The Purdey self- open­ing gun

Shooting Gazette - - Great guns -

Fred­er­ick Beesley (1846-1928) was a farmer’s son from Hamp­ton Poyle in Ox­ford­shire. Af­ter ap­pren­tice­ship to Moore & grey he worked for many Lon­don firms be­fore join­ing James Purdey as a stocker in 1869. He re­mained with Purdey un­til 1878 then set up his own busi­ness at 22 Queen street, Edg­ware Road, Lon­don.

Al­though ham­mer­less ejec­tor guns seemed to be the pin­na­cle of de­vel­op­ment, a fur­ther re­fine­ment was the self-open­ing gun. A self-open­ing gun will open au­to­mat­i­cally when the top lever is turned, the ob­ject be­ing to speed up the rate of fire even more.

Beesley was a re­mark­ably in­ge­nious man and in pa­tent no. 31 of Jan­uary 3, 1880, in­vented a self-open­ing gun that he im­me­di­ately sold to Purdey for a to­tal of £55.

the es­sen­tial fea­ture of the ac­tion is a pow­er­ful main­spring, the up­per arm cock­ing the lock and as­sist­ing in the open­ing of the gun and the lower arm fir­ing it. With the gun open, the main­spring is free of ten­sion, but when closed, the bar­rels force back cams to com­press the main­spring. When the gun is fired, the lower half of the main­spring pow­ers the tum­blers and when the gun is opened the up­per half of the main­spring opens the gun and at the same time cocks the tum­blers.

Beesley was a pro­lific in­ven­tor known as “the In­ven­tor to the Lon­don trade” and in the 1880s alone, he patented no less than 11 in­ven­tions. He al­ways made great play out of the fact he in­vented Purdey’s ham­mer­less ac­tion, his shop in st. James’s street proudly pro­claim­ing “Beesley, In­ven­tor And Pa­ten­tee Of Purdey’s Ham­mer­less gun”.

The Beesley self-open­ing gun. (A) is the cam op­er­ated by the bar­rel to push the slid­ing rod (B) to cock the mech­a­nism. (D) is the up­per half of the main­spring that opens and cocks the tum­blers and (E) is the lower half of the main­spring that fires the tum­blers (F).

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