A .470 Westley Richards Droplock with Scroll Back Action in Lightweight Case.
This is a recently completed .470 Droplock for which we have used the scroll back action, typically found on our shotguns and which I have only ever seen on one vintage pre-war rifle. That rifle was a .476 and one that I have tried on many unsuccessful occasions to buy back from the lucky owner.
The scroll back works really well in my opinion and allows a more rounded shape to the action and ultimately very pleasing lines to the rifle. This is a feature we can now feature on any of our double rifles and possibly you will have seen this on a .600 which I posted ‘in the white’ some days ago.
2 cabinets with 12 of our most elaborate guns to date, including the Boutet Gun and The India Rifle welcomed local guests to our showroom for their first time at the premises to see the latest collections of clothing on display in the shop. It was also an opportunity to see our craft in action with tours around the gun workshops and leather shop where the opportunity to discuss the ‘ideal leather bag’ with the maker added a nice touch.
My thanks to all the Ladies who made this event such a success.
Anthony ‘Trigger’ Tregear showing a team of American guns the parts of a droplock gun.
For a Shooting team visiting the UK who have a ‘rest day’, or perhaps a team passing from North to South or vice versa and come close to our city, a suggestion for ‘killing some time’ or ‘breaking the journey’ is to visit our factory and be shown exactly how we make our guns and rifles. For the shooting and gun enthusiast I think this visit would compete well with Stratford upon Avon ‘Shakespeare’s Birthplace’, it may require some argument with the touring ‘Mrs’ but we are after all the Anson & Deeley Birthplace!
‘Trigger’ has a knack of explaining the process of gunmaking in a light hearted, enthusiastic and interesting manner and is able to demonstrate and justify the endless hours it takes to build our guns. In our large light filled workshops you will be shown the process of taking the gun from a set of machining’s, through actioning, trigger work, ejector work, file up, stocking and finishing. You will see first hand engraving work prior to hardening and guns of all kinds nearing completion.
The group is shown the finishing shop and guns nearing completion.
There are few workshops in the world like ours, even less which would welcome visitors to see their craft in action and for the uninterested partner, there is our unique shop and showroom where they can explore our history or relax with a coffee and find you a gift.
The unique atmosphere of the Westley Richards showroom.
For groups interested in arranging a visit of the factory please contact in the first instance by email. firstname.lastname@example.org or contact by telephone +44 121 333 1900.
The canvas and buffalo skin outer covered oak & leather case made in our leather shop.
The 470 is quite a common calibre now, a multitude of gunmakers are turning them out in one form or other, some of them very nice and some I wouldn’t wish to pull the trigger of. There is no Jeremy Clarkson of the gun world, the reviewer who tells it like it is, a person not influenced by the advertisers $ or £, but rather gives an honest opinion based on many similar products, at least products designed and manufactured to do the same job. I think in a way it’s a shame, it would keep every manufacturer on his toes.
The .577 however, is quite an uncommon calibre and there are, to my knowledge, only a handful of gunmakers remaining who undertake to make this and other similar ‘large’ bore double rifles. These makers are the ones with a long and solid history of making double rifles, ones who bring years of experience to the bench and ultimately to the rifle. This is a calibre the owner of which wants to get up close to something, something that wants to kill him, he wants a rifle with pedigree, a rifle that he can entrust his life upon. Of these few gunmakers, I believe Westley Richards has probably made more rifles in this calibre than any other.
Potocki, Sutherland, Hemingway, Granger are just 4 of the many famous hunters who have taken delivery of a .577 droplock rifle over the last 100 or so years and we continue today to deliver these on a fairly regular basis, I think at least a dozen .577 & .600 rifles are making the slow journey through the factory at the moment. It may not sound like a lot but in best gunmaking terms it is a lot, I assure you!
This Westley Richards .577 Droplock Double Rifle is the most recent one completed and leaving the factory this week. Fitted with sideplates which have been beautifully engraved by Peter Spode, extra Hand Detachable locks and fitted in a buffalo skin covered oak and leather case with outer cover. This is a rifle of which we are proud to be among the few remaining makers with both the capabilities and customers trust to make.
Some years ago at IWA in Nuremberg, my daughter Karena took her first order for a double rifle at Westley Richards, actually her first order was for a pair of rifles. She was ecstatic, I was mortified! The order was from a gentleman that I had had a long relationship with and decided I wouldn’t put business ‘in amongst’ the pleasure of the friendship. On many occasions I had declined the offer of his orders.
That day in Nuremberg he certainly came up with a tactic to get some rifles from us, when I declared ‘foul play’ he just shrugged and said ‘she took the check and shook my hand’ and for those of you who have done business with us, you will know the handshake is all we need.
So, some years and a few specification changes later, here are the rifles!
An ancient Walnut Tree prior to harvest. The trees are purchased from individual landowners often in remote and inaccessible places.
I have never actually been to Turkey to buy wood. I have always done this from a distance, either at the IWA show in Nuremberg each year where all the Turkish suppliers gather, or by buying from the mobile dealers who pass by the factory each year with a van load of wood.
Wood buying is an essential part of the gunmaking process, I think all those responsible for the duty hate doing it but love finding the special pieces every so often. The Turks are masters at spotting even the remote interest in your expression so it is a requirement to practise a totally uninterested look in the mirror before you embark on buying from them. I have always been amazed how, even if I am the last person to view and select from their wood at the shows, I am able to select their very best and thus most expensive blanks of wood!
I enlisted the help of one of the dealers in Turkey from whom I have, over the years, purchased some super wood. Fetin Genc of Gencoglu Gunstocks kindly sent me some photos of the first stages of the harvest of the stock blanks.
Once harvested the tree is brought to the nearest road for transport to the sawmill.
The root ball is the source of the highest grade figured wood. At this stage it is not known what the quality of the wood is.
The fully loaded truck of walnut root balls and limbs.
The first time that the quality of the wood will be revealed is when the saws get to work. The wood always looks better in large pieces!
Next stop for the wood is the Halls of IWA. In March every year the Turkish wood dealers congregate to show their years harvest and buyers from all over the world race to spot the best blanks!
Piles of long rifle blanks to be sorted. Buying wood is not an easy task, firstly there is the weight of lifting and sorting and then the dazed effect as you get confused by what will look nice and what won’t! Much of the wood has the grain running wrong and this also has to be identified piece by piece.
This Pair of Exhibition blanks I purchased many years ago at IWA to use on some of the first .410 drop lock guns we made..
Keith Haynes, one of our stockers, turning the blank into the finished article.
Our set of 7 Bicentennial guns each stocked with a superb piece of Turkish Walnut.
If there was some method of measuring the length of cut scroll lines, I imagine you would find that the quantity of fine scroll on this .410 top lever about equal to the whole side of a sidelock shotgun. This is an example of fine scroll at its finest, a word I use to describe both the size and the quality of the work.
Vince Crowley learned his craft under the guidance of Rashid Hadi here at Westley Richards. Rashid is a master of fine scroll, when with clear head, the speed, dexterity and quality of work he produces off a spinning engraving vice is an absolute joy to watch. For Vince, the time with Rash was a time spent learning the hand skills needed to execute this level of work. The rotation of the vice, the sharpening of the gravers, varying depth of cut, shading, layout and whatever other magic is required to execute fine scroll at this level of finesse. It was time very well spent as you can see from this magnificent work.
And the game scene is not too bad either!!
The Cover Plate on the Westley Richards .410 Droplock Shotgun. Eng. V. Crowley.
Fine Scroll Coverage on the action of a new James Purdey Damascus Barrel Sidelock.