Utilising the Westley Richards Leather Shop’s Bespoke Ability.

Westley Richards Sam Brown type safari belt

Having my own leather department downstairs gives me the advantage of making things which I like for my own personal use, as is the case with the Sam Brown belt above. I found a very nice vintage belt but without loosing 50 lbs it was never going to fit me! So I have had one made and I think it has turned out really very nicely. I used the oak tanned leather and solid brass fittings both which will age beautifully. My 10 round open wallet fits on perfectly at right hand side. The belt is a faithful copy, with nice stitching detail and a contrast backing in binding leather.

I am really pleased with this belt and should anybody else be interested I think this is an item we will offer on a bespoke basis as getting the length correct is critical to a nice fit, some will wear intruder loops and others over shirt/jacket.

Showing the inside of the Sam Brown Belt

Another useful item I had made for myself was an SD card holder for my photography. I always like to carry spare SD cards with me and don’t like the bulky protective ones you buy from shops. This is a neat solution and can be initialled, numbered or referenced to camera.

SD Card Holder in Leather

I have now made a few writing pads for clients who have seen the one at my desk at Westley Richards. Crafted from 5mm thick Oak Tanned or Tarnsjo Leather these make a very nice writing space and mouse mat!

W R & Co. Bespoke blotter

The final production of the hook swivel sling is now completed. I had great difficulty in sourcing a fully covered strong leather covered buckle so have come to a compromise as illustrated. We will be offering this limited production sling in two colours light and dark brown. Those of you who have shown an interest will now be contacted, thank you for your patience.

WR Hook Eye Sling with Branding

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Last year at Christmas we were asked to make a set of luggage using a customers own game skins. The skins were of an excellent quality and produced a very very nice set of luggage which were very well received.

Westley Richards bespoke bag inBuffalo

Westley Richards Bespoke Elephant skin Bag

My message is with this post that our leather department is unique in that it will entertain bespoke commissions, not only mine!,  we look forward to turning your ideas into reality and  I hope this post shows the diversity of the workshop we can put at your disposal please contact me for any questions you have regarding this.

The Little Westley Richards .410 Cased, Barrel Blacked and on the way to USA.

WR .410-4730

I waved fondly ‘goodbye’ to this new .410 hand detachable shotgun this afternoon, I know there is a very anxious owner awaiting its arrival in Texas. One of our other clients and a mutual friend suggested I send his 4g shotgun instead of the .410 and then just act dumb when it arrived, “wasn’t it a 4g you ordered?” I would have done it had the 4g been ready to send!

I can say it is rather taxing making a gun for someone who has been in the business of collecting guns since I was a little boy, a man who started dealing with my father many years ago and knows the English guns better than anyone I know. We have enjoyed this project and hope that the gun lives up to expectations. I know in a week or so once unpacked it will immediately be on the skeet range being tested out!

WR .410-4741

WR .410-4713

WR .410-4249

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This .410 Hand Detachable Lock gun has 28″ barrels 3″ chambers and fitted with Teague multi chokes. The Gun has a long slim beavertail forend and straight hand grip. Length of pull is  14 3/4″ and the weight is 5lbs. 2 Oz.

The Stock Grip Options for Shotguns.

The Various Stock Grips for Shotguns (1 of 1)

I was asked some weeks ago to do a post on the various stock configuration options that are offered when we make a gun. There are essentially 5 different named options, all of which can be adapted to suit an individual for; length of hand, position of comb, angle of hand, thickness of grip etc. Confusion for most people comes with the difference between the Prince of Wales and Woodward type grips, these are both very similar with the difference being the angle of the pistol grip cap, a parallel finish on the Woodward and angled on the Prince of Wales.

There are no particular rules as far as choosing what grip works best, I think it is a matter of what works best for each individual. For a side by side shotgun the straight hand and either POW or Woodward grips look best and people choosing a single trigger will often opt for POW.Semi or Woodward style as hand position remains static. The full pistol grip is normally only seem on Over Under guns but occasionally I have seen them on live pigeon side by sides.

Fitting Heel & Toe plates to a straight hand stockStocker Romaine Lepinois completing a straight grip stock by fitting Heel and Toe plates. 

Straight hand grip Straight Hand Grip.

Prince of Wales gripPrince of Wales Grip.

Woodward gripWoodward Grip.

Pistol Grips-33732-2Semi Pistol or Rounded Grip.

Full Pistol gripFull Pistol Grip 

For the Big Game Hunter, A Great Value Sidelock .470 Double Rifle.

470 Double Rifle

A fact of gunmaking life is that a makers name makes a difference. It always has and I imagine always will. The name or brand will be reflected in the price and we have all seen guns and rifles that don’t live up to either their name and the price asked. This particular rifle I believe lives up to both.

For the hunter who wants a good looking rifle, made very well in England and South Africa by maker B. Laubscher, here is what is in my opinion is a very good value .470 sidelock double rifle, built by what must be South Africa’s most respected makers. We at Westley Richards finished the rifle for our client a few years ago and our contribution was regulating, UK proof, case hardening, shaping of stock and the overall finish, namely the stock finish, blacking and coin finish. The rifle has not been out of the factory since, so is ‘as new and unfired’.

