I thought it would be quite nice to show you the 4 bore gun ‘in hand’ as it were, since the previous shots have all been hard to see exactly how large a gun it is. So here is Anthony ‘Trigger’ Tregear with the said gun in hand. Quite a handful isn’t it!
This pair of Westley Richards 20g droplock shotguns, with the additional side plates have just been completed with classic fine rose and scroll style engraving by Peter Spode. These guns will now be case colour hardened, blacked and ready for the field in a few weeks. The guns are 70th birthday present to a customer… from himself, Happy Birthday!
Another one of our popular Take Down rifles is completed this week, this time in the classic .375 H&H Magnum. Here it is shown in the various stages of opening the package that arrives on your doorstep. First seen is the outer canvas cover with initials made to protect the lightweight leather case below. Both these items are made in house in our leather department. Open the case and the classic safari rifle is revealed, a big bang in a small compact package!
News today that the CLA Game fair has come to an end, something I have mixed emotions about. Westley Richards started attending the Fair again about 7 years ago after a very long break. Many years ago we arrived at the game fair without our tickets and passes. This was a time when we used to take a whole crew of gunmakers to demonstrate the craft. The Colonel who was running the show at the time said he was going to make us pay again ‘to teach us a lesson’, we said if we have to pay again we will turn around, go home and never attend again. He wasn’t to be moved, so we went home and didn’t return for 30 + years.
The Game Fair was a sort of institution in England, when the weather was fine it was always a nice day out, but when it rained, which it often did it was really not so nice. It had become a sort of mammoth outdoor market with discounting everywhere and I personally thought it had become a bit trashy. I will not loose any sleep about it and I think that The British Shooting Show which is held indoors in February, will now go from strength to strength, which I think it was going to do Game Fair or no Game Fair.
Some months ago I did a post about some vintage ammunition I had. This has finally been sorted out and is now available for sale to American customers through our shop in Bozeman. I am afraid that shipping to UK or rest of the world is not practical.
Vintage ammunition has always made a nice accessory to a period rifle’s case as in many cases they are in attractive boxes with the individual makers name. In many ways these small boxes complete a rifles story.
The ammunition is available subject to prior sale and I point out the first 8 items are ‘bricks’ of ammunition 50’s, 100’s and 250 in the case of the rook rifle. The remaining items are single boxes. If anyone is interested please either email The Explora at the contact given or call us in Bozeman on 406 586 1946.
When I think of Holland & Holland I think .375H&H Flanged Magnum and .300H&H Flanged Magnum Royal Double rifles, to my mind their two most famous, well known, beautiful and widely used rifles. With their distinct, much copied, bolstered fences these sidelock double rifles remain a highly prized and very collectable item.
These six rifles were made between 1920 and 1960, the individual style of the action filer can be seen in the file up of the bolsters each having a distinct shape except perhaps the 2 Deluxe rifles which look to be done by the same hand.
My personal favourite is the .375 in the top photograph above, I think the barrel contour and file up of the rifle are spot on.
A key stage in the production of any new gun, is when it is ready for stocking. Although still essentially a box of parts the gun is in fact at this point, a fully working gun, it just has no means of holding it to discharge it.
When a gun is delivered to the stockers, along with its chosen piece of wood, most of the ‘action or metal work’ has been completed. The barrels are bored and chokes made (Teague multi chokes in this instance above), the gun cocks, fires and ejects and the safe work is in place. The action has been filed up into shape and polished although not to a fine polish for engraving, this will be done after stocking.
The stockers will take around 100-120 hours to stock the gun and forend, this depends on the features. Pistol grip, cheekpiece, woodward grip, tip & toes, horn butt plates all add extra hours. A Sidelock and a Hand Detachable lock gun take a similar amount of time to stock. On the above gun you will see the forend loop is a block of steel, this will be cut to fit the Deeley forend catch by the stockers.
I think for our customers also this is a milestone in the production, it will be normally the first time they see the gun looking somewhat like the finished article, albeit not embellished. They will see the file up and shape of the action and know that after another few weeks work the gun will be a fully working model that can then be shot and tested. More importantly they will get to see how nicely their chosen piece of wood will turn out.
The customer of the above gun has had his piece of wood for many years waiting to go on a project and I know he is looking forward to the next photograph of the gun stocked and his wood revealed in all its glory.
Last week we completed another 2 bolt action rifles. One a standard 7mm Rem.Mag. stalking rifle and the other a .375 Take Down for hunting in Africa. Both rifles were fitted with Swarovski optics by way of Smithson QD mounts.
Bolt Action rifles play an important part in every sportsman’s battery and we always have a wide selection in production here at the factory and we currently have 23 of this model in production in calibres from .275 – .505 Gibbs. We have 404’s, .425’s, .318’s and some other nice classic calibre’s like 500J. It is interesting for me that the ‘modern’ calibre’s are perhaps less popular than the classic, proven ones!
Congratulations to all the team on completion of this, our first ever pair of 4 bore hand detachable lock shotguns. It has been quite a long road to get them designed, made and completed and I only hope that the client is as pleased with the guns as we are!
The shotgun in the middle of the pair of guns for scale is a .410 droplock so the smallest we have ever made alongside the biggest!
I am often asked what guns I shoot, Westley Richards ‘of course’ but more specifically this pair of lightweight, classic 12g hand detachable lock guns with single selective triggers. The guns each weigh 5lbs 13.5ozs., they are light and fast, at least they used to be fast, when I was fast! I have enjoyed shooting these guns for many years and they have worked well for me in Spain on partridges, Yorkshire for grouse and everywhere I have been fortunate to shoot Pheasant. I use paper cased 2.5″ cartridges, 5’s normally.
I am sure lightweight 12’s are not everyone’s cup of tea, but for my type of shooting I find them perfect, I shoot for pleasure and the social occasion so I am not worried about not being able to use 2 3/4″ 36g No4 cartridges as quite frankly the shot would still whistle past the birds tail. I prefer the trade off of comfortable guns to stand or walk with, guns the loader can load fast (as I need more shots!) and the familiarity of guns I have used on many occasion. In reality these are like a pair of 16’s in weight, but with a bit more punch. Perfect!
I mentioned last year, in a post I did about a single lightweight gun that we had, that the Westley Richards lightweight guns are relatively scarce, I have seen only a few pairs in my time here. I actually think lightweight guns in 12 are relatively scarce in any make.
We continue to build this model gun, the barrels are a key part to reducing the weight, they need beautifully made barrels with less wall thickness than a normal gun would have leading to the action which is also slightly smaller than a normal gun. Wood selection is important as well, dense heavy wood is out, well matured and lighter wood is the choice. Half a pound doesn’t seem a lot of weight to take out of a gun but when you consider the forend of these guns is 8.2oz and consists of the wood, deeley catch, ejector box and forend iron, it actually is a lot.