FORMERLY THE PROPERTY OF RUSSELL B. AITKEN
J. PURDEY & SONS
A FINE 12-BORE SINGLE-TRIGGER SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTOR LIVE PIGEON GUN, serial no. 24486,
32in. nitro chopperlump barrels with tapered ventilated matt rib, ivorine bead fore-sight and intermediary sight, tubes engraved 'J. PURDEY & SONS. AUDLEY HOUSE. SOUTH AUDLEY STREET. LONDON. MADE OF SIR JOSEPH WHITWORTH'S FLUID PRESSED STEEL.', 2 3/4in. chambers, bored approx. full and 1/2 choke, large treble-grip action with hidden third bite, side-clips, removable striker discs, no safety, cocking-indicators, non-selective single trigger, the fences carved in high relief with oak leaves and acorns, the action, lockplates and furniture carved with bold foliferous motifs and stylised strap and ribbonwork, the lockplates with the makers name and the underside with 'J. PURDEY & SONS. LONDON.' in a disciform cartouche, the triggerguard carved in relief and gold-inlaid with the Aitken crest on a matted background, retaining some original colour-hardening and finish, 15in. highly-figured pistolgrip stock with monte carlo comb and including 3/4in. rubber recoil pad, minor repaired crack to rear of right lockplate, horn pistolgrip and with two gold escutcheons, one with the initials 'R.B.A.' the second with floral border and engraved 'GRAND PRIX DE VICHY 1958 CHAMPION', beavertail fore-end with further gold escutcheon engraved 'PAN AMERICAN LIVE PIGEON CHAMPIONSHIP HAVANA 1956 CHAMPION', weight 8lb. 1oz., in its brass-cornered oak and leather case with accessories, lid outer marked 'R.B.A. N.Y.A.C.', and with canvas and leather outer bearing various travel and competition entry labels
Provenance: The makers have kindly confirmed that the gun was completed in 1931 for a Mr Locatelli with 'single trigger. no safety catch. clip sides. 3rd grip. large scroll engraving. oak leaf fences.'
Russell B. Aitken (1910 - 2002) was an American possessed of a superb marksman's eye and a thirst for competition. He served as Major in the U.S.A.A.F. during the Second World War and was stationed for the most part at Luke Field, Arizona and then Yuma Army Airfield as a gunnery specialist. He personally trained over 32,000 pilots and gunners in the area of marksmanship and was also a member of the Army Air Force skeet team where. for a time, he held the world record of 742 straight rounds.
Following the war he indulged his interests in competitive shooting as well as writing, collecting trophy heads and big game hunting. He was successful in all these activities and shot several world record trophies which are recorded in Rowland Ward's records.
He was also highly accomplished with a game gun and regularly travelled to the north for grouse. He managed to combine his love of shooting and competition in the form of live pigeon shooting, probably the most demanding of shotgun disciplines. In this arena he excelled and travelled to Europe after winning the Miller Memorial at Lebanon in 1955 and the Grand Prix and Pan-America Championships in Havana in 1954 and 1956. His victories with this shotgun are listed below, but the greatest was, without doubt, his winning of the Grand Prix at Vichy in 1958 when, with a full Mistral blowing, he shot 28 straight 'zuritos' to beat Franco Bornaghi, an Italian professional who was widely regarded as the greatest live pigeon shot in Europe.
Other Notes: Competition history of the shotgun:
Champion, The Miller Memorial, Lebanon 1955. Champion, The Grand Prix, Havana, 1954. Champion, The Pan-American Live Pigeon Championship, Havana, 1956. Prix de Larvotto and Prix Gaston Rambaud, Monte Carlo, 1956. Prix Roger Dubut, Deauville, 1956. Major cups at Rome, Milan, Madrid, San Remo, Valencia, Barcelona, Seville, Captain of the U.S. team at the Match of Nations World Championships in Estoril, 1957. Champion, Grand Prix de Vichy, 1958.
Please click HERE to view Terms & Conditions.