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The Bridgewater firearms company ?


Minky
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Has anyone ever heard of....The Bridgewater firearms company.  Recently I bought a couple of guns out of Holts.  I only wanted the one gun but it had a tag along in the lot No.  which is a single barrel Argyll model.  It ain't exactly a Purdy but it is more of a curio.  Iv'e never ever heard of the above but at some time someone put a lot of thought and energy into producing these guns.  I've trawled the net and the only other reference is from American posters talking about rifles in 270 or 308.  Anyone maybe in the south west know anything about the history of the company.  The gun that I have is a bit unusual in that it has a pullback toggle instead of a top lever which opens the breach and cocks the action and puts the auto safe on in one action.  I ran a phosphor bronze brush through the barrel with a bit of Ed's red and the bore is like a mirror.  It might have been chromed.

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4 hours ago, Mr. Merkel said:

Try a Googling "The Firearms Co., Bridge Water Somerset ".  I am pretty sure they were known for the single barrel shotgun Argyle.

Best of luck

 

 

 

Thanks for reply but if you re read my post, I've done all of that and there isn't much if anything, that's why I  am asking on here. 

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I think that at some point they were owned by Churchills . The biggest problem they had was like all singles in the UK was that with the influx a cheap Spanish doubles why would anyone buy one . Webley , BSA and the Argyle all stopped manufacture because of this and the sales of all but the Baikal single stopped .

 When I was 20/21 an  cousin called me and said they had found a gun in there late  parents house and would I come and get it as they did not know anything about guns .

It turn out to be an Argyle .I sold it for a tenner .

 

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I started off with and Argyle in about 1975 we got it from Kays catalogue, think it cost £27.00 it was ok at the time, the thing i remember most about it was the knurled top level you pulled back on to open it was sore on the thumb on a cold day.

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Thanks for the replies.   Personally I've never heard or seem anything of the company or their products. The guy from holts said that they were quite common in the auctions.  I have only got this beast because it was lumped together with another gun.  At first I thought that it was just a junker but (and it is). BUT. when I looked at it a bit more I thought that here is a piece of hidden British engineering.  No different to the old steam traction engines, old grey ferry tractors and everything else that we have just scrapped and are now are worth a fortune.  EG WW2 stuff.  Even totally random stuff like old ww2 army field kitchens and utensils command a big fortune nowadays. ( to those who collect this sort of thing). I looked at this gun and someone put a great deal of thought and energy into designing and manufacturing it along with other guns that they sold, ( overseas).  What gets me is that the company and it's products have disappeared from anyones memory.  I can understand that the market for single barrels probably fell off the screen as people became more affluent.  Just as an exploration of the beast I removed the stock and it is a good piece of wood well fitted to the action.  I cleaned the bore and it is like a chrome mirror.  later I will drift out the pin that appears to hold the bottom plate action and see what's inside.( taking pictures as I go ).  I did find on Google / Wikipedia that there was a Royal Ordinance Factory based in Bridgwater that was manufacturing explosives and wondered if this was a thing that blokes involved in the plant started this up as an external comercial business.

10 minutes ago, aberisle said:

I started off with and Argyle in about 1975 we got it from Kays catalogue, think it cost £27.00 it was ok at the time, the thing i remember most about it was the knurled top level you pulled back on to open it was sore on the thumb on a cold day.

AS MUCH AS THAT.. when you could get stuff off of catalogues .  Yes it has the knurled top (lever /// knob) sort of thing.  A bit of an oddity.  At the end of the day it might have been a basement bargain job but if you pointed it in the right direction and put the lead on target then it would do a job.  I'm quite looking forward to seeing what's inside the beast.

Ps.. I wonder if anyone who lives down near Bridgewater has any knowledge of the company.

