Purdey will be producing a commemorative trio of guns to mark its bicentenary year in 2014

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James Purdey & Sons, the Royal Gun and Rifle Makers, has announced it will be producing a commemorative trio of guns to celebrate 200 years in 2014.

This highly collectable Purdey Bicentenary Trio comprises two shotguns and one double rifle, and will be accompanied by an oak and leather travel case, for carriage, and a custom-built glass case, for security and display. Each historic model has been carefully chosen to represent key design, innovation and craftsmanship milestones in the company’s 200-year history. Each gun will feature engraving representative of the era it was made, the Purdey bicentenary logo and a special serial number.

The Purdey Bicentenary Trio comprises:

  • 12-bore Side-by-side Game Gun
    This hammerless ejector game gun has been in continuous production since 1880. It features two factors unique to Purdey: a self-opening action designed by Frederick Beesley (known as the “Beesley action”), which speeds up reloading time, and supreme attention to detail in its manufacture ensuring every gun fits properly, has perfect balance and shoots consistent patterns — all qualities that define a Purdey shotgun to this day.
  • 20-bore Damascus Over-and-under Gun
    Purdey has been making the over-and-under gun since 1923, but its reputation for making the best in the world was cemented when it acquired James Woodward & Company, a London gunmaker noted for its outstanding over-and-unders, in 1948. A new design was launched in 1950 and has been progressively refined over the past 60 years — it is still in production today. The Purdey Bicentenary Trio model will be made from Damasteel, a specialised steel devoid of impurities and with a tensile strength three times greater than steel normally used for gunmaking, using state-of-the-art 21st century techniques. The Damascus patterning is unique to each gun and needs no further embellishment.
  • .470 Express Rifle
    In 1865, developments by James Purdey and his son, James the Younger, transformed relatively low-velocity, short-range rifles into rifles that could not only use more powerful charges, they were faster, more accurate and had longer ranges. They did this by boring deeper grooves in the barrel — removing the need to ram bullets down onto the powder charge, which was a time-consuming process — and providing a corresponding two- winged bullet, which was breech-loaded. The resultant high speed and flat trajectory of the bullet reminded James the Younger of the new express trains at the time, which travelled at speeds higher than anyone had previously imagined, so the term “express rifle” was born.

The accompanying Motor Case is modelled on an original made for King George VI and is built in treble oak and leather, with red goatskin interior. The London made Display Case features a turntable base, with a silent mechanism, made from the finest mahogany; a shallow drawer for the gold plated cleaning equipment and specific drawer celebrating the craftsmen; red goatskin lining; impact-proof tubular glass with a locking door; and discrete downlights.

Each stage of the making of the Purdey Bicentenary Trio will be documented to produce a visual story that showcases the detailed production process in its entirety.

The guns will be auctioned on December 14. Visit the Purdey website for more information.