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The Story of A Set of 3 James Purdey & Sons Hammer Ejector 12g Game Guns.

Just over a week ago I attended the IWA show in Nuremberg, IWA, for those unfamiliar, is a massive trade only show for the gun industry where manufacturers show their wares, guns, optics, clothing in fact anything and everything hunting related. It is the European version of SHOT which is held in Las Vegas in January. My annual pilgrimage to Nuremberg is for wood, for it is here that all the Turkish and other international wood dealers congregate to show their annual findings, something I have posted about previously on Explora.

Set of 3 Purdey 12g Hammer Ejector Guns at Westley Richards.

Every year at IWA I am generously hosted along with other wood buyer in the trade by Ralph Katzenmeier (the foremost German dealer of fine stock blanks), to a traditional German dinner of slow cooked pork shoulder with a dumpling the size of a large baseball, washed down with Bavarian Pils and followed by apple fritters. It is essential not to forget to pack your anti acid!

This years meal was attended by the Purdey wood buying crew, the Boss & Co crew, including their new owner, and Chris Batha. I was sitting next to the boys from Purdey and at some point asked how their new 'used gun' department was doing, the response being well, but that stock, like for us all, was hard to come by.

This in turn prompted me to ask how much they thought a trio of Purdey Hammer Ejectors  would be worth in the current market. They didn't know that a trio liked this existed and asked where they were, "in my safe" I replied, this response was followed by "where did you get them?" "from your safe I replied"!

A good 15 years or so ago, I bought a couple of guns from an American who was selling up, from memory there was a 500/465 Holland and a pair of Boss shotguns. When the deal had been executed swiftly and correctly I asked him if he had anything else he wished to sell. He told me yes, that a year ago he had sent some guns to Purdey to be sold but had heard nothing back from them. I asked if I could go and see them and make an offer and he was happy for this to happen. I made a B line to Purdey and asked to see the guns and was duly shown them, I decided a price, walked onto the street outside and called the client. We agreed a deal and I asked him to call up Purdey and let me take the guns which he agreed to do immediately. I then walked back in to speak with the salesman who was muttering " I really must do something about this, I had forgotten" I let him know that it was now too late and that all he needed to do was please help me out to the car with all the guns, if he didn't mind.

So, just in case my story at the table sounded too far fetched, here are the set of three Purdey hammer Ejector guns....taken from right under your nose as they say!

Set of 3 Purdey 12g Hammer Ejector Guns at Westley Richards.


  • Tim Wilkes on March 15, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    God Lord! They aren't in very good condition, are they!

    What a fabulous find, Simon, well done. I cant quite make out the serial numbers, but they look to be in the 117## series, which would mean they were built around 1884 or 5. That was just as the Beesley action was starting to become popular with Purdey customers.

    It would be fabulous to have a proper day at Englishmen with this trio!

  • Ned Cowell on March 16, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    They really are gorgeous. And I like the way they are cased as well. Am I right in thinking that this is a motor case?

    With sets like this, or the (presumably) more common pairs, I am correct to assume that because they are hand fitted, each action and stock can only be mated to their own set of barrels; or are any of the parts interchangeable?

    All the best


    • Simon Clode on March 17, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Thank you. This is a motor case shape but I think normally a motor case refers to a lightweight version rather than this very heavy oak and leather style.

      With all hand made guns the barrels are fitted to one action and are not interchangeable, all the parts of a single gun are unique to that gun and as such are not interchangeable.

      • Ned Cowell on March 17, 2016 at 11:58 am

        Thank you - that is what I thought, but thinking is never as good as knowing!

        I think that this is a superb blog. Really peerless - a source of both information and pleasure. Like many others I am very grateful that you keep it going. Regards. Ned.

  • Leonard Borger on December 13, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Just read you article from many years ago. Just purchased a "quartet" of 12 bore Purdeys, SxS. Perhaps the only real quartet they ever made. Guns are in wonderful shape. One is slightly off face. Needs a new pin. Otherwise should last another 100 years. Good strip & clean and oil stocks. Also came with an extra set of Garbi barrels. Guns are from 1976. Will use them on my hunting preserve over pointing dogs and in tower shoots. Guns come in two motor cases and one very large oak case that holds all four guns to display. Weighs about 70 pounds with guns!!

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