THE SOUTHERN SIDE BY SIDE CHAMPIONSHIP AND EXHIBITION

Bill Kempffer

This weekend I attended and exhibited our guns at the Southern Side by Side championship, organised by Bill Kempffer (above) and held at his Deep River Shooting grounds near Sanford, North Carolina. After an opening day which reminded me of the CLA game fair, with tropical style rainstorms, we enjoyed 2 further days of uninterrupted sunshine and temperatures in the 80’s.

Deep River Sporting Clays

Griffin & HoweGriffin & Howe of New York came well prepared for the Friday torrential rains, displaying their wares beneath plastic sheeting.

Galazan Road ShowTony Galazan was saved from the rains in his purpose built ‘Road Show’ trailer.

The Event which was started some 8 years ago, is sponsored by, amongst others, English gunmakers Atkin Grant and Lang and Charles Boswell who were founding sponsors and were both represented this year by their owners Francis Lovel and Chris Batha respectively. Also making the trip from England were Heritage Guns, Holland & Holland and myself.

Heritage GunsToby Barclay of Heritage Guns who displayed his guns magnificently.

Chris Batha Gun MeasureChris Batha was on hand to provide gun fittings and general shooting advice.

Many of the larger American dealers were present amongst exhibitors and this venue  must now certainly have the largest showing and selection of best guns at one time on the East Coast. I have only seen larger gatherings of best guns at the Las Vegas Antique Arms and the Safari Club shows in Dallas and Vegas.

In the past we used to attend the Vintagers show but only for a couple of years. I found this show to be much better, a pleasant and friendly atmosphere amongst the exhibitors and visitors, the warm and sunny weather was a delight and the show comes after a good break since the major shows in January so I think well timed. The organisers I think could improve the catering and the floods of Friday which affected the main tents on lower ground will no doubt have caused concern amongst those exhibitors and their millions of dollars of stock.

For anyone who has considered going to visit the show I think you will enjoy it, there is plenty to look at and of course there is the shooting as well, I didn’t get to try a round as I had to guard my guns!

WRCO4422The main tent was home to 100’s of dealers from across the country.

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Kevin's BarKevin Kelly (2nd left) of  Kevin’s provided an open bar for the duration of the show.

L1004501 A member of the Carolina’s Vintagers Club enjoying the sun.

L1004500The Saturday night Pig Roast and prize giving event.

WRCO4550 A happy young man receiving his trophy for best junior from Guy Bignell of Griffin & Howe

FILSON AT W. R. & CO.

Filson Logo

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A year or two to break in, and three or four decades to wear out

This is Filson’s philosophy. A company with a similar philosophy to our own and nearly as much history. Filson has been making enduring and purposeful products utilising the best possible materials and manufacturing processes since 1897. As a new edition to our range at W. R. & Co. we are proud to start carrying their collection of iconic goods that are  fit for both the field and for the street and also guaranteed for a lifetime. Pleasevisit our online shop to see their collection.

Filson Light Field Coat - Olive Filson Guide Vest- Waxed Tartan Filson Cape Cruiser - Tan
Filson Tin Cloth Shooting Bag Filson Rucksack - Green Filson Sportsman's Bag - Black

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New visitors to our online shop will receive 10% off your first online order when you sign up to our mailing list.

 

JOHN FIELD AT W. R. & CO.

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John Field Rain Poncho - Tornado - Forest Green

‘John Field – designed for purpose’.

Here at Westley Richards we are proud to start carrying a new collection of technical, functional clothing. born from the company Seyntex, a high-tech fabric manufacturer, John Field carries on family traditions using the best textiles available for breathability and waterproofing. Designed for shooting, we believe that each piece is truly fit for purpose.

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John Field

Receive 10% off your first online order when you sign up to our mailing list.

RODS & TACKLE. THE WESTLEY RICHARDS FISHING DEPARTMENT.