Built on a English machined H&H style reinforced action, with chopper lump barrels and everything else you would expect from a best rifle, this 24″ barrel, 14 3/4″ stock rifle is itching to go on a hunt!

For further details please contact me by email. Simon.

470 Sidelock Double Rifle

470 Sideloock Double Rifle

470 Sidelock Double

470 Sidelock

An Afternoon out at E. J. Churchill Shooting Grounds for the Westley Gunmakers. Words and Photos by Emma Slater.

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Last  Friday I had a very rare day off, it was my daughters wedding so I disappeared for a few days. The day of my absence was chosen as the ‘shoot day’ for our gunmaking team and staff. I have no doubt it was because of the fear of my shooting ability, that they chose a day they were absoloutly certain I could not attend!

Emma our ‘in house’ photographer went along, had her first shot, took some photos of the day and has written a short post on what they did. Everyone had a great day out and my thanks go to all the staff at E.J.Churchill for making the event a success. Simon.

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We arrived at the E. J. Churchill shooting ground at around 2pm, admittedly it took some a little longer than others after a few wrong turns before correctly navigating our way through the countryside of High Wycombe. Upon arrival we were greeted by the rare British sunshine and our host for the day Josh. After a quick safety briefing we all grabbed our complimentary caps and split off into our teams of 5 and met our instructors for the day.

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The course was a 50 bird sporting layout, shooting 10 pairs over 5 stands, each stand varying in difficulty.

I got to start on what I believe was the easiest stand, either that or a great strike of beginners luck, as afterwards it seemed the initial shock the rest of my team had at how well I’d shot disappeared quite quickly.

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After the 5 stands all teams met back up and we were shown towards the first of our two flurries which was a driven flurry and each instructor became a loader for each shooter in the team. As one team shot the others got to look on and cheer, or jeer, each other on.

After completing the first flurry it was across the course and off to the second, this one was a compact sporting flurry and the loaders were not joking when they said to not concentrate on a single spot, everything came from everywhere! Neither flurry was scored but both were great fun!

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By the end of the flurries, which was around 5pm, everyone had worked up an appetite and were led up to the entrance of Churchill’s and shown to a gazebo where a BBQ was underway and would be ready in minutes. Still the sun was shining down on us and so it seemed only right to rest our feet, and arms, on the grass banks with a cold bottle of something refreshing.

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Whilst waiting for dinner Josh came back out with the all important score sheets to reign the victor of the day. Scores are as follow:

In 3rd place was Sam Banner with 39 (20 bore)

2nd was Trigger with a score of 40 (12g Magnum Loads)!!

The winner of the day was gunroom manager Ricky Bond with a score of 42! ( 12g 28g)

Frist Place to Ricky Bond

Dinner was then served with far more on offer than any of us could manage to finish, even after going up for seconds!

It was a great day that was hosted very well Churchill’s team and no one was left without a smile on their face by the end of it, just a few achy arms.

Emma Slater.

Finding a Good Vintage J. Rigby & Co .470 Sidelock Double Rifle.

J Rigby .470 Sidelock. This particular J. Rigby .470 is used for illustrative purposes only.

When we were active buying rifles in India between 1965 and 1995 the product we brought out all had a common feature, it was in an original unmolested condition. Some had been maintained well, and some not so well, but none had been messed about with by amateur or incompetent gunsmiths. We were able to bring the guns and rifles back to the factory to restore and revive in a subjective and considered manner, to make the gun look its best but not ‘over restored’. We felt any restoration work we did should not be noticeable.

One of the rifles I recall buying in India was an excellent J. Rigby .470 sidelock, I was eager to get it back to England for sale but had to endure the 6-8 month export process. The rifle had colour, condition, a long and good looking stock, it even had its case. A quick sale  was a foregone conclusion as these rifles were and remain, a rare find.

When the rifle did finally arrive I had it taken immediately onto the range to test shoot in the safe hands of Ken Halbert. Ken our foreman was regulating our rifles at the time. To my horror the stock snapped in half on the first shot, we were (stupidly in hindsight) using some new shooting assist device which was thrown angrily in the bin immediately after the shot. In a millisecond my perfect vintage rifle joined the ‘restocked and refinished category gun’.

Last week I was sent some photographs of another J Rigby .470 sidelock, it was in a tatty oak and leather case with a missing lock and rudimentary canvas cover. The rifle had an old squashed recoil pad, overall the look of a rifle discovered in a small armoury in India. It looked to me as if transported in time from just before we pulled the trigger that last time many years ago!

I now have another chance and another great rifle to offer shortly, no shooting contraptions this time, just a steady standing shot. This is obviously a rifle that came in from India years ago and had no work done on it ever, this for us, is the perfect place to start from.

