We have one more John Rigby .416 bolt action rifle ready to travel to the bush. This rifle was built in 1956 on a commercial standard length action which is the same action Rigby .416 used and approved for many years by PH Harry Selby. The rifle is in excellent condition and has original spare foresight in the grip cap.
The specifications are as original and are 24 inch barrel, 14.5″ LOP, 45 inch overall length. Weight 9lbs. 4ozs.
Why buy a modern one when you can get a bit of history at the same price. For pricing and further information please contact me here.
The Game Fair is the celebration of all things country and field sports related which was this year held at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, roughly 40 minutes from Birmingham and 2 hours from London. The show, in it’s first year under new management, felt very much like previous game fairs and had very much the same layout and vibe about the place.
When first arriving upon 8am it was fairly quiet with just a few shoppers and shooters, but by 2pm the aisles had a good flow of traffic of people and with the sun shining the beers were flowing in the Gun Makers pub!
Friday is usually the day traders do the most business as people have taken the day off work and are in the market for a new shooting coat for the up coming season or a new gun to add to their collection, Saturday tends to have more families having a nice day out and on Sunday it quietens down.
There was the usual clay pigeon shooting have a go stands, 50 bird sporting, fly fishing demonstrations, a huge variety of food and drink stalls from around the country and wide variety of exhibitors.
When the CLA decided to step down from organising and running the show, there were a few different organisations who came up with their own versions of the Game Fair which slightly confused exhibitors and punters alike on which was going to be the show to make the effort to attend. Up until a month or so ago there were two main contenders fighting to be the best show, however when the UK Game Fair was cancelled, it left the Ragley Game Fair as the as the only place to go.
With uncertainty of which show would prosper and other concerns, quite a few well known names in the industry decided to take a step back this year and see how this show panned out. Therefore this year missing from the show, most noticeably was us, then the likes Holland & Holland, Purdey, Blaser, GMK and a few other big names. The feedback and success of this year will no doubt determine the show’s reputation for the next few years to come.
Even with the big gun names missing, the show has great backing from the likes of NFU Mutual, Viking cruises etc.
It’s a great day out for country and town folk alike, especially if the weather continues to hold out, and it’s easy when you are in the gun trade to become numb to a show like this and leave feeling unsatisfied, but for the youngsters and newcomers to our sport who are yet to discover the thrill and excitement of everything fieldsports and the British countryside has to offer, there’s no other event like it.
Next years show will be held at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, only a 20 minute train journey from London’s King Cross station, from the 28th – 30th of July.
My visit to Florida was billed as a low key effort so I could sneak over and get to grips with the space we have leased and move on with the remodel and fit out. Having done that quickly the camera was dragged out and put in my hands to take a few shots of some new guns we have just recieved in and will be working on to get up online in the used gun shop.
Pair of William Evans Best Quality 12g Sidelock shotguns Made in 1923
Composed pair of Westley Richards 12g SST droplock guns 1916 & 1936 for same family.
James Purdey 12g made in 1926.
An Abercrombie & Fitch 2″ 12g gun
Finally a few shots of a a very rare Ken Hunt deep carved engraved Purdey which has 2 sets of barrels in 28g and 20g This gun is new and in unfired condition, cased with accessories. More details to follow later.
Having my own leather department downstairs gives me the advantage of making things which I like for my own personal use, as is the case with the Sam Brown belt above. I found a very nice vintage belt but without loosing 50 lbs it was never going to fit me! So I have had one made and I think it has turned out really very nicely. I used the oak tanned leather and solid brass fittings both which will age beautifully. My 10 round open wallet fits on perfectly at right hand side. The belt is a faithful copy, with nice stitching detail and a contrast backing in binding leather.
I am really pleased with this belt and should anybody else be interested I think this is an item we will offer on a bespoke basis as getting the length correct is critical to a nice fit, some will wear intruder loops and others over shirt/jacket.
Another useful item I had made for myself was an SD card holder for my photography. I always like to carry spare SD cards with me and don’t like the bulky protective ones you buy from shops. This is a neat solution and can be initialled, numbered or referenced to camera.
I have now made a few writing pads for clients who have seen the one at my desk at Westley Richards. Crafted from 5mm thick Oak Tanned or Tarnsjo Leather these make a very nice writing space and mouse mat!