Westley Richards Rods & Tackle

I was fortunate over the Easter weekend to be offered a pretty comprehensive collection of Westley Richards fishing tackle, this will make a fine addition to the firm’s ephemera which is to be found scattered throughout our shop and factory for visitors to enjoy.

Unfortunately the in-house knowledge on the history of the fishing tackle is quite limited so I have put out calls of ‘help’ to people who can enlighten me on some of the historical facts regarding the tackle we supplied. Hopefully this knowledge will be forthcoming and in the future I will be able to post a more informative article on the collection we have acquired.

In the meantime, as I depart to the East coast of USA to attend the Southern side by side competition and Bray’s Island Exposition, I would ask that anyone with relevant information on the Westley Richards fishing department to please let me know.

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ENGRAVING DESIGNS FOR NEW WESTLEY RICHARDS GUNS and RIFLES.

VC Drawing for Westley Richards

It takes up to two years, sometimes more, to get one of our shotguns or rifles made, stocked, shot, highly polished and ready for the engravers work. Up to this point everything we make has been bestowed with the same levels of skill, craftsmanship, time, and infinite amount of attention to detail. It is at this point that each individual product will take on its own look, the look desired by the client and executed by the engraver of choice. Whilst the feel, balance, silhouette and character of the gun will all be Westley Richards,  the individual engraving will set each gun apart. I typically get very nervous with the whole engraving process, especially the large commissions which take 6 – 12 months of an engravers time. Nervous because it is not until the work is delivered back, perhaps many months later, that you can decide how it really looks, if the idea has worked and is a success or perhaps not quite meeting expectations, whichever, the responsibility ultimately lies with us, we hedge our bets with drawings!

Rashid Drawing for Westley Richards

The engravers who work with us are accustomed to making drawings which are especially relevant and important in the larger commissions. Many times these have thrown up problems and changes can be made in advance rather than regretted later. The drawings themselves are very nice indeed, I have always liked Rash’s loose and imaginative designs, some of which I am pleased to share with you now along with some by Vince Crowley and Peter Spode.

Vince Drawing for Westley Richards

Rashid Bicentenary Design

12 Peter Spode Designs

Rashid Designs for Westley Richards

Rashid Design for Droplock 500

Rashid Design for Westley Richards

Vince Crowley Design for Westley Richards

A NEW LOOK IN OUR SHOP FOR SPRING.

W R & Co. Shop UK

Spring has brought with it a facelift in our shop with the addition of some great new brands which we both like very much and believe deliver great products which work well in our sport. The recently revived Filson range is delivering some super garments, especially Jackets and a diverse range of bags for every purpose, all of which come with a lifetime guarantee. The Real McCoy makes beautifully detailed clothing using the very best fabrics from which we have selected a very nice range of garments we think are perfect for Safari. Other new products will be arriving throughout the year so please keep checking our online shop if you are not able to visit in person.

 

JOHN MILLAR’S 4 BORE HAMMER RIFLE. A 10 YEAR LABOUR OF LOVE.

J MIllar 4g

When it comes to project guns I don’t think there is anything that I have ever come across personally, better than this 4g Hammer Rifle made by John Millar of Canada. John made every single bit of this rifle with his own hands except the engraving and it is a quite remarkable job. Every single detail has been considered, besides the rifle which has 2 pairs of barrels (Rifled and Shot) and 2 pair of locks (A spare pair for the African Bush), John made a full compliment of cleaning and loading accessories, an elephant hide oak and leather case, a set of leather goods for taking the rifle on Safari and of course a pile of ammunition for shooting with it.

4g Ammunition by J Millar

John is a machinist by trade and he moved from Ontario to the Yukon to set up his own business. Here his business worked primarily for Caterpillar servicing the large type of earthmoving equipment and other heavy machinery but also for the gold miners of Dawson City. It was after this move to Yukon that he met Neil Cross and a fascination with guns, rifles and everything shooting started having been shown Neil’s collection of big bore rifles.

