Tim Bonner, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, is very attached to his inherited shotgun.
Tim chose his Cogswell & Harrison boxlock ejector, with 27 ½inch barrels, 2½ inch chambers – and weight 5¾lb.
He explained: “My great-aunt Nancy Metcalfe-Gibson, a legendary sporting lady from Westmoreland, gave it to me when I was 15, over 30 years ago. She had inherited it from her mother, my great-grandmother. I am not sure if she was the original owner but the serial number suggests it was built in 1904.
“I don’t believe a better roughshooting gun has ever been made. I have shot everything from ptarmigan in Sutherland to snipe in Cornwall with it. But it is as a woodcock gun that she really excels with incredibly fast handling and loaded with 7/8ths of an ounce (25g). Just this season we had four woodcock with five shots in one of my favourite coverts on the edge of a West Wales estuary and, as far as I’m concerned, shooting does not get much better than that.
“I am not sure it is replaceable. Certainly there are lightweight guns capable of doing a similar job, although finding something as light and shootable would be a challenge, but no other gun would have been used for over 100 years by my family.
“Its value to me is huge, but in the market I would have thought it was negligible. Roughshooting is an increasingly niche activity and side-by-sides are not exactly fashionable. On top of that she bears the marks of a properly used gun: a cracked stock held together by a lengthened top strap, a fore-end worn smooth with use, and barrels scratched from a fall on a Highland scree and thinned with use. Value is irrelevant anyway, I am more likely to sell a child than the Cogswell!”