Make: James Purdey
Model: Converted Double Rifle
Serial Number: 7846
Year of Manufacture: 1868 (Per James Purdey & Sons, Ltd.)
Gauge: .410 Gauge, Approximately 2 ½” Chamber
Action Type: Side by Side, External Hammers, Long Guard Under-Lever, Top Break Shotgun with Extractor
Markings: The top of the barrel rib is marked “JAMES PURDEY 314 1/2 OXFORD ST LONDON”. The top of the receiver between the hammers is marked “PATENT”. The bottom of the lever between the trigger guard and the ring is marked “7846”. Each lock plate is marked “PURDEY”. The barrel flat has crown over “CP”, crown over “V” and London proof marks. The water table has two very faint “V” marks, presumably crown over “V”. The receiver, lock plate and tangs have engraving similar to C-quality engraving pictured on plate 48 of “Purdey Gun & Rifle Makers” by Dallas.
Barrel Length: 24”
Choke: Both bores are Cylinder, fixed.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass bead at the front of the rib. There is a dovetail with a blank installed at the rear of the rib.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered walnut with splinter bar-secured forend with an ebony nosecap, straight grip, straight comb, split steel buttplates at the heel and toe with checkered wood between (please see photos), an unmarked initial plate on the toe-line and a sling stud just in front of the plate (the other sling stud is mounted to the bottom of the rib in front of the forend. The forend has scattered light wear with a bruise on the bottom-center toward the front. The buttstock has several scattered light compressions, drag lines and a couple of bruises, including one in the checkering on the butt. The LOP measures 14 1/8” and 13 1/4″ from the fronts of the triggers to the back of the butt. The plates are mostly worn to white with scattered light freckling. The plates are in about Very Good condition as Antique. The stocks rate in about Very Good overall condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case-Color
Finish Originality: Refinished
Bore Condition: The bores are bright. There is no erosion in the bores.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 60% of its metal finish. The barrels have a few scattered light impact marks, light wear and some finish going to a very light patina. The receiver, lockplates, hammers and top tang are mostly worn to white with case-color remaining on the water table, on the top between the hammers and under the lever. The bottom tang/trigger plate has strong finish interrupted by scattered light freckling, wear from the lever and a couple of other spots of light wear. The lever has mostly strong finish with light freckling and light handling wear on the rear portion. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The pin heads are unmarred. The knurling on the hammers and the lever is well defined. The markings are shallow and faint, though the rib markings are well legible. Overall, this shotgun rates in about Very Good condition as refinished Antique.
Mechanics: The firing pins strike low, off-center far enough that they likely will not ignite a primer. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The barrels lock up with no play to the receiver. The hammers each have a manual slidiing safety which can only be engaged when the hammers are at half-cock. 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: This shotgun comes with 249 shells of Lyalvale 2″ #8 Shot .410 cartridges and a copy of “Purdey Gun & Rifle Makers: The Definitive History” by Donald Dallas, number 1599 of 3000 signed editions. The cartridges appear to be in good shape with no damage or evidence of moisture observed on the shells in the three boxes which are not sealed. Seven boxes are still sealed. The book has light storage wear on the cover with no notable wear or damage to the pages, in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: For more than two centuries, the name Purdey has been synonymous in the gun world with style, class and, above all, quality. The firm was established in 1816 and continues to produce some of the finest, hand-made firearms in the world. This example was originally produced by Purdey in 1868 as a 20 bore double rifle, according to our correspondence with the company, and has since been re-bored as a .410 bore shotgun. With its beautfully engraved locks and receiver, long-guard bottom lever and gorgeous stocks, it is unmistakeably a Purdey and still locks up tight 150 years later. It is sure to still be a fine gun, but like many Purdeys these days, we suspect that this will take a prized place in a collection where it can be passed down through the family. Coming with both the definitive history of Purdey as well as a case of shells (minus one!), this is sure to please the collector, the shooter, and especially the shooting collector. Please see our pictures and good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This Antique shotgun can be transferred in California.