Wow – an awesome Purdey Pigeon gun…

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE

When people talk about the very best shotguns, this is what they have in mind. The Purdey SxS you see here is one of the finest I’ve seen, and it’s in superb condition.

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE

This gun is a great example of what a true Best-quality shotgun should be. Overall, it has a distinct look — handsome and proud, but not gaudy or ostentatious. Metal-to-metal and metal-to-wood fit is as perfect as it gets, all around. The action and little things like the toplever are filed up beautifully. And the stock and forend are shaped and proportioned perfectly. And check out those drop points.

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE

Because it’s all original, this SxS is also a great example of how a gun from that period was finished. Look closely. See how the hinge pin, safety, and screw in the toplever are all a bright blue, while the toplever itself, as well as the triggerguard and forend iron are an inkier blue to almost black? Now see how the blueing on the barrels has turned a purplish hue over time. This mix of finishes is a big part of what makes these old, original shotguns so beautiful — and desirable.

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE

Also, check out how the action looks a bit dull and dirty overall. That’s because it was varnished when new to protect the color-case hardening. Much of that original varnish remains, and over the last 80+ years, it has yellowed a bit, picked up some grime, and lost its sheen.

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE

Made for live-pigeon shooting, it was built in in the 1930s — one of the best periods for British shotguns. As crazy as it seems, it’s gun #3 of at least a trio. Perhaps that’s why it was never used — the owner had two others just like it to go to first.

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE-WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE: #24XXX, 30″ SELF OPENING, CHOKED .041″ AND .041″, CHAMBERS 2 3/4″, DOUBLE TRIGGER, EJECTORS, SPLINTER FOREARM, ENGLISH GRIP, MAKER’S CASE, MINT ORIGINAL CONDITION, 7LBS 6 OZ, 2″ DAH, 1 9/16″ DAC, 14 3/4″ LOP. Price: $47,500

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST PRE WAR PIGEON GUN 12 GAUGE

Auction alert: a 10 gauge James Purdey & Sons double barrel shotgun…

10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns
10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns

Ten gauge Purdey shotguns are not very common, so when one pops up, it catches my attention. The one you see here is at Alex Cooper Auctioneers in Towson, MD, and it goes off today, September 28 @ 1:00 PM EST.

Interestingly, this one is nitro-proofed for 1 1/2 oz loads. That’s the same amount of lead than a 12g, 3 1/2″ shell throws. But a ten gauge does it better and throw better patterns because of its larger bore size. It’s also built to handle the recoil, so it will do less damage to you, and itself, when you pull the trigger.

10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns
10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns

James Purdey & Sons 10 gauge Double Barrel Sidelock SxS Shotgun: London, 1905, made on order of J. H. Smith, Tuxedo Park, NY; blued double barrel, 31 in. L.; engraved case-hardened frame; checkered burl walnut stock and forearm; with original case and several accessories (including barrel rods, cleaning tools, and loading tools). Estimate: $20,000 – $25,000

10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns
10 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel SxS Shotguns

Wow – a super nice 12 gauge Purdey double barrel Pigeon shotgun…

12 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel, SxS Shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel, SxS Shotgun

Before there was golf, there was pigeon shooting. At one time this game/sport was one of the most popular pastimes in America. Cities and towns across the country had clubs dedicated to pigeon shooting, and the local papers reported on the shoots like they were high school basketball games. Big money was won and lost at pigeon shoots and serious competitors had double barrel shotguns custom made for the game.

Today, most of the pigeon shooting clubs are gone. But many of the guns built for the ring are still around. With long barrels, tight chokes, a heavy proof, and a pretty high stock, the James Purdey side-by-side shotgun you see here may be one of those double barrels. It looks like it’s in fantastic original condition, and today it would be the perfect gun for sporting clays, high, driven pheasants, or to just check out and appreciate.

