To anyone who might think that building a 4g is simply making a bigger version of what we have made for many years, may I kindly suggest you are wrong! This is something I have learned along the way. Yes, I knew it would be hard but not quite as hard as it has seemingly been and of course making a matching pair compounds the problem!
In general I would put the difficulty down to size, these are big, very big guns and that alone makes the whole process very tiring for the gunmakers. The working principle and parts may well be familiar the same as a 12g but handling the gun in the vice and doing normal jobs becomes a problem just dealing with the size and weights of the parts.
But with all that said, we are now on the last leg, the barrels are heading to the Barrel Blackers and I hope they have a long enough tank! A few more coats of oil on the stocks and we are done and ready to present the pair to what I hope, will be a very happy customer. He will I am sure be unique in the fact that he will be the only man to have a pair of 4g Westley Richards, Single Selective Trigger 4 bores in his gun cabinet! If anyone else sat in my office and wanted to order a pair I think I would most definitely be looking at the ceiling and playing my hearing loss to the extreme!
I have to admit that I was pretty scared taking these into the photo studio this morning for a quick shot before blacking, I took very careful steps and had all doors secured in the open position so as not to ding a barrel or knock a stock. I have not shown the guns with the full barrels as they are silver and when they are complete we will photograph them in a way that will show the scale.
I am not sure when the Goose season starts, but they need to be worried!
The 2015 CLA Game Fair starts tomorrow 31st July and is open until 2nd August. This year the fair is ‘Up North’ in West Yorkshire in the grounds of Harewood House.
Westley Richards have a stand, as in previous years, on Gunmakers Row and this year we have taken TEAGUE Precision Chokes to be our neighbour. Our stand number is S1646 and we look very much forward to receiving visitors to see our range of Shotguns and Rifles. We will have a selection of 12 new guns on display which cover everything from the .410 quail gun to a .600 dangerous game rifle. Also on our stand we will have the full range of our leather goods and clothing.
A few weeks ago Emma Slater joined the company having just completed her Masters degree in Photography, Emma has been sent on her first assignment to bring back photographs of the CLA event which I hope to be posting in the evenings.
Please do pass by and say hello if you have a chance!
This is the first matching set of small bore, detachable lock shotguns that we have made in recent years. Once again Frederique Lepinois has made a quite superb job of engraving the guns with a very detailed and elaborate scroll and with game cameos on the lock cover plates. The guns are in 20g, 28g and .410 and as you can see from the photographs they are all on scaled actions to suit.
The guns have been built for a long time client of Westley Richards based in Dallas, hence the Star of Texas. A client who when asked what were his favourite things (family aside) in an interview for Time or Newsweek, kindly said ‘my Westley Richards guns”! I certainly hope he enjoys this shortly to be delivered set.
The estates I hunt at in Spain always have a rich history of hunting, these are all predominantly hunting estates and the house were built to cater to the Monteria groups that would visit. The houses are normally like a giant trophy room with game heads from the estate and also from around the world. These line the walls and are mixed with artwork, photographs and other such ephemera.
Last year I was particularly attracted to the deep crimson ashtrays and plates which were scattered around the trophy room of one such estate, these featured the antlers of various deer. I took a photo and asked the owner who the artist was and she kindly obliged. We have now had a series of these made up for our shop and more will be on the way soon, I hope you like them as much as I do. These can be found online here or of course in our shop in Birmingham.
A complete sight and the raw components, the crystal is the enamel not spilt from my pocket!
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 typographerwho 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.
The inside rear cover of our book has a photograph of the current team of gunmakers at the factory. 125 years on and a little less formal shot than the one below which depicts all the gunmakers in traditional bowler hats, the photograph that features on the inside cover of the book.
The reprint of 1812- 2012 In Pursuit of the Best Gun is now well under way and these will be available for delivery in late September. More on this subject a little later together with a special offer for our Explora readers.
Some months ago I posted pictures of this rifle when it returned from Peter Spode and its time on the engravers bench. Now having been through the finishers workshop, the case colour hardeners, the barrel blackers, the range for final shooting and finally through the leather shop and case makers hands, the rifle is ready for delivery.
Rifle Number 20218 .700/.577 with Hand Detachable Locks, Extra pair of Interchangeable locks, side plates. 2 triggers, ejectors. 25 inch barrels, 14 3/8″ LOP. Regulated with Westley Richards ammunition, 900grn Woodleigh bullets. Engraved by Peter Spode. Cased in Buffalo skin oak and leather case with other cover and best quality tools.