SOLD For $1,735
Make: John Manton & Son
Model: Single Barrel Percussion Sporting Shotgun, Converted from a Flintlock
Serial Number: 6446
Year of Manufacture: The gun was originally made in 1817 as a flintlock (Pg. 94, “The Martins: Gunsmiths”, by Neal and Back). It was probably converted to percussion in the late 1820’s to early 1930’s.
Action Type: Single Shot Percussion
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “>>> DOVER STREET <<<”. The underside of the barrel is marked with a crowned “GP” definitive proof, “6446” and with a crowned “V” view mark. The lockplate is marked “John Manton & Son / PATENT.”. The trigger guard and its tangs, the hammer, lockplate, and the upper tang are all elaborately scroll engraved.
Barrel Length: The barrel is 32” in length. It starts out as octagonal for 7 ½” and then becomes 16 sided for 5” before becoming round for the remainder of its length. The barrel has a heavy underlug for most of the length of the round section, fitted with two pipes for holding a wooded ramrod.
Choke: The bore measures 0.688” at the muzzle, which is about FULL.
Sights / Optics: This shotgun is mounted with a small silver bead screwed into the top of the barrel near the muzzle and a wide “U” groove in the top of the upper tang.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stock is a one-piece fancy walnut checkered with fiddleback patterns running through the wood. The buttstock has a straight grip, but with a carved walnut knob screwed to the bottom of the wrist to act like a pistol grip. The knob is cracked on its right side and across its bottom face. There is a silver plated thumb plate inletted into the wood at the top front of the wrist. The buttstock has a steel buttplate which is engraved on its upper tang, and the forend has a blued steel nosecap with a ramrod pipe just behind it for storage of the ramrod. The forend stops just ahead of where the round section of the barrel starts. There is oil staining at the butt and around the upper tang. The buttstock shows several dings and bruises, and a few drag lines. There are a few dings on the left side of the forend and a deep drag line on its right side, along with a few other light marks. The checkering shows moderate to heavy even wear without mars. The wood to metal fit is excellent. The LOP measures 14 1/8” from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate shows extremely light pitting with a few dark spots of solid erosion, and extremely light wear at the heel and toe. The buttplate is in about Good to Very Good condition. The stocks rate in about Fine condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel is Damascus. We think the rest of the gun was finished “In The White”. There is a platinum ring around the back edge of the barrel.
Finish Originality: We think the barrel has been re-browned.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray. There is very light erosion the length of the bore.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 90% of its current of its metal finish. There are spots of light pitting scattered over the barrel and lockplate with a ding in the right side of the round section of barrel about half-way along its length. We could not see any evidence of the ding when looking down the bore with a light at the breech end. The edges of the octagon section of the barrel are slightly rounded in places. There are light scratches under the finish of the barrel and in the finish of the lockplate. There is a dark patina forming at the bottom of the hammer and in the lockplate around the hammer. The screw heads are engraved and sharp, except for the hammer screw, which shows light marks from a screwdriver. The markings on the top of the barrel are thin and partly obscured by wear and those on the lockplate are partly obscured by erosion. Overall, this shotgun rates in about Very Good condition as refinished.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety position, and the trigger release is crisp and light despite a rather stiff mainspring. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This shotgun comes with a ramrod stored under the barrel, a wood case and accessories. The ramrod is wooden and painted black, with a tulip shaped brass nose and a threaded brass piece at the other end. The brass has a mustard colored patina and the wood shows a few light marks. The ramrod is in about Fine condition. The case is walnut with a hinged lid that has a folding circular brass handle inlet into its center top. The lid has three hinges at the back and two brass hooks at the front, with a key-hole for a lock in the center front of the bottom of the case. The inside of the case is fitted for this shotgun plus accessories, and lined with green felt. There is a maker’s trade label in the lid marked “John Manton & Son / GUN MAKERS / For Their Royal Highnesses / The Prince Regent and Duke of York / No. 6 Dover St.”. The outside of the case shows multiple small dings, bruises and drag lines, with a few light gouges. There is also a sprinkling of tiny spots of paint on the lid. The interior shows light wear on the edges of the felt dividers and a wear spot in the lid from rubbing on one of the dividers. The case is in about Very Good condition. The accessories include two keys for the case and two powder flasks. One flask is copper with brass fittings and is embossed with hunting scenes. It has a spring-loaded release lever. The nozzle is cracked and there are several large dents in the body of the flask. The flask is in about Very Good condition. The 2nd flask is smaller, made by G. and J.W. Hawksley of Sheffield, England, leather covered, and has a blued steel nozzle with two slots, one for 1 oz. and the other for 1 ¼ ozs. The thumb actuated release lever has two holes for attaching the blocking plate, so that it can be used with either of two slots in the nozzle. There are light wear marks in the leather and thinning in the bluing on the nozzle. The flask is in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: This is a percussion shotgun built by the well-known British firm of John Manton & Son in 1817. John Manton was a gunmaker who got his start as an apprentice to the great gunmaker John Twig, and as Twig enjoyed royal patronage, when he died, many of his clients turned to John Manton, who quickly became the leading London gunmaker. His younger brother Joseph started to work for him as an apprentice and left in 1789 to form his own business, and the two soon became rivals. John Manton & Son made guns for the Royal Family, the Duke of York and the Duke of Clarence, to name only a few of the nobility that wanted the “best finished’ guns they could buy. Peak production seemed to be about This shotgun started out as a flintlock sporting gun and was later converted to percussion, probably in the late 1920’s to early 1930’s (John Manton & Son began making caplock or percussion rifles in 1825.). This shotgun is mentioned by serial number on page. 94 of “The Mantons” Gunmakers”, by Neal and Back, as being a Single Barrel Sporting Rifle, flintlock converted to caplock, with an original date of manufacture of 1817. The Damascus barrel has been re-browned, the lockplate, hammer, trigger guard and upper tang are all elaborately scroll engraved, with a platinum band around the back of the barrel, and the stock is fancy checkered walnut with fiddleback patterns and a knob screwed to the underside of the wrist, converting the straight stock to a pistol grip. Please see our pictures for more detail. This beautiful rifle comes with a wooden fitted case and two period powder flasks, one from G. & J.W. Hawksley. This is a fantastic opportunity of the collector of fine English shotguns. We don’t see too many Manton guns come through our shop, so there can’t be that many in circulation – average production from 1790 to 1822 was only about 200 guns a year, and it dwindled after that until John Manton’s death in 1934. To find one in this nice of a condition, with its case and accessories, and being specifically identified by serial number in a book about the Mantons is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up by collectors. There is no telling when another in this condition will emerge from a collection to be auctioned.