12 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel, SxS Shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel, SxS Shotgun

JAMES PURDEY & SONS – 12 ga.SIDELOCK EJECTOR SELF OPENING PIGEON GUN : 31’ BARRELS CHOKED 7/8 & FULL (.030/.045 ) – SIDE CLIPS & THIRD FASTENER – STRAIGHT HAND STOCK MEASURES 14 7/16” OVER PAD X 1 3/8” X 2” – PROOF IS 1 ¼” WITH 2 7/8” CHAMBERS – CASE COLOURS 75% – HAS RAISED MATTED PIGEON RIB – MADE IN 1926 – CASED IN ORIGINAL OAK & LEATHER . Price: $39,000.00

12 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel, SxS Shotgun
12 gauge James Purdey & Sons Double Barrel, SxS Shotgun

Big $$$$ for this 12 gauge Parker AAH Pigeon Gun…

12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

Well it happened. Yesterday, this highly anticipated 12 gauge Parker AAH Pigeon Gun hit the block. When the auctioneer smacked his gavel and called “Sold!”, the winning price was a stunning $25,500.00 or about $30,000 with the buyer’s premium.

This Parker AAH was made around 1895, and I think it was the fifth AAH that Parker made. Online, the pics and description of it were pretty pathetic. I’m guessing it must have checked out as very original, and it must have been impressive in hand, to bring that kind of money. I also wonder if there was something else about it that made it special — like maybe it was the first one made with Whitworth Fluid Steel barrels.

For comparison, here’s a later Parker AAHE (a AAH with Ejectors) that sold in Julia’s March 2013 auction:

EXCEPTIONAL PARKER BROS AAHE PIGEON GUN. SN 129747 – $31,625.00

Check out my original post and auction alert for this double to learn more about Parkers AAH-grade shotguns.

Auction alert: a 12 gauge Parker AAH Pigeon Gun…

12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

You read the headline right: The Thomas Hirchak Company in Williston, VT, is auctioning off this 12 gauge Parker AAH Pigeon Gun on Thursday, April 04, 2013. The action starts 10:00am Eastern, and I bet this Parker will be sold to the highest bidder by 11:30am.

This shotgun looks like the real deal: One of America’s finest shotguns in excellent condition. Here’s more info on the gun from the auctioneer:

 

12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

Lot #99: a 12 gauge Parker AAH Pigeon Gun: # 81026 (1895),  30″ bbl, Highly figured Stock, Single Trigger, highly & extensively engraved.

The finish on this AAH it looks pretty original. It was made in 1895, so the single trigger is a replacement. But it does  look like it could be a Parker single trigger. The barrels may be replacements. In 1895, AAH Parkers came with fine Damascus steel or Whitworth fluid steel barrels. So this side-by-side may have been made with damascus barrels and then had them changed to fluid steel bbls at a later date – maybe when the single trigger was added. If you really want to know, I would reach out to the folks at the The Parker Gun Collector’s Association for more information about the shotgun.

12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun, from the Parker Gun Collector’s site

Here’s a similar Parker AAHE (a AAH with Ejectors) that sold in Julia’s March 2013 auction:

EXCEPTIONAL PARKER BROS AAHE PIGEON GUN. SN 129747 – $31,625.00

Here’s more about the AAH grade from The Parker Gun Collector’s Association:

The Grade 7 is also called the AA grade. It was intended to appeal to the pigeon shooters. A total of 243 were made. Most were hammerless…Early AAH guns were marked “Pigeon Gun” on the top barrel rib. The first AA was seen about 1895 and at that time, it was Parkers highest grade. It sold for $400 in 1895…

The engraving on early AA guns tended to be deep chisel, but later the engraving became lighter in style…the stocks were made of the finest Circassian walnut…The stocks had a gold shield and gold pistol grip cap, and they were fitted with a skeleton butt plate as standard but recoil pads were an option. The barrels were made of the finest Damascus steel or Whitworth fluid steel…

12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge Parker Bros. AAH Pigeon Gun Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

 

The King of Pigeon Guns: a 12 gauge Woodward O/U…

12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun

Yesterday I wrote about the 20 gauge Woodward coming up in Julia’s fall 2012 auction. Today we’re going to talk about the 12 gauge Woodward that’s in the same sale.

