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16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553

16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553

Bespoke. In the shotgun world, it describes a custom made. A side-by-side or over under for you. Gauge, wood quality, engraving, grip style, barrel length, chokes, weight, triggers, and stock dimensions are a few of the features we imagine “bespeaking”.

But in the Golden Age of gunmaking, bespoke went beyond this. In the case of this side-by-side by John Dickson & Son – Scotland’s most famous maker built a shotgun on London’s famous Beesley action.

The Beesley action is ingenious. But compared to other sidelock designs, it’s complex and a pain to build. That’s why so few makers copied it.

Atkin used the Beesley on their Spring Openers, and Francotte used it on a few of his Best-quality sidelocks. But that’s about it. If other makers used the Beesley action, I haven’t seen these shotguns.

16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553

16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553

So why did Dickson do it? They created the Round Action, one of the most elegant side-by-sides of all time. Why would they build a shotgun on another company’s design? I suspect it’s simple: that’s what the customer wanted.

Lot 150: JOHN DICKSON & SON. A RARE 16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553: 28in. nitro reproved chopperlump barrels (in 2013, require bluing), rib gold-inlaid ’2′ and engraved ‘JOHN DICKSON & SON. 63 PRINCES STREET. EDINBURGH’, 2 3/4in. chambers, bored approx. 1/4 and 1/2 choke, wall thicknesses below recommended minimum, incorporating Beesley patent self-opening system, patent no. 31 of 3rd January 1880, toplever gold-inlaid ’2′, automatic safety with gold-inlaid ‘SAFE’ detail, bold acanthus scroll engraving with decorative borders, the underside with a cartouche engraved ‘JOHN DICKSON & SON. EDINBURGH’, (some wear), 14 1/2in. replacement stock, weight 6lb.

16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553

16-BORE BEESLEY 1880 PATENT SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 6553

Provenance: The makers have kindly informed us that this shotgun was completed as No.2 of a pair of ‘best sidelock hammerless ejectors (Purdey actions)’ with 28in. barrels in September 1913 for A.M. Spence.

Estimate £1,500-2,500

2 Responses to “Did John Dickson & Son build Purdey shotguns? Yes…”

  1. J-P Daeschler says:

    Nice article Greg. Dickson built many guns on other makers actions and Patents and in this case, as you pointed out, its what the customer wanted.
    In total Dickson built ten guns on the Purdey/Beesley action, this one being the fifth one.

  2. Gregg says:

    J-P-

    Thanks for the comment, kind words, and info. Do you think Dickson made the action, or do you think they bought it in the white from Purdey?

    The lifters on this one look a little different from what I’ve seen on most Purdey-made guns

    Gregg

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