Let’s admire a beautiful old Purdey SxS shotgun…

Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London
Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London

I love old Purdeys, and when I take a look at the one you see here, I remember why. When this side-by-side was made around 1869, centerfire, breechloading shotguns like it were the latest-and-greatest thing. Even though its Henry Jones Screw-Grip Action looks primitive to us today, it was cutting-edge back then.

Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London
Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London

But even though this Purdey was built with the latest features from its era, it retains the understated, elegant looks that had made James Purdey’s firearms famous and that would define them throughout the 1800s and up to today.

Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London
Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London

The back-action, island locks on this gun are one of the features that make it special. So is the engraving, probably cut by Purdey’s house engraver at that time: James Lucas. The chiseled fences are also nice, and so is the teardrop shape to the triggerguard. What a gun!

Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London
Incredible island-lock hammergun by James Purdey, London

A first time for me: a 20g P.V. Nelson sidelock …

 

P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS

Here’s something I’ve never seen before: it’s a Peter V. Nelson shotgun for sale on the open market.

Peter Nelson is one of the world’s greatest gunmakers. He also a gunmaker few people know anything about.

P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS

Nelson started his career in the 1950s as an actioner at James Purdey & Sons. From there, he worked on guns for Hartmann & Weiss. In 1989, he went out on his own and built guns under his own name. I think he retired from gunmaking in 2012. This Queen’s Golden Jubilee Gun was one of the last firearms he built.

According to Vic Venters, Nelson built around 84 guns in all. Nine clients commissioned these guns; two clients ordered around 60 of them. I believe a few of these guns have changed hands over the years, but it was always done with just a phone call. These guns were not advertised anywhere or on display at a gunshow or in a gunshop. Take a look at the craftsmanship of the SXS show here, you can see why.

P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS

P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS: KEITH THOMAS ENGRAVED, MADE 1991, ROUNDED ACTION, 28″ 006 AND 006 2 3/4″, 26″ 009 AND 009 2 3/4″,¬† SINGLE TRIGGER, EJECTORS, BEAVERTAIL FOREARM, ENGLISH GRIP, CHECKERED BUTT, EXCELLENT WITH HANDLING MARKS IN THE WOOD, 5LBS 10 OZ, 2 1/2″ DAH,1 1/2″ DAC, 14 1/4″ LOP.¬†Price: $57,500

P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
P.V. NELSON BEST SIDELOCK SXS 20 GAUGE WITH EXTRA BARRELS
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