Auction alert: a stunning 12 gauge Tula-made “Russian Purdey” double barrel…

12 gauge Tula MC-11, double barrel, side-by-side Russian Purdey, presented to
12 gauge Tula MC-11, double barrel, side-by-side Russian Purdey

The Russians are not known for shotguns. Even though they’ve made huge contributions to the military arms world, they’ve had little impact on  high-quality doubles. But that doesn’t mean the Russians have never made great a great side-by-side. In fact, the two you see are fantastic doubles, and they’re right up there with some the finest shotguns in the world.

These side-by-sides were made by the Tula Arms Plant (Tulsky Oruzheiny Zavod), a Russian weapons manufacturer founded in 1712 by Tsar Peter I of Russia. The company is still around , and they’re still turning out double shotguns, including this model which is the ancestor of the two below.

From what I’ve been told, Tula made side-by-sides int he 1950s to supply the Soviets with shotguns for the ’52 Olympics. The company produced two models, including one based on Purdey’s famous Beesley-actioned side by side. After the Olympics, the company continue making these side-by-sides on a limited basis (the Olympic shooters had switched over to Tula-made O/Us).

This first one is coming up at Gaving Gardiner’s upcoming spring 2013 sale. Here’s the info on the shotgun from his site:

Lot 171: TULA. A RARE AND HISTORIC 12-BORE “RUSSIAN PURDEY” SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR GUN, NO. 7340, PRESENTED TO HAROLD MACMILLAN BY PRESIDENT KHRUSHCHEV ON HIS HISTORIC VISIT IN 1959
29 3/8-inch chopper-lump barrels with 2 3/4-inch chambers, about full and extra full choke borings, mid extension, the breeches lined with gold, solid machined rib, the frame, locks and top lever with bouquet and scroll engraving and retaining all of their original hardening colour, with further outline gold inlaid detail, the date “1957” inlaid on the action base, the fences carved with further scrollwork, gold cocking indicators, articulated front trigger, 14 1/2-inch figured stock with inset gold plaque bearing presentation inscription, 7lb. 9oz., Russian nitro proof, in its maker’s presentation case with leather outer cover

The gun appears unused. Built to Purdey specification by the state Tula Armoury, the gun is one of a limited number produced for high ranking officials and presentation to overseas leaders.

The gun was presented to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan by Nikita Khrushchev during the historic 1959 visit to Moscow at the height of the Cold War. It is of superb quality and is exquisitely finished with a presentation gold plaque set in to the stock and it remains unused in its original presentation case. Inscription on plaque reads:

“The gun was presented to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan by Nikita Krushchev during the historic 1959 visit to Moscow at the height of the Cold War,” says auctioneer Gavin Gardiner.

Estimate: £20000-30000 ($30,000- $45,000)

For comparison, here’s a similar TULA that appeared on the market in 2009:

12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun

Lot: 1168. TULA ARSENAL MC-11 BEESLEY SELF-OPENING ACTION PIGEON GUN WITH CASE (A RUSSIAN PURDEY). SN 631093. Cal. 12 Bore. 2-3/4″ Chambers. This gun, the subject of an article in “American Rifleman” by Roger Barlow, has 29-1/2″ chopper lump bbls with raised, matted, flat pigeon rib, with 3 gold bands at breech. Bbl flats have Russian proofs, and SN. Robust action, built on Beesley’s self-opening patent, as were most all best quality Purdey hammerless guns since 1880, features non-automatic safety, gold-plated double triggers (front articulated), bushed strikers, and hidden third fastener. Action and lockplates are engraved with background of well cut scroll, with relief vignettes of game animals and dogs; a pair of moose on bottom of action; pair of pointers and pheasants on right lockplate; pair of setters and quail on left lockplate. Fences are high relief carved with grape and grape-leaf design. Top lever has matching grape leaves. All of this work is surrounded and accented by gold inlaid border with scroll terminations. Blued trigger guard with matching embellishment depicts a pair of woodcock in flight. SN is inlaid in gold on tang. Fiddleback figured, light honey blond European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 14-1/2″ over checkered wood butt, and features drop points, and 24 LPI point pattern checkering with mullered borders. Matching splinter forend has Anson release, and contains unusual ejector system. Bore diameter: left -.729, right -.729. Bore restrictions: left -.048, right -.038. Wall thickness: left -.034, right -.037. Drop at heel: 2-5/8″, drop at comb: 1-3/16″. Weight: 8 lbs. 3.5 oz, LOP 14-1/2″. Leather case has leather corners. Interior is lined in wine colored cloth, with Abercrombie & Fitch leather label, and contains a pair of snap caps. Accompanied by an issue of “American Rifleman” dated Feb. 1973; and a copy of “Treasury of Sporting Guns,” both of which feature this fine shotgun.

