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.
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.
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.
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.
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