James Purdey & Sons, Audley House,
South Audley Street, London
12 bore Bar Action, Self-opening Sidelock Ejector
no. 11368

Date of manufacture: 1884

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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.
The gun we have here was made within the first 4 years of the patent 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 it has been elegantly converted to ejector: using Purdey's normal method of tripping, a rod keyed to the tumblers and sliding in a hole bored through the action bar. However, the ejector mechanism itself is mechanically the same as a Deeley or Perkes box, not the over-centre mechanism of the standard Purdey. Given the high standard of the conversion, there is nothing to choose between them. The replacement stock and forend may have been done at the same time as the ejector conversion and a lovely, highly figured piece of walnut was utilised. There is a little corrosion on the lock plates which has been cleaned and treated but nothing that threatens the integrity of the gun.
It is very rare to find a true antique Purdey self-opener in such fine condition and with its freshly TIG sleeved barrels, it will make a fabulous gun for either targets or game.


The Action is of Beesley's self-opening SLE design and features:
Bar action locks with arrow cocking indicators,
Sprung disc-set strikers, Vented disc retainers with further vented pins,
Top lever operating a Purdey Bolt by way of a Scott Spindle,
Double triggers bolted by an automatic top tang safety slide,
Deeley style ejectors tripped by rods sliding in the bar of action
and Anson's push rod forend catch.
Gun weight 6lb 8oz
Engraving style Very Best Rose & Scroll. Ball fences with deeply chiselled 'Fleur-de-Lys'. Underside of bar engraved 'PURDEY PATENT', toplever engraved 'PATENT'. Gold 'SAFE'
Trigger pulls measure approximately: Front trigger 3 1/2 lbs Rear trigger 4 lbs
The TIG sleeved steel 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.
London reproof for 70mm nitro powder cartridges in 2013.

Approximate barrel measurements at date of publication:

Nominal Proof Size
Bore Diameter 9" from Breech
Minimum Wall Thickness
Choke Constriction
Right Barrel
0.006" (IC)
Left Barrel
0.022" (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 chequered butt. The forend features a finely engraved steel forend tip.

Highly Figured walnut

The 22 lines per inch chequering is to the 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.

Approximate stock measurements at date of publication:

Pull to Heel
Pull to Bump
Pull to Centre
Pull to Toe
14 1/4"
14 1/2"
14 1/2"
14 7/8"
Drop at Comb
Drop at Face
Drop at Heel
1 9/16"
1 11/16"
2 1/4"
Cast at Comb
Cast at Heel
1/8" 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:
Beesley's self opening patent no. 21 of 1880;
'Purdey Bolt' patent no. 1104 of 1863;
'Scott Spindle' patent no. 2752 of 1865;

Perkes' ejector patent no 12176 of 1887
Anson's forend fastener patent no. 3791 of 1872.