World first for English gunmaker

Posted on 17 Sep 2010 by The Manufacturer

Gun and rifle maker James Purdey & Sons has completed a 20-bore shotgun made almost entirely from a special Damascus steel using a powder metallurgy method.

The gun uses a high tech powder metallurgy method to fuse two grades of steel to produce a gun with super-high tolerances.

Modelled on the classic Woodward/Purdey over-and-under game gun, a design developed over the past 100 years, Purdey believes its new Damascus gun is a world first in using this steel for all external and many internal components, including barrels, action body, lock plates, trigger mechanism and guard.

The project has taken over three years of research design and manufacture, using a method of steelmaking developed by Damasteel AB of Söderfors, Sweden, who were able to supply a Damascus steel of suitable strength for use in the precision manufacturing processes involved in bespoke gunmaking. Damascus steel is a hot-forged steel originally used in Middle Eastern swordmaking in the 12th century.

Unlike other Purdey guns the Damascus gun carries no engraving apart from its makers name in gold on the lock plates and barrels, highlighting the Damascus patterning, unique to each gun.

“Our whole gunmaking team have really enjoyed working on this project to design and build the world’s first all Damascus gun,” said Nigel Beaumont, chairman of James Purdey and Sons. “The finished product shows off the beauty of its special steel to great effect and weighing in at 6lbs 12ozs it shoots exceptionally well. Given the Damascus Gun’s unique provenance we are confident it will become a highly prized collector’s item.”

The new gun weighs 6lbs 12ozs, has 30” barrels and 2 3/4 inch chambers and will be priced at just over £100,000.

All Purdey guns are made and finished using a combination of highly skilled, manual craftsmanship and modern machine tooling from the company’s factory in Hammersmith, London. Some components for some guns are made by Perugini and Visini of Italy.