By John Ian Gregson
Photograph courtesy of T.R. White & Co.
T.R. White & Co. Gunmakers has brought a new and entirely British-made over/under to market—and it is priced to be accessible to more sportsmen.
Before I write further, I should disclose that company owner Tony White is a good friend of mine, and I have followed his career closely since his post W&C Scott days when he began building guns under his own name. Since the early 1990s he has had a lovely workshop in Staffordshire, in the West Midlands, that he gradually has developed to include not only a gunmaking and sporting business but also a coffee shop. All of this is right next to Oakedge Shooting Ground, one of the best in the UK.
Tony may have made his name with lovely rounded-action boxlocks, but he long has had an interest in over/under sporting guns. As well as boxlock and sidelock side-by-side guns of classic patterns, he has built over/unders with the same action types for years, though these have tended to be one-off special orders. Now he has brought to market his latest iteration: a classic British O/U game gun with a robust boxlock action, slim lines and beautiful handling, priced to be more accessible than traditional offerings.
I got to see the first finished gun this past summer. The 12-gauge was stunning in the hands and fast to the shoulder. With a rounded action, deep fences, a gorgeous toplever, Peter Spode-engraved acanthus scroll, a solid rib and a Boss-style forend with a Deeley latch, the gun was lovely, indeed. (It is offered in all bores, with 28 and .410 priced at a slight premium, and any configuration and engraving pattern as befits a bespoke gun.)
As Tony describes it: “The gun has a triggerplated boxlock action, a type chosen for strength. It also has a selective single trigger, Teague chokes and 30-inch barrels—a grouping of features chosen because they hit that sweet spot for someone who wants to shoot one gun for everything.”
Tony admits that huge advances in machining technology are the main drivers in his ability to offer this kind of quality at the £35,000 (about $46,500) price point. He added: “The quality of machinings is amazing and now means that we can spend much more time with finishing, which is probably the most critical phase of any gunmaking operation. We’re spending much less time just filing away large chunks of metal. That means the customer gets an elegant and robust, entirely British-made gun for a price that was unimaginable a generation ago.”
I was kind of (naively) hoping for a price range around $4,600. Unfortunately, $46,500. is more in line with a new automobile purchase for someone with my budget.