Good things come to those who wait. “Best” things come to those who wait longer. Take a gun or rifle from James Purdey & Sons. It is “best” in every sense of the word—from the timeless design, to the finest components, to the countless hours of skilled craftsmanship that go into its making. It is little wonder then that if today you were to walk into Audley House and commission a completely bespoke Purdey, it would be a minimum of two years before you could expect delivery.
But there is another way. A faster way. Purdey, recognizing that not all of its customers are equally patient, makes a limited number of guns and rifles for the shelf that can be delivered in as little as two or three months. These pieces are made in almost every configuration that Purdey offers (Side-by-Side, Over & Under, Sporter, Bolt-Action Rifle) and in the most popular gauges and calibers. Often all that has to be done is to alter the chokes and stock to meet the customer’s needs—and to inlay initials or add them to a gold oval, if desired . . . .
These guns are identical in almost every way to Purdey’s bespoke guns—made by the same skilled craftsmen, incorporating the same fine materials, infused with the same traditions and 200-plus-year history of London’s premier gunmaker. The only difference is that the gunmaking team chooses the wood, the barrel length and the engraving pattern (typically fine rose & scroll or large scroll). The customer can decide on the configuration of the case.
Ultimately, the beauty of these “pre-finished” guns—other than their innate good looks and impeccable build quality—is their speed of delivery. Imagine visiting Audley House, strolling into the Gun Room, selecting the Purdey of your dreams, and then several months later having the gun in hand. It’s almost enough to make one feel guilty, like having jumped the queue. Almost.
Of course, when it comes to ordering objects made to last for generations, some might think that waiting years versus months would not be a hardship. Those people obviously have never shot a Purdey.