Even if it is a fine old Holland & Holland ‘Royal’, sooner or later you are likely to encounter a problem with your treasured gun, particularly if you have not had it examined professionally for many seasons. Many shooters seem to assume that their gun does not need at least a degree of the attention that is routinely given to the car that got them to the shoot.
“Ten minutes’ attention is all you
need to protect your gun.”
Let’s assume you do intend to have your treasured gun serviced properly at the end of the season but also wish to give your gun a good clean too. Ten minutes’ attention is all you need to protect your gun. Inspect the barrels. Examine the bores, then check whether there is any moisture remaining hidden under the extractors or along the crevice between the rib and the barrel tubes. Next, run a cleaning patch through the bores and look for leading in the chokes, streaks in the bores or a build up of plastic in the chambers. Elbow grease may shift the problem but if not, try a bristle brush or even a “bronze” brush. In addition, there are excellent, special purpose solvents available from gunsmiths. If all else fails, ultra-stubborn deposits can be shifted by fine wire wool, which must be used with a solvent or lubricant.
Screw chokes should be removed and cleaned from time to time. It is amazing how much detritus forces its way through the gas seal and into the thread of the choke tube. Fail to maintain these chokes and they will seize up on you. If they do, take your gun to a professional as the threads and tubes are fragile.
When your patches come out clean, you’ve finished. Now is a good time to look for problems such as a dent or a scratch to the bluing. A rub with a lightly oiled cloth will be sufficient protection for the bores. The forend usually has many crevices where water can gather or penetrate, so check carefully and, if you think a de-watering spray might help, use one sparingly. Cotton buds are effective for getting into crevices.
“Ultra-stubborn deposits can be shifted by fine
wire wool, used with a solvent”
If the gun is designed for the removal of a trigger-lock mechanism (or the locks in the case of a sidelock), remove and spray them as much as you like. Locks secured by flush-fitting and finely slotted screws – pins to a gunsmith – should be left in place. Look for moisture and probe with cotton buds. Slide a thin cloth under the top lever as rain tends to gather there. Wipe all surfaces with clean paper or cloth, finishing with your oily rag. If you get out the spray be very sparing with it.
Gun stocks with old-style linseed finishes can be brought back to life by the very sparing application of linseed oil or a proprietary formulation based on linseed. At Holland & Holland we suggest pouring a very small drop into the palm of the hand and then spreading it very thinly. Don’t overdo it; a little each day will restore a lustrous finish.
Our Strip and Clean Service starts with a thorough inspection by the Foreman before any work is carried out. The trigger pulls and ejector timing is checked and we then totally strip down the gun, clean and treat the action to remove dirt and grime, and burnish any bright parts. Where necessary, the pins are re-blued and a new protective lacquer is applied to the action. The stock and forend are then checked for any cracks.
The barrels are carefully inspected for any dents, bulges or loose ribs. The breech face is then relined and the gun is reassembled. Before leaving the factory the gun is given one final inspection by the Foreman to ensure that all is well.
To sum up, all guns will benefit from periodic attention. Obviously the frequency of use will dictate the interval but it is important that barrels and stocks are examined as part of a routine inspection after every day in the field.
Please contact the Gun Room to discuss your requirements or to arrange a service.