A Pair of Westley Richards 20g Round Action Sidelocks nearing completion. Engraving by Paul Chung.
The reason behind Purdey’s 2013 attack in Birmingham to poach our apprentices became apparent today when Owen hastings and Ian Sweetman, our 2 ex lads helped lead Purdey to claiming back the London Gunmakers Cup off us at todays shoot with a cup winning score of 173! Westley Richards won the cup last year at the Aitkin Grant and Lang grounds and hosted this years event. The highest scoring team overall was E J Churchill’s who also won the flush.
The event was held at the excellent E. J. Churchill shooting ground in West Wycombe and was superbly organised for us by Rob Fenwick, the manager of the grounds and his team. I am sure everyone who attended will join me in thanking them all for a superb day.
There was an excellent turnout this year with 17 teams of 3 participating in the shoot. Holland & Holland were noted in their absence, but it was agreed a hat would be passed around to collect their entry fee for next year.
The participants were:
E. J. Churchill, Holts Auctioneers, John Rigby & Co, R.J. Blackwell, Boss & Co, Trade Team, Shootmart UK, Stephen & Son Ltd. James Purdey & Sons (3 teams), Charles Boswell, Brattonsound, Atkin Grant & Lang, L.W. Butler & Westley Richards (2 teams)
Winner of London Gunmakers Cup. James Purdey & Son. Phil Butcher, Owen Hastings & Ian Sweetman. Score 173
Overall Winner. E. J. Churchill. Sir Edward Dashwood, Rob Fenwick, Anthony Allborough-Tregear (sub) Score 193.
High Gun. Sir Edward Dashwood. Score 45
Flurry. 1st. E.J.Churchill with a score of 69. 2nd tied. Brattonsound & Charles Boswell 64
Westley Richards are pleased to announce the opening of our American Online Store, be sure to check out our Clothing, Handmade Leather Goods, Courteney Boots and Accessories.
Take advantage of free standard shipping on all orders for our introductory period.
When it comes to selling your ‘surplus to requirement’ used guns and rifles, there are 2 obvious choices, sale at auction or alternatively through your gunmaker or gun dealer. Being a gun dealer myself for 30 years I would like to put down my thoughts on who I think does the job best for the seller.
The auction houses tend to get a lot of good press about prices achieved and I readily admit that on many occasions, more often than not predictably, they do achieve some exceptional prices. I say predictably because some very rare guns appear at auction and it is almost as if the auctioneers don’t quite realise the scarcity. In the catalogue the reserve or estimate by no means reflects the value of the lot. After achieving a sale way beyond estimate, the auctioneers then glow with pride at what they have achieved! I don’t believe they should, in reality they were prepared to sell it and often do, for the reserve price, meaning the seller looses out if the right buyers were not attending or bidding on that day.
Ernest Hemingway’s Westley Richards .577 sold at James Julia auctions. Estimated at $150,000-200,000, the final sale price was $339,250 and is an example of an exceptional price achieved. Provenance is always unpredictable!
The Trade (meaning gun dealers) are big buyers at the auction houses and this in itself is a good indicator that best market values are not being achieved at auction. The seller of the lot is loosing out on the sellers commission, the hammer commission, insurance cost and whatever else can be loaded on ( 30% or more being lost on the sale price) but also whatever the dealer will then mark the gun up and sell to a final customer! The trade I can assure you do not go to pay top price for the items, they are there to pounce on the bargains!
Let’s take a simple example from a fictitious auction but with realistic costs, a pair of old 12g Purdey shotguns. They are entered into the auction with a reserve of £10-12,000, the hammer falls at £10,000 to an active member of the trade buying the guns for his stock. The dealer will pay £12,500 including commission and the seller will get about £8550 after all deductions and depending on agreed commission. The dealer then cleans the guns up spending £1000 and makes them fit for a sale he can stand behind, (none of which will be done by the auction house) and sells them finally for £17,000 to an end user. The seller in this case, if working with the dealer on a 20% commission basis will receive £11600 being sale price less commission, repairs and VAT. £3050 better off!