12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun

CONDITION: Excellent. Bbls retain virtually all of their original blue. Action retains 90% of its case color, silvering on bottom beads, and tips of fences. Lockplates retain virtually all of their case color. Trigger guard and top lever are silvering very slightly on sharp edges. Stock retains virtually all its oil finish. Action is tight. Bbls are on face. Ejectors are in time. Bores are excellent, bright and shiny with no visible imperfections. Case is near new. A meticulously crafted and finished gun, workmanship of the highest order. Sold for $17,250.00.

12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun
12 gauge Tula MC-11 Soviet made, Beesley action, Russian Purdey, double barrel shotgun

London auction alert – 4/18: an E.M. Reilly sidelock ejector…

On Gavin Gardiner’s April 18th Spring Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns, I’ve saved the best for last. This E.M Reilly may just be the sleeper of the sale.

12 gauge E.M. Reilly double barrel shotgun at Gavin Gardiner's
12 gauge E.M. Reilly double barrel shotgun at Gavin Gardiner's

Lot 180: E. M. Reilly & Co. 12-bore sidelock ejector, No. 33922
30-inch damascus barrels with 2 1/2-inch chambers, about improved cylinder and full choke boring, doll’s head extension, the frame, back action bar lock and top lever with bouquet and scroll engraving and retaining much original hardening colour, 14 3/4-inch well figured stock, 6lb. 9oz., nitro proof. Bores/walls: Rt: 734/26 & Lt: 736/26. Estimate: £1,800-2,400

Pros: Looks like it could be very original. Good bores, good walls, damascus bbls, excellent maker, nice weight.

Cons: Not sure of the quality of the gun – would have to see more pics. Wood & bbls could be refinished, same with toplever & triggerguard. Again, would have to see more pics.

This is the kind of double that makes me drool. It’s probably from around 1890 -1895 and it has that great vintage look. It looks like it has escape the British refinish mill, too.

 

London auction alert, 4/18: Henry Atkin sidelock…

Here’s another lot at Gavin Gardiner’s April 18th Spring Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns that caught my eye.

Henry Atkin Opening sidelock ejector double barrel shotgun
Henry Atkin Opening sidelock ejector double barrel shotgun

Lot 179: Henry Atkin self-opening 12-bore sidelock ejector, N0. 3296

Catalog info: 29-inch chopper lump barrels with 2 1/2-inch chambers, about 1/4 choke boring, the frame, locks and top lever with border engraving and retaining much original hardening colour, 14 3/4-inch well figured stock including 1/2-inch extension, 6lb. 9oz., nitro proof, leg-of-mutton case. Bores/walls: Lt: 735/25 & Rt: 738/22. Estimate: £4,000-6,000

Pros: Appears to be an Atkin Spring Opener    (built on a Beesley action), lots of original color on the action, unusual engraving pattern.

Cons: Big bores, marginal walls in right barrel, stock extended and probably refinished, barrels probably reblacked.

Henry Atkin opened his own gunmaking business in 1877. In 1907 he introduced his self-opening double. From the Atking, Grant & Lang website: “The gun is essentially the Beesley/Purdey 1880 patent spring-cocking mechanism, with alterations to the ejector system and cocking pads to make the gun easier to close. Many aficionados believe this the very best of the self-opening side-locks; giving the advantages of the self-opener without the stiffness associated with the Beesley design upon closing.”

 

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