Classy is classy...

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Upton O, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    My wife has been wanting to get back to London for some research on a historical novel she is writing so I gladly said "Oh, okay". It is a great city, incredible history, huge museums and very fun for a week.

    My only personal goal while I was there was to visit Purdey and Holland & Holland gun shops to gaze once again on some of the finest shotgun art made. The Purdey staff were very accomodating inspite of knowing at one glance I couldn't afford one of their shotguns even if I mortgaged my house. We talked shooting, guns, and the differences in our hunting and theirs. They can kill hundreds of pheasants on a "shoot" while we're limited to three, if you can find them. All of their hunting is on private land, we have thousands of acres of public hunting.

    I gazed upon their shotguns, incredible works of art they are. A stock takes over ninety hours from blank to finish for mounting the action. And the lowest price gun on display was $120,000. But there was the sweetest little 28 gauge...By the way, I was informed in a very, ah, stiff way, that they only use Turkish walnut for their stocks.

    I bought a couple of books which the salesman took into the back, carefully wrapped them in Purdey tissue, placed them in a Purdey bag, sealed it with tape and then with a Purdey ribbon. Classy is just classy.

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  2. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

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    William Evans is a fun one too. All I could afford there was a hat and a nice stag horn priest. The guns were all 6-figures and better. The Beretta gallery in London is worth a visit too.
  3. Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    They likely wouldn't even let me in, Karl as I'd commence uncontrollable drooling before I hit the door . . .
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  4. martyg Active Member

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    Its cool to visit high end bespoke gun makers but in reality there is a lot of value on the used gun market. I have a number of high end used English doubles and have had a number of bespoke guns made. IMO bespoke guns (like you just don't purchase a Purdy of the shelf unless it happens to be exactly what you are looking for and don't want a 24 - 36 month wait) are not worth it - you just never know if they will meet your expectation. I took delivery of a bespoke double in 2010 and it went back for a full refund. I just took delivery of another and it is going back for three months worth or re work because they just didn't get it right. I'd rather start with a solid English double and have it altered / restored to my taste. At least that way you know what you are getting.

    Turkish, or Circassian walnut (Juglans regia - where we get walnuts that we eat from), is where its at. Far more depth and contrast than other species and varieties. It also tends to work better and holds fine line checkering better than "American" or "Claro" walnut. A lot of the sourcing of these stumps and their quality is dependent on elevation, rainfall and soil mineral content. Much of what is sourced in Turket is oold, and comes from a more arid climate which leads to tighter grain and more interesting mineral lines. And like anything that is old, and there are not making more of quickly, it is getting scarce. Over the last 20 or so years we've seen a significant dip in physical and aesthetic quality as the best trees are harvested. Juglans regia also grows in a variety of other places - like N CA - and I have also gotten exceptional blanks from that region. Check out www.hunterbid.com if you want to look at some gun stock blank porn.
  5. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    Thanks for the comment Martyg, I can't say I'm expert enough in knowledge or shooting skill to judge a bespoke gun vs. a production gun. I also like American black walnut for stocks, I prefer dark wood with subtle grain, definitely not a claro fan. That said, my joy is in seeing really nicely made guns whether they fit anyone or not. If I were to ever buy a Purdey I would travel to London, shoot a trygun at the West London shooting school and then get fitted. In the meantime I'll take my Beretta 686 or CSMC RBL or Beretta Extrema 2 out and blow holes in the air hoping for that golden BB. But, darn, those bespoke guns were beautiful.
  6. Roper Idiot Savant

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    I doubt I'll ever get a fine shotgun, fine in the sense of expensive, some of my guns are "fine" by me. But I do like nice stocks, even on my handguns. Here's a Ruger Single Six 32 caliber sporting Bastogne walnut from CLC Grips. Cary hand fitted them to the handgrip. Nothing like fine wood...

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  7. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    Going to Purdy, H&H, Greener or one of the other makers is an act of pure lust. Check out Vintage Doubles in Malaga. You'd never know what's in that basement of his home, but make sure you don't have your wallet with you when you walk into his gun safe... Kirby Hoyt's his name. He had an H&H Royal in 12bore, that took more effort to think it up to the mount than it did to actually mount the gun. Alas, I'd left my wallet home...
  8. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

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    I went to went to William Evans 12 years ago on our first trip to the UK, it was okay but not as impressive to me as Purdey or H&H. One interesting change at Purdey, they used to sell baseball hats with their name on it but not now. I bought the last one H&H had. Not many American ball cap wearers shopping or maybe the price of the caps was a downer. (Not going to post the cost, not ready for the "Are you stupid or something" comments that are sure to follow.) The Purdey folks were also much friendlier than H&H and Willian Evans were, too.

    Had a nice chat with the saleman about how Americans don't know how to shoot properly, don't know how to put on a good shoot (no driven birds), and who wants to hunt if you can only shoot three pheasants? We did strike a common cord talking about decoying birds. His methods of pigeon decoy hunting matched my duck decoying almost exactly. Nice chat, my impression though, is the guy hadn't ever hunted outside the UK, had no appreciation for chukar hunting or humping the prairie for sharp tails and huns in a vista unknown in his country, walking forest paths in the fall looking for ruffs. He also hadn't ever seen a 12 pound goose coming into a decoy spread and trying to sit on his face. Nice chap, though, arrogant but nice.