By Douglas Tate
As Edith Wharton and Henry James never ceased pointing out: North Americans exhibit a deep hunger for the trappings of nobility. But what if a gentleman already owns more London best guns than Her Majesty the Queen? Then why not a pair of 20-bore Holland & Holland Royal ejector game guns with three barrels each?
British side-by-side-by-sides are rare. Westley Richards and John Dickson built them, but it was the 16-gauge tri-bore by Boss & Co. featured in this magazine (“The Three-Barrel Boss,” by Michael McIntosh, Nov/Dec ’95) that inspired the guns seen here. “I saw an article in Shooting Sportsman and ordered them 17 years ago at the SCI Convention,” said the guns’ fortunate owner, who seemed a bit surprised to see them finished.
Unique projects do require time and huge efforts on the part of highly specialized artisans. In this case the single trigger—which fires the right barrel first, then the middle barrel, then the left—was designed by Brian Gibb and then extensively modified by Paul Faraway. The tricky work of joining the three barrels was accomplished by Raphael Rathier, who since 2011 has occupied his own atelier in France and currently builds barrels for Hartmann & Weiss, Johann Fanzoj and others. The deeply carved engraving is by Valerio Peli of Creative Art, in Italy, while the guns were stocked by Jason Scofield and finished by Paul Faraway with assistance from Jason Clarke using highly figured Turkish burr walnut provided by the client.
Back in 1995, writing about the three-barreled Boss that inspired this pair, Michael McIntosh called the gun an “extraordinary achievement” and suggested that “if it works and has any practical value at all, somebody will want one just like it.” He obviously was correct, and the new owner is thrilled with the results.