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Aug 5th, 2016
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Joined: Apr 2022
Posts: 12
Boxlock
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Boxlock

Joined: Apr 2022
Posts: 12
Hello Gentleman,

I just bought a s/s Purdey made in 1901. It is a beautiful gun, but not pristine and shows signs of age (worn checkering, nicks scratches, faded bluing) that's why I was able to afford it;) It seems to be mechanically sound and working properly and it fires and ejects properly with no issues.

The only thing that has me worried a bit is that when I close the barrels, the top lever does not always fully snap back into place, and I must gently push it into position. It seems "sluggish" if that makes any sense. I put a few drops of oil in there, and it helped a bit, but it still hangs up most of the time
When I close it to it's resting place, the lever is probably 1/8th inch left of center, so I am assuming that the pin is a bit worn. If it closes on it's own, the lever never goes to it's full resting position of 1/8th" left of center, and again I will mention that I push it closed with no problem or force of any kind. That said, when closed, if I remove the forend, there is no play or movement of any type and it seems tight.

I know that the answer is to "bring it to a qualified vintage gunsmith" which I will do, but I am hoping if some of you can give me your opinion on what is going on with the gun.

Thank you!

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Sidelock
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New guns, or guns with little use typically have the top lever come to a position right of center when they are closed and bolted. As the bolting surfaces gradually wear, the position of the top lever moves to the center, or even eventually moves left of center. This is not always a terrible thing, so long as the gun is not worn to the point where the bolting becomes loose. When it reaches that point, the loose bolting permits additional pounding, and the wear accelerates.This is why buyers like to see a top lever that is right of center when the gun is closed. There are some guns that always return exactly to center by design, such as the pivot lever Lefever guns.

If your top lever is not snapping quickly back to the bolted position, this could indicate a weak or cracked top lever return spring. Some guys worry about a top lever that snaps home briskly, and will even use their thumb to prevent that while closing the gun. But that is a mistake because it may prevent proper bolting. A totally broken return spring will never return the lever to closed position. Or it may simply be seriously gunked up internally with old congealed lube. Yes, it's time for a trip to a qualified double gunsmith. Please let us know what he finds out.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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Sidelock
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I would probably remove the wood, and ultrasonically clean the action.

If you aren’t comfortable doing that, I would send it out to have that done.

100 years can allow a lot of gunk to solidify in an action. Slowing things down.

Chances are, it will either get worse (worn parts), or get better (dry gunk removed), after the thorough vibratory cleaning, and re lubrication.

1 member likes this: Caravaggio
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Sidelock
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Abe Chaber is just over the NY border on Interstate 84 in Danbury CT. Bring this over to him and have him give it a cleaning and lub. Walter Issacson works out of British Sporting in Millbrook. Call Charles and see what they can do. Purdey screws slots are narrow and you do not want to bugger one on a 100 year old gun. They can be costly to duplicate. Good luck.

1 member likes this: Caravaggio
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Sidelock
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It sounds like an issue with the top lever spring to me, maybe cracked or poorly replaced. It certainly could be dirty, a burr or some other cause.

With the top lever well left of center either the rear bite on the barrel lugs or the under bolt(maybe both) are well worn.

Sounds like it may need a bit of attention before you shoot it much.


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ACGG Professional metalsmith, firearms import services.
1 member likes this: Caravaggio
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Sidelock
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I'd guess the top lever spring right off as well.
Weak replacement maybe, orig cracked.
But just a guess and you don't know till you get inside.
A century + of grim and built up crud slows things down as well.
A good clean & lube helps tremendously and that spring would need to come out in doing so. It's health can easily be seen and felt at that time.

The over center lockup (left of center) can be looked at too and a decision made on how best to tighten up the action.

Here's a couple pics of the inside .
The Top Lever Spring is removed in these pics. It compresses betw the short stud in the underside of the tang near the edge and the arm on the top lever spindle.
The small empty hole is the anchoring point for the spring,,a small peg on the bottom side of the spring at the V intersection fits into that hole.

..This gun appears to have had a replacement top lever spring fitted. There are two achoring point holes plainly visible. One, the original I assume, has had a small piece of lead
shot hammered into place to fill it most of the way.
The replacement spring was likely one that 'fit pretty close' and
need a new achoring hole drilled. Kinds close to the edge of the underside of the tang,,but it works OK!

The close inletting of the wood stock supports the spring when all is assembled so it doesn't work it's way out of position.
The locking bolt is seen bolted to the opposite side of the spinde crank and moves back and forth as the top lever swings.

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[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]
[Linked Image from i.ibb.co]

1 member likes this: 82nd Trooper
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Boxlock
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Boxlock

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I can't tell you all enough how much I appreciate your replies!

It doesn't sound like a big deal either way so I am relieved about that

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Sidelock
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Sounds like a cracked top lever spring, just replaced one on a pre-war Purdey today. A left of center but tight lockup suggests a sliding lock/bite that is worn to the end of its window. I’d hardly say this isn’t a big deal in the near future…

Purdey/Beasley can be a bit deceptive regarding checking for an off-face condition by removing the forend and shaking things due to its design.


A.M. Little Bespoke Gunmakers LLC.
Mineola, TX
Michael08TDK@yahoo.com
682-554-0044
1 member likes this: Caravaggio

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