We have been building best quality single and double-barrelled sporting rifles since the firm was established in 1814. Like the shotgun, their design and technology evolved throughout the nineteenth century.
Demand for double rifles reached its peak in the 1870s, when the double rifle was used not only for big game, but as the stalking rifle of choice in the Highlands. Even after the introduction of bolt-action designs, big game hunters preferred a rifle that offered the security of two independently firing barrels; vital for an instant second shot when being charged by angry quarry.
The term ‘Express’ was coined by James Purdey the Younger in the early 1850s to describe his two-winged bullet, which allowed for the use of larger powder charges, and correspondingly higher muzzle velocities. Mr. Purdey only allowed the term to be used in reference to smaller-bore rifles with a muzzle velocity of 1,600 feet per second or faster, giving a shallower trajectory and far greater range than previous designs.
Today, our double rifles are built on the patented Beesley action, which allows for fast opening and reloading, and gives absolute confidence to the hunter, crucial when facing dangerous game.
The performance of our rifles, combined with the graceful Purdey shape and balance makes it, we believe, the finest double rifle in the world.
THE ‘PURDEY EXPRESS’
Whilst our founder had lived in ‘Rifle Cottage’ in Bayswater, it was his son, James Purdey the Younger, who developed the famous ‘Express’ double rifle. He took the name from the newly introduced Express Trains, to reflect the velocity, power and accuracy of his new product, something which was eagerly adopted following its introduction in 1852.