At the touch of a button, the lockwork pivots out to sit in the hand, like a delicate work of art. Hammers, trigger, sears, springs and inertia changeover are all there in a compact package. Details such as the clean, polished finish on all the component parts, the curved backs to the hammers and the roller ends to the mainsprings can be admired at leisure. The barrels have Teague chokes, which are almost invisible.

The barrels of the Purdey Sporter 12-bore have flawless bores and are externally struck up without a blemish. The ventilated top-rib has the foresight bead almost at the muzzle end. At the breech end, the almost invisible joint between the top barrel and the monoblock does not feature a decorative band.

Next to engraving, one of the most eye-catching features of a fine gun is the stock. To say the quality of the stock on this gun does not disappoint is something of an understatement. There is wonderful dark veining, almost burr in places, mixed in with subtle fiddleback. It is the equal of wood used on even more expensive guns.

Chequering is typically fine at 28 lines per inch, and the drop is 13⁄8in at the tip of the comb, running to 21⁄8in at the heel. At first this seems to be a recipe for a gun stocked to shoot rather high but combined with the low action body it works well.

The finish is, of course, the world-famous Best London, a glossy aspect that it is hard to imagine was achieved by human hand. The shiny finish hides some of the beauty of the walnut but this is a beautiful gun and one that it would be a privilege to die by.

Published by Dominic Wightman

Businessperson, Editor & Father, Dominic Wightman spends his time between the UK and Venezuela.

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