This 12 gauge is an killer double, and in capable hands, it would be an absolute hammer in the pigeon rings. Made in 1927 for Florida real estate mogul Wade Harley, this O/U must have won its owner plenty money. One of its coolest features is unusual forend. It features a series of finger grooves, original to the gun and added by Woodward in London, designed to keep a shooter’s fore hand in a consistent position, shot after shot.

Check out all that original color case harding, too. From muzzle to butt, it’s just a plain awesome O/U.

EXCEPTIONALLY FINE AND RARE WOODWARD BEST SIDELOCK OVER-UNDER PIGEON GUN.

Finger grooves in the forend of the 12 gauge Woodward O/U
Finger grooves in the forend of the 12 gauge Woodward O/U

SN 6798. (1927) Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. 30″ Demi-bloc bbls mounted with matted, flat, ventilated rib fitted with two red target beads, are engraved “James Woodward & Sons. 64. St. James’s Street. London. England.” on left side of top bbl. Right side of top bbl and bottom bbl flat are stamped with SN and London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ chambers and the 1 1/4oz load. Bottom bbl is fitted with an extra loop, uncut for latch, to aid in recoil absorption. Robust, case hardened, deeply filed detonating, low profile action features automatic “T-safety” (SAFE inlaid in gold), double triggers, and gold line tumbler end cocking indicators. Action and lockplates are engraved in superb Woodward style with very finely cut small scrollwork with rose bouquet highlights. “J. Woodward & Sons” is roll scroll flanked at front of each lockplate. “Woodward’s” “Patent” “Under & Over” is on bottom. Scroll engraved trigger guard extends to grip cap with SN at grip. Robust, nicely marbled, and lightly figured Circassian walnut full capped pistol grip buttstock measures 14-7/8″ over leather-faced rounded Silver type pad, and features hard rubber grip cap, drop points, point pattern checkering with mullered borders, and a gold oval on bottom engraved “P”. Matching, one piece, 11″ long, semi-beavertail, ejector forend has finger grooves carved into sides to match the shooter’s hand with cutout areas stippled. (This feature is specified in factory records.)

12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun

Bore diameter: top -.730, bottom -.730. Bore restrictions: top -.033, bottom -.023. Wall thickness: top -.023, bottom -.024. Drop at heel: 2-3/8″, drop at comb: 1-7/16″. Weight: 8 lbs. 6 oz, LOP 14-7/8″. Included with gun are Abercrombie & Fitch hang tag and white bag containing A & F marked envelope with case keys, and wax paper wrapped pair of strikers, automatic safety slide and spring, and action rod. Woodward’s are well known for best quality guns and produced the O/U from 1913-1948, when Charles Woodward retired and sold the firm to Tom Purdey. From this point onwards, the Woodward gun replaced the old Edwinson Green based Purdey O/U and has been the gun offered by the firm from 1950 to the present. If you can’t beat ’em… buy ’em!

PROVENANCE: Factory records indicate that the gun was made in 1927 for Mr. Wade Harley. Wade was a prominent real estate developer who made a “fortune” in Florida’s real estate boom of the late 1920’s.

CONDITION: Excellent. Bbls retain essentially all of what appears to be orig blue, but is possibly an old London quality re-black. Action retains 50 – 60% orig case hardening color, fading on bottom, and silvered on beads and bolsters. Lockplates retain nearly all of their orig vivid color. Top lever and trigger guard retain 85 – 90% of their orig charcoal blue. Thumbpiece is slightly silvered, blue on trigger guard is thinning on grip. Buttstock retains nearly all of a glossy oil finish, most likely redone.  Edges are slightly rounded, some finish in checkering, wood well above metal. There is an incipient 3/8″ crack behind left lockplate, and a minor stress crack behind right. These hairlines are typical and should pose no repair problems. Forend finish appears to be original, with slight wear to checkering. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout, with no visible imperfections. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Bottom ejector will not trip (broken spring). Tag is good. Safety parts are fine.Some minor repairs will make this rare Pigeon gun the “Lord of the Ring”. 4-46136 MGM156 (30,000-45,000)

 

 

Great guns at Julia’s: James Woodward Over & Under shotguns…

20 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun

The over-and-under shotguns made by James Woodward & Sons are some of the finest double barrels ever created. Introduced in 1913 and then significantly improved in 1921, the Woodward-patent O/U was offered right until the company was bought by Jame Purdey in 1948 and Woodward turned out right around 225 of them in all, with 118 in 12 gauge & 61 in 20 gauge.

