The William Evans Connaught Shotgun
A new side-by-side sidelock shotgun which offers sportsmen the opportunity to own a classically-styled ‘William Evans’ at an affordable price has been launched by the London-based company, one of England’s oldest and last-remaining independent gun makers.
‘The Connaught’ commemorates William Evans historic connections with former loyal client, HRH The Duke of Connaught for whom the company made numerous bespoke sporting guns and builds on the company’s success with its recently-introduced ‘Pall Mall’ side-by-side sidelock and ‘St James’ side-plated over-and-under. Offering excellent quality and value for money, these new models have attracted many new clients to the brand, whilst also appealing to the company’s established clientele.
William Evans, which has a global reputation for high-quality side-by-side and over-and-under shotguns, bolt-action and double rifles, says that The Connaught will extend the brand’s appeal to a much wider audience. Explaining the background to the new model, Alastair Phillips, William Evans London Gunroom Manager, states:
“Owning an English shotgun still holds massive appeal, both for experienced shots and those who are new to the sport. For these reasons, they are attracted by the prospect of purchasing a new, high-quality shotgun from an English gunmaker, at a more affordable price than a traditional ‘best-quality’ English shotgun.
“The Connaught is a classically-styled five-pin sidelock design which takes William Evans back to its roots in terms of offering ‘affordable’ guns and extends the work we have been doing over the last three years with the introduction of the Pall Mall and St James. Having studied what our competitors are offering in this sector we are confident that The Connaught is of much higher quality, as one would expect from William Evans. There is no question that the new model offers our clients exceptional value and will be very popular.”
Retailing from £7,800, when specified with a traditional square-body action and from £8,000 as a round-body design, and the brand new Premium Connaught retails from £11,500. The Connaught is made to William Evans’ demanding specification by Grulla-Armas, S.L. Based in Eibar, Northern Spain, Grulla has been producing hand-crafted shotguns and rifles since 1932 and is now Spain’s leading manufacturer of high-quality sporting arms.
The two companies have enjoyed a close business relationship since 2009, when William Evans commissioned Grulla Armas to manufacture its Pall Mall side-by-side, which offers elements of bespoke quality in an affordable sidelock design. In 2011, the relationship was taken a stage further when William Evans signed an exclusive agreement with Grulla Armas to distribute the full range of Grulla shotguns and rifles in the UK and Northern Ireland.
Based on the Grulla 216/216RB models, The Connaught features William Evans’ classic ‘Bouquet and Scroll’ style engraving, a design similar to one used on the company’s guns manufactured prior to 1910. The new model features a drop-forged steel frame with disc-set strikers and gas escape valves, chopper-lump barrels made from best-quality Bellota steel, together with automatic, selective ejectors and double triggers.
The hand-finished, oiled stock is crafted from well-figured walnut and customers are able to choose the wood which is used from photographs of ‘walnut blanks’ supplied by the factory. Stocks can be made to the client’s own measurements and is hand-chequered by Grulla’s craftsmen at 24 lines per inch, a much higher-quality of finish than the 20 lines per inch used by many competitors.
Available in 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410 calibre, with a choice of barrel lengths from 25' to 30' and 2¾' or 3' chambers, The Connaught has been very well received by loyal William Evans clients who viewed pre-production models. A number of orders have already been received for the new model, a pair of 16-bore models being the first to be delivered.
Alastair Phillips, Gunroom Manager for William Evans at its shop in St James, London, adds: “The Connaught is an exciting addition to our range. It perfectly complements the recently-introduced William Evans-developed Pall Mall and St James models, which continue to represent excellent value for money and a very attractive, cost-effective ownership proposition for our clients.”
It is usual for a new Connaught gun to be delivered in 4-6 months from taking your order.