the Fourth
Gold Medal Concours d’Elegance of Fine

At The Vintage Cup World Side-by-Side Championships & Exhibition 2002

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. . . slides into history.

The 4th Gold Medal Concours d’Elegance of Fine Guns was held at The Vintage Cup, at Orvis Sandanona, in Millbrook, New York, on September 20/21, 2002.
Seventy-seven shotguns and rifles, many of museum quality, were entered for judging, and several of last year’s award-winning guns returned for display.
For the first time, the Best in Show and Boothroyd Award winners (there were two because of a tie vote) were rifles. The Vintager Award went to a rifle as well.

The judges were Chris Batha (E.J. Churchill Gunmakers), Jack Dudley (formerly of La Bécasse and co-founder of the Vintagers), Roger Lake (fine-gun specialist at Butterfields), John Ormiston (head of sporting weapons & travel at H&H), Jan Roosenburg (former head of H&H in North America) and Ray Roy (former head of quality control at Ruger). Sincere thanks go to them all for their time, effort and dedication, and for their expertise.

Steve Helsley, who also is a judge and the designer of the Western Double Rifle Championships course, was the chief photographer. With great planning and great effort, he was able to record nearly every gun entered in the Concours (averaging one every 15 minutes for two eight-hour days). Very great thanks & appreciation are due to Mr. Helsley.

Best in Show, chosen by the judges, was a surprise – – Holland & Holland rook rifle No. 21471, a superb hammerless, toplever single-shot boxlock chambered in .295 and made in 1897. Apparently unfired, it was in its leather case with all its accoutrements, including a one-piece wooden cleaning rod, three boxes of ammunition. a tweezers-type case puller, a false muzzle and even a .295 snap cap. The rifle itself, though modestly engraved, had a long top tang that extended onto the stock comb (like a big-bore double rifle), a folding tang peep sight and a polished steel buttplate. The condition of the rifle and furnishings was as new — not even the felt lining of the case showed any wear.
The rifle once belonged to Lt. Col. Nathaniel Nash, who was president of the NRA in 1941. The present owner is Ted Rowe, director of marketing at Sturm, Ruger & Company.

Voting for the Boothroyd Award (“the people’s choice,” chosen by popular ballot) this time was a tie between two literally unique rifles. One was a new .45-70 hammer side-by-side with Jones rotary underlever, serial number #602, entered by its maker, Michael Ehinger. Already renowned for his double flintlocks, Ehinger not only made the action and barrels entirely from bar stock, he also stocked the rifle and built its wooden case. The deep gray finish of the action body is a titanium-nitride coating.
The other Boothroyd Award winner was Chas. Lancaster double rifle No. 13315, chambered in .450-31/4 and made in 1904 for Denys Finch-Hatton, the professional hunter whose love affair with writer Isak Dinesen was immortalized in the movie Out of Africa. The rifle, with its typical deeply rebated Lancaster sidelock plates, is in shootable but worn condition; its present owner, John Ormiston of H&H, took a warthog and a kudu with it in the spring of 2002. By incredible chance, Ormiston had bought the rifle’s original case at an auction three years before buying the rifle, also at auction. (Note: as a judge, Ormiston was ineligible for any Concours awards except the Boothroyd, which is chosen by Concours visitors, not the jury.)

    For a complete list of all Concours IV award winners and honorees, please go to Previous Concours and click on Concours IV.

©2002 Gold Medal Concours
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