Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

52. Old English side-by-side shotgun

Pair of Best Sporting Shotguns

Many of the great English gunmakers first opened their doors in the early 1800s and it’s remarkable that, once these innovative and skilful gunsmiths had perfected the hammer-less, breech-loading side-by-side shotgun in the 1860s, the design has never been bettered. Indeed, the boxlock and sidelock actions that British gunmakers developed then are used in almost all double guns to this day. Traditional makers, such as Purdey & Sons, Westley Richards, Holland & Holland and Boss & Co, still top many leading game shots’ wish lists.

‘The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly
on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun’
(The Adventures of Sally, P. G. Wodehouse)

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