Dear Blanch Owner,
Thank you for agreeing to provide information about your J Blanch & Son gun(s).

Although the information submitted in this questionnaire is very useful, it would be enhanced immensly by a photo or two of your pride and joy. The most useful views for information on styling are like those shown above but a clear image of the barrel and action flats are essential for dating purposes and a top and under view provide additional information that can be useful.

Please try and use diffuse, natural light, not bright sunlight or flash and keep the file sizes under 1 mb, preferably about 100-200 kb.

The ‘Additional Details’ section can be used to note condition, unidentified stampings etc., in fact anything of interest.

Please type in your gun details or edit the answers as appropriate and then submit by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. Please ensure you supply an email address as your answers may well provoke further questions for clarification.

Bore or Gauge:
Gun Serial No.:

Address on top rib:

If 'Other Address' please give details

Year of manufacture or purchase (if known):
See below

Only on Blanch Best sidelock guns is the date of manufacture shown as Roman Numerals on the trigger guard, all other guns can only be dated from personal records or, approximately, from Proof Marks.

An approximate date from Proof Marks would be very useful, If you are not familiar with Proof Marks through the ages, send me a digital image, sketch or rubbing of all marks on breech and barrel flats and I will do my best. Exact words and figures are important.

Details of Action

Hammer Guns:

Action type:

If 'Other' please give details:

Bar action or Back action?


For information on identifying Back action and Bar action locks Click Here
Hammer Style
Low (mainly below rib line when cocked)
High (mainly above rib line when cocked)



Rebounding or Non-rebounding
Rebounding hammers do not rest against the striker (firing pin) when uncocked as they 'bounce back' to half-cock after hitting the striker, whilst non-rebounding hammers do rest against the striker making it protrude from the breach face.
Faceted or Rounded
This refers to the shape of the cross-section of the hammer. Is it a rounded section or does it have flat sides? Very late and early hammerguns tend towards rounded but guns from the 1880's and 1890's often have a rounded lower half and a faceted head.
Here you can see the combined styles of faceted head >
with rounded section lower hammer.

Two forms of fully rounded hammer can be seen
below illustrating striker style.

Hammergun Strikers

Broad /Narrow






The shape of the strikers tends to divide as above with the early and mid era guns having a thin striker retained by a hexagon nipple whilst later guns moved over to broad strikers retained by a pin mounted in the 'fence'.

Sprung/Mechanically Withdrawn Hammerguns sometimes display various methods of withdrawing the striker from the primer to ease the opening of the gun. The two main methods are either the use of a spring mounted around the striker or a mechanical lever that retracts the striker, actuated either by the fall of the barrels, operating the opening lever or cocking the hammers.



< Broad strikers retained by pin in fence.

Narrow striker retained by
hexagon nipple. >

Hammerless Guns

Action Type:



  For information on identifying Back action and Bar action locks Click Here  
Disc Set Strikers
Yes No
These are disks in the breech face that can be removed with a 'peg' wrench to gain access to the strikers (firing pins)
‘Crystal’ Cocking Inspection Ports
Yes No

These are glazed holes in the lock plates through which you can see the tumblers.

An example of 'Crystal Inspection Ports' >
‘Fancy’ Backed Action Boxlocks(eg. Scroll Back)
Yes No
For example:
Any Additional Details:
Interceptor Sears
Yes No Unknown
On sidelocks these will not be readily apparent unless you have had the lock out. However, on boxlocks their presence is indicated by a small pin (screw) level with the stikers (firing pins) and just behind the joint of the fences and body of the action. An example of these can be seen above in the illustration for 'Fancy' backed actions.
Yes No
There are 3 types of ejector mechanism that are commonly found on Blanch guns: 'Southgate' or 'Over-centre'; 'Perkes' or 'Deeley'. The latter two are from a practical perspective identical mechanisms and are only divided by the patent number credited. As a rough guide to which type of ejector your gun has: a plain pin or small screw in the knuckle of the forend iron will suggest the 'Southgate' system (see below right); 1 or 2 screws on the flat of the central limb of the 'iron suggest a 'Deeley' or 'Perkes' system (below, at centre and at left respectively).