The thought that auctions reach all buyers is false, many people do not like to buy at auction, I would say most don’t. There is no specialist advice on mechanical condition and there is the “bought as seen” term, meaning the responsibility is yours to see if it is working. The English auctions are obliged to make sure the gun is in proof but not that it will go off! Auction buyers therefore tend to be limited to people with the knowledge and confidence to do so, a fraction of the market.
Selling through a gun shop has many benefits. Guns are the life blood of the shop and if you want to be able to take your guns for repair, buy cartridges and accessories, see new products, talk guns etc. the shop needs to stay in business and used guns play a big part in this. The gun shop will advise you of the value of the gun and set a sale price in agreement with yourself along with the commission they will charge on completion of the sale. (This commission will incur VAT). Your gun will be put up for sale, advertised on their website and with a good dealer this will have global reach and hopefully result in a prompt and successful sale.
Don’t be greedy, there is a price at which the gun will sell and one at which it will sit for years, if you can’t agree the value with the dealer you can always try your luck at another shop or the auction. If you want to sell the gun outright there will most likely be a chance for that also assuming you select the right dealer for your type of gun and also allow the dealer the margin to put it in stock.
Finally a shameless plug! Westley Richards has an international client base and we are always looking for high quality guns and rifles by best makers. We have a popular website which features a used gun section and we advertise on 2 other sites with excellent traffic and results. We would be pleased for the opportunity to discuss your gun or gun collection!
A frequent problem encountered with our, or in fact anyone’s make of guns, is that of safely re-cocking the locks if the gun is fired when the barrels and forend are off the gun. Some people prefer to store their guns unassembled and with the hammers let forward or fired, others may just accidentally pull a trigger when the barrels are off.
With the gun in a fired position and apart, assembly can occassionally be awkward, the barrels will go on easily but perhaps the forend will not and you are worried about breaking something. If you assemble a fired gun and carefully align the forend and close it you will perhaps to use a little more pressure than normal to get it to seat. Once the forend is locked in position when you open the gun the gun will cock as normal.
If the above does not work with your detachable lock gun or if you’re afraid of breaking something follow this method.
In order to assemble the gun the lockwork will need re-cocking meaning the hammers being put back in the ‘ready to fire position’, with a detachable lock gun first open the cover plate as above and rest on the edge of a table or similar, something that will not scratch the steel.
We use a rounded piece of copper but a thin piece of hardwood, plastic or brass will also work. You do not want to use steel on steel as it will scratch. Put the end of your tool in the position shown on the foot of the cocking dog.
The process of regulating a double rifle is one that we are doing on a very regular basis here at Westley Richards. With over 45 double rifles currently on order in the factory, it equates to nearly one rifle a week. The task of regulating the rifles falls in the safe hands of Stuart Richards who was himself taught the process by both Keith Thomas and Ken Halbert. Both were past foremen in the factory who undertook our regulating during their time here.
Regulating the barrels of a rifle means adjusting/regulating the 2 barrels of a rifle to shoot to the same point of aim at a given distance. This is acheived by a repetitive process of shooting the rifle and then making minute adjustments to individual barrels in a specific jig, ultimately moving the barrels to the correct the point of impact.
At Westley’s we shoot our rifles on our range, this is equipped with both a chronograph and an electronic target system. The chronograph measures the individual velocity of each shot, a consistent velocity is required to judge the shots and this way we are able to pick up any ‘flyers’ meaning low or high velocity shots and these can then be discounted in any adjustments. I would emphasise, that without very consistent loads, regulation is impossible, and this is an area we have invested a considerable amount of time and money on here over the years. The electronic target system provides an accurate history of all the shots taken during the regulation process.
