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#604252 10/07/21 11:05 AM
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Any preferences/ advantages/ problem possibilities of these two actions?
I’m looking at a older Beesley SO auctioned gun and wondering how it compares in dependability vs say a more modern H&H action on something like an Arietta 802 or 803.
Thanks in advance.
Best Regards,
JBP

Last edited by J.B.Patton; 10/07/21 11:06 AM.
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Only 1 of those is a true self opener. That’d be the Beesley action. Beesley designed two SO actions. The Purdey and Lancaster. You’re probably referring to the Purdey type.
The H&H is more of an assisted opener type mechanism, the heavier the barrels on the H&H system, the better the system works. You’ll notice a big difference on how much opening action there is on a H&H when the gun is unfired vs fired. You won’t notice any difference on a Purdey, except when you close a fired action.

The Purdey action is more complex than the H&H. The ejector mechanism on the Purdey action (WEM) is more complex than the common southgate used on the H&H. Many more gunsmiths are familiar with the H&H action than the Purdey style. Purdey style requiring some specialized tools & skills to work on the gun.

Brief, but I hope this helps.

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Thank you sir- I like the Purdey actioned gun, but am a little wary of the future possibility of needed attention, and having a problem finding mechanics familiar with the system.
Any difference in reliability?
Best Regards
JBP

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Imitation being a form of flattery, the Holland action seems to be the more easily copied, almost every double gunmaker offered a Holland in their catalog. That may also be indicative of the ease of manufacture and repairability.

Beyond blind copiers there were gunmakers who took the Holland a step further. Stefano Zanotti gave it rebounding hammers, improved sears and stronger lump engagement. I have an Italian article on file regarding his improvements if it interests you.

Fratelli Gamba also introduced their own lock improvements. Fabbio Zanotti turned out some fine pinless sidelocks, if you can find them.

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Purdey SO's have many admirers and many more happy customers but if I had to choose, I would take the H&H design every time. Why? Because having worked on both, I would be reasonably happy to repair or make any part for a H&H but would blanch at the prospect of making many Purdey parts. To take the main spring as an example, they are a fiendishly clever piece of design, performing three operations faultlessly but as a result they are VERY challenging to make and even a blank (if you can find one) needs a lot of finishing before it will do all that is expected of it. Most competent gunsmith can fettle a H&H design but would struggle with Purdey parts.
I also don't like SO guns much. I find them difficult to close in a hurry and the self opening feature has never seemed to be of any great value unless you are opening the gun with one hand whilst reaching for the next cartridges with the other. Fantastic if you are standing under a cloud of birds/targets but not of huge value in my world.

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To Toby's remarks about self opener utility above I would like to add that you can take out the self opening plunger from a Holland type action without affecting its operation as a non self opener. You can keep the plunger for sale time, to add that "self opener" cachet. You do not have this choice with a Beesley action.

A subjective note- I find the Holland action feel noticeably smoother in all phases of operation.

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I’ll reiterate….the H&H mechanism is NOT a self opener. It is an assisted opener, and that’s being generous.

Toby as usual is spot on.

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Mine must be broken, that sucker flips the barrels open with gusto, no matter if it has been fired or not.


http://www.bertramandco.com/

ACGG Professional metalsmith, firearms import services.
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Ok.

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LeFusil, I am a bit confused by your comments on the H&H. Are you confusing the H&H with its patented compressor under the forend that applies the same opening force regardless of whether it is fired with the 'normal' Boss that is assisted opening when unfired, courtesy of the ejector springs? I understand that you may feel the H&H system is somewhat 'detuned' by the need to cock the main springs on opening but it is still a self opener. I have always found the 'milder' SO of the H&H more to my taste as it assists the opening without making the thing 'hard' to close. I agree that by applying the 'approved method' to the Purdey, a reasonably easy closure can be achieved but I found that it was not always convenient to 'adopt the position' when that dratted bird you had been searching for suddenly explodes from by your feet!

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