Gratuitous Gun Pic — James Purdey And David McKay Brown (12ga)

Before we get started, let me say at the outset that I don’t care if you can find a decent second-hand pump-action shotgun for $450 at Bubba’s Bait-‘N-Guns.  This isn’t that kind of post, as you will soon see.

Some people might say that spending this much money on a pair of shotguns is ludicrous or even foolhardy.  My opinion is that these guns exist right at the very end of the quality curve — I cannot think how they could possibly be improved — and therefore the cost is irrelevant.

Granted, to buy these guns you probably have to have so much money that cost becomes irrelevant (i.e. “if you have to ask…”), but like buying (say) a Ferrari Enzo, it isn’t the money that’s important.  (I, by the way, am not one who actually subscribes to this philosophy — had the lottery been in my favor last night, I still  wouldn’t have called Collectors Firearms to put a hold on them — but I do understand why this can be important to some people, and I pass no judgment on their preference whatsoever.  There’s nothing wrong with wanting the absolute best of anything, as long as you can afford it.)

Now all that said:  there are a couple of things about these Purdeys that I don’t like.

1) I prefer my shotgun stock not  to have a pistol grip — left is the Purdey, right is my preference:

2) I prefer double triggers to single triggers:

With all that in mind:  had the lottery been in my favor last night, I might  have called Collectors to put a hold on these two David McKay Brown shotguns (#1 and #2) because they are completely in my wheelhouse, so to speak, even though they’re not a matched pair.

(And I care not that this gun bears the initials of its previous owner — I put no stock in virginity.)

These two guns are, in a word, exquisite — and for those to whom this kind of thing matters, David McKay Brown is pretty much on a par with Purdey as a gunmaker.  (Purdey has the better P.R., but McKay Brown is extremely well-respected among the shotgun cognoscenti.)  And too, they’re not as finely engraved as the Purdey guns, but frankly, I’m not in thrall to fancy scrollwork (although I do appreciate it.)

And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the McKay Brown guns are half the price of the Purdeys… still nosebleed, but from only one  nostril, so to speak.



  1. I understand the fancy engraving, if one is spending that kind of money on a gun by all means make it look pretty, but I just don’t get the gold inlay for something other than a presentation piece. Although if someone were to buy me the Purdeys I wouldn’t refuse.

  2. Having no experience with either double or single triggers, they would leave me as confused as sorting out where the safety is between Winchester, Remington, and Mossberg pumps. The gold inlay leaves me cold, however the engraving on the McKay Brown would be the selling point for me. I don’t have those considerations on a Dickinson budget.

  3. Do you read Tottering-by-Gently? Therein is a new definition of a shotgun wedding: a wedding funded by the sale of one’s shotguns.

  4. I likes everything about em. When it comes to guns I’m about the most unsnobby person you’ll find. I pretty much like em all.

  5. Of course the Purdey is more expensive. It’s a sidelock, as opposed to a boxlock. More expensive to produce, reserved for “Best Guns”.

    Although if you want exclusive, I know the man who owns a Westley Richards. Serial number 4. And yes, it’s a shooter (as is the owner, he’s won a World Muzzle-Loading Championship with that gun).

  6. Stunning works of art worthy of drooling over. However, I would not care to own one. All my guns are shooters, and yes I do take pains to use and maintain them properly. I’m afraid that if I owned something in the class of those lovely guns pictured, and some how managed to mar the finish in any way, I would need serious counseling not commit an ancient Japanese ritual.

    I give you Holland and Holland–

Comments are closed.