Having shot the rifle with 4 shots to confirm accuracy the rifle is then disassembled, front sight removed and the barrels are placed in a regulating jig as seen above. This jig supports the barrels and allows individual adjustments through the use of 9 hex head bolts. There is a wedge in the muzzle of the rifle which aides in the barrels being drawn either inwards (draw wedge out) and apart (push wedge in).
Having set the barrels firmly in the jig, the muzzle ends are heated up to a point where the solder holding the barrels together begins to melt, at this point the barrels can be independently moved in any direction to obtain the correct convergence and point of aim. This is done by relieving the opposing bolt and tightening the other side. Adjustments are made in small movements of about .0010″ a time although this is where the process becomes one of feel and knowledge rather than pure measurement. The barrels are then allowed to cool down completely after which they are cleaned and the process begins again and is repeated until the desired result is achieved.
A series of 4 targets showing the movement of the shots after regulating in jig.
I can say without hesitation that in all my years here with the company, the regualtion process has not been done as efficiently and accurately as it is being done now in the careful, young and enthusiastic hands of Stuart Richards who tells me his fastest regulation was in 8 shots and the longest over 100 shots, and also points out that the large calibre’s are so much easier than the small ones. I know there is a sincere sense of pride every time he produces a final target which are always exceptional.
It is with great pleasure that I announce the acquisition by Westley Richards of Nigel Teague’s superb bespoke choke business, TEAGUE Precision Chokes. A deal which we successfully completed in time for Nigel’s 70th birthday 2 days ago, and one which provides Nigel with his desire to continue working with the company on an ongoing basis whilst giving security to his exceptional but small workforce as the years march on.
I first met Nigel in the early 80’s at Lady’s Wood shooting school where he was the manager of the shooting grounds as well as a highly regarded shooting instructor. Westley Richards had a selection of new and second hand guns on display always at the shooting grounds and I would go there for instruction each year before the season. When I met Nigel shortly before Christmas last year and was given the oppertunity to purchase the business we both came to a quick conclusion that it would be winning solution for both companies. One condition being that Nigel would get me shooting as well as he had 30 years ago!
TEAGUE Precision Chokes was formed by Nigel in 1981 and has been providing discerning shooters with expertly fitted multi chokes ever since. TEAGUE’S invisible multi choke system is used by all the major English gunmakers as well as by leading competitive shots around the world. TEAGUE also makes a range of off the shelf retro fit multi chokes which will fit most leading brands of shotguns.
Ivan Reid who is well known on the competitive shooting circuit in UK has been hired to take over the marketing and daily management of the company under Nigel’s guidance and we look forward to developing the TEAGUE brand throughout the world and introducing the system more widely into USA through our offices in Montana.
The small but very skilled team at TEAGUE Precision Chokes. Clockwise from top left Rory Morgan, Nigel Hankey, Richard Blackburn, Steve Hudson, Ivan Reid and Nigel Teague.
During my 30 odd years at Westley Richards, I have been fortunate to have enjoyed a close relationship with one of Africa’s most distinguished professional hunters, Robin Hurt. We share common clients, hunting ideals and ethics and have enjoyed hunting together both in Africa and here in Europe. I saw the letter below in the recent issue of the Hunting Report and asked Robin permission to reproduce for our readers.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE FROM ROBIN HURT.
Ref . The US Fish and Wildlife Service suspension ( ban ) on importation of elephant trophies hunted in 2014 by sport hunters in Tanzania and Zimbabwe into the USA.
Yes , Africa has a serious poaching problem , fuelled by recent unprecedented demand .
Your suspension is in fact causing a ‘ ban ‘ on American citizens hunting Elephant in Tanzania and Zimbabwe . Even though Governments of both countries see the need to allow continued licensed hunting . No hunter will go all the way to Africa on an expensive safari , if they can’t take their trophy home . Safari hunters unlike poachers , are selective – they are not killers bent on a quick financial return – on the contrary , they are prepared to pay large sums of money for the privilege of legally hunting and keeping the trophy of a selected animal .
