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.
I’ve spent a few joyful hours today admiring the catalogue of Joh. Springer’s Erben 22nd Classic Auction over a cup of coffee, and while I’m not really into handguns, this 1897 Roth-Theodorovich that graces the cover of the catalogue is definitely something else. Its ugliness is so complete that it approximates beauty. But the action is not just about ugly pistols – click on “more” to see some of the beautiful and unusual rifles and combination guns that will go under hammer on April 20.
It’s a 3-shot semi-automatic announced as a new development of “Izhevsk gunmakers” in 1959 (so it’s metaphorically if not technically the great-grand-daddy of MP153). It has alloy receiver with A-5-ish humpback profile and from the description it works on Browning’s long recoil principle. The prototype had replacable chokes with Cutts compensator.
What you think is tubular magazine is not – it’s just a hold for the barrel to travel over. Apparently, the two-shot mag is somehow housed in the receiver and/or the grip (sorta Cosmy-style).
I’m trying to figure out if it was an original development or, like many Russian guns, had a prototype in a Western gun. Any ideas?
MP151, the first semiauto by IzhMech (Baikal), is basically the Izh-81 pump with gas piston added. Only 100 of those were made, just to see if the concept works. , The most interesting feature of MP151 is that the gas piston can be regulated for lighter or heavier loads by turning a ring near the magazine cup. Further improvement of the design resulted in MP153.
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…
This is a .577 Nitro double rifle by Peter Hofer, a German bespoke gunmaker. I only read about it in a magazine (and that’s where the pic comes from, sorry about the quality). There are two unusual things about this gun, one leaves me cold and the other stirs my interest somehow. The one that I don’t care much about is that the stock is said to be filled with electronic gadgets, including a shot counter and a remote controlled GPS module, which can be used to retrieve either the gun if it is stolen, or the hunter if he gets lost in the African bush.
The one that makes me thinking is… but first I have to make a few statements, which are, I hope, self-evident.
First is that best gun making is a form of art. Continue reading