Julia has two of these James Woodwards O/Us–a 12g & a 20g–in their upcoming fall 2012 firearms auction. Both of these are the fully improved, later models and they’re probably one of a kind.

20 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun

The 20 gauge has two unique features that make it special: original 28″ barrels and an original Boss-patent single trigger. That combo makes it an exceptionally desirable shotgun.

VERY FINE 20 GAUGE PREWAR WOODWARD OVER-UNDER GAME GUN

20 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun
20 gauge James Woodward & Sons Over/Under Double Barrel Shotgun

SN 6950. (1931) Cal. 20 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. Desirable 28″ Demi-bloc bbls with solid, matted rib fitted with red beads, are engraved “James Woodward & Sons. 64. St. James’s Street. London. England.” on left side of top bbl. Right side is stamped with proofs, as is breech area of bottom bbl. Both are stamped with SN and London nitro proofs for 20 ga. 1 oz shot and 2-3/4″ chambers. Scaled down, beautifully sculpted, case hardened, low profile, sidelock action features automatic safety (SAFE inlaid in gold) with Woodward’s typical T-shaped safety slide, reinforcing bolsters, gold band tumbler end cocking indicators, and Boss single non-selective trigger (trigger plate engraved “Boss’s Patent No 22894”). The Boss trigger was the finest of its kind and coveted by London makers. Action and lockplates are engraved with exceptionally well cut small shaded scroll with floral bouquet highlights in “Best” London style. “J. Woodward & Sons.” is in roll scroll flanked oval device at front of each lockplate, and “Woodward’s” “Patent.” “Under & Over” on bottom of action. Small bow, single beaded, scroll engraved trigger guard has SN at tip of grip. Very fine, beautifully marbled, slightly stump figured Circassian walnut semi-pistol grip buttstock measures 14-5/8″ over checkered wood butt with scalloped steel engraved heel and toe plates, and features well shaped drop points and 26 LPI flat top point pattern checkering with mullered borders. A gold oval on toe line is engraved “G.P.” Matching single piece ejector forend has Anson release.

Bore diameter: top -.615, bottom -.615. Bore restrictions: top -.003, bottom -.003. Wall thickness: top -.022, bottom -.022. Drop at heel: 2-9/16″, drop at comb: 1-5/16″. Weight: 6 lbs. 2 oz, LOP 14-5/8″. Included with gun are an Abercrombie & Fitch hang tag with specifications, and plated striker bottle SNed to gun, containing a pair of spare strikers, and mainspring for right lock.

PROVENANCE: Factory records indicate that it was completed in 1931 for Dr. C. H. Ernlunds.

CONDITION: Very fine. Bbls retain nearly all of a very fine London quality re-black. Action retains a considerable amount of orig case hardening color in protected areas, but is mostly a bright hand worn silver. Lockplates retain 30 – 40% fading orig case hardening color, left lock being strongest. Top lever and safety retain most of their orig charcoal blue, trigger guard nearly all of a re-blue. Iron retains most of its orig blue. Screw slots show some use. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny throughout, with no visible imperfections. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in perfect time. Trigger works flawlessly. Hang tag is very fine. Striker bottle is excellent. A fine small bore “Best” O/U, of a pattern still built today by James Purdey & Son, having scrapped all of their previous designs once they acquired Woodwards in 1948. 4-46137 MGM155 (35,000-55,000)

http://jamesdjulia.com/auctions/catalog_detail_shots.asp?Details=46137&sale=327&lot=2356

 

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