Bans don’t work . Bans are not a solution . Rather encourage better management and anti poaching . More importantly find a solution to dealing with the end users , who are the cause of the poaching problem in the first place .
I have witnessed first hand the negative results of 3 African Hunting Bans . Having been first licensed in Tanzania as a Professional Hunter in 1963 , I have been a full time professional hunter ever since , no only in Tanzania , but at one time or another in most African countries that allowed hunting . I state this in the interests of sharing the changes I have seen caused by hunting bans .
Briefly . Safari Hunting is an important wildlife management tool in Africa . It produces important revenue from legitimate licensed hunting take off of surplus game animals to Governments and Safari operators . It hugely contributes to the financial well being , and food supply , to people who live on a day to day basis with wild animals , in an around wild life areas . It helps fund and pay for anti poaching efforts by both safari companies and Governments . It mostly utilises old animals , often beyond breeding age . American Safari hunting clients contribute about 60% of the revenue earned through sport hunting in Tanzania and Zimbabwe . Your suspension will seriously erode revenue that is so badly needed in Zimbabwe and Tanzania to help fund anti poaching . The cancellations following will cause financial loss to conservancies where the local people will not understand your reasoning for the suspension – some will simply just turn to poaching to compensate their losses .
You know all this, but, what you may or may not know, is the negative results of prior hunting bans .
TANZANIA IN 1973 – at that time there were an estimated 380,000- elephant , and 18,000- black rhino . By the time the Government reopened hunting in 1983 , the elephant population had declined to about 80,000- and rhino to less than 100 animals . The Tanzanian Government realised that the ban was a mistake , leaving the wilderness wide open to commercial poaching , and reopened safari hunting in 1983 . The elephant population immediately started to recover , increasing up to an estimated 130,000- animals in 2009 , prior to the current poaching . No doubt this number has dropped , but your suspension will only serve to exacerbate the problem .
KENYA IN 1977 – at that time there were an estimated 176,000- elephant , and over 8000- black rhino . Today there are various estimates , but probably an accurate one would be somewhere in the region of 20,000 + – elephant , and about 500 + – rhino . Kenya remains closed to Safari Hunting , and has the embarrassment of loosing over 150,000- elephant and 7,500- black rhino ! All in a period of no legal hunting . Poaching is , and continues to be , rife .
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO – ( FORMALLY ZAIRE ) – formally the largest strong hold of the forest elephant , Safari Hunting was banned in 1984 . It remains closed to this day . Since that closure the northern white rhino has completely disappeared , and is probably extinct . Forest elephant are now a rarity in that country . Again all in a period of NO legal hunting .
There is a message here . Taking legal hunters who are legitimate managers of wildlife out of the bush creates a vacuum of empty wilderness , that is soon filled by illegal thieves of wildlife -poachers .
Yes there is a huge poaching problem in Africa today , wherever there are elephant and rhino . Not only Tanzania and Zimbabwe . But , I can assure you that if you remove the legal presence of Safari Hunters from the bush , which is what will happen as a side effect of your suspension, poaching will increase at an alarming rate. That could threaten the very existence of elephant in Tanzania and Zimbabwe .
All of us have the common interest of the well-being of all wildlife , not just elephant . A professional hunter is most motivated to look after and steward his or hers wildlife . Their very livelihood and way of life depends on this .
A remedy to counteract poaching ? The following may be worth considering :-
Instead of an outright punitive suspension, encourage proper management practices . Liaise with African Governments , work with them and assist them , rather than antagonise them with importation bans . Part of the problem is that often legal hunting and wildlife theft through poaching are lumped together under one ‘ umbrella ‘ , because of misinformation . Legal licensed hunting is conservation , poaching is simply stealing .