For those Rigby ‘rising bite’ fanatics I will state now that the rifle I have is not that model rifle, it is a late 1920’s vintage rifle and utilises (IMHO) the much better and stronger dolls head type fastening system the company turned to with the advent of nitro powders.

Rigby-470-Close

Rigby-470

A New Westley Richards .505 Take Down Rifle.

Westley Richards .505 Take Down.

We completed this .505 take down this week which is heading down to a client in South Africa. This rifle is specified for big game hunting with a ‘no frills’ approach. Strong straight grained figured wood with blacked parts with makers name only engraved. All the very best functional features of a Westley Richards, no decoration!

As I think I have said before, it is always a pleasure to build these’ working style PH rifles’ as we know they are going to see action plenty of times in their life!

Buying Used Best Guns. A Recent Pair of Boss & Co. 12g Assisted Opening Sidelock Game Guns.

Pair Boss 12g (1 of 6)

Our used gun department handles all makes of best guns. We regularly sell guns by Purdey, Holland & Holland, Boss & Co. McKay Brown and J Rigby. A common service we offer is finding a customer exactly what he is looking for. Many guns and rifles are available to go on the market when asked for, but the people who own them like to keep hold of them. This is down to the fact that over exposure can spoil a guns chances of selling. A good example of this is the Peterson collection guns in USA which have been laying exposed, highly priced and unsold for years now. My gut feeling is they will lie for many more years to come!

Over my years at Westley Richards I have developed a very deep customer base of collectors, through this  I know where many different guns and rifles are sitting many of which are ‘quietly for sale’ they are awaiting a call. This pair of Boss & Co. guns are a case in point, a client wanting a good pair of English London game guns by  Holland, Purdey or Boss for high bird shooting in UK ( I am making him a pair of ours!) and I was able to offer quite quickly 2 pair of Boss guns, a 90% condition, vintage pre war pair or a recent pair I also offered and alternative, a pair of very nice 20 year old Pair of unused Purdey guns. None of these were actively on the market.

Should you have a special requirement for guns or rifles that you cannot find please do let me know as we keep a database of ‘guns wanted’ and can use our extensive knowledge to locate what you are looking for.

Pair Boss 12g (2 of 6)

Pair Boss 12g (3 of 6)

Pair Boss 12g (4 of 6)

Pair Boss 12g (5 of 6)

yhPair Boss 12g (6 of 6)

Westley Richards Agency USA – Moving South to Florida and the Beach.

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Westley Richards Showroom UKThe Westley Richards Factory Showroom. UK.

20 years ago in 1996, I opened the Westley Richards Agency USA in Springfield, Missouri. Prior to this our ‘brand’ had been handled in USA by various ‘agents’, a practise I was not at all comfortable with. I wanted Westley Richards’ personnel to answer our customers calls, not some ‘semi interested’ party who would pass on valuable customers at their discretion. We established the business in a large old school building, converted for our use with the help of English architect Edward Nash who some 10 years later worked with me on our new factory here in England. Springfield was a superb starting base for us, I remember fun and busy years, our activity in USA grew rapidly in the capable hands of Bob Francis and his team.

Then suddenly our activities in Springfield were ‘curtailed’ in 2005 by the ATF and I was told by them that if I wanted to continue trading in USA as Westley Richards, I should leave Springfield, a point I was not going to argue, although I felt I should. Instead we packed up our operation and in 2006 moved North to Bozeman, Montana where the business continued under the direction of Jim Kilday and in more recent years by his son Kevin.

At the end of June after 10 good years in Montana, I have moved the Westley Richards agency south to Florida. I have no particular reason for doing so, excepting to say, that I was 40 when I opened the agency in the Centre of USA, we have spent a further 10 years as we say in England, ‘Up North’ and at 60 years old, I am now retiring to the beach! The last truck load of our contents left Bozeman last week and our doors in Bozeman will be closed on July 8th.

WR-Agency-Letterhead

Gulf Breeze Location Westley Richards

LD McCaa manager at Westley Richards USA      E. Duke ‘LD’ McCaa II the new manager of Westley Richards USA in Florida.

Our new operation in Gulf Breeze, Florida will be headed up and managed by E. Duke ‘LD’ McCaa who has worked with his father Duke McCaa for many years running Gulf Breeze Firearms. Westley Richards has leased 3000 sq ft premises next door to GBF and our remodelling, designed by the same team who decorated our factory showroom in England, is in progress, with the opening in the Fall.

LD brings a huge amount of enthusiasm, knowledge of both firearms and hunting together with impeccable customer service to Westley Richards and we look forward to many years  of growing the business from this location.

I have to take this opportunity to thank Duke McCaa for allowing me to steal his most valuable asset, his son ‘LD’, to manage my operation in USA, something I did with reservation. However, with the ability to move next door to Gulf Breeze Firearms, we all agreed the combined and shared knowledge of the two companies will be good for all and make a fine destination stop for anybody travelling past.

I hope that you will all join me in wishing LD and the new location every success, we look very much forward to your calls and custom.

New details of WR USA

Westley Richards press move notification.