Custom Carved Wells Fargo Stagecoach Shotgun

Custom Carved Wells Fargo Stagecoach Shotgun

I recently was asked to show the process of carving a gun stock. Below is pictures of how this is accomplished. I have custom carved this W. W. GreenerShotgun replica last December. This was a Christmas gift for her husband. You can read the history of this gun as well as the history of the manufacturer by going to the following link: or this one:,

For your information, I have not included the clay mold or the many many practice pieces I did before carving this gun. I believe I carved twelve samples before I liked what I came up with. This is the final process of how I custom carved a gun stock.

After I have found my subject, designed the pattern, developed it in clay then carved twelve practice models of this pattern. I finally was ready to put the pattern onto the gun stock. This photo shows one of the ways I put a pattern on the gun. I first cover the entire gun to protect it from any unforeseen problems. Then put the pattern I intend on carving on the gun. I then carve the pattern into the gun stock.

This picture shows how the pattern is carved into the gun stock, the background being removed and the shaping of each character.

 This photo shows the detail that has been carved into the gun stock. This is the last step before sealing the gun stock back up and hand painting the gun.

Here is the completed gun stock. I have custom carved the stagecoach into the butt of the gun then hand painted the design to bring out even more detail.

This is another picture of the completed gun stock showing how the design fits on the gun.

This is the full view of the gun  with the Wells Fargo Stagecoach. This gun belonged to a Great Great Great grandson of a gunmen that worked for Wells Fargo Stage Lines. He told me the family story of his great great great grandfather and how he worked for them all those years ago. This is why his wife asked me to carve this scene onto this gun for his Christmas present.

I did not carve the basket weave or anything else onto this gun. I felt it would have detracted from the original design of the gun. This gun is one of the only coach guns made in the United States. I hope you have enjoyed seeing how I design, carve and paint my clients guns. I’m sure each will be handed down from generations to generations. They are one of a kind works of art. I strive hard to make sure I do not make two guns alike.

I look forward to carving a custom design for you. Please contact me so we can begin working on your gun! Happy Carving!!!! Deb

History of W. W. Greener

Here is the history of W. W. Greener. The man and the history behind the legend. 

The history of W.W. Greener begins in 1829, when William Greener, who had been working in London for Manton, a prominent gun maker, returned to his hometown of Newcastle and founded the W. Greener company. In November, 1844, he determined that most of the materials and components he used for gun making came from Birmingham, and his business was being hampered by the distance between the two towns. Hence, he moved his business from Newcastle to Birmingham.

During the period of 1845-58, W. Greener was appointed to make guns for Prince Albert. Money obtained from supplying South Africa with two-groove rifles enabled the company to erect a factory on “Rifle Hill”, Aston, in 1859. This was around the time when the firm really began to prosper.

Mr. Greener was a firm believer in the concept of muzzleloaders and refused to make any breechloaders. Hence, his son, William Wellington Greener, struck out a line of his own (the W.W. Greener company) and produced his first breechloader in 1864. When William Greener died in 1869, the two companies were amalgamated together as the W.W. Greener Company, and carried on by William Wellington Greener. William Wellington Greener was responsible for several innovations, as described in the sections below, and it was on the strength of his inventions that the company became famous. Under W.W. Greener, the company established offices in Birmingham, London, Hull, Montreal and New York.

William Wellington Greener was succeeded by two of his sons, Harry Greener and Charles Greener. Leyton Greener, Harry’s son and fourth generation took over as Chairman in 1951 and today the company has a fifth generation, Graham Greener, as one of its directors.


Production of Greener weapons started in 1829, when W. Greener began manufacturing his muzzleloaders. W. Greener was the first to discard vent holes in breeches. He was also instrumental in improving the hardness and quality of barrels, by using more steel in their manufacture. He also improved the Harpoon Gun and his model was the one adopted by the Scottish Fisheries, and was still in use in 1910. His greatest innovation was the invention of the expanding rifle bullet.

In 1845-59, W. Greener was appointed to make sporting guns for the Prince Consort. In the 1851 London Exhibition, the company received the highest award “for guns and barrels perfectly forged and finished”. In 1853 and 1855, the company received Silver medals at the New York and Paris Exhibitions. The company’s products were also sold for as much as 75 pounds, in the Southern states of America, before the Civil War.

Since W. Greener didn’t believe in breechloaders, his son, W.W. Greener started his own factory. In 1864, he produced his first patent, an under-lever pin-fire half-cocking breechloader with a top bolt entering the barrel underneath the top rib.

When W. Greener died in 1869, his son W.W. Greener merged the two companies into one. His next patent was the self-acting striker, followed by a famous cross-bolt mechanism produced as a single top bolt, in 1865. In 1873, this cross-bolt mechanism was combined with the bottom holding down bolts to produce the “Treble Wedge-Fast” breech action. The treble wedge-fast was one of the strongest breech actions ever invented and was widely copied by other manufacturers, after the patent rights expired.

