Articles, Blog

Parallel-Bore Side by Side Shotgun – Look Ma, No Rib!


Hey guys, thanks for tuning in to another video on ForgottenWeapons.com, I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today at the James Julia auction house taking a look at some of the guns that they’re going to be selling in their upcoming Spring of 2018 firearms auction. And, I don’t normally look at sporting shotguns, but this one really caught my eye. Now from back there this, from what you can see, seems to be a pretty nice sporting shotgun: Silver, gold engraving; beautiful patterning to the wood; what’s interesting about it is if I flip it over this way, you can see light between the barrels and that’s not normal. Let’s take a closer look at this. So here’s the thing about double barrel shotguns: The barrels are not actually designed to be exactly parallel. Well, in normal guns they’re not; in this one, they are; but typically the two barrels, whether they’re over/under or side by side, are intended to be angled just slightly towards each other so that two shot columns, one fired from each barrel, will actually converge at a predetermined point; a predetermined range. Ellis Brothers, the manufacturers of this particular gun, instead opted to make those two barrels parallel. I would suspect they had a specific customer who requested that, and they went ahead and did it. That gap between the barrels looks really quite large, but I will maintain that that is actually exactly what you would get if you took a standard set of double-barrel 12-gauge, well, 12-gauge double barrels, and lined them up parallel. You don’t believe me, do you? Well, here is, on the right, our parallel bore gun; and on the left another side by side double 12-gauge, and you can see that at the breech end, those are exactly the same size. And yet when we come to the muzzles, you can see a very distinct difference. So you might think that everyone would want a gun like this with parallel bores because, well, you’d always know exactly, your point of aim would always be exactly the same. With conventionally regulated barrels your point of aim kinda changes; however, within actual practical usable distances, the barrel, the typical barrel regulation means that your point of aim actually, your two-shot columns actually get closer and closer to each other until they converge at what is typically about a maximum range; usually something like 40 yards. And so shooting is actually simpler with regulated barrels than it would be with these parallel style, unless you had a specific purpose in mind; maybe long-range shooting; it’s difficult to say without knowing exactly who ordered this and hearing, directly from them, why they wanted it this way. But it certainly is a very nice firearm. Made by the Ellis brothers of Birmingham Silver and gold embellishments as well as some nice fine checkering on the fore-end there. And the same on the action. Well if you’re into very fine sporting shotguns, like to collect that sort of thing; but you want something a little bit different without sacrificing quality, this might be just the thing for you. Take a look at the description text below; you’ll find a link there to the James Julia catalog page on this particular shotgun, and that’ll give you their description, their pictures, their value estimate; everything else you would need to place a bid on it right through their website. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Parallel-Bore Side by Side Shotgun – Look Ma, No Rib!

  1. Most nice! And unusual. Not a best gun, but a very nice Anson&Deeley boxlock. It looks too heavy for a standard game gun and the third fastener and POW grip tend to mark it as specialist piece, a live pigeon gun would be my guess. Pity you didn't show the barrel flats and watertables as I'd like to see what loads it's proofed for and the patents that apply. If I can find my copy of Greener's book I'll have to see he mentions barrels like this.
    Thanks for bringing a touch of class to the world of black polymer tacticool.

  2. The 'regulated' barrels that angle towards each other cause the two circular shot patterns to merge into one circular group at the typical range. This is called point harmonization. By having the two barrels parallel you end up with a pattern shaped like a figure eight on its side this would allow a poor shooter a better chance of hitting a target moving across their field of view.

  3. Damn. This gun is gonna either be a screaming deal for someone (assuming the reserve is on the low end for a gun of this quality) because of how odd it is or it's gonna bring in a whole lot of money because of its rarity and quality.

  4. The gold embellishments might suggest that the customer is a bird hunter, or it could simply be purely decorative for an eccentric gentleman

  5. Ian : that coat of arms ( and other features ) and initials and proof marks MIGHT be unique to the family and could be traceable. A provenance for a gun always raises it's value. certainly I have seen it done with a little bit of research.

  6. I suspect that "normal" regulation is also partly in response to the effects of recoil on POI, due to the barrels being offset laterally from the center of mass and from the line of support, somewhat like the effects in revolvers with light versus heavy bullets. I.e. the right barrel points slightly further to the right by the time the shot charge or slug exits the muzzle and vice versa for the left, hence the inward angling of the bores to compensate for both the divergent aiming and to a likely lesser extent for the spacing.

