All The Bells & Whistles – The Art of Bespoke Gunmaking

All The Bells & Whistles – The Art of Bespoke Gunmaking

A question that new clients often ask when visiting Audley House is: ‘What options are there?’ The answer leads to a surprisingly long list for what might feel like a relatively compact item. 

Our current range of guns and rifles includes eight models, each of which has as many as five action sizes, scaled to suit specific calibres. Together, there are up to 30 potential actions to select from, based upon each individual’s requirements. When all the different permutations are combined, there are over 75,000 options to choose from when creating your unique Purdey. Our skill lies in narrowing these down – with decades of combined experience, the team can take as little as half an hour to create a bespoke specification for your order.

Supposing that you select a gun, rather than a rifle, the starting point for the specification is to determine which way up you would like the barrels. It may sound a basic question, but as they are the first thing to be built it is a crucial one. An Over-and-Under presents the client with three models, before moving onto the calibre. All three can be ordered in everything from 12-bore down to 28-bore. If you are looking for a .410, the decision is made for you, as only the Sidelock action has the space for the mainsprings required to fire that cartridge consistently.

Once the orientation and calibre have been confirmed, the next step is the choice of barrel length. Many clients prefer 30in., but we offer anything from 25in. to 32in. Then there is the question of ribs and chokes. In recent years, the latter has been heavily influenced by the debate surrounding steel shot, leading the majority of our guns to be completed with interchangeable chokes. These are finished flush with the muzzles, providing great versatility while preserving the classic lines of our guns.

Mechanical details agreed, the discussion turns to the stock. Once you have made your selection from the potentially infinite variety of exhibition-grade Walnut blanks, you then decide on the shape. There are six different grip shapes, each with its own style and benefits, from the traditional English straight-hand grip through to a full palm-swell pistol grip. These include the Woodward grip, with its relaxed arch, and a true Prince of Wales grip – a horn-capped pistol grip, designed for King Edward VII.

Larger considerations all checked, there follows a host of smaller ones. These include whether you would prefer a chequered heel to your stock, or a leather-covered recoil-pad, and even whether you would like single or double triggers. They might be small points, but the finer details could have a significant impact upon your whole shooting experience.

The conversation then turns to aesthetic choices. This is the opportunity to make your gun your own. Options range from something as simple as a gold or silver oval inlaid in the stock, to something as complex as a bespoke engraving pattern. The potential for embellishment is endless, and the part where you can really leave your mark on the finished gun. Finally, the case is selected, and your order is ready to be submitted to the factory.

Explore our bespoke models here, or get in touch with our Gun Room team for more details.