in some areas but most are very clear, please see our pictures. The rifle rates in about Very Good Plus condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, there is no play in the barrel to receiver fit when the action is open or closed. The trigger is light and crisp. We have not fired this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The rifle comes with a period correct hard take down case with a Holland & Holland 98 New Bond Street label. The lid is marked “S.S. RALLI / ADELAIDE”, the lock is marked “J. BRAHMA 100 NEW BOND ST.” with a crown. Our consignor said that it is the original case and we have every reason to believe it is, one compartment even fits the scope for full disassembly. The case is very heavily damaged on the lid, edges and straps, there are material losses and cracking on most surfaces. The case certainly looks to have seen the world and rates in about Poor Plus to Fair condition.
Our Assessment: Holland & Holland has been making beautiful firearms since 1835, they are still the masters of their domain. Without a doubt, the skill that went into making this Rook rifle was exacting; the Rook and Rabbit rifle was one of the company’s best-selling rifles of all time, having filled a niche market where hunting small game was not only publicly accepted but encouraged as well. The scope is Henry Holland’s patent number 8,501, giving elevation adjustments for ranged shots with its efficient cartridge; the ‘semi-smooth bore’ patent was ‘scratch’ rifling that did not hinder the removal of black powder fowling when each round was fired. .295/300 Rook pushes an 80 grain bullet to about 1,100 feet per second and you can make cases for it from .32 Extra Long. Henry Holland would also later invent a ‘game counter’ device that would allow you to keep track of how many animals you had tickled that day for friendly competition. Having been properly restored, this is a beautiful piece that will appreciate as a wise investment and will always draw conversation. The original factory case still has a legible H&H label on the inside of the lid. One of the compartments fits the scope and we see by the address that the lock maker was just down the street from the gun factory.