Target and punish the end users and dealers who after all are the villains and cause of this poaching scourge . It often seems to be the legal hunters who are targeted , yet the real criminals seem to get away scot free – this needs to change !
Help fund anti poaching . Tanzania and Zimbabwe have limited resources . Anti poaching is hugely expensive . The US can make a huge difference by helping to fund anti poaching programs in the field .
Educate and involve local human communities in the value of conserving wildlife , whether through wise sustainable use ,or photographic safaris . Both are equally important in giving wild animals real long term value .
Lastly , if the US importation suspension on sport hunted elephant is not lifted , then an undoubted increase of poaching will be the result in both Zimbabwe and Tanzania . Who will then accept the responsibility for that ? The US Fish and Wildlife Service ?
Yours Sincerely ,
Robin Hurt .
The results of the USF&Wildlife Suspension of sport hunted trophies from Tanzania . I am not in favour of any type of ban Per Se , but rather for more effective management and anti poaching in Tanzania .In more recent times I preferred to only hunt elephant in Botswana and Namibia , because I felt there was a better chance to get a bull of 60 lb + aside tusks than anywhere else , and on top of that , very healthy populations in both those countries .But , as you are probably aware , I was never keen on selling elephant hunting for our company in Tanzania . This was a simple management decision . The result was that we only hunted 3 or 4 bulls since 1984 , and none in recent years . Big ivory has a link to an elephant bulls age – the older the bull , the bigger the ivory . My idea was was to build up big bull numbers in our areas , and to let them live longer not just for breeding ( what a lot of people don’t know is that the big bulls are the prime preferred breeders by the cows ) but also to grow larger and heavier tusks . We were most successful in doing this , and in a couple of our blocks 5 or 6 years ago I personally saw one bull that was probably 100 lbs + aside , and several others in the 80 / 90 lb region . But all our good work was undone when the poaching started up seriously 5 years ago , and all the big bulls we had cared for soon disappeared through poaching and our efforts were in vain. We never had the chance to reap the rewards that should have come our way . It was very discouraging .But …….It’s all about management isn’t it !? – Banning or closing something hardly ever works .What I am in favour of is sustainable management . Which is what Safari Hunting should be all about . We all know there is a huge elephant and rhino poaching problem – something needs to be done about that – it is not sustainable . This is an Africa wide problem . The only solution is to somehow kill the market at the end user – but I can’t see that happening at the moment . So , what is the solution – I really don’t know . Perhaps in the case of White Rhino some sort of legal horn harvesting ( it grows back in 4/5 years ) could be considered ? Worth thinking
about . That type of harvesting can’t be done with elephant .Somehow we need to manage our elephant and rhino resources in a better way – that means getting on top of the poaching menace . CITIES is an effective manager of legal hunting , but has not had much effect at all in recent times on the illegal trade . Why ? Monitoring legal operators is easier and less expensive – whereas illegal activity ‘ underground ‘ is difficult not only to monitor , but to stop , because of it’s very ‘ underground ‘ nature .In closing some thoughts and statistics for you :In 1973 when Tanzania closed hunting there were an estimated 380,000 elephant and 18,000 Black Rhino .In 1983 when safari hunting reopened there were 80,000 elephant left and less than 100 rhino . In other words , the ten year ban saw huge destruction of elephant and rhino through illegal poaching , which is why Tanzania reopened Safari Hunting – just in time I might add .Similarly , Kenya closed all hunting in 1977 – at that time Kenya had an estimated population of 176,000 elephant , and 8000 Black Rhino . Today there are probably only 20,000 + – elephant and 500 +- rhino ( both black and white – the White having been introduced from S Africa ) .So banning clearly doesn’t work .Over a similar period Botswana ‘s elephant population went from about 30,000 in the early 1970 ‘s to about 180,000 today . Why , because there was no poaching ; a result of and the positive side effect Safari Hunting had discouraging poaching . I understand that since the ban introduced at the end of last year , the poaching in Botswana is already out of hand . Let’s see how this pans out in a few years time .I hope this clears up how I personally feel about the current poaching situation we face Africa wide – not just Tanzania .Regards ,Robin
HUNTER AND CONSERVATIONIST
BACKGROUND – The eldest son of the late Lt. Col. Roger Hurt D.S.O. , Kenya Game Warden, Robin was born in London in 1945. His first footsteps were in Somalia, at the age of 18 months, where his father was the Military Administrator of the country. He grew up on the Hurt Family ranch on the shores of Lake Naivasha in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. By the age of 9 Robin was already learning about the African bush and hunting with his father’s game scouts.
