James Purdey, 314 ½ Oxford Street,
bore Back-action Hammergun
No's 8521 & 8522
Year of manufacture: 1871
Click on these images for more detail.
This pair of hammerguns are a very rare thing in that they have
never apparently been broken up nor lost their original case,
complete with original charge label. Hammerless pairs of the late
C19th can quite often be found together but as hammerguns were
superseded, they were almost invariably split up and sold on or
gifted to employees and impecunious relations. One reason may have
been that No. 1 had suffered a burst RH barrel, long before
sleeving had been invented, and the cost of rebarrelling would
probably have been considered uneconomical. Put to the back of the
gun cabinet as unusable and valueless, it was probably forgotten
and the No. 2 gun kept for old times’ sake and the odd day out.
Anyway, this fluke of history is a godsend for lovers of
Apart from No. 1’s burst barrel, No. 2 was not
in a good way either: the barrel walls were thin and pitted so in
order to maintain the two as a matched pair, we opted to have them
sleeved together so balance, weight etc could be best maintained.
Both guns now balance exactly on their hinge pins and there is
only 2oz difference in total weight.
Prior to reproof, both guns had laser-welded repairs to erosion
damage on their RH breech striker hole.
The engraving is beautifully crisp
on all the hard metal which is testimony to the high quality of
Purdey's hardening and there are substantial traces of original
hardening colour in protected areas. Both guns carry their
delicious, original French walnut stocks and forends, with 14 7/8"
LOP’s including 3/4" leather covered recoil pads.
excellent MWT’s and 2 ¾” nitro reproof, these guns are compatible
with modern CIP Standard Steel loads and as such present an almost
unique opportunity for the lover of hammerguns to have a true,
travelling pair unencumbered by the complexity of ejectors, safety
slides or auto-cocking mechanisms.
Presented in their relined,
original Oak & Leather double case with some cleaning and
reloading accessories, original charge card and a digital reproduction
Only where the two guns differ have we listed their individual
specifications and features below.
Fantastic value for such a rare pair of guns at $24950
On Consignment in USA with MacNab Fine Firearms
two of James Purdey’s iconic designs,
the Purdey Bolt and Island
Locks, and feature:
Back action ‘Island’,
High ‘Dolphin’ hammers;
Top levers operating a 'Purdey Bolt' by way of a Scott
Finely carved percussion fences & Rounded bar;
Cross-bolt, or ‘Wedge’, forend fasteners.
Both guns balance
exactly on their hinge pins.
Gun weights 7lb 3oz (1), 7lb
Engraving style Best foliate scroll.
engraved ‘PATENT’ and under-bar engraved ‘PURDEY’S PATENT’.
flats engraved ‘No. 1’ & ‘No. 2’, top ribs engraved ‘1’ & ‘2’.
Forends stamped with their gun's serial number.
measure approximately: Front trigger 3 ½ lbs (1), 3 ¼ (2) Rear
trigger 4 ½ lbs (both)
The TIG sleeved damascus to steel barrels
are 30" in length,
chambered for 2 ¾" (70mm) cartridges and are of
brazed 'dovetail' lump construction
with soft soldered ribs. Top
rib is of a smooth, concave type.
Birmingham reproof for
70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2021.
Approximate barrel measurements
at date of publication:
Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
0.032"(1) / 0.036"(2)
0.036"(1) / 0.037"(2)
The original Straight Hand Stocks and Splinter Forends
are crafted from highly figured walnut. The stocks are lightly
cast-off for a right handed shooter, feature vacant silver ovals and
are finished with a 3/4" leather covered recoil pads. The stock of No.
1 has some small, barely visible repairs to the edges bordering the
lock plates. The forends are retained by cross-bolt, or wedge,
fasteners and are fitted with finely engraved metal tips. There is one
small wood inlet to No. 1’s forend edge and two inlets to No. 2’s.
The approx. 20 lines per inch chequering
has been freshened to its original back lock design.
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.
measurements at date of publication:
Pull to Heel
Pull to Bump
Pull to Centre
Pull to Toe
14 5/8" (both)
14 7/8" (both)
14 7/8"(1) / 14
15 3/8"(1) / 15 1/2"(2)
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 1/2"(1) / 1
1 7/8"(1) / 1 3/4"(2)
2 3/4"(1) / 2
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
Negligible(1) / 1/8"(2) approx.
1/16"(1) / 3/16"(2) approx.
For the purposes of these measurements,
'Drop at Face' is the 'drop' measurement taken on a line perpendicular
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:
'Purdey; Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;
Stanton's rebounding lock patent no. 367 of 1867.