Edited by Minky
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It would be interesting if there was any info on this company.  What sort of company was it?  Sort of Fred up his garden shed or a big works with lots of staff.  When was it in operation, ect,ect.  Its about like someone coming up with an airliner that was made in Tunbridge wells or somewhere and no one has any knowledge of it at all.  After a bit of a socket trying the stock bolt turned out to be 1/4 whit

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Edited by Minky
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Bridgewater is a city located in Plymouth County, in the state of Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, the city's population was 28,633. Bridgewater is located approximately 25 miles south of Boston and approximately 35 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island.

 Wikipedia

I don't think your gun came from Somerset originally but from somewhere much further away! The Somerset Bridgwater has no "e" in it.

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No it was Bridgewater Somerset, I had some dealings with them about fifty years ago after buying an Argyle with a broken fore end. A common fault on them 

Most Argyle SB shotguns were sold by Mail order catalogues like your mum had.

Edited by Vince Green
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2 hours ago, Wylye said:
Bridgewater is a city located in Plymouth County, in the state of Massachusetts, United States. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, the city's population was 28,633. Bridgewater is located approximately 25 miles south of Boston and approximately 35 miles east of Providence, Rhode Island.

 Wikipedia

I don't think your gun came from Somerset originally but from somewhere much further away! The Somerset Bridgwater has no "e" in it.

MassachusettsIt's....?? not April fools day yet is it.?

2 hours ago, Vince Green said:

No it was Bridgewater Somerset, I had some dealings with them about fifty years ago after buying an Argyle with a broken fore end. A common fault on them 

Most Argyle SB shotguns were sold by Mail order catalogues like your mum had.

The info on the net from American posters about 270's and 30.06 models mention about the guns being sold by an outfit called penny's  or something similar.  That was just a guess at the name.  I'd have to go ont tinter web to check that one out.  Anyway this outfit was some sort of mail order outfit a bit like Kays or empire stores ect.  Whatever the occasion they must have put a lot of time and effort into making and marketing the stuff to be able to offer them to the general public though mediums such as these. even though the gun is a bit of an oddball junker.

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I know it looks die cast but it is an alloy casting.  I've stripped out the action tonight and overall I'm pretty impressed by the way a lot of thought and accuracy has been put into this thing.  I've taken a lot of pictures of the action ect but they are nearly 14 meg per picture so I will have to resized them so that they add.  .. A few.. 

OK not a Purdy but it is a forgotten weapon and there must have been a lot of time ect used to actually get this out there.  I'll clean it up, lube it and give it a few clays to see how it performs.  From a different age when it was just keep the rabbits back off of the garden,  knock over a fox taking the chickens or for just having an evening mooch.  The time when you just bought one box of cartridges... per the odd years. where it might have been carried a lot but not shot and where it stood in a corner for most of the time.  When you see the action all assembled it has been made absolutely accurately right such as the safety detent spring which sits on the top in a little cut out section with one leg under the block on each side and the the rest of the leg over onto of the small roll pin in the safety lever.  it is all there accurate manufacture and fit to do a job.  I bet that there were a lot of depressed people who made / designed this when it all went west.  probably the same as when car companies and lots of other British companies capsized and the staff were made redundant.

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Edited by Minky
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I've got one, it was my grandfathers second gun when he was a keeper  came from a catalogue in the 1960s £8 I think

I used it just before Christmas nice and light to carry it has been in the cupboard for years I'm  going to use it more

Some on gun trader £90ish

Enjoy it

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 What's the bore like on the one that you've got ?  The barrel on mine is mirror inside but a bit surface rusty on the outside.  As I  am treating this gun as a curio/project I  will hone the outside with wet and dry to a fine finish and then replace.  The gun will never have any value but it is what it is and it's sort of out of respect for forgotten British engineering and the way that things are going. This gun is the most unlikely thing that I  would take out shooting with considering the guns that I do have. If nothing else the pictures of the action will be out there as a record of how this action is assembleď ect. Kind of like a Haynes manual.

