Here is a .470 rifle we completed this week. A double trigger .470 droplock with scroll back action and drop points. The rifle also has QD scope bases. More photos to follow.
I am possibly biased when I say that the Westley Richards front sight for rifles is the very best front ‘iron sight’ available, and that it has been for a very long time. For sportsmen it ticks all the boxes in both the function and practical terms they require. The sight is patented but I was unable to determine the exact date of this as we have listed many patents relating to sights in the 1895 – 1905 period. These covered all kinds of developments introduced by Leslie B Taylor for both sporting and military rifles.
A ‘typical sight’ consists of an island base, a sight bead and a slip on hood. It is never long before the slip-on hood is knocked off or deliberately removed, leaving the bead exposed. The bead is actually quite fragile as it is supported only by a thin steel blade that when bent over and straightened can easily snap off rendering the rifle useless unless you have a spare.
The Westley Richards sight cleverly incorporates the hood (or protector) attached to the front sight block which can be folded back out of the way when needed. It is possible to shoot the rifle with the hood in place but most hunters will open the hood when they start their stalk to get the clearest vision for the shot. In addition the sight incorporates a large white night sight for when the light is low. The bead size is to order and we make a variety of sizes from very small to large for poor sighted people or for those who just prefer a larger bead. We have also incorporated the modern neon light gathering sights into the foresight for those who prefer. Normally we would supply some traditional sights if we do this for when the rifle is in the display case as the neon tends to clash! The foresight bead is removed with a small turnscrew and the replacement dovetails in and is fixed with a small pin (screw).
At Westley Richards the foresight assemblies are one of the tasks set to the apprentice gunmakers. The raw components are not too complicated and they require a multitude of skills to make, filing, polishing, fitting parts together with a smoke lamp, making and fitting the springs, fitting the pins (screws) and making them off. Once made up as a sub assembly the sights are checked and bagged awaiting production. Fitting the sights and regulating them is a job done by the bolt rifle team and by our regulator, Stuart Richards in the case of the double rifles.
With the advent of the digital world, printed matter seemed to make an exit from most business’s marketing efforts. Every resource was directed at the online presence, websites, webshops, newsletters and online catalogues, a wealth of intangible information. We have been as guilty in this respect as all the others, the last catalogue we printed having been about 18 years ago now!
My favourite from all the old Westley Richards catalogues that I have here in the archive, has always been the one pictured above, it has for me a certain charm and is for me the perfect size to fit in a pocket when picked up at an exhibition, so I think it fitting that we base our next offering on this vintage gem.
It is very nice to be working once again with Colin Townsend who produced our last catalogue in 1998 and Peter Horridge, the exceptional typographer who created the artwork for the cover of In Pursuit of the Best Gun as well as our current guncase Trade Label. We look forward to producing another unique and collectable Westley Richards catalogue that will hopefully remain a keepsake of our work for many years to come.
The new cover is revealed! Earlier in the year in a post I offered up some suggestions and asked for advice on which cover to use from the scamps that Colin Townsend had prepared. I am not sure if I followed the advice exactly as there were people who liked each version. Certainly a very strong contender on the original post was this crop of the oil painting of the Bishop of Bond Street. I hope everyone agrees that it has ended up a fitting cover for the second edition.
The book itself is little changed but has an additional 32 page final chapter written by Jeremy Musson with 35 new images. These illustrate the guns that were in production at the time of the last publication and which were not ready to be photographed. In all other respects the book is the same, we have used the same printer and binder, same quality paper throughout and the book will be sent out in the same crush proof box with logo as we used last time. The only things that have changed are that the book is larger and it is now less expensive!
The 2nd edition will be priced at £75 and a special offer is available to readers of ‘The Explora’ to pre-order a copy at a 20% discount. Please follow this link ‘In Pursuit Offer’ to pre order a copy at £60 and enter discount code EXPLORA1812167 at the checkout. The books will ship late September early October. My thanks in advance for your kind orders.
Here are some good examples of how we often take in used guns for sale, a mixed selection from someone who has had enough shooting and is cleaning out the cupboard. I always have liked this kind of deal, it is not only the very expensive and immaculate condition guns that get me excited buying guns but guns which have had a life of service and are ready after a little care and attention and then a few years more work! These guns are very typical of the sort of condition we would find guns in which we bought in India, they needed a little tender care and then they would be fit for service for many years more.
From the top we have here a Howard A. Davis 20g boxlock ejector which will make a very nice gun for a youngster. An unusual underlever Holland & Holland 12g ejector black powder gun which is perfect for the man wanting to win the ‘blackpowder’ cup at the Southern side by side! A Westley Richards 12g Heronshaw ejector which has colour and condition and finally a nice little single barrel Westley Richards scroll back ejector rifle in .22 hornet complete with telescope. All the guns are in good condition besides cosmetic work, barrel black and stock refinish which we will be undertaking as required. If anything appeals please let me know, they range in price from $3000-5000.
This is a very useful set of guns we made a few years ago, it comprises a single 12g and a 28g which between them will cover most of the wingshooting in America. The guns have consecutive serial numbers and match like a pair in every respect except the bore size. The guns have 28 inch barrels and 14 3/4″ length of pull. Cased as seen below in a Westley Richards pattern oak and leather case.
These guns are available for sale on our used gun site. Westley Richards 12g. & 28g.
Some years ago now, in 2006, my brother in law commissioned this gun for his Norwegian business partner. The gun has just arrived back here at the factory for a service and it gives me the opportunity to both photograph it and also to remember what a very generous gift it was!
The gun is a 12g round action sidelock which was scroll engraved by Shaun Banks and had the cameos engraved by Peter Spode. The sides of the action have traditional pointing scenes and on the bottom there is a portrait of Minot’s Light, a lighthouse which sits off the coast off Cohasset, just south of Boston, where 40 years ago I would have been found courting my wife!
This is a very nice example of putting a small personal touch to a gun making it special and memorable for the owner.
Here are some more shots of the take down rifles that we continue to produce here at our factory. The first two images show a rifle that we built in .416 Rigby calibre which has every best feature that you would expect from a Westley Richards; quarter rib, patent combination foresight, exhibition wood, quick detachable scope mounts and exhibition engraving.
The real beauty in these images is that you get to see the actual profile we give to our rifles and you can clearly see that they maintain traditional English lines. Many of today’s makers have slipped into making heavier, bulkier rifles in the belief they will be more comfortable to shoot. The truth is that a well balanced, proportionate rifle, stocked to sensible measurements will always be more pleasant to shoot than a poorly configured rifle. This is evidenced by the vintage collection of rifles that we have here, all of which maintain great lines and balance regardless of calibre.
It is worth noting on the .416 that we built it on a left handed magnum Mauser ’98 action. We have always believed in building the correct calibre on the correct action size as this undoubtedly helps with the handling characteristics of the rifle.
The rifle below is an exhibition grade .300 WSM complete in a deluxe oak and leather case with ivory handled tooling. The photo does not do the rifle justice and we have been fortunate enough to have it here at the factory where many a client has been awed by its quality!
A post written by ‘Trigger’
Quite some time ago now I posted some photographs of these 16g guns when they arrived back from the engraver Frederique Lepinois. For some reason they missed being photographed in their completed state. It was only this week whilst we were putting the second edition of our book to bed which included the unfinished versions to illustrate the work that they were rushed up to be photographed.
These guns speak for themselves, a superb, useful and underrated gauge gun, combined with truly unique engraving by a wonderful new talent!