We are pleased to announce that we will exhibit at the 2014 Safari Club International Convention, starting in Las Vegas on February 5th, two of the most famous 577′s ever built by this company. We will showing the Westley Richards 577 used by Ernest Hemingway in Africa alongside, and for the first time, the single trigger Westley Richards .577 belonging to the infamous elephant hunter James Sutherland. These two large rifles bring with them a lot of history, and with each of them in the same condition as when left by their owners, many stories to tell. Please take this rare opportunity to see the rifles whilst you are at the show.
As well as these rifles we will also be exhibiting some our recently completed work which includes the highly praised India Rifle, a highly embellished sidelock 600NE, new drop lock rifles in 600, 577, 500 and 470. We will have our take down models in 416 and 300 win mag and some super 12g round action sidelock guns.
I sincerely hope some of you will be able to visit our stand, say hello and see these historical old rifles along with our current production guns and rifles.
The Antique Arms Show in Las Vegas this year combined with the International Sporting Arms Show, the Las Vegas Custom Knife Makers and also the American Engravers Guild, it is the largest event of its kind in the world. There are literally, miles and miles of guns of every sort from cased duelling pistols to modern production best guns. I have been attending this show now personally for 27 years and have met many of my long term customers here. As a company I think we have been exhibiting for most of the shows 50 odd years of existence as I recall my father telling me he had seen Elvis and Fats Domino one year when he visited.
The show fills 2 halls, one is focused on the original basis of the show which was Antique Arms, and here you will find rows upon rows of tables exhibiting, Colts, Winchesters, Antique Western & Indian artefacts, European antiques and many many other things, it takes hours to walk the aisles. A second hall houses the “modern” guns meaning sporting weapons as well as the knife show and the engravers exhibit. The major dealers in USA all show here and you will never see as many Hollands, Purdey, Boss and other guns for sale in one place anywhere at any one time. I am not saying there are any bargains but the guns are here and it is down to the buyer to work the deal, just as you would do in a market or bazaar in the east!
For those of you searching for a particular calibre of Westley Richards double rifle, this list may come as a surprise. I cannot vouch for it being 100% accurate as turning page after page of journal entries and compiling the list was quite a long task. Also, the writing in many instances is not exactly clear so there are no doubt some minor mistakes. This list does however show how few rifles there are in the market in certain calibre’s and why some are seemingly impossible to find!
If this makes you give up the search you can always ask us to make one, we would of course be happy to do so!
Immediately after Christmas we will be heading for the USA and starting our tour of annual exhibitions held there. At each venue we will have on display a range of our latest guns and rifles together with our range of W R & Co Leather goods and the Courteney Boot range. We look forward very much to welcoming our friends and customers during these shows and sincerely hope you are able to meet us at one or more of these venues.
For further information on these exhibitions please go to their respective websites. Dallas Safari Club, Las Vegas Antique Arms Show, Safari Club International, Brays Island Exposition, Southern Side by Side.
There are always a lot of requests for dating serial numbers for our guns. We have tried to put an easy search on our website to assist with this and will always try and answer any questions regarding the guns as time allows. For those who do not have a copy of the Westley Richards book ‘In Pursuit of the Best Gun’, here is the page which covers the quick reference to the serial numbers with dates for the best guns made here. This can be enlarged and taken off this site and printed.
For a more comprehensive search for your serial numbers including a certificate and copy from the ledgers please follow this link. Gun History.
In the old days, it might have been common to see what was called an apprentice piece, a miniature or reduced scale gun that has been a labour of love for some young gunsmith over a period of years. Having written that, I realise I have actually only ever seen very few of these, so it was probably very uncommon, perhaps more hearsay than actuality!
In an opposite direction to miniature, going for the largest gun possible, it is with remarkable energy and determination, that the young men, who have served their gunmaking apprenticeships here over the past 5-7 years, have delivered to our stockers the first of three, 4 bore droplock, single selective trigger shotguns. These guns are built on our traditional scroll back, hand detachable lock action, with Model C dolls head bolting, hinged cover plate, Deeley forend catch and single selective trigger. Each and every part has been scaled up in size in order to produce this massive 20lb gun, including a new single selective trigger, a new ‘magnum’ ejector box and massive lockwork.
Although these guns are not yet finished, it is for me, and the company as a whole, a huge milestone in our modern history. Here is a group of young men, all of whom approached us for an apprenticeship, displaying both aptitude and eagerness to pursue the career of gunmaker. Young men who for the years of their apprenticeship have weathered the ‘you will never make it’ attitude of the elder gunmakers, in order to slowly, but surely, impress them and often even amaze them, with their enthusiasm, knowledge, ability and determination, and finally deliver these guns which are of the very highest quality.
The work done by Chris Soyza over the last 6 years, assembling, mentoring and building this team of new craftsmen will be long remembered as a job ‘extremely well done’. One which started the regular process of introducing young, new blood into the company, thus securing the future. A process which has the company now with 60% of staff in their 20′s rather than the 10% when I joined in 1987.
Huge credit and many thanks go to all the older members of the team here and outside, the ‘grumpy old men of gunmaking’ who continue to work hard with our young men and apprentices, imparting their knowledge, keen to secure the future of gunmaking here and in the country as a whole.