This is an outstanding Joseph Lang Percussion Elephant Gun. According to Richard Akehurst in his book Game Guns and Rifles, London, 1969, on page 148 it is ascertained that the gun bearing serial No. 2026 was made in 1857. The gun fires a ball of .910 inches in diameter. The maximum charge of coarse black powder would be 300 grams.
The history of the gun is rather cloudy, however, according to Captain J.O. Auclair, it was purchased from a Mrs. Carmichael of Brentford, Middlesex England. She was a descendant of the original owner, who was a trader in British West Africa. Judging by the splendid condition of the gun, he must have done more trading than hunting.
In 1821, Joseph Lang started his business in Haymarket, England. Lang was not a trained gun maker, but was always interested in the design and sale of all types of guns. In 1826, he bought the bankrupt stock of James Manton which included many guns, and began selling both new and second-hand guns made by James Purdey. Lang later married Purdey’s second daughter, with whom he had two sons, who both later apprenticed under Purdey. His shop is credited as being one of the first shops with an indoor shooting range.
Lang’s innovations and reputation for selling the best sporting guns garnered him a wide reputation with the elite and nobility. Prices for guns of this caliber were often the amount of an average man’s multi-year salary. His invention, known as Nitro Express cartridge is still a favorite of safari hunters today. In 1925, Lang merged with Stephen Grant to form their company, and then in 1960 they merged with Henry Atkin to form Atkin, Grant & Lang, which is still in business today.