  7. Very nice gun and video
    Can you make a speial abaut different locking mechanisms and brake action types of RIfles /+shotguns
    Is that a double hook or a greener barrel arritation type

  8. Old laminated steel barrels aren't anything I'd want to shoot. I'll stick with my old Stevens. Much cheaper.

  9. It's nice to see a gun with that has level of detail and embellishment, but doesn't drop into the overly ostentatious or gaudy level that often happens.

  10. That stock is both beautiful; and pretty marked up. I respect an owner who will use a beautiful gun as intended instead of just hanging it on the wall.

  11. Hey Ian!

    Have you ever done a video on the FNC?

    If not would you do one?

    I have a friend who served as a scout in the Belgian Army in Bosnia and he always had one in his tank. He swears by them!

  12. A beautiful looking gun but it would require a lot of practice to become proficient with those parallel barrels. The amount of lead required for the exact same target would vary between left and right barrels. Someone must have shot it though. The damascus pattern at the muzzles is faded precisely as one would expect it to be if it spent much time in a gunslip and there are the usual little handling dings in the buttstock. The auction house description lists the maker as "Ellis Brothers, 16 St. Mary's Row, Birmingham" and mentions a decorative inlay bearing a "1918". Since Ellis Brothers existed at that address from 1903 until 1919 this is likely one of the last guns they built.

  13. I'm not an expert on this, but it seems to me that there would be a little bit of torque to the right or left when you shoot a side-by-side, which would tend to throw the left barrel pattern to the left and the right barrel pattern to the right. If the barrels are pointed towards one another, they are actually pointed slightly right, for the left barrel, and slightly left for the right barrel; but if my guess is correct, they should be pointed exactly straight ahead, due to torque left or right, by the time the shot charge leaves the barrel, and the barrels would then throw patterns that fly parallel to each other, but an inch apart, which would be imperceptible and inconsequential.

  14. I am british and have only experienced shooting with air rifles( hunting rabbits with specialised rounds) and 12 gauge shotguns ( clay pigeons) I have only ever missed one shot and am curious how this style of shooting compares to target shooting in America

  15. Interesting. Too bad you can't pattern test it to check sone theories. Beautiful gun though. Tasteful. Great video as always. Thank you

  16. This is much more beautiful than that fugly royal firearm recently. Thank you for showing us this one.

  17. I have a feeling that is purpose built to be a slug gun, the parallel barrels allow you to make use of the longer range of slugs

  18. This link is to a 25 minute film from  around 1930 of some craftsmen making a Damascus barrel that has the makers name woven into the steel.Cannons Damas la Fabrication https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa9dlvRDuQU

  19. whats the firing order on the barrels are they one at a time or both at the same time? If both at the same time the parallel barrels would make since because it would have a larger shot group. Maybe for bird hunting?

  20. There was a duck on it, it could have been for duck hunting. Maybe the owner wanted bigger spread of shot. That would have given someone a better chance at a hit.

  21. I have never seen a gun quite like that before. I do have to say that it looks far less elegant than the slightly tapered barrels of a conventional side by side. Probably one reason why you don't see more of them.

  22. ANy chance this was made for near-royalty, or someone in a very high position of a government? That's above and beyond a well-finished shotgun.

  23. Are all these old shotgun barrels from the 1800s made by welding pieces of steel or iron? it is a nice pattern but i wouldn't be very confourtable shooting it.

  24. I wonder if the idea was that the spread from bird shot would give a wider catch area? Lovely gun, thanks Ian!

  25. Feel free to do more on guns like this. Some of us appreciate all types of firearms. Milsurps, machine guns and prototypes are great too but i wouldn't mind seeing more of this.

  26. The Marlin M90, Remington M32, and the very rare Morrone shotguns all had no connecting barrel rib, but these were all over-and-under designs. They all taper to the muzzles in the manner of a double. I have also seen handmade German guns with a WOODEN rib! Presumably to save weight. Colt double rifle in 2018 if you can find one.

  27. The very expensive toy, for the very rich, bored gentlemen from the very high class. Is it useful? Maybe, but the first and the most important role which it fulfilled was: To look like the very expensive toy for the very rich gentlemen.

  28. This would make a lot more sense with a double rifle and separate sites for each barrel. Looks interesting though, and you are right about the quality. Clearly not some mass produced working man shotgun.

  29. It's beautiful and I can't imagine someone wanting to use it as a daily. If I'd the ready cash, it'd be my wall hanger display piece & used on special occasions ie my birthday and a plainer gun would be the daily. Plus, I suspect that it might not stand up to the pressures produced by the typical off-the-shelf rounds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *