James Julia’s annual fall firearms auction is on October 1st & 2nd this year. As always, the sale is full of nice double barrel shotguns. This 20 gauge James Purdey side-by-side is one of the nicest by far. Just check out the condition — all original and almost brand new. On top of that, it was made by the hands of Ben Delay and J Aldous, two of the finest craftsmen this famous London maker has ever had. That makes this more than just a nice shotgun, it makes it a link to a part of this gunmaker’s most cherished past.
Here’s the complete listing on the gun from Julia’s website:
SN 26697. (1957) Cal. 20 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 26″ Chopper lump bbls with flat, narrow, matted game rib, are engraved “J. Purdey & Sons Audley House. South Audley Street. London. England.” on tops. Bbl flats are stamped with post 1954 London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ – 3 1/4 ton – 1oz shells. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with SN. Barrel maker’s initials “J.A” (J Aldous) are on bottom of left bbl. Tube nos. 65905 and 65906 are on loop. Case hardened, Beesley patent, self-opening, sidelock action features non-automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), bushed strikers, raised rib tumbler end cocking indicators, and Purdey non-selective single trigger. Action is beautifully engraved with best quality, house style, small scroll with rose bouquet highlights. “J. Purdey & Sons.” is on the bottom of each lockplate and action, which is also engraved “London England”. Scroll engraved small bow trigger guard extends to composition grip cap. SN is at grip. Nicely marbled, dark European walnut full pistol grip buttstock measures 14-5/16″ over checkered wood butt with classic scroll engraved heel and toe plates added by A & F at customer’s request. Stock also features well executed drop points, point pattern checkering with mullered borders and a gold oval on toe line engraved with a very fine rendition of flying woodcock surmounted by “Pierce”. Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release. Actioner’s initials, “B.D” (Ben Delay) are on iron. Messrs Delay and Aldous were two of Purdey’s most skilled craftsmen of the day. Their talents are on display with this gun.
Bore diameter: left -.615, right -.615. Bore restrictions: left -.024, right -.004. Wall thickness: left -.031, right -.030. Drop at heel: 2-5/8″, drop at comb: 1-7/16″. Weight: 5 lbs. 14 oz, LOP 14-5/16″. High quality oak and leather case with brass corners and central medallion is embossed “Pierce” on top. Case is lined with burgundy cloth with gold embossed black leather label on lid, and contains an assembly of unmarked accessories incl. a pair of turnscrews and striker key with black handles, bone striker bottle with spare strikers, 2-pc brass and rosewood cleaning rod with mops and brushes, broken case extractor, black Morocco wallet with pull-through cleaning equipment, brown leather wallet with action cleaning brushes, Purdey marked square oil bottle and snap caps, as well as 1929 edition instruction manual entitled “Purdey Guns”, and the key.
PROVENANCE: Factory records indicate that it was completed for A & F in Oct. 1957. A & F records indicate it was sold to Grant Pierce in 1957. All other specs match except weight, which was originally 5 # 15-1/2 oz. (Most likely gun was ordered for “stock” with very long unfinished butt to be completed to customers specifications at A & F.)
CONDITION: Exceptionally fine, retaining nearly all of its orig finishes on wood and metal. Bbls are slightly silvered at muzzles with a few inconsequential marks. Action is very slightly silvered on beads and fences, and retains nearly all of its orig varnish. Hinge pin retains a considerable amount of its orig fire blue, as does safety button. Trigger guard bow and thumbpiece of top lever are slightly silvered. Stocks have some minor marks. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout, with no visible imperfections. Ejectors are perfectly timed. Trigger works flawlessly. Case leather is very fine with a number of slight bumps and rubs. Straps and handle are very fine, as is interior cloth, with some slight soiling and compressions. Accessories are excellent. An investment quality, beautifully balanced, lightweight upland gun, barreled and actioned by two of Purdeys long time employees, both were building Purdey guns during the halcyon days of the 1930’s. 4-46132 MGM157 (35,000-55,000)