James Purdey & Sons,
Audley House, South Audley Street, London
12 bore Bar Action, Self-opening Sidelock Ejector
No. 15960,     No. 2 of a Pair
Date of manufacture: 1897


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Heritage Guns' Comment

The Beesley patent self-opening action as manufactured by Purdey needs no introduction. It has become a by-word for very best quality gun design and gunmaking throughout the world and has remained in production from its conception in 1880 to the present day.
This gun was made just before the turn of the C19th and is in startlingly high condition for its age which says a lot about the workmanship that went into it. What is more unusual about it is that it was made as a ‘B Quality’. Contrary to what some ill-informed people have stated, Purdey’s ‘B Quality’ guns were made entirely in-house and up to the standard of their Best stable-mates but with less adornment so that they could be retailed at a discount for a price-sensitive client.
In confirmation of this, the action & forend and many other small parts are stamped ‘WN’ for Wesley Nobbs, a Purdey staff actioner.
Thus we have a full self-opening sidelock ejector, utilising all the standard mechanism of the Best gun but with a more open engraving pattern. It was fitted with chopperlump, Whitworth Fluid Pressed Steel barrels and a gorgeous piece of wood.
Sadly the barrels had been lapped to excess at some time and we had no choice but to TIG sleeve them. We took this opportunity to chamber them for 2 ” ammunition and had Teague long series, thin-wall interchangeable chokes fitted, as are now available for new Purdey guns. This has made the gun compatible with normal pressure steel loads providing one doesn’t exceed UK half choke (US – Mod). 
It is rare to find a true antique Purdey self-opener in such fine condition and with its freshly TIG sleeved barrels, it would make a fabulous gun for either targets or game.
Presented in a relined, oak & leather case with its Maker’s labels, spare Teague chokes and some named accessories including a striker pot containing spare strikers.


The action is of Beesley’s self-opening SLE design and features:
Baraction, 9 pin locks with arrow cocking indicators and interceptor sears;
Sprung disc-set strikers with vented disc retainers;
Top lever operating a Purdey Bolt by way of a Scott Spindle;
Double triggers bolted by an automatic top tang safety slide;
Wem’s patent ejectors tripped by rods sliding in the bar of action
and Anson's push rod forend catch.
Gun weight 7lb 1oz    
Engraving style
Very Best Fine Scroll. Under-bar engraved ‘PURDEY PATENT’.
Forend iron and toplever engraved ‘2’. Gold inlaid ‘SAFE’.
Much original hardening colour. Breech face and barrel flats stamped ‘B Quality’.
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 lbs, Rear trigger 4 lbs.
The TIG sleeved Whitworth steel barrels are 30" in length, chambered for 2 3/4" (70mm) cartridges and are of chopperlump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Fitted with Teague thin-wall, interchangeable chokes.
Top rib is of the smooth, concave game type.
Birmingham reproof
for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2020.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
18.4mm (0.724")
4 x Teague interchangeable chokes
Left Barrel
18.4mm (0.724")
0.005", 0.010", 0.020", 0.030"

The Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly figured walnut. The stock is lightly cast-off for a right-handed shot, features a vacant white metal oval, well-defined drop points and is finished with a 1” leather covered recoil pad. The forend features a finely engraved steel forend tip.

Highly Figured Walnut

Approximate stock measurements at date of publication:

Pull to Heel
Pull to Bump
Pull to Centre
Pull to Toe
14 5/8"
14 3/4"
14 3/4"
15 1/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 9/16"
1 3/4"
2 1/16"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/8" approx.

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:
Beesley’s self-opening action patent no 31 of 1880;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;
Wem's ejectors patent no. 3100 of 1888;
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.