Stevens Model 512 Insights

Savage overlooks nobody with its line of O/U shotguns. There’s one to suit any size scattergunner.

by Chick Blood

I was once privileged to sit across from the Honorable Richard Beaumont, then Chairman of James Purdey and Sons, during a visit to London. The interview was scheduled to last 20 minutes. The Chairman graciously held up all incoming calls and kept me fascinated for 90 minutes explaining the methods and attention given to the manufacture of Purdey Best double rifles and shotguns. During that time he mentioned his curiosity about the US preference for the over/under as compared to his countrymen’s traditional rapture for side-by-side barrels. I remember him stating, “If the eyes of Americans were positioned one above the other any question of their choice would remain unspoken.” Of course, Mr. Beaumont fully recognized and appreciated our likes for the O/U aiming plane and lesser concern over shot group convergence and saw every economical reason for James Purdey and Sons not to ignore it. Proof of that was in evidence. It was one of Purdey’s Best, an O/U made for an American customer, regally awaiting the arrival of its new owner while snuggled on royal purple velvet inside its custom-made English walnut case. The rust bluing of the barrels knew no depth. It seemed to be infinite. The metal to wood fit was all but invisible. The gun was perfection and worth the high five-figures being paid for the privilege of owning it.

I’m not attempting to make a direct comparison between the Stevens Model 512 and a Purdey Best. The price alone makes that impossible. Besides, the only gunsmithing firm on this side of the pond allowed to even clean a Purdey was Griffin and Howe who once partially occupied the same building as the original Abercrombie and Fitch on Madison Avenue in New York City. You, on the other hand, are quite likely to be called upon to service a Model 512.

Read more in our March 2012 issue. Back issues are available.

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