First time I shot this gun seriously, on the clays range, it was a big disappointment; didn’t hit many! The first course of action, in such a situation, was to pattern the gun on paper. Holding the stock to my cheek, aiming precisely at a mark and squeezing the trigger, I learned the center of impact for each barrel, and also, the actual pattern the chokes were delivering. Because the Purdey folks make every gun to fit the customer,
I wasn’t surprised that this gun was delivering nearly the entire pattern high and to the right. Also, not surprising, the patterns were tighter than what the choke specifications would indicate. Upon measuring the choke constriction, it was .015 (modified) in the right barrel and .020 (improved modified) in the left.
Chokes are the easiest variable to deal with. The only real choice for me was whether to simply open the chokes or have choke tubes installed. Since my intentions
were to use this gun for quail hunting only, there was really no reason to prepare the gun to shoot anything else. For me, quail chokes in a 12 gauge are cylinder (no choke) in the right barrel and improved cylinder (.007) in the left. Briley, in Houston, has done a lot of choke work for me through the years. The cost was $95 per barrel, with 34-day turn-a-round.
Immediately after the choke work was done, I shot the gun
again on the pattern sheets, with my favorite 12-gauge quail load of 7/8 oz of #8 shot. Both barrels delivered much larger patterns, and the center of impact was only a couple inches to the right -- not enough to impact hitting a quail.
The length of pull was the next issue to deal with; it was 15”, from the factory, including a 1/2” pad. Removing the pad, plugging the balancing holes in the butt end of the stock, then finishing
and checkering the butt was the solution. The finish length of pull is now 14-1/2” and the weight of the gun is 6 pounds 15 ounces.
Now, all the alibis have been eliminated and conceptually, at least, there is no reason to ever miss a quail. Well, at least there are no alibis for the gun; for the shooter, there is always one more! On 24 November 2021, I successfully introduced this Purdey 12 bore “1987 Quail Gun” to Missouri Bobwhite Quail.