Are side-by-sides passé? Are they done? When England’s most constant gunmaker builds its first over/under, it’s a question worth contemplating. Once reckoned “the gunmakers’ gunmaker,” A.A. Brown & Sons created side-by-sides for some of London’s most prestigious marques and only began branding guns with its own name when reforms intended to protect consumers from misleading advertising were signed into law.
Now A.A. Brown has added an over/under to its portfolio called the ABAS Series 8—ABAS being an acronym for Albert Brown and Sons. Based on the time-honored Woodward design, the gun has Brown’s trademark rounded action and domed lockplates. I asked Matthew Brown, great-grandson of the firm’s founder, Albert Arthur Brown, about the O/U’s name.
“The ABAS Series 8 is threefold,” Brown said. “We didn’t want an overly sentimental name so had discounted most usual names like Supreme de Luxe and the like. All our side-by-side guns to date have had a serial number starting with a seven, and so the new guns will all be starting with an eight. The first pair are 81601 and 81602, eight being the model, 16 being the bore and 1 and 2 the guns. The biggest reason, though, is that an O/U barrel viewed straight on looks like an 8.” The 16 gauge was chosen for the first guns because the Browns—Matthew and his father, Robin—like the aesthetics of the gauge relative to its performance.
The Series 8 is available in 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410 bore and retails from £75,000 ($102,000) with single or double triggers and fixed or multi-chokes. The pair pictured was engraved by Keith Thomas, who Robin Brown has called “the fine-rose-and-scroll master,” with a new pattern that complements the 16-bore’s proportions perfectly. Matt Brown’s checkering and Robin’s case hardening elevate the pair to heights above much of London’s current production. With the ABAS Series 8, A.A. Brown is unlikely to repeat as a gunmaker to the trade but certainly will be called upon by customers when only the best work will serve.
For more information, visit aabrownandsons.com.