Edited by Minky
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Mines  like a mirror also, outside good as well  Took it on a walk and stand day really enjoyed it

Would like to take my other grandfathers  C Golden 6 bore M/L which he bought at a sale for a shilling in 1906   One day !!!!!!!!!?

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It's a great thread and certainly brings back memories.

My first gun was an AYA cosmos.I learnt to shoot with that.I still have a webley and scott single barrel  hammer gun.It is used on the bunnies occasionally but don't use it a lot.

It taught my son to shoot.Nice to go back to no frills every now and again.

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What a delightful post, I'm fascinated by the unsung byways of the humble shotgun. Well done for seeing it in the spirit of an engineering curiosity and an appreciation of the effort which must have gone into designing and manufacturing it. 

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Generally this would be discarded as an old junker.  The general appearance and the odd action straight back toggle pull to break the action ,cock the hammer and engage the safety is a bit odd in its look and operation but it works well.  I wonder if it failed because although it is a work of function and precision the market for a gun for the keeper or smallholder with limited want to shoot was very small even then surely.  As soon as foreign imports like the cosmos and other AyA types like the yeoman came along it must have severely diminished it's sales down to a bargain bucket shopping catalog.   As this goes back into at least the 60's no one went out shooting stuff just because it was there back in those days.  Not many people had fridges let alone freezers and you only shot for the immediate use or like in my father and grandfathers time for local sale to the village butcher or to local householders who would have a rabbit or two a week.  This made the old boys a bit of cash for whatever.  My father had a double 12 hammer with barrels that were so pitted that if not totally unsafe were pretty close to it.  Grandfather had a hammer under lever back action 16.  The muzzle of the Damascus barrel was so thin that you could have used it to cut out wads with.  no one would consider shooting with a gun like those nowadays for fear on injuring any bystanders but they didn't even consider that back then.  But by all accounts they went out every weekend and came home with enough rabbits, pigeons and assorted game that they had to cut down carry poles to get the stuff back home.  Most of this found its way to the local butcher and the route of customers that they had generated.   Times were hard and money short every penny counted.  One time father shot a duck which landed in a field over the river.  The dog just wouldn't go on the river ice to retrieve the duck.  Father was determined not to let this go to Charley so he stripped off and  waded chest deep across the river breaking through the river ice himself.  He retrieved the duck and grandfather gave him his large scarf to dry off a bit with.  Grandfather loaded most of the game onto father to make him work up his body heat on the trek back home .  Everyone who heard about this called father a bloody lunatic but that was just how it was.  How many on here started off with a single barrel 410 or 12 bore and saved up for something better when time went bye.  Nowadays all you hear about is how side by sides kick like mules and if you haven't got a 30+ inch multi choke single trigger gun then you can't shoot anything, 42 gram 4s and the like!.  Dealers won't take stuff like this in even in part exchange.  Shooting has become a fashion sport rather than a practical need.  still I don't suppose the pigeons will notice the difference between being shot with any gun.  I look forward to the summer and having an evening mooch with this beast, that's if some do gooder doesn't call out the plod ect.  A picture of the unusual gun opening, cocking and safety toggle like lever.  It's just a straight pull all the way back for all three functions.  As I've progressed with this gun I don't think that it has every fired a lot of cartridges.  there is no real sign of wear anywhere.  It just looks like it has been laid up and semi forgotten about.  What I thought was surface rust now appears to be more like oil that has accumulated a gunk layer of mud/dust / whatever.  It is mostly a coating of residue.  I will brush meths on the barrel to wash /disolve what will move and see what it is like.  And it was made in England. A piece of our industrial heritage.  Designed to do a job and passed by time.  probably over at least 60 years old.

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Edited by Minky
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9 hours ago, PeterHenry said:

I'm sure I read an artical on these in the Shooting Times a few years ago. I'll see if I can dig it out for you if I still have it.

That would be of interest and expand the story of this gun etc.  let's hope that you can find it.

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