Amazing! What a pair of SxS Purdeys…

James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”

According to its name, a “Best” gun sounds like it should be the finest shotgun a gunmaker builds. But that’s not always the case. With some makers, there’s a grade above “Bests” — “Better Bests”, I guess.

Holland & Holland calls these Modele de Luxes. At James Purdey & Sons, they’re known as guns with “Extra finish“, and the pair of 12 gauge Purdey sidelocks you see here are just that.

Overall, guns with Extra Finish are built to the same level as the maker’s standard Best-quality guns (or maybe a bit better, in the case of this pair). But as you can see, their engraving is taken to the next level (here’s a standard Purdey).

James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”

These two may have been engraved by Ken Hunt (aka “The Godfather of Gun Engraving”), a British craftsman who worked at Purdey’s and learned his trade from Harry Kell. Along with the gorgeous engraving, the guns are beautifully made all around. Check out the metal-to-metal fit and the way the forend iron fits onto the action. Then look at those perfect drop points on the stock.

Does all this make them worth $125,000? Perhaps. Even with twice that much money, you would have a hard time duplicating the quality of these Purdeys today. Personally, I don’t think you could do it.

PURDEY BEST EXTRA FINISH SXS PAIR 12 GAUGE: THESE APPEAR TO BE KEN HUNT ENGRAVED #266XX BOTH GUNS ARE IDENTICAL AND HAVE BEEN USED ON ONE DRIVEN HUNT IN THE LATE 50S THESE CAME FROM ORIGINAL OWNER 28″ SELF OPENERS 008 AND 022 2 3/4 DOUBLE TRIGGER EJECTORS SPLINTER FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP CHECKERED BUTT MAKERS MOTOR CASE NEW CONDITION 6LBS 11 OZ X 2 1/8″ X 1 7/16″ X 14 1/4″. Price: $125,000

James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with "Extra Finish"
James Purdey & Sons, pair of 12 gauge sidelock SxS shotguns with “Extra Finish”

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com…

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST EXTRA FINISH O/U 20 GAUGE SHOTGUN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST EXTRA FINISH O/U 20 GAUGE SHOTGUN

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST EXTRA FINISH O/U 20 GAUGE SHOTGUN: KEN HUNT ENGRAVED 26″ VENT RIB 009 AND 024 3″ PROOFED SINGLE TRIGGER EJECTORS LARGE FOREARM PISTOL GRIP CHECKERED BUTT WITH ENGRAVED HEEL AND TOE PLATES NEW CONDITION IN MAKERS CASE  6LB 5 OZ X 2 1/4 X 1 3/4 X 14 3/8. Price: $150,000

Holland & Holland Royal 12 ga Side-by-Side shotgun
Holland & Holland Royal 12 ga Side-by-Side shotgun

Holland & Holland Royal 12 ga Side-by-Side shotgun: Pre-war Holland & Holland 12 ga. Royal, 30″ chopperlump barrels with concave game rib, choked improved cylinder and modified (.005/.015), 2-1/2″ chambers.  Automatic ejectors, double triggers, hidden third bite and auto safe.  Hand-detachable sidelock features gold cocking indicators and the traditional Holland & Holland acanthus engraving which remains sharp and crisp.  Splinter forend, the highly figured stock with half-round grip measures 1-1/2″ comb x 2-1/2″ heel x 15-1/2″ LOP over a buttplate.  Excellent overall condition, tight and on the face.  Weighs 6 lbs, 10 oz. with a forward bias, balancing just ahead of the hingepin.  A classic Holland best! Price: $21,900

Parker Brothers DHE Trap 12ga Shotgun 32" Vent Rib Full/Full
Parker Brothers DHE Trap 12ga Shotgun 32″ Vent Rib Full/Full

Parker Brothers DHE Trap 12ga Shotgun 32″ Vent Rib Full/Full: Gun remains in very good condition with case colors remaining in the protected areas: double trigger, ejectors, beavertail forearm, straight with 14 1/2″ LOP over a Silver’s red rubber pad, vent rib, right barrel has a .738″ bore with .040″ choke (FULL), left barrel has a .740″ bore with .045″ choke (FULL). Price: $6,495

20g Browning BSS Sidelock, 28" bbls, Double Triggers
20g Browning BSS Sidelock, 28″ bbls, Double Triggers

20g Browning BSS Sidelock, 28″ bbls, Double Triggers: 20ga., 28″ (Briley CT’s -5-, double triggers (rare), ejectors, fully handengraved R&S type on rich satin coin finished receiver,elegant long tang stock, 14 1/4″ LOP over 1″ solid pad also Browning vented pad, exotic piece of Belgium hand checkered walnut straight stock & forearm, luxury pigskin leather fitted case,6 lbs.4 ozs. 99% new. Price: $4,895

Ithaca NID Grade II 10ga 3 1/2" Magnum SxS Shotgun
Ithaca NID Grade II 10ga 3 1/2″ Magnum SxS Shotgun

Ithaca NID Grade II 10ga 3 1/2″ Magnum SxS Shotgun: Ithaca grade II 10ga 31/2″ magnum.32″ barrels choked full and full.Pistol grip stock,double triggers,extractors.Retains 30% of the original case colors and 95% of the original blue.Excellent bore with no dents or pitting.The stock is very sound with no cracks.The barrels are tight and on face to the action with the top lever slightly to the right of center.A very nice example of the Ithaca magnum for the collector or the shooter.Weighs 10-14.Built in 1933. Price: $3,995

Spring is almost here…

It’s been tough winter here in New England – long, gray, snowy. I’ve had just about enough of it. So I’m glad it’s over 60 degrees out today. The snow is melting away and the ice on the rivers is breaking up. I’m hoping to get my canoe in the water in a couple of weeks.

16 gauge Purdey Extra Finish double barrel shotgun, Kell engraved
16 gauge Purdey Extra Finish double barrel shotgun, Kell engraved

The robins are back in the Boston area, so the woodcock can’t be far behind. I usually find  woodcock in southern Maine towards the end of the March. They seem to work their way up the coast and I know a couple coverts that are right near the ocean.

James Julia’s is having their annual spring firearms auction on 3/14 & 3/15. I’ll be up at the preview next weekend, looking things over. I’m anxious to see this pair of 16 gauge Purdeys as well as this little 28 gauge Francotte.

16 gauge Purdey Extra Finish double barrel shotgun, Kell engraved
16 gauge Purdey Extra Finish double barrel shotgun, Kell engraved

The Purdeys should attract big-money attention from around the world. They’re all original, engraved by Harry Kell, and they have a solid provenance. It will be interesting to see what they bring. I think Julia’s estimate is too high. My guess is that they’ll hammer down for under $100,000. BTW: here’s another Purdey featuring Kell’s work.

The Souther Side-by-Side Spring Classic is coming up at the end of April. I’ve heard that this is a great event and I’m planning to attend this year. I hope to see a lot of nice, vintage double barrel shotguns, say hello to some folks, and do a little shooting. With a little luck, maybe I’ll find something really special like a W. & C. Scott Premier or a long barreled Grant hammergun.

The field trial season get going again in the northeast with the Southern New England Woodcock Championship on March 17th. I’m excited to get out and see some dogs run. I’m hoping to get my girl into at least one trial. She turned 8 this January, so I don’t think she’ll do all that well. But it’s fun to get out and try. And it’s always great to see folks. You can find out more about this trial and other upcoming events at this site.

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