The final production of the hook swivel sling is now completed. I had great difficulty in sourcing a fully covered strong leather covered buckle so have come to a compromise as illustrated. We will be offering this limited production sling in two colours light and dark brown. Those of you who have shown an interest will now be contacted, thank you for your patience.
Last year at Christmas we were asked to make a set of luggage using a customers own game skins. The skins were of an excellent quality and produced a very very nice set of luggage which were very well received.
My message is with this post that our leather department is unique in that it will entertain bespoke commissions, not only mine!, we look forward to turning your ideas into reality and I hope this post shows the diversity of the workshop we can put at your disposal please contact me for any questions you have regarding this.
I was asked some weeks ago to do a post on the various stock configuration options that are offered when we make a gun. There are essentially 5 different named options, all of which can be adapted to suit an individual for; length of hand, position of comb, angle of hand, thickness of grip etc. Confusion for most people comes with the difference between the Prince of Wales and Woodward type grips, these are both very similar with the difference being the angle of the pistol grip cap, a parallel finish on the Woodward and angled on the Prince of Wales.
There are no particular rules as far as choosing what grip works best, I think it is a matter of what works best for each individual. For a side by side shotgun the straight hand and either POW or Woodward grips look best and people choosing a single trigger will often opt for POW.Semi or Woodward style as hand position remains static. The full pistol grip is normally only seem on Over Under guns but occasionally I have seen them on live pigeon side by sides.
Stocker Romaine Lepinois completing a straight grip stock by fitting Heel and Toe plates.
A fact of gunmaking life is that a makers name makes a difference. It always has and I imagine always will. The name or brand will be reflected in the price and we have all seen guns and rifles that don’t live up to either their name and the price asked. This particular rifle I believe lives up to both.
For the hunter who wants a good looking rifle, made very well in England and South Africa by maker B. Laubscher, here is what is in my opinion is a very good value .470 sidelock double rifle, built by what must be South Africa’s most respected makers. We at Westley Richards finished the rifle for our client a few years ago and our contribution was regulating, UK proof, case hardening, shaping of stock and the overall finish, namely the stock finish, blacking and coin finish. The rifle has not been out of the factory since, so is ‘as new and unfired’.
Built on a English machined H&H style reinforced action, with chopper lump barrels and everything else you would expect from a best rifle, this 24″ barrel, 14 3/4″ stock rifle is itching to go on a hunt!
Last Friday I had a very rare day off, it was my daughters wedding so I disappeared for a few days. The day of my absence was chosen as the ‘shoot day’ for our gunmaking team and staff. I have no doubt it was because of the fear of my shooting ability, that they chose a day they were absoloutly certain I could not attend!
Emma our ‘in house’ photographer went along, had her first shot, took some photos of the day and has written a short post on what they did. Everyone had a great day out and my thanks go to all the staff at E.J.Churchillfor making the event a success. Simon.
We arrived at the E. J. Churchill shooting ground at around 2pm, admittedly it took some a little longer than others after a few wrong turns before correctly navigating our way through the countryside of High Wycombe. Upon arrival we were greeted by the rare British sunshine and our host for the day Josh. After a quick safety briefing we all grabbed our complimentary caps and split off into our teams of 5 and met our instructors for the day.
The course was a 50 bird sporting layout, shooting 10 pairs over 5 stands, each stand varying in difficulty.
I got to start on what I believe was the easiest stand, either that or a great strike of beginners luck, as afterwards it seemed the initial shock the rest of my team had at how well I’d shot disappeared quite quickly.
After the 5 stands all teams met back up and we were shown towards the first of our two flurries which was a driven flurry and each instructor became a loader for each shooter in the team. As one team shot the others got to look on and cheer, or jeer, each other on.
After completing the first flurry it was across the course and off to the second, this one was a compact sporting flurry and the loaders were not joking when they said to not concentrate on a single spot, everything came from everywhere! Neither flurry was scored but both were great fun!
By the end of the flurries, which was around 5pm, everyone had worked up an appetite and were led up to the entrance of Churchill’s and shown to a gazebo where a BBQ was underway and would be ready in minutes. Still the sun was shining down on us and