This shotgun is just plain strange. It’s a 12 gauge Boss & Co. side-by-side built on a Purdey/Beesley self-opening action, and it’s coming up in Holt’s Fine Modern & Antique Guns auction on Thursday 16th March 2017.
Purdey patented the Beesley hammerless self-opening action in 1880. By the time this Boss was built (1908), that patent had expired. So Boss was free to build this gun without paying Purdey s single cent in licensing fees. But that doesn’t mean Boss went ahead and did it.
The Beesley action is difficult to make and nothing like the action Boss uses on its side-by-sides. So rather than manufacture this gun themselves, I think Boss had Purdey (Purdey’s outworkers) do it for them. Here’s why:
- While the action is filed up like a Boss, the fences look like they belong on a Purdey
- The toplever, tail of the topstrap, and safety looks more Purdey than Boss
- The screws securing the locks to the action are a hybrid of Purdey & Boss styles
- The action features striker discs and firing-pin retaining screws. Boss didn’t add these to SxSs they made until the late ’20s
- It looks like it has Purdey ejectors
A RARE BOSS &CO 12-BORE ‘PURDEY-ACTION’ SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR, serial no. 5633, with extra barrels: Original Whitworth-steel 30in. nitro chopperlump barrels, rib engraved ‘BOSS & CO. 73 ST. JAMES’S STREET. LONDON.’ and gold-inlaid ‘1’ at the breech end, tubes engraved ‘SIR JOSEPH WHITWORTH’S PRESSED FLUID STEEL’, 2 1/2in. chambers, bored approx. true cyl. in both, rib slightly loose, right wall at 18; extra 28in. unsigned nitro barrels (by another), 2 1/2in. chambers, bored approx. imp. cyl. and 1/2 choke; self-opening action with removable striker discs, toplever gold-inlaid ‘1’, gold-inlaid cocking-indicators, best fine acanthus scroll engraving with floral bouquets, retaining traces of original colour-hardening, 14 3/8in. figured stock, weight 6lb. 7oz. (original barrels) and 6lb. 9oz. (extra barrels), in a brass-cornered oak and leather case with provision for the 30in. barrels only, the extra 28in. barrels in a canvas leg of mutton slip. Estimate £7,000-9,000
Provenance: The makers have kindly confirmed that the gun was completed on the 26th August 1908 as No.1 of a pair of ‘Purdey Action’ guns for an Edward Bunbury.