Frederick Beesley (From Purdey’s),
2 St James’s Street, London
12 bore Back Action Sidelock Ejector no. 1237.

Date of manufacture: 1891

Click on these images for more detail.


Heritage Guns' Comment

Frederick Beesley needs little introduction having in the late 1800’s designed and patented several important and unique mechanisms for the London guntrade, not least the famous self-opening action produced by James Purdey right up to the present day. The gun we have here was produced some 10 years later than the patent that Purdey purchased and it is interesting that Beesley has here used a design, complete with ejectors and lock work, from that famous ‘Gunmaker to the Trade’ Thomas Southgate.
Southgate’s patent covers his famous ejector, interceptor sears, ejector trip and bridle design.
The gun was rebarrelled in 1980 and restocked probably around the same time. Both are professional, good quality replacements but we know not by whom. With its well figured replacement walnut stock, replacement steel barrels and sensitive restoration, this shotgun would make an excellent gun for both game and clays.


The action is of Thomas Southgate’s design and features:
Double triggers bolted by an automatic top tang safety slide;
10 pin Back action locks with interceptor sears;
Top lever operating a Purdey bolt via a Scott Spindle;
Top rib extension 3rd bite;
Roger’s cocking levers;
Southgate ejectors;
Anson pushrod forend catch.
Gun weight
6lb 7oz.
Engraving style
Best Bouquet & Foliate Scroll. Toplever engraved ‘PATENT’ in an oval.
Fences chiselled with Acanthus Leaves in relief. Flashes of Foliate Scroll on breech ends.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The replacement steel barrels (in 1980) are 28" in length, chambered for 2 ” (70mm) cartridges and are of brazed 'dovetail' lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib is of
smooth, concave, game type. The bores are clean and free of pitting.
Birmingham re-proof for 70mm nitro cartridges in 2018.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9"
from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction

Right Barrel

18.6mm (0.732")
0.012" (IC)

Left Barrel

18.6mm (0.732")
0.026" (IM)

Replacement Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from well figured walnut. The stock is cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a vacant white metal oval, well defined drop points and is finished with a ” leather covered recoil pad.  The forend is fitted with a finely engraved steel tip.

Well Figured Walnut

The 22 approx. lines per inch chequering is freshened to its original sidelock pattern.
The stock is finished with a traditional linseed oil based preparation as used on best guns by one of the top English makers. This finish uses no grain fillers to achieve its deep, smooth lustre, only many hours of alternate build and flatting off of the surface.

Approximate stock measurements at date of publication:

Pull to Heel
Pull to Bump
Pull to Centre
Pull to Toe
15 1/8"
15 1/16"
15 3/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 7/16"
1 11/16"
2 3/8"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off at Heel
1/16" (approximate)
1/4" (approximate)

For the purposes of these measurements, 'Drop at Face' is the 'drop' measurement taken on a line perpendicular to the
line joining the trigger and centre of the butt at approximately 8" from the trigger (front trigger on a double trigger gun).

Patents Exhibited include:
Roger's cocking levers patent no 397 of 1882;
Southgate’s lockwork, ejector & ejector trip patent no 12314 of 1889;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
Scott's top extension patent no. 1902 of 1875;
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;
Anson forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.