Working in the Gunroom here at William Powell, means I spend a lot of time talking to people about the Continental range. For us, they massively outsell Brownings, Berettas and similar guns and I will obviously say that is because you get far more for your money! It is fair to say they are a popular range of guns with many satisfied users literally from around the world and their share of the market is growing all the time.
Side by Sides
Our side by sides are made for us by Arrieta of Spain. It is a long standing partnership of over 20 years. Their small factory uses the same gun making techniques of our Carrs Lane factory when all of our guns were built there. The beauty of this arrangement is our ability to provide top quality sidelocks at a fraction of the cost of the English equivalent.
The Marquis is a great gun. It is a side by side, sidelock that represents fantastic value for money. At Â£3,250 it is the cheapest SBS in our range, because of this it is naturally very popular. One of the most frequently asked questions I get asked is â€œWhat is the difference between this and the Monarch.â€ The Monarch is the next model up and the answer is, mechanically, nothing. The difference is the quality of the engraving and walnut, and The Monarch is supplied in a canvas and leather case. The Marquis makes a great game gun for people that like the feel of an old English side lock but want something reliable and with 2 Â¾â€ chambers. We also have a lot of customers who buy The Marquis as a second gun.
As mentioned above, The Monarch is the next model up from The Marquis. It shares the same 5 pin rebounding locks as The Marquis and the same chopper lump barrels (all the side by sides in our range feature chopper lump barrels.) You get prettier and better figured walnut and more elaborately engraved sideplates. The finish is obviously better as more hours go into that than with the Marquis. Also as mentioned, The Monarch comes in a traditional canvas and leather flat case. Probably one of the biggest deciding factors when someone is choosing between The Marquis or Monarch is the fact that you can have the Monarch built to your own custom stock measurements for no extra cost (whilst it costs an extra Â£295 on the Marquis). At the moment the Monarch is our most popular SBS, probably due to the fact it sits in the middle of our range and at Â£4,850 it is a lot cheaper than other comparable game guns on the market.
The Eclipse is another very popular model, again sharing the same 5 pin rebounding locks but with even better quality walnut and beautiful open scroll engraving. The main difference is however, The Eclipse is a round-body gun. Hand filed from the same action as The Monarch to create a round-bodied shape which is gracefully different. The Eclipse also has superior quality walnut and comes in a handmade best quality leather gun case all for Â£6,500. Having a round body sets the Eclipse apart from a lot of other guns on the market. It also affects the balance of the gun making it feel very â€˜livelyâ€™ in the hands. For these reasons, The Eclipse is a very popular gun for early season Partridge and double gun grouse days. It is especially nice in smaller calibres.
As its name suggest, the Zenith is our top of the range gun. It features the best 7 pin rebounding locks and a fully assisted self-opening action. This is the same action all best English guns have. The deep cut acanthus engraving is breathtaking and executed by hand (as all our engraving is). The stock is exhibition grade walnut and is of exceptional quality. These guns can be built to your custom stock measurements. Like The Eclipse, it is fitted into a handmade best quality leather gun case and costs Â£11,950. This is about a fifth of what a modern London sidelock costs. The Zenith is an ideal alternative to a second hand best London gun with all the quality and the added bonus of being custom made and with a 5 year guarantee. Buying a new unused gun does give you peace of mind as compared to maybe a 100 year old gun that has seen a lot of use. The Zenith is suited to all game shooting. Like all of our SBSs the fine details are up to you. You can choose whether to have the action coin finished or case colour hardened. The barrel length and chokes are also entirely up to you. There is also a comprehensive options list to further customise your gun. These include gold or silver ovals with or without initialling, Teague multi-chokes, steel shot proof and many more.
The Juvenis is a special gun. Only available in .410, it is designed with junior shots in mind. It still uses Arrietaâ€™s excellent quality action with 5 pin rebounding locks. The stock is supplied short at 14 Â½â€ but unfinished so the final measurement can be easily changed. The Juvenis is a unique gun aimed as a starter gun designed to get young people into the sport. It is supplied in a custom made canvas gun slip for Â£3,250.
The Linhope is another gun designed for a purpose. Based on the old live pigeon guns, it features a Prince of Wales stock and is much heavier than our other side by sides (it still retains a fantastic balance). The extra weight (it weighs around 7 3/4lbs) and increased size of its frame, mean it can absorb much more recoil than other side by sides, for these reasons, it is a great alternative to an over and under. With the increase in popularity of high bird shoots in Devon and North Yorkshire, The Linhope has become very popular. It is a unique gun which bridges the gap between side by side and over and under and is ideal for someone who appreciates the look and quality of a sidelock but prefers the practicality of an O/U. One of the popular features of the Linhope are the 3â€ chambers which are superior proofed and can shoot a massive 46 grams! This is great considering the amount of 34 gram and heavier cartridges on the market. The most popular specifications are 30â€ barrels with full and full choke or some customers will often have them fitted with Teague chokes to make the gun more versatile. Other popular options on this gun include a raised, flat engine turned top rib and a semi-beavertail forend. It comes in a best quality handmade leather case and costs Â£7,950.
The Over and Unders
In 2008 we decided to launch our Over and Under range to accompany our Side by Sides. We formed an alliance with Batista Rizzini in Italy who are renowned for their high quality and reliable Over and Under shotguns. We launched the Phoenix and Pegasus and then in June 2012 we launched the Perseus.
The Perseus is our newest addition to the range of Continentals. It is an entry level O/U and costs just Â£1,795. We launched it at our â€˜Try and Buyâ€™ day at Hexton shoot in June this year and it was a great success. The Perseus has nice scroll engraving with woodcock underneath. The stock is surprisingly of beautifully figured handpicked walnut (Much better than on comparable priced guns). With a half pistol grip which is extremely comfortable to hold. It is available in 12 or 20 bore with either 28â€ or 30â€ barrels and a set of 5 multi-chokes. The Perseus is an â€œoff the peg gunâ€ very much like a Browning or Beretta, however, the stock measurements are easier for most people to get on with. So far they have been very popular and certainly look set to become our most popular gun.
The Phoenix is our most popular O/U and has been since its launch. It has a round body that is beautifully engraved with deep cut scroll. The stocks are unbelievable, highly figured and extremely well finished. Rizzini supply fantastic stocks on all of their guns. The action is smooth and crisp and very reliable. Another hugely popular feature on the Phoenix (and Pegasus) is the solid ribs. This is a feature so well liked by English game shots but very rarely seen on guns of this price (Â£5450). A phrase I use quite regularly in the Gunroom is, â€œContinental guns that have been Anglified.â€ The Phoenix can be built to you stock measurement and barrel length and the chokes are up to you.
The Pegasus is our top of the range Over and Under. It uses the same action as the Phoenix except more time is spent finishing the working parts. The main difference however is in the engraving, The Pegasus is fitted with sideplates which are engraved with a fine bouquet and scroll pattern which takes 3 times as long to complete than The Phoenix. The stock is exhibition grade walnut and of exceptional quality. One other slight difference between The Phoenix and The Pegasus is the later has a Schnabel which always seems to divide peopleâ€™s opinion. It has the same barrels as The Phoenix and the same solid ribs. It also has a Prince of Wales grip like The Phoenix which makes a refreshing change from the usual full pistol grips. The Pegasus comes cased in a best quality handmade leather case for Â£10,750. Both The Pegasus and The Phoenix make great O/U game guns and are just as at home on the clay ground too.