Wow – what a great looking J. Purdey percussion rifle …

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

A couples friends of mine are crazy about muzzleloading Purdeys. Take a look at this one and you’ll see why.

James Purdey built 809 double-barrel percussion rifles.  The first was sold in 1827 and the last — 32-bore back action for eccentric Scottish collector Charles Gordon — left Purdey’s in 1896.

According to the The Early Purdeys, this percussion rifle was sold by Purdey in August of 1847. It was a 50-bore (not a 50 caliber) with 27″ barrels.The JP marks on the underside of the barrels indicate that these barrels were forged by James Purdey (the firm), instead of being outsourced to barrel maker like Charles Lancaster (CL).

When this rifle was made, James Purdey had been running his own business for 31 years. Shotguns, rifles, and pistols like this built his reputation and established his firm as one of the top gunmakers in the UK.

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

J. Purdey, 314 1/2 Oxford Street, London, 50-bore Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage: Hammergun with stalking safeties. Scroll engraved furniture and lockplates. Barrel Inscribed ” J.Purdey. 314 1/2, Oxford Street, London”. Price: $19,999.99

Antique: Yes
Manufacturer: 1848
Caliber: 50-bore
Metal Condition: Refreshed at sometime showing strong damascus brown patterns , Bluing worn on lower hardware.

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

Wood Condition: Shows a few dings and scratches
Barrels: 27 Inch
Triggers: Double Triggers
Stock: Straight Grip.
Stock Dimensions: 14 1/8″ LOP
Butt Pad: Blued Steel Plate
Weight: 6 Lbs 2 Ozs
Sights: Open Sights

 

J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore
J. Purdey Percussion SxS, 1847 vintage, 50 bore

A Perfect Purdey…..

12 gauge Purdey double barrel shotgun, 1931
12 gauge Purdey double barrel shotgun, 1931

If I won a bazillion dollars tomorrow, one of the first things I would do is build a collection of kick-butt British doubles. And this 12 gauge Purdey sidelock would be one of the first guns I would buy.

It looks like it’s in fantastic original condition, and it’s definitely from one of gunmaker’s best periods. If it’s all good, it’s one of the finest Purdeys I’ve seen on the market in the last 5 years.

Crazy Purdey…what the heck was the owner thinking???

12 bore J. Purdey, serial #10532
12 bore J. Purdey, serial #10532

J. Purdey shotguns have always been custom made, and for the most part, if you could afford it, they would build it. It’s obvious that the gentleman who ordered James Purdey #10532 could afford an awful lot.

This 12 gauge, bar-in-wood hammergun is coming up at Sunday at this auction in Italy, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who is looking at it and wondering what the original owner was thinking when he ordered it.

It has three sets of barrels (two damascus, one fluid), two original stocks and forends, but only one set of locks. I guess you could call it a “Half a Pair, Plus One.” The case is odd, too. You don’t see a lot of Purdeys in French-fitted cases, or with such a wide array of accessories. This one even has ivory-handled tools.

12 bore J. Purdey, serial #10532
12 bore J. Purdey, serial #10532

Here’s more info on the gun from the auctioneer’s site:

A Purdey double-barrelled centerfire gun in its original case Provided with a set of three different pairs of barrels: the first one, damascened, with rib marked “J. PURDEY & SONS. 314 1/2, OXFORD STREET, LONDON”, stamped with Victorian marks at the lower part and the writings “13 IV”, “12 B” and “NOT FOR BALL”; the second pair, identical to the first one, but stamped “JP” at the lower part on top of the writings; the last pair, blued, with blue finishing, rib with same mark followed by “MADE OF SIR JOSEPH WHITWORTH’S FLUID-PRESSED STEEL.”, with remains of Victorian stamps and number “12” at the lower part. All smooth, 12 gauge barrels, 76 cm long. The locks and the receivers finely engraved with racemes and small floral motifs, hammers and trigger guards en suite; plates signed “J. PURDEY & SONS”, opening levers with blue blueing and mark “PATENT”. Also provided with two butts of different briarwood, both checkered at the neck and decorated with a gold plaque at the bottom, engraved with same monogram. The gun is complete with two fore-ends, one marked “STEEL BARRELS”. All components (butts included) marked with serial number “10532”. The metallic parts keep most of the original blueing. Kept in its original, wooden case, lined with red velvet and covered by leather, with transportation handle (damaged); complete with Purdey label and two more labels, one marked with the gun serial number. Complete with original tools, having ivory handles. The owner commissioned a research at the Purdry archives and found out that a double-barrelled gun cal. 12, number 10532 was made in 1879 for “Mr. Park”, with 30 inch barrels and a set of extra barrels.
dimensions: length 117,5

12 bore J. Purdey, serial #10532
12 bore J. Purdey, serial #10532

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.

The ugliest Purdeys ever?

In their 150+ year history, J. Purdey & Sons have made some of the finest and most beautiful double barrels ever, including guns like this express rifles and this side-by-side shotgun.

Ugly Purdey Shotgun
Ugly Purdey Shotgun

Unfortunately, Purdey has also made some stinkers. Here are two them: a pair of 12 gauges that just came up at Cabelas.

According to the listing, the guns are in new, unfired condition. Even though the guns look well made and the engraving is very nice, the coin-finished action, single gold trigger, and beavertail forend all add up to an ugly mess. It’s no wonder the owner never used them — he probably couldn’t stand the sight of them.

Nice vintage shotgun stuff on Ebay now…

The stuff that comes with vintage double barrel shotguns is almost as cool as the guns themselves. Leather cases, oil bottles, snap caps — they’re part of the history and magic of a vintage firearm.

W. Richards double barrel shotgun case on Ebay
W. Richards double barrel shotgun case on Ebay

Here are some interesting accessories that are Ebay now. One of them may be just right for your old side by side shotgun.

W. Richards Leather Case: W. Richards has been making double barrel shotguns since 1780. If you own one, this original case with label would be a great home for it.

J. Purdey 12 gauge Nickel Plated Snap Caps: The real thing, and essential if you own a Purdey shotgun. These appear to be in excellent shape.

Holland & Holland Pewter Oil Bottle & Snap Caps: Another essential case accessory. Make your H & H double barrel shotgun feel at home.

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