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Westley Richards

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J. Purdey & Sons 16g Hammerless Ejector Two Barrel Set

Serial Number 21071



A  J. Purdey & Sons 16g Hammerless Ejector ordered in 1914. Based on Beesley’s patented self-opening hammerless sidelock ejector that Purdey’s made famous, the gun is fitted with a gate single trigger cast for a RH shooter, disk set strikers, gold lined cocking indicators, and gilded lock work. The edges of the action's bar are rounded off and does not have the usual square bar with beaded edges as seen on a traditional Purdey. The fences are deeply carved in an Acanthus engraving pattern. The lock plates and action body remain smooth and devoid of engraving save for the monogram of “S” and “K” inlayed in gold on both lock plates and the top lever. The maker’s name is also inlayed in gold in Olde English Script on  bottom of the action along with the word “SAFE” and the gun’s serial number on the guard tang that extends to the grip cap.  

The gun includes both sets of its original Whitworth Fluid Pressed steel chopper lump barrels, a set of 28” choked .008” in each muzzle and as set of 26” barrels choked: .004” in the right and .020” in the left. Both sets of barrels are fitted with Purdey’s Wem ejectors and have raised, flat ribs that are smooth with the Maker’s name also inlayed in gold in Olde English Script. On the bottom rib of each barrel is engraved: “Made of Sir Joseph Whitworth Fluid – Pressed Steel”. Both barrels are also fitted with single ivory beads at the muzzle, specifically a Lyman 10D Ivory Bead Shotgun Front Sight that the ledgers call for. The barrels remain in their original London proof (ca. 1904-1925) with 2 ¾" chambers and proof for 1 1/8 oz. load.  

Gun has a nicely figured walnut stock with traditional drop points, pistol grip capped in horn, and 14 ¼" LOP over a checkered butt. There is a blank stock oval on the toe line. As is standard with Purdey 2-Bbl sets, there is a single splinter forend with a push rod release. 

The gun weighs 6 lbs. 6 oz. no matter which barrels are fitted to the action.  

The gun’s unusual configuration is confirmed in the very detailed entry in the factory ledgers down to its rounded bar, engraving style (or lack thereof), and even the beads on the barrels.  

Factory ledgers state: Ordered in 1914 by one W. Sharpe Kilmer as a 16g and the entry next to “Action” is: “Beesley, rounded”. The trigger pulls’ weights are listed next to: “2 Pull One Trigger, Scroll Detonation”. The ledgers go on to state under “Remarks”: “Hammerless Ejector, Lyman foresight, Pistol Grip, Horn Cap, Standard Heel, blued steel, number gold on guard, our Maker’s name in gold on bl., bottom of action, his monogram gold on lock plates, gold oval”. 

Purdey guns with blacked lock plates that have no engraving are sometimes referred to as “funeral” guns or “black widows". The varied reasons behind these names are more likely myth than reality, but the existence of such guns by Purdey’s dates to the 1860’s. There is an excellent article by Purdey’s Gun Room Manager, Dr. Nicholas Harlow, that can be found on Diggory Hadoke’s Vintage Guns on-line publication. In addition to settling the myth about such “funerals” or “black widows, he sums up the numbers of guns that left the factory with no engraving. Between 1878 and 1926, Purdey’s sent out only 102 guns that were considered finished, yet were “un-engraved” as these guns are. 

The gun remains excellent as refinished and restocked. The configuration of this gun matches all the highly detailed info in the ledgers; however, the stock appears to be a replacement judging by the checkering style, the type of wood, and the finish. While the LOP is consistent with the ledgers, the bend of the stock is different. There is a repaired chip in the head of the stock on the top, right side. Action and barrels are refinished in high luster, deep black and all metal surfaces remain excellent. Barrels are super as well, remaining in their original per-WWI proof with 2 ¾" chambers and heavy 1 1/8 oz proof. The bores all measure as new with .663” bore diameters and have excellent minimum wall thickness .025” in the 28” bbls .030” in the 26” barrels.  

Gun is complete in an oak and leather flat case for two sets of barrels with a leather Purdey trade label. 

According to Wikipedia, Mr. Willis Sharpe Kilmer (1869-1940) was a marketing pioneer making famous the Swamp Root patent medicine created by his uncle as well as a real estate developer who died with a $15 Million Dollar net worth in 1940. He owned two Kentucky Derby Winners and his yacht Remlik (which is Kilmer spelled backwards) was bought by the U.S. Government during WWI and was commissioned as the USS Remlik armed patrol vessel.   

A very rare Purdey shotgun in a very usable configuration and a good story to go with it!  


Location US
Make J. Purdey & Son
Calibre/Gauge 16g
Action Sidelock
Triggers 1
Ejectors Automatic
Barrel Length 26" & 28"
Rib Flat Smooth Rib
Chamber 2 3/4"
Stock Pistol Grip
LOP 14 1/4"
Weight 6lbs 6oz
Case Oak & Leather