How much of this “Purdey” was made by J. Purdey?

 

16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869
16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869

James Purdey & Sons is just two years shy of being 200 hundred years old. In all that time, they’ve made all sorts of shotguns and rifles. Even though I’ve seen lots of them, I’m still surprised by some of the stuff I come across. Just check out this 16 bore “Purdey” percussion stocking rifle. It’s coming up at Dakota Plains Auction Company’s 6/16-6/17 auction.

Even though the barrel is engraved “J Purdey 314 1/2 Oxford Street London” and it wears the other proper marks (serial #2869), I don’t think the entire gun was made in London. To me, the stock and triggers don’t look British. Then there’s the lock and hammer. It lacks the crispness and refinement that I would expect to see on a rifle coming from 314 1/2 Oxford Street London in 1837. Compare it to this and to this to see what I mean. Also, it’s strange that the lock isn’t marked. There’s no “Purdey”on it anywhere, something I would expect to see.

16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869
16 bore "Purdey" plains rifle, bbl #2869

So what is it? I think it’s an American-made, half-stock percussion plains rifle built around a 16 bore J. Purdey barrel. Of course, I could be wrong. Regardless, it does look high quality. It will be interesting to see how much someone is willing to pay for it.

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1 thought on “How much of this “Purdey” was made by J. Purdey?

  1. Hi “Greg”
    I now own the “Purdey” rifle you reference in your article. I bought it from Mitch Lukish at the Tulsa Gun Show in April ’13.
    At thqat time Mitch gave me a letter from David Maynard at Purdey’s stating that #2869 was built by them in 1837 for a Mr R.I. Izard.
    I tore the rifle apart and every piece, save the trigger guard is marked with a stamped “9”, including the stock. Re #2869?) The trigger guard, best I can tell was badly damaged and shows sign of being heated & straightened.
    I do not know if the gun was completed as it now is, or was so badly damaged at some point in it’s 176 year lifespan, that it was restocked and rebuilt by a non-Purdey shop here in America or elsewhere.
    I do agree with you that it does not look as “English Made” as my other pieces. But whoever is responsible, they were very competent workman, and the rifle shows very hi-quality workmanship throughout.
    None of this worries me, this fine rifle has a mirror brite bore, and I intend to use it for my fall New Mexico Elk hunt just as it was intended.
    Nick Stroebel
    Edgewood New Mexico

    PS; I traded Mitch $5000 worth of guns & cash for the rifle.

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