Jack Rowe 1936-2015
As a LH shooter, one of the reasons I gravitated to the SxS, especially the older ones is that generally they are cast neutral.
The lateral divergence of the shotgun stock from the plane of the barrels.
probably better explained, along with so many other variables, here:
In the end, I wanted to shoot more consistently and to that end I owe a debt to another brit: Chris Batha (who I should write something about).
Time was spent developing a consistent mount and then more time was spent exactly 16 yards away from a pattern plate. The results of which told me how much I needed to alter my stock.
I went in search of info on bending stocks as I have enough woodworking experience to know I can do it myself.
Beyond the usual sources I came across a youtube video of Jack at one of his seminars. He was bending stocks, but without using a fancy jig. He simply had the wrist wrapped in cotton which he soaked in linseed oil then heated with an open flame. Occasionally the cloth would flame up, but he'd simply swat the embers out and move the flame a bit further away.
It was this matter-of-fact demeanor when working with the guns that struck me most. Here was a man who was a trained English gunsmith and yet he didn't hold these guns in high reverence as sacred objects. Rather, he seems to see them as what I imagine the craftsmen who made them may have: functional.
These were machines/things meant to be taken apart and adjusted to suit a new owner; and in it's in the english tradition to send a gun back to the shop for a "refresh" every year or so. The gun is disassembled and worn or "tired" parts are replaced. Inherited your uncle's purdy? There no problem getting it adjusted to fit you. Not the same size you were when you bought the gun? Have the length of pull adjusted.
They're tools and they should be an extension of the body.
Whatever one may think of Larry Potterfield and MidwayUSA I am glad they produced, and I purchased, their DVD of Jack Rowe working on SXS's. The quality of the recording was obviously affected by his declining health so I have to adjust the sound to really make out what he's saying. It's clear that this was created after the youtube videos I first saw.
My wife laughs at me, but I honestly think one of the things she loves about me is that I can sit and watch Jack tighten/loosen a frozen turn-screw without buggering the head, and be impressed.
Like so many before him that I never got to meet, he had an impact on me.
God rest Jack. Thanks.