The introduction of choke boring in 1874 is regarded as W.W. Greener’s greatest achievement. It was this invention that made the firm’s name famous. A discussion about this is in the section below.

In 1876, the firm introduced the Treble Wedge-Fast Hammerless Gun, otherwise known as the “Facile Princeps”. This gun was cocked by the dropping of the barrels. This action was one of the strongest ever produced. The W.W. Greener company restarted production of Facile Princeps guns in 1998.

In 1880, the firm produced a self-acting ejector for its guns, followed by the “Unique” ejector gun. These guns were designed to eject the spent cartridges when the gun was opened. Manufacture of the “Unique” ejectors stopped during the Second World War, and the company has recently begun to manufacture them again.

In 1895, W.W. Greener invented the world’s first Humane Killer, a gun designed to kill cattle, sheep, pigs and horses, quickly and easily. This instrument was adopted by the War Office, for use in the Veterinary, Remount and Butchering Departments, and by the Admiralty for is Victualling yards. The instrument was also modified to use .310 caliber cartridges. After several years, the models became obsolete in the 1960s and ammunition for the older models was impossible to obtain. Recently though, the company was asked to manufacture another model and hence, the Humane Killer Mk II was introduced. This new gun fires a .32 ACP round.

Choke Bores

The introduction of Choke Bores was largely responsible for the fame of the W.W. Greener name. Ironically, he did not invent it, nor did he claim to do so. The invention of choke boring is usually attributed to American gunsmiths. The first known patent for choke boring was granted to a Mr. Roper, an American gunsmith, on April 10, 1866. This was followed by a patent claim in London by Mr. Pape, an English Gun maker, whose patent application was six weeks too late. Mr. J.W. Long, in his book “American Wildfowling”, credits a Mr. Jeremiah Smith of Southfield, Rhode Island, as the gunsmith who first discovered the concept, as far back as 1827.

While American gun smiths were the pioneers of the choke boring system, they had not really progressed beyond the elementary stage and their guns would lead, throw irregular patterns and not shoot straight.

W.W. Greener’s first intimation of the choke formation was derived from instructions given in a customer’s letter, in early 1874. The customer’s instructions described a choke, but did not give any details on the size or shape, or how it was to be obtained. Hence, W.W. Greener had to conduct many experiments to determine the perfect shape and size of a choke for a given rifle bore. After that, he developed tools to produce the choke bore profile correctly and smoothly. The system of choke boring that he pioneered was so successful that it was later adopted by other manufacturers and hence, some authorities give him the credit for inventing the concept.

In December 1874, the first mention of Greener’s choke bore appeared in an article by J.H. Walsh, the Editor of Field magazine. The article mentioned the extraordinary shot pattern that the Greener shotgun could produce. The next issue came with an advertisement from W.W. Greener, stating that the firm would guarantee that their new guns would shoot a closer pattern than any other manufacturer. The advertisement claimed that Greener 12 bores were warranted to shoot an average pattern of 210, when the best 12 bore gun in the London Gun Trial of 1866 could only average 127. Naturally, the advertisement generated considerable controversy, especially from rival manufacturers of cylinder guns, who refused to believe the numbers quoted in the advertisement.

In order to resolve the controversy, the Editors of Field magazine decided to conduct a public trial in 1875. The London Trial of 1875 pitted choke bores and cylinder guns of various manufacturers in four categories—Class 1 (large bores, any boring), Class 2 (Choke bores, 12 gauge), Class 3 (Guns of English boring or Cylinders) and Class 4 (Small gauges, any boring). The choke bored guns performed better that the cylinder guns in all these tests, and W.W. Greener choke bore guns won the class 1, class 2 and class 4 categories. Greener Choke bores also won at the London Gun Trials of 1877 and 1879, and the Chicago Field Gun Trial of 1879. The results of these trials were responsible for making the W.W. Greener name famous.

Fake Greener Guns

During the 1880s, as the company became well known, several small manufacturers in Belgium and Australiaattempted to manufacture copies of Greener weapons. In several cases, the name was misleadingly similar: Greenen, Horace Greener, Albert Greener, A. Greener, W.H. Greener, A.H. Greener etc. are several examples of names of spurious weapons. Note that J.H. Greener and Albert Greener were two brothers of W W Greener and both brothers also made guns. Most J H Greener and a few Albert Greener guns are genuine.

In other cases, the maker would print “Greener” in bold gilt letters on the top rib and their own name in small characters, elsewhere on the gun. When one of these makers was challenged in Belgian courts, the defence advanced the theory that the weapons were using the Greener cross-bolt system and hence, the larger letters were intended to refer to the system, and not the maker of the weapon.

Due to the large number of forgeries, the W.W. Greener company offers to authenticate genuine Greener weapons for a small fee.

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18 Responses to Custom Carved Wells Fargo Stagecoach Shotgun

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    Thank you very much for your comments. You are welcome to subscribe to my email list so you will receive updates regularly. Thanks again. Deb

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