William Evans Pall Mall shotgun review.
William Evans is one of the best-known names in gunmaking with a history stretching back more than a century.
Most notably the firm’s founder started his career with the best maker of them all – Purdey –before moving on to that other gunmaking great, Holland and Holland.
However, having learnt a thing or two from the best in the business William decided to strike out on his own in 1883 at an address in Buckingham Palace Road followed by a move two years later to Pimlico.
He quickly outgrew those premises and in 1888moved his gunmaking team again, first to 4 Pall Mall, later moving to No. 63 in 1896.
There they stayed until a bomb in 1944 forced a move just around the corner to St James’s Street where they remain to this day.
More recently the company has also opened a retail shop and repair facilities on the shooting ground at Bisley but, clearly, Pall Mall has played a prominent role in the history of William Evans.
Over the years the company has built many types of gun and it has never made a secret of the fact it uses specialists to build guns to suit the pockets of a wide range of customers, including top quality best guns that are a match for the finest London makers.
Shrewdly, however, William Evans recognises that not all of us can afford guns with such dizzying price tags and to appeal to a broader customer range they have harnessed the skills of gunmakers nearer to the mass market.
For instance they recently launched an O/U made in conjunction with Caesar Guerini of Italy, called the St James.
And now they’ve done it with a side-by-side gun built on traditional lines by the Spanish gunmaker, Grulla.
Grulla isn’t too well known in the UK but they are quality gunmakers and build guns that are as good as any of the best-known Spanish makers.
The company is located in the north of the country and has been making guns since 1932.
The ‘Pall Mall’ as it’s called is made to measure so a wide range of specifications can be incorporated into the gun’s style and dimensions.
It’s a full nine pin sidelock with gold lined cocking indicators and is available as a 12 or 20-bore.
The gun is built on the traditional lines of a square bodied action with sidelocks going forwards into panels in the bar of the gun.
It’s very nicely built and has neatly struck up chopper lump barrels that have been well bored and carry a deep black.
The Pall Mall is extremely well jointed and opens and closes as silkily as a Best gun.
Some of the finishing work is carried out in England by William Evans.
You can usually identify a Spanish gun because the drop points on stock are nearly always cut too thin relative to their length.
Not so on this gun – they are formed exactly as you would see them on a British gun – you really do have to look closely to see that it isn’t English.
The Pall Mall costs £15,000 but compared to some others in this price range you get a lot of gun for the money.
With more than a nod to a respected British gunmaker William Evans are hoping for interest from people looking at having this gun built as matched pairs, and I think they will get it.
Marks out of 100
Build quality – 23/25
Handling – 22/25
Styling – 22/25
Value for money – 23/25
Total score – 90/100
A very nicely built gun indeed!
William Evans Pall Mall shotgun