SOLD FOR: $9,505
Make: James Purdey & Sons
Model: Side by Side Shotgun
Serial Number: 20924
Year of Manufacture: 1913 (https://www.doublegunshop.com/dgsnos4.htm)
Gauge: 12, 2 1/2” Shells
Action Type: Side by Side, Internal Hammer, Top Break Shotgun with Dual Non-Selective Triggers, Ejectors and Beesley Self Opening Action.
Markings: The barrel set rib is marked “J. PURDEY & SONS. AUDLEY HOUSE. SOUTH AUDLEY STREET. LONDON. MADE OF SIR JOSEPH WHITWORTH’S FLUID-PRESSED STEEL”. The underside of both barrels are marked with the serial number and “H.T / S / CHOKE”, the flats on the forend catch are marked “47070” twice. The underside lug flats are marked with deeply struck illegible marks, with the following marks struck on either side of the lug catch: “12”, an armored arm holding a sword, crown over “V”, crown over scripted “P”, “12 / C” in diamond, “NITRO PROOF” / “1 1/8”. The forend latch is marked “FP”, the serial number and has an engraved rosette wheel. The water table of the frame is marked with two crown over “V” proofs. The upper tang is marked “SAFE” with gold filling. The frame, its components and the forend components have exceptional scroll and floral engraving, please see our pictures of this masterful work! The underside of the frame is marked “J. PURDEY & SONS / LONDON”, the lower tang is marked with the serial number. The belly of the stock has a metal insert that has not been engraved.
Barrel Length: 29” with tapered solid rib.
Choke: Left barrel: 0.710” (Modified), Right barrel: 0.731” (Negative restriction from Cylinder ((-0.05”))
Sights / Optics: This shotgun is mounted with a brass bead, screwed into the solid, tapered rib, which presents a smooth concave top. The rib measures 0.243” at the muzzle and 0.325” at the breech.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are a beautiful two piece Turkish walnut set. The splinter forend has exceptional fit to the metal fixtures with wrap-around checkering and diamond shaped borders. The stock shows some scattered scuff and compression marks, with a couple of small splinter losses at the upper right side, which go mostly unnoticed when installed to the barrel set, please see our pictures. The butt stock has a strait English wrist with wrap-around checkering and tear-drop shaped accents on the flanks of the wrist. The wood to metal fit is superb; the wood shows scattered scuff and compression marks, with notable marks on the belly, a few spots of compressed checkers and a thin un-filled crack from the back of the right side plate; there is a small sliver loss on the left side of the long tang. The drop at comb is 1 ½”, the drop at heel is 1 7/8”; the stock has a neutral cast. The LOP measures 13 ¾” from the front of the rear trigger to the back of the wood butt plate and 14 5/8” from the front of the forward trigger to the back of the plate. The butt plate is Turkish walnut with checkering on the face; the plate has some scattered compression and scuff marks on the flanks, with some very light compression to a few checkers. The stocks rate in about Fine Plus overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blued & Case Colored with Gold Filled “SAFE” Marking on the Upper Tang
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bores are bright; the right bore shows a shallow indentation that corresponds with a mark on the outside of the barrel. There is no erosion. We used a Manson wall thickness gauge, that gave us minimal readings of about 0.090″ on the left and 0.093″ on the right, 8″ back from the muzzle.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 92% of its metal finish. The balance of the finish shows some dulling to the color of the case colored frame; there is expected thinning on the barrel release lever and safety selector, with some handling wear on the underside of the frame and edges of the lower tang. There is some light patina forming on the frame, some scuffs through the finish on the underside of the barrel set, some small marks and thinning on the edges of the rib and the aforementioned compression on the right barrel, which translated to a small bump on the inside of the bore. There are other very light marks that go unnoticed until inspection with a magnifying glass. The belly of the stock has an oval metal tab insert that has not been engraved, showing evidence of the surface having been partially cleaned. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are crisp. Overall, this shotgun rates in about Fine Plus to Excellent condition; the shotgun would rate a solid “Excellent” condition but for the thin crack on the left side at the plate and bump in the barrel.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. This shotgun features a Beesley Self Opening Action (http://www.purdey.com/guns-rifles/side-by-side-guns/), dual non-selective triggers and ejectors. The shotgun weighs about 6lbs 7oz. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a brown leather-bound luggage case that shows scattered marks on the outer material; the case is missing one of the lower corner covers, with broken stitching still present; there is a black sharpie mark just above this; the lid has a brass plaque that is not engraved, showing some light scuffs. The case has a few notable scuff marks, please see our pictures. The inside of the case has a purple velvet lining with a “JAMES PURDEY & SONS, LTD. GUN / RIFLE MAKERS / AUDLEY HOUSE, SOUTH AUDLEY STREET, LONDON, W.” inner label that also has flanking crests, reading “By Appointment to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh”, which is a royal warrant to companies that have made product for the royal court. The case is in Very Good to Fine condition. Inside the case is a two piece wood and brass cleaning rod, small container made of bone, which holds two small cleaning jags, a shell extractor, two cleaning brushes, a bolt driver and larger brass cleaning jag. The tools show natural aging and some wear marks, rating in Fine condition, though the small polished bone container has a crack in the threaded lid. Also included is a black leather forend cover that reads “MADE IN ENGLAND / REAL LEATHER / J.PURDEY & SON / LONDON / 12G”, in gold leaf; some of the letters have faded slightly but are fully legible.
Our Assessment: This spectacular side by side was made in 1913 by James Purdey & Sons of London; VERY few shotguns come through the shop that drop jaws of the customer base and staff alike but this is one such example! The attention to detail in the fine engraving is simply unrivaled; the lines, fit and finish is exacting and one can see why these are some of the most sought after European shotguns ever made. The Turkish walnut stocks feature exquisite grain patterns and have scattered light marks with a few compression marks and a thin un-filled crack on the right side near the frame plate. The metal has about 92% of its finish remaining, the balance of the finish is expressed as expected handling wear; the case coloring has faded some but the tones are still visible to the naked eye. The right barrel has a compression that translated to a small bump on the bore, which barely registers with a pass of the hand. The shotgun comes in a J. Purdey leather-bound luggage case with scattered marks on the exterior, showing a well preserved interior and house label still attached on the inside of the lid. The case holds a two piece cleaning rod set, some cleaning gear, a polished bone container, some maintenance tools and a shell extractor. Rarely do firearms that are over 100 years old retain such condition but now is your opportunity to own a legend. Please see our pictures and good luck!