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William Powell Eclipse 12-bore shotgun review

William Powell Eclipse 12-bore shotgun review

Manufacturer: William Powell

This mid-range Eclipse model is of rounded form – rather than a pure round action, but that does not detract from its attractive, smooth styling.

A lightweight game gun should always be slim and graceful — in this matter the Eclipse meets the mark. It is an undeniably handsome gun with its polished action and furniture, long barrels and honey-brown wood.

It also handles well, the balance point being right on the cross-pin, and it therefore feels lighter than its fairly modest 6lb 14oz.

Long stock
Length of pull (with a double-trigger gun) from the front trigger to the mid-point of the butt measures a generous 15.1/4in.

The downside is that, for someone of modest build, it would be rather long out of the box, though Powell’s reasoning is that adjustment for stock fit can be made to order.

The drop from the tip of the comb to the heel runs from 15.5/8in to 23.3/8in, which are useful measurements when allied to a side-by-side with a concave rib.

Cast is for right-handed use (cast-off) with a slim hand — one of Powell’s advertising features — and a tapered comb in the English style. This matches the smooth-flowing shape to the face of the stock, the side next to the shooter’s jaw.

Chequering on the oil-finished stock and fore-end is quite extensive, from the grip continuing down past the tail of the triggerguard.

William Powell Eclipse 12-bore shotgun

Well-cut and classic in layout, it mirrors those restrained traditional lines one expects from a gun bearing a famous name.

Conventional action
The six-pin bar-locks fit nicely into the stock and the same good wood-to-metal fit can be seen around the top strap and trigger-plate.

Internally, the locks have long mainsprings that lie forward into the action bar, intercepting safety sears, and an overall jewelled finish with contrasting polished lock-pins. Trigger-pulls measure between 4lb and 5lb.

The action is convention itself, with the top-lever and Scott spindle connecting with the Purdey-style double-bite locking bolt. Nestled in the fore-end are Southgate ejectors, the simplest and possibly most trouble-free ejector system invented for a side-by-side gun.

A traditional game gun
This particular gun has 30in chopper lump barrels, though other lengths are available, and is chambered for 2.3/4in cartridges. Both bores at the 9in proof measurement point gauged .732in, which matched the metric markings on the barrel flats of 18.6mm.

The fixed chokes, quite appropriate to a traditional game gun, measured quarter-choke in the right-hand barrel and half-choke in the left.

William Powell Eclipse 12-bore shotgun

For driven game I would prefer them the other way round, as for the first shot the bird is usually further away. Bores appeared clean and true and well struck-up on the outside. The finish around the muzzles and breeches exhibits good attention to detail.

Crisp and extensive engraving
Eye-catching is probably the best description for the engraving. Though not as detailed as its more expensive stablemate, the Zenith, it is crisp and extensive.

On the lockplates and around the action bar is a combination of rose-and-scroll bouquet work. Around the carved fences, top-lever, top strap and trigger-guard bow is more scroll-work.

Impressive patterns
Triggers snapped off cleanly and the ejectors worked fine, even when the gun was opened slowly — the proper way to test. Small and neat, the safety button moved readily under the thumb and snicked back unerringly into the ‘safe’ position even before the top-lever had opened very far.

Patterns, even with several different brands of cartridge, were, according to a young but knowledgeable observer, ‘well good’, which I think translates as impressive.

A rather nice gun
This Powell slipped effortlessly into the shoulder and felt thoroughly comfortable. The fore-end wood, with its Anson push rod, is perhaps not quite so elegant and streamlined as one might find on a true English Powell, and the articulated front trigger that the Spanish makers are so fond of is a feature rarely found on our guns.

William Powell Eclipse 12-bore shotgun

However, judged within its price range, one inescapably comes to the conclusion that this is a rather nice gun that does everything a side-by-side game gun should, does it very well and is fully guaranteed by William Powell. Now that cannot be bad.

Shot patterns: 4/5

Reliability: 3/5

Handling: 4/5

Trigger: 3/5

Finish: 4/5

Stock: 4/5

Value: 3/5



Contact: William Powell on 01295 701701

– Gauges: 12, 16, 20 and 28-bore

-Barrel: 30in, other options available

-Action: Sidelock

-Stock: Straight-hand

-Safety: Auto-safe plus intercepting sears

-Trigger: Double, front articulated

-Weight: 6lb 14oz

-Features: Fine walnut stock, quality guncase and accessories

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