Ejector Type (if known)
Engraving Style
Bouquet & Scroll
90% coverage
'Creeping vine border around
a bold foliate panel'
75% coverage
Bold Foliate
100% coverage
'Trade' quality Scroll
75% coverage
Other Engraving Style:
Engraving % cover
Additional Comments:


Below are illustrated several of the many variations of breech 'fence'. If none of them appear to be similar to your gun, please describe it in terms of these pictures in the 'additional details' box below.
Ribboned fences
Percussion fences
Pinfire fences
Ball fences
Webley fences
Any additional details (eg. special engraving or sculpting):
Gas Check System
Yes No
The Gas Check System takes the form of grooves cut into the breech face. There could be a Patent No and/or Use No stamped there.
Words and Numbers stamped on breech face:
Patent Numbers on Action Flats:
These are most common on back action side locks and often refer to the Scott and Perkes back action patent but may refer to the cocking system or the ejector works.
Safety Mechanism
If by moving the breech opening lever the safety catch is moved to 'Safe' the gun is described as having an 'Auto Safety', if not then a 'Non-Auto Safety'
Shape of Safety Catch
Concave Beetleback
Broad Beetleback
Fully Chequered
Double Ramp
Any unusual features?
Side Clips
Yes No
Breech Opening Lever
Details of Other
Barrel Configuration
Barrel Material
Barrel Trade Marks
Details of Other Trade Mark:
Barrel Length
Barrel Lumps
The barrel lumps are the projections from the barrels that mesh with the action. These can either be an integral part of the barrels, as in 'Chopperlump' barrels, or a seperate piece of metal that is brazed onto the barrels. This latter form of construction is by far the most common in Blanch guns and is almost universal where damascus or twist barrels are concerned.
Chopperlump barrels can be identified by the joint between the two barrels' lumps which appears as a faint line that runs along the mid-line of the lumps in the axis of the barrels. 'Dovetail' and 'Through' lumps can be identified by the joints, again in line with the axis of the barrels, that run either side of the lumps and usually within 1-2mm of them. Sometimes the yellow glint of braze cn be seen in the joint. 'Table' lumps are usually only found on single barrel or muzzleloader conversions and can be identified by he brazed joint on the sides of the barrel where the lumps have been attached.
Details of Other lumps:
Top Extension:


(in 1000th inch or as fraction)



Chamber Length

Details of other chamber length

Rib Finish

Rib Style

Forend Catch
Length of pull (measured from front trigger to centre of stock butt)
History of the Stock
The pattern of colours in a gun stock is called 'Figure' and a stock is partly graded by the quantity and type of figure. This has been simplified here into 4groups: Highly figured means that there is a large amount of dark and light markings covering at least 75% of the wood; Well figured means that there are markings on both sides of the stock and that they cover from 50% to 70% of the surface; Figured means that the markings cover up to 50% of the total area of the stock and Plain means that there are no significant markings.
Stock Style
Is the stock extended?
Yes No
Extension Material
If Other, please describe:
Stocked to the Fences (Sidelocks)
Yes No
This gun is not 'stocked to the fences', ie. the wood stops short of the breech fences.
This gun is 'stocked to the fences', ie. the wood continues right up to the breech fences.
Fancy Chequering
Yes No
Sunken Chequered Side Panels (Boxlocks)
Yes No
Weight of Gun (if known)
Any Additional Details of your gun:
Any History of Your Gun

Are there any date indicators or interesting features that you would like included in future questionnaires?



To help me with any queries regarding your gun’s details, I would appreciate a means of contacting you. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, I will enter those details that do not appear to conflict with other similar records.

Your telephone number:
Your address:
Your e-mail address:


Contact me at :