Unusual: a 12 gauge Purdey with original ‘Black Finish’…..

12g James Purdey & Sons shotgun, original Black Finish on action
12g James Purdey & Sons shotgun, original Black Finish on action

James Purdey & Sons is famous for their custom made shotguns. Every shotgun or rifle they produce is “bespoke”, and customers can order their guns in just about any configuration they desire – and can afford. Most variations have to do with stock configurations, barrel length, gun weight, chamber lengths, etc.

But customers can also order specific finishes on their guns. In the case of the Purdey you see here, the customer requested that the action feature a unique “Black Finish.” Completed in 1945 for a Baron Petitt, this gun is a 12 gauge made for 2″ shells. It’s coming up at Holt’s 3/20 sale.

Lot 1447 J. PURDEY & SONS : A 12-BORE (2IN.) SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 25655: 28in. Whitworth-steel nitro chopperlump barrels, rib engraved ‘J. PURDEY & SONS. AUDLEY HOUSE. SOUTH AUDLEY STREET. LONDON. ENGLAND. MADE OF SIR JOSEPH WHITWORTH’S FLUID PRESSED STEEL.’, the left tube engraved ‘ENGLAND’, the short rib gold-inlaid ‘2″ CASE’, 2in. chambers, bored approx. imp. cyl. and 1/2 choke, right wall at 18, self-opening action with removable striker discs, automatic safety with gold-inlaid ‘SAFE’ detail, cocking-indicators, best fine acanthus scroll and floral bouquet engraving, retaining much original black finish, 14 1/2in. stock with sling eye, weight 5lb. 8oz.

12g James Purdey & Sons shotgun, original Black Finish on action
12g James Purdey & Sons shotgun, original Black Finish on action
12g James Purdey & Sons shotgun, original Black Finish on action
12g James Purdey & Sons shotgun, original Black Finish on action

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8 thoughts on “Unusual: a 12 gauge Purdey with original ‘Black Finish’…..

  1. Interesting gun, BUT read the text “right wall at 18″…This likely means a thin barrel…Might not be in proof.

    Just a friendly reminder to ALWAYS get a condition report over the phone / via email with detailed bore and wall thickness measurements.

    And always ask if the gun is in proof.

    Gun collecting is more than just buying stuff…Make sure you remove the element of surprise. More budding enthusiasts get put off of collecting by not knowing the facts before they pull the trigger, so to speak!


  2. Very true. The auctioneer has the bores at .731 in both tubes, and min walls at 18 and 23.

    The auction is in the UK, so the gun has to be in proof.

    I’ve seen a few other 2″, 12 bore Purdeys with thin bbls and good bores. Makes me think the bbls were struck pretty thin from the start.


  3. You are correct about the being in proof as a prerequisite for sale in the UK, but you know how things can go these days…Better to do as you did and get the measurements. Those thin walls always send up a red flag (at least for me they do).

    You gonna buy it?

    I like the bar in wood H&H 28!

  4. I agree on the walls – that’s too thin for me. Even though I bet they were made pretty thin, I would want a bit more metal for that much money.


  5. Thin walls are not really a danger if they are thin past where the barrels begin to swamp…However, they dent very easily and can be virtually impossible to repair.

    Had a buddy with a nice Fox DE. Had .021 on one of the barrels. Foolishly laid it up against the side of a truck after a bird hunt – dog knocked it and it slid over and hit the space between the tailgate and rear quarter panel putting a nasty crease midway up the barrels…Couldn’t be honed and the pushing out of the dent resulted in a very noticeable and unsightly scar.

    I generally use .025 as my minimum allowable thickness. Most of my guns are great big water fowling / Pigeon doubles with oodles of wall thickness..Yes, I’m a Neanderthal and like 8+ pound guns! LOL

  6. That’s a good guideline. Too bad the Brits love to reblack their bbls and polish their bores so much. It makes it hard to find old English stuff with walls that thick.


  7. Yes, the Brits have done their share of re-blacking over the years and understandably so given their climate.

    It has been said that the best British guns are in the US and I’ll have to agree.


  8. I agree with that, too. The annual ritual of strip, clean, polish, and reblack has ruined the bbls on countless British doubles.

    It does keep the gunmakers and gunsmiths in business, though.


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