James Purdey & Sons,
Audley House, 57 South Audley Street, London. W
12 bore Bar Action, Self-opening Sidelock Ejector
no. 10924

Date of manufacture: 1881

Click on these images for more detail.

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. The gun we have here is a very early example of the patent, apparently only the 11th made. The fences on this gun are quite remarkable, exhibiting high-relief carvings of bunches of grapes and vine leaves. It was built as a non-ejector and is in startlingly good condition for its age which says a lot about the workmanship that went into it. At some point after 1888 it was elegantly converted to ejector using Purdey's normal ejector system and stamped with the workers initials 'FH' and 'PATENT'. The replacement stock and forend is probably more recent and a lovely, highly figured piece of walnut was utilised. The replacement Whitworth steel, thru-lump barrels are not by Purdey even though they carry their name but the workmanship is fabulous and it is thought that these were fitted by someone at the very top level of the London gun trade.
It is very rare to find a true antique Purdey self-opener in such fine condition and with its replacement barrels and stock, it will make a fabulous gun for either targets or game.
Cased in Oak & Leather with some accessories.


The action is of Beesley's self-opening SLE design and features:
Beaded fences carved with high relief grapes and vine leaves;
Whitworth steel replacement barrels;
Bar action locks with arrow cocking indicators;
Sprung disc-set strikers with vented disc retainers;
'Daw Lever' snap underlever operating a Purdey Bolt;
Double triggers bolted by an automatic top tang safety slide;
Articulated front trigger;
Purdey ejectors tripped by rods sliding in the bar of action;
Anson's push rod forend catch.
Gun weight 7lb 1oz
Engraving style Very Best Rose & Scroll. Ball fences with deeply chiselled grapes and vine leaves. Under-bar engraved 'PURDEY PATENT', top tang engraved 'PATENT'. Gold 'SAFE'. Forend tip and Anson pushrod finely engraved.
Trigger pulls
measure approximately: Front trigger 3 1/2 lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs.
The replacement, Whitworth steel, thru-lump barrels are 28" in length, chambered for 2 3/4" (70mm) cartridges and are of brazed dovetail lump construction with soft soldered ribs.
Top rib
is of the smooth, concave game type.
Birmingham reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2017.

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")
0.005" (Skeet)
Left Barrel
18.6mm (0.732")
0.014" (Mod)

The replacement Straight Hand Stock and Splinter Forend are crafted from highly 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 1" leather covered recoil pad.
The forend features a finely engraved steel forend tip.
The 24 lines per inch chequering has been cut to a normal 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.

Highly Figured Walnut

Approximate stock measurements at date of publication:

Pull to Heel
Pull to Bump
Pull to Centre
Pull to Toe
14 7/8"
14 15/16"
15 3/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 3/8"
1 5/8"
Cast-off at Comb
Cast-off at Heel

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;
Wem's ejectors patent no. 3100 of 1888;
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.