Purdey , London. Extremely rare 70-bore (.40 cal.) percussion, two-groove, double barreled, “Express Rifle”  -  SOLD

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Purdey , London. Extremely rare 70-bore (.40 cal.) percussion, two-groove, double barreled, “Express Rifle”, #6922, completed by Purdey and delivered to the original owner on the 8th of July, 1865.  Weight: 8 lbs. 4 oz.  Stock dimensions: 14 3/8” LOP.  Superb 29 3/8” damascus steel barrels, with one fixed and two folding rear sights and full-length file-cut top rib, retain 95% of the original brown finish. The breeches with platinum vent plugs retain most all the original hardening colors. The original hand-fitted nipples, marked with “L” for left and “R” for right, show no evidence of use and the nipple recesses within the breeches are clean showing no corrosion whatever. Both bores are brilliant and absolutely mint. Superb, beautifully engraved, locks with external stalking safeties function flawlessly and retain virtually all the original hardening colors. The safety latches retain most of their original brilliant fire blue. Lock internals are mechanically flawless and as crisp and brilliant as the day they were made. The engraved false breech, trigger plate, and patch box lid are also in mint condition retaining all the original finish. The semi-pistol-grip steel trigger guard is  engraved and retains most of the original brilliant black finish. The butt plate retains traces of the original black finish and shows no wear whatever. The nicely figured stock retains virtually all the original finish and all checkering is sharp and crisp showing no wear whatever. There are, however, multiple minor dents and dings in the left butt stock and one gouge in the forend wood near the barrel wedge. Engraved on the butt plate is the following loading information, “Charge 4 dms No.6 Powder”. This was a very heavy load for a .40 caliber percussion rifle of the day and leaves no doubt as to the classification of this hard hitting specimen as a true “express” rifle. This magnificent example is cased with many accessories including two bullet moulds, one each for winged conical bullet and belted ball. The case that comes with the rifle is a genuine Purdey case from the period and fits #6922 perfectly, however, as will be noted from the inscription on the case label, this case was originally with Purdey rifle #7151 which, interestingly, was regulated for exactly the same charge of powder as #6922.  Just for the record, according to my dear old friend and distinguished author of “The Early Purdey’s”, Pat Unsworth, Purdey rifle #7151 currently belongs to the Queen of England and is safely ensconced at Sandringham Estate, Her Majesty’s much loved country retreat in Norfolk. Overall an absolutely stunning rifle, in near-mint original condition, and almost impossible to find today in this condition.

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