The action of the Royal was introduced in its modern form in 1892 but the Royal
trademark goes back to 1885 with the first illustration of the new hammerless
Royal gun in The Field the same year (my thanks to Donald Dallas for confirming this), and first mention a couple of years earlier. Initially, guns had non-rebounding locks and dipped locks, but these were replaced with conventional lock plates to give the gun its classic, streamlined look. The action of the test gun is a full, eight-pin sidelock powered by leaf springs. The gun is an assisted opener. It
employs a coil spring and plunger in a tube hidden under the fore-end between the barrels. It is neat and reliable. Much the same may be said of the Royal’s Southgate-system ejector work which is a favourite of the gun trade because of its reliability and ease of regulation.
The Royal, which weighed about 6lb 10oz, was a really lovely gun to shoot. I don’t
know what it is about Royals – it may have something to do with the hinge-pin balance and the care taken in regulating the barrels – but I always seem to shoot them well. I used it with Chris Bird and Roland Wild of H&H’s shooting ground (great shots and expert instructors).
Trigger pulls were crisp and clean. Recoil control was good. With shelf dimensions, it not only shot where I was looking but both barrels shot to exactly the same place. It was impressive in all departments.
It remains my favourite side-by-side gun and it is a testament to H&H that the firm is still making Royals that shoot every bit as well as any ever made. This is a gun for someone who appreciates that there is more to a great gun than the figure of its wood or the bling of its engraving. A great gun must be faultlessly engineered, shoot superbly and have elegance of form. This one qualifies on all counts The cost of such excellence? From £55,250 excluding VAT. I would buy one if I could.