The 4g took John 10 years to make and when I said he made every bit, I did mean that. He drilled, bored and rifled the barrels from solids, he machined the action and all the internal parts, actioned the gun, filed it up, stocked it and regulated it. The late engraver Heidi Hipmeyer from Ontario was the only other person to have a hand in the production, she executed a simple design copied from an old Holland & Holland 10g Paradox from Neil’s collection.

Millar 4g Hammer Rifle

With Shot and Rifled barrels

Millar Spare 4g Locks

Not satisfied with making the rifle alone, John then embarked on making a very full and complete set of accessories, both loading and cleaning, for the gun, these were turned from brass and mastodon ivory and also engraved by Heidi. Each one of these tools has been made with the same care and attention given the gun itself and are faithful to the old Dixon tools many of you may have seen in vintage rifles and guns.

Cased Millar Rifled 4g

4g Tooling Millar 4g Tooling Millar Powder 4g Bullet Moulds Millar

During the years it took to make the rifle John was a frequent visitor to our old factory, he would show the slow but steady progress with pride and tell me that the ambition was to complete the rifle and take it to Africa. He did just that and whilst he was not able to shoot an Elephant which had been his ultimate desire, he was able to take a large Cape Buffalo with which to Christen the rifle and ‘proof’ his work.

I think any of you with even a little understanding of gunmaking will admire this outstanding example of craftsmanship made by a person who only studied the vintage guns closely and who never had any training in gun making itself.

Leather Goods by J Millar for 4gHeadstamped 4g Ammunition

 

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I am happy to pass any questions regarding this rifle to John or please post them in comments below.

THE WESTLEY RICHARDS ‘HIGHEST POSSIBLE’ AIR PISTOL

Westley Richards Highest Possible

I have waited many years to get hold of a nice version of our Highest Possible air pistol,  today finally one has been found! As always timing plays a part,  Trigger heard someone being told on the phone that we were not interested when he had called in to sell it, ‘no get it was called out’ and the deal was done!

The Highest Possible has been a very elusive item, perhaps because so few were ever made which then had to survive the next 100 years. I have no exact records of the production figures but the Collectors Guide to Air Pistols by Dennis Hiller suggests that the highest serial number known is 1052 suggesting only 1000 odd were ever made.

WR Highest Possible Air Pistol

Engraved on the L.H.S of the air chamber “WESTLEY RICHARDS HIGHEST POSSIBLE – AIR PISTOL”. On the frame near the sear is stamped the serial number, 369, which also appears on various other parts. On the left side of the frame is engraved “WESTLEY RICHARDS & CO. – LONDON W” and near the action latch appears “PATENT 24837 1907″. The pistol has black chequered vulcanite grips and a 9 3/4 inch rifled barrel. Rear sight appears to be adjustable for elevation only. Length from tip of barrel to base of butt is 12 1/4 inches. The above design was patented by E. Anson, a relative of W. Anson of the well known partnership Anson & Deeley.  The “Highest Possible” was also available nickel plated. Highest serial number seen is 1052. Inside of grips are usually scratched with the serial number of part of it and the rifling appears to be anticlockwise. ( From Air Pistols by Dennis Hiller)

The above sequence of photographs shows the cocking of the air pistol.

Cased Highest Possible Air Pistol

THE WESTLEY RICHARDS TRADE LABELS THROUGH THE AGES.

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I am often asked about the various trade labels we have used in our history, mostly I think by people looking to fit an appropriate label in a newly re-cased old gun. I don’t know of a complete record of trade labels for the company but do know that ones I have never seen do appear every now and then. The labels I have posted here are, to the best of my knowledge, in the correct order of oldest first and most recent last but I may well be wrong in the middle section! I would be interested to learn of any labels that are not shown here as this is the full extent of my archive as far as long guns are concerned, I have not included labels here from pistol cases.

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