Robin was educated at Kenya’s premier school, The Duke of York, before serving his apprenticeship with Ker and Downey Safaris. At the age of 18 Robin was a fully licensed Professional Hunter. He hunted with Tanganyika Wildlife Corporation in 1963 and with Uganda Wildlife Corporation in 1964 and 1965. On returning to Kenya, Robin was a full time Professional Hunter with Ker and Downey up to 1973 when Robin Hurt Safaris was set up in Kenya and the Sudan.
In 1984 Robin started Robin Hurt Safaris (Tanzania) Ltd. More recently Robin Hurt Safari Company Pty. Ltd. was formed in Namibia. In Great Britain Robin Hurt Ltd. specializes in driven bird shooting. The Safari World of Robin Hurt Ltd. is responsible for coordinating bookings for these companies.
Robin has been licensed a licensed Professional Hunter in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Central African Republic, Zaire, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia. His clients from these safaris have hunted many record world class Big Game trophies. He has suffered three different hunting bans in his career – Tanzania 1973, (sensibly re-opened in 1983); Kenya, 1977; Zaire, 1984. All of these were a negative impact, but this did not stop him from continuing hunting in other countries, where allowed.
PRESENT DAY – Robin and his wife Pauline now live at the foothills of Gamsberg Mountain in Namibia. Here Robin continues to pursue his passion for hunting kudu, desert leopard and other game with old and new clientele. He is an avid wildlife art collector and keen photographer. Robin has 5 children, Derek, Tania, Sasha, Hilary and Roger. Derek and Roger have followed their father’s footsteps and are licensed PHs in Tanzania, under the Robin Hurt banner. Robin has two step-children Dan and Jessica Mousley. Dan is a licensed PH in Namibia. Robin has eight grandchildren. He is the head of the Hurt family of Derbyshire, England. (Ref: The Hurts of Derbyshire, by Derek Wain, published by Landmark Publishing Ltd).
CONSERVATION – In 1990 Robin, together with Mr. Joseph F. Cullman 3rd, set up The Cullman and Hurt Community Wildlife Project in Tanzania, to promote wildlife and habitat conservation through sustainable use of a renewable wildlife resource. This project which has turned poachers into anti-poachers, has international recognition and is considered to be one of Tanzania’s greatest conservation successes. Three successful Art Auctions, have been held in New York City, to benefit the project. This project is now known as The Robin Hurt Wildlife Foundation.
BOOKS AND ARTICLES – Hunting the Big Five – Robin Hurt, Published by Safari Press, California, USA. Wildlife Conservation by Sustainable Use – Section on Safari Hunting by Robin Hurt and Pauline Ravn, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2000, Edited by Herbert T. Prins and Others.
Contributions and mentions in the following publications – White Hunters by Brian Herne, Uganda Safaris by Brian Herne, Wisdom of the Woods by Robert Gruszecki, At the Hand of Man by Raymond Bonner, Safari, A Chronicle of Adventure by Bartle Bull, The East African Professional Hunters Association by Tony Dyer, Hunting in the Sudan by Tony Sanchez-Arino, Hunting in Kenya by Tony Sanchez-Arino, Songs of the Summits by Jesus Yuren, The Hurts of Derbyshire by Derek Wain. African Hunter II, for which Robin wrote the foreword and two chapters. Kudu – The Top African Antelope – the chapter on East African Kudu. Various articles in the following magazines – The Field, Time Magazine, Newsweek Magazine, Outdoor Life, Safari Club Magazine, Dallas Safari Club Magazine and Man Magnum magazine published in South Africa.
