Side by sides and over and unders, forged from more than a hundred layers of Damascene steel
When James Purdey began his apprenticeship in 1798, best London gunmakers forged their Damascus barrels out of nails from old horseshoes, which were thought to have been toughened by the heavy wear they’d endured. They were heated up, hammered into strips, and then beaten around rods known as mandrels to form the basic barrel shape. This process remained in use until the beginning of the Twentieth Century, despite Sir Joseph Whitworth produced his fluid-pressed steel at the end of the 1870s.
Purdey’s all-Damascus gun is a world-first. Available in side-by-side or over-and-under configuration, each is hand-crafted in Hammersmith, using damascene steel alloy forged in Sweden. Each piece has more than a hundred layers, which create the distinctive Damascus pattern. With exceptional purity and strength, it lends itself perfectly to the rigours of long service in the field.
There is no need to engrave a Damascus gun, as each has its own unique pattern, created when it is forged. We simply name and number them, with either conventional lettering or gold inlay.
The Damascus Legend
The origins of ‘Damascus’ steel date back to ancient Syria, where the many layered, beautifully patterned metal was revered for its unsurpassed strength. Such was the secrecy surrounding the original forging methods, which are now lost, that to reveal the technique was punishable by death.
According to legend, a Damascus sword was so sharp it could cleave through metal. Drop a hair across the blade, and it would fall cleanly in two.