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12 bore Paradox gun bullets, Hollow point (left) and Cross cut (right)

A Paradox gun is a firearm made by Holland & Holland with the last two to three inches of the muzzle rifled and the rest smooth, intended to be used as both a rifle and shotgun. Paradox guns served the needs of hunters in India and Africa who might encounter both small and large game but needed to carry only a single gun. A Paradox gun allowed the use of a shot with a specific choke for small game and Paradox bullets for large game: with the bullet engaging the rifling as it swaged through the choke. This gave an advantage over a slug barrel, which could only employ cylinder bore barrels (no choke). Modern users of Paradox guns have the same advantage, especially in areas where the bird and deer hunting seasons overlap. Paradox cartridges have been loaded with either hollow-point or solid bullets of varied composition. The current Holland & Holland cartridge is loaded with the most useful of these, the 740 grain lead solid.


Holland & Holland

Advertisement (1886)

The word "Paradox" has been used by Holland & Holland of London since 1886 to describe large bore guns with the last few inches of the barrel rifled with a special "ratchet" style of rifling. Holland & Holland purchased the rights to the Paradox gun in 1885 from Col George Vincent Fosbery VC,[1] who also invented the Webley-Fosbery Automatic Revolver. They chose the name "Paradox" because shotguns are defined by their smoothbore barrels, and a "rifled shotgun" was thus a paradox. Over the years Holland & Holland manufactured Paradox guns in 20, 16, 12, 10, and 8 gauge. Today they continue to manufacture Paradox guns of 12 gauge in the famous 'Royal' sidelock ejector as well as in their newer round action sidelock gun.

Muzzle of a 12 gauge Paradox gun

Other manufacturers

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Paradox-type guns were manufactured by several other firms. Other firms in Birmingham, England made them for sale under their own names and by others. For example, Westley Richards and G & S Holloway made versions. The latter made them under their own name, privately marked for and purchased for sale by high-end dealers such as P. Orr & Sons, a retailer of high-end jewellery, household items, furs, appliances and arms in Madras and Rangoon. Many had cut rifling that extended more than two inches into the muzzle(s) (3 to 4 inches in some cases).


External links

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