by J. Scott Olmsted - Wednesday, February 4, 2015
In 1885, an Anglo-Indian soldier in India, Lt. Vincent Fosbery, discovered and subsequently patented a revolutionary idea: a few inches of rifling in a shotgun choke that was sufficient to stabilize a slug but not enough to throw off a shotgun pattern. Harris and Henry Holland, seizing on the potential of the idea, bought the rights to Fosbery's patent.In October 1886, Holland & Holland introduced a new ball and the shotgun at its Kensal Green range. The next day, The Times of London described it as an idea "which combines the efficiency of a rifle and a shotgun, and discharges shot with the pattern and penetration of a 12-bore and conical bullets up to 100 yards with the accuracy of an express rifle." The firm named its gun the Paradox. In the first year-plus of production, H&H sold more than 180 guns, and by 1931, when production was ceased, the firm had sold 1,600 of them.In 2007, after a break of 75 years, H&H reintroduced the revolutionary 12-bore. Originally based on a bar action hammer gun, the Paradox is today available as a 12-gauge round action sidelock with improved cylinder choke, with the final few inches of bore rifled to stabilized a slug. Users report excellent balance and handling befitting a fine side-by-side shotgun, and deadly results on clay birds and driven grouse. With branded ammunition from Hull Cartridge, it's also not a bad choice for controlling hog populations around Europe. Of course such a contradiction may sound like an odd pairing--thus the name Paradox. Prices begin at $99,500.The other picture contained here? That's H&H's famous Royal double rifle in .700 NE, one of only nine made. It also demands another story, for another time. Don't ask about its price. For reference, understand new Royals begin at about $170,000.
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