Post-modernism anticipated. Even though James Purdey pioneered the two-groove stalking rifle, and even is said to have coined the term “Express”, breech-loading double rifles by J. Purdey & Sons are extremely rare. Even fewer of them are built on the house’s trademark Beesley’s patent self-opening action – but what makes this 1898 Purdey double rifle doubly special is that it is used in combination with Jones underlever loclup.
One-two-stop, one-two-stop; as if in a Vienna waltz I go through pages of Joh. Springer’s 22nd Classic Auction catalogue, from Merkel over/unders to Art Nuveau engraving to a few British pragmatisms to possible but unlikely royal provenance, with an occasional nod to a sewing machine – click “More” and dance along! Tra-la-la-la-la!
With all due respect to the mandatory matched pairs of Purdeys, the real queens of this ball are Koersten-type over/unders. I didn’t realize – although it makes perfect sense – that many Ferlach makers built their guns on this platform.
From 1962 to 1987 Soviet citizens could not own rifles. Those who needed a rifle for work – professional trappers, reindeer herders and such – could have one issued by the organization that employed them, but the rifle would be the property of the organization. Private ownership of rifles (and handguns) was banned. Some Communists, however, were more equal than others…
Whether you’re wary of the Danai or not, gift-giving is an essential part of diplomacy. But, ever since the old story of Darius and the Scythians’ present of mouse, bird, frog and arrows, there’s been messages that miscarried – and this gun could be one of them. Continue reading
Which gun is the best is the question that hangs on your definition of ‘best’ness, and for some the best Russian hunting shotgun may well be MP153 or Ij27. Normally, however, people quote exclusiveness, high quality and original design as key criteria. If you want to put it all in a word, that would be “uncompromizing” – meaning no effort is spared to make the gun as beautiful and functional as possible, and no design is too complicated for the craftmanship of the makers. From this point of view, there’s no question that the best gun ever made in Russia is…
Spring capercailzie hunting is a Russian classic. The biggest grouse in the world begins its mating ritual with the male sitting on a tree at a special area known as lek, and singing the mating song. During parts of this song, which last for only a few seconds, the male is deaf; that’s when a hunter moves, usually in a form of a couple of giant leaps, in the direction of the bird. This may sound easy, but it really isn’t, as the bird is deaf only for a couple of seconds at a time; otherwise, it can hear very well and, knowing its vulnerability, is extremely wary. The hunter begins the stalk in the dark, going over leftover snow, bogs, fallen trees, and other impossible terrain. A capercailzie doing the lek song is a common theme for Russian engravers.
My Izh-54 Sh grade.
Below is an extract from “Chasing Spring”, by Nikolai Vlasov, published in April 2015 issue of the Russian Hunting Magazine.
We went through the night, across the wood, swamps and beaver dams. Sleepy ducks would take off now and then, breaking the silence of the taiga with their loud expressions of disappointment, curlews sang their quiet songs in the clearings, woodcocks were doing their mating flight over the tops of the pines. The forest was living its life. We took a rest not far from the lek. Sanya was tending his saddle-sore legs, Kolya and Igor lit their cigarettes, and I was listening to the silence, which was now and then broken by the calls of migrating widgeon and the mad cries of the mating hare. These sounds filled my soul with peace. Then we spread; I went with Igor, and Kolya led Sanya into the marsh, their silhouettes soon vanishing in the dark, and only splashing of their feet could be heard. We approached the lek – the capercailzie mating ground, which spread across the kilometer-long ridge overgrown with pines – from the other side. Continue reading