I’m selling this Thomas Bland New Model Keepers’ Gun for Ralph Yaeger, the talented carver of duck calls and decoys. This is what Ralph wrote me about the gun:
“J.H. Walsh (Stonehenge), editor of “The Field“, which sponsored many of the great gun trials of the 19th century (muzzleloader vs. breechloader, cylinder vs. choke boring, et al) liked the Thomas Bland “Keepers” guns. Writing in 1882, he called the original model–which sported a Jones under-lever, ‘a thoroughly sound and trustworthy weapon,’ and wrote that the New Model, with its Purdey bolt and Scott spindle, was a ‘superior kind.’ Based on its quality and features, he felt it was ‘intended for sportsmen’ rather than gamekeepers. Even the great Victorian driven game shot Lord Walsingham approved of the New Model Keepers Gun, writing that is was ‘as good a gun for a certain number of years as if it cost four times the money.’ His only reservation was that he did not believe the gun could handle the strain of 10,000 shots per season, like his Purdeys. When this was pointed out to the maker, Mr. Bland replied with the somewhat pertinent query whether anybody had ever tried the experiment?”
This example has 30″ nitro-proved Damascus barrels with 2 1/2″ chambers, choked .006/.029. The hammers are rebounding, and it locks up tight as new. The fore-end is of the pull-off variety. The stock measures 1 5/8” x 2″ x 15″ over a solid red pad with neutral cast. The weight is a hair over 7 lbs. Ralph has shot everything from snipe to geese with his Bland (the game photos are his), though he informs me he typically fires fewer than 10,000 rounds per season.