FILMS – In the Blood, by George Butler. The Gardeners of Eden by BBC (Scorer Associates). BBC production, Vanishing Breed.
ASSOCIATIONS AND CLUBS – Founding Member of the African Professional Hunters Association (APHA). Member of the Tanzania Professional Hunters Association and Namibian Professional Hunters Association. International Professional Hunters Association, Safari Club International and Dallas Safari Club. Shikar Club (UK), British Deer Society, Countryside Alliance, Explorers Club (New York), , Muthaiga Country Club, Kenya. Member of the now defunct East African Professional Hunters Association.
TROPHIES AND AWARDS – East African Professional Hunters Association – Trophy Measurements Scheme, won in 1975, 2nd in 1974 and 1976. Shaw and Hunter Trophy in 1973 for a 54” buffalo hunted in Lolgorien, Kenya. Ian MacDonald Trophy in 1973, 1975 and 1976 for the best buffalo hunted in Kenya in each of these years. Zambia Professional Hunters Association – Hunter of the Year award, 1981, for a black maned lion. A.P.H.A. Big Six Award, A.P.H.A. John Sharp award for Dangerous Game, A.P.H.A. Conservation Award.
PHILOSOPHY – That for wildlife to survive in a changing Africa, it must be a competitive form of land use benefiting human communities.
Whilst I was looking around Texas last week, I stopped in at a spur maker in Gainesville and was shown a vice by Chas Parker and was told this was the same maker as the famous Parker guns. I hadn’t realised Parker was the maker of many other things and did a quick bit of research.
Charles Parker was born in 1809 and rose from poverty to become one of Connecticut’s leading industrialists. He also became the city of Meriden’s first mayor. He started his manufacturing career inventing and producing coffee mills in a small shop in 1832.
By 1860, he owned several large factories and employed hundreds of people, in and around Meriden. Parker products included hardware and house wares, flatware, clocks, lamps, piano stools and benches, vises, coffee mills, industrial machinery, and, after 1862, guns. Guns, however, never amounted to more than 10 percent of Parker’s business. Charles Parker died in 1901 and his descendants carried on his businesses until 1957.
The Great Depression of the 1930s took its toll on the Parker enterprise and it never fully recovered. Parker products have now become “collector’s items,” especially the Parker shotguns. The Charles Parker Company sold its gun facility and the rights to the Parker gun to Remington Arms Company in 1934, and Remington continued the Parker shotgun line until World War II.
The attraction by collectors to the Parker shotgun comes because of the gun’s inherent quality and beauty. The Parker gun is an American classic and examples of their highest grade guns have been achieving record prices at auction recently, up in the $100,000’s and more bracket!
Once you are past the front security gate at Bray’s Island (above), you enter a haven of tranquility dedicated to sportsmen. Golf, Riding, Fishing and Shooting are pastimes for residents here and it is all done with great style.
Last weekend Bray’s Island Gun Club opened its doors for its annual exposition, 100’s of visitors came to shoot and view the small and select gathering of exhibitors. Gunmakers, gun dealers, custom fly rod builders, artists, book dealers and clothing were all on show as diversion during rests from the sporting clay course.
I have never shot a lot of sporting clays but from what I have seen this must rank among the most picturesque and well laid out courses anywhere. I certainly enjoyed shooting the course both this year and last. On Saturday a 25 shot Benelli Auto was demonstrated on the flush stand. For next years round on the course I think this is the ticket for a perfect score!
Although a very small and intimate show I think both the exhibitors and visitors had a great time. Thank you to everyone at Bray’s Island for the opportunity to attend.