Quiet elegance — those words do a great job of describing Purdey’s standard shotgun. While James Purdey & Sons did make some of the finest doubles in the London, their standard, best-quality guns were never the flashiest in the city.
Instead of using grand gestures to grab your attention, Purdeys use subtle touches and tremendous quality to achieve subtle, refined, and more tasteful look. You can see the results in the 12 gauge game gun pictured here. Made between the World Wars, when the London’s gunmakers turned out some of the finest side-by-sides in the world, it’s coming up to auction next week at James D. Julia’s Fall Firearms Sale.
EXCEPTIONALLY FINE JAMES PURDEY SIDELOCK EJECTOR SINGLE TRIGGER LIGHT GAME GUN WITH ORIGINAL CASE AND ACCESSORIES. SN 23737. (1927) Cal. 12 ga. 27″ Chopper lump bbls are engraved “James Purdey & Sons. Audley House. South Audley Street. London.” and “Made of Sir Joseph Whitworth’s Fluid Pressed Steel” on narrow, deeply swamped game rib, fitted with red front and mid beads. Bbl flats are stamped with London nitro proofs for 1-1/8 oz of shot. Bottoms of bbls are stamped with SN. Bbl maker’s initial “H” (for long time Purdey craftsman William Hill) is on bottom of left bbl. Splinter is engraved “Made in England”. Tube nos. “58724″ and “58725″ are on loop. Case hardened, Beesley patent, self-opening, sidelock action features automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold), bushed strikers, raised rib tumbler end cocking indicators, and Purdey non-selective single trigger. Action and lockplates are engraved with exceptionally well cut small scroll with rose bouquet highlights in “house” style. “J. Purdey & Sons” is at the bottom of each lockplate, and also on bottom of action over “London”. Small bow trigger guard is engraved with medium scroll and with SN at grip. Well figured and nicely marbled, dark European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-3/8″ over checkered wood butt, and features standard point pattern checkering with mullered borders, drop points, and a gold oval on toe line engraved “G. P.” Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release. Iron is stamped with actioners initials “FH” (Fred Hughes). Bore diameter: left-.734, right -.735. Bore restrictions: left -.007 (IC), right -.008 (IC). Wall thickness: left -.031, right -.030. Drop at heel: 2-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-3/8″. Weight: 6 lbs. 1 oz. LOP: 14-3/8″.
Maker’s oak and leather case with brass corners and push button latch has round brass central medallion and inset leather tag embossed with an early owner’s name on top. Front of lid is embossed “Made in England”. Interior is lined in scarlet cloth with gold embossed black leather Purdey label and charge card (for this gun) on lid. Case contains two 2-pc rosewood and brass cleaning rods with brush, mop, jag, and Turks head, pull through cleaning kit in black morocco wallet, action cleaning brushes in red morocco wallet, broken case extractor, 2 black wood handled turnscrews, striker disc tool, bone striker case with spare strikers, Purdey marked square oil bottle, and snap caps. Also included is a booklet “Instructions for Purdey Guns”, an inventory of items in case, and two keys.
PROVENANCE: Abercrombie & Fitch tag with specifications and price of $875.00 affixed to trigger guard.
CONDITION: Excellent. Action retains 60 – 70% orig case hardening color, silvered on bottoms and beads. Lockplates retain 85 – 95% orig case hardening color, left being the strongest. Top lever and forend iron retain most of their orig blue, slightly silvered Stocks retain nearly all of their orig rubbed oil finish with a number of minor marks.. Checkering is slightly worn and dark. Bores are excellent, smooth, bright and shiny throughout. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time. Trigger works. Case leather is excellent, with little discoloration,and a few bumps and rubs. Charge card is slightly foxed. Accessories are very fine. Pamphlet is slightly squished from being fit to case. A very fine, well balanced, fast handling, high condition gun from the 1920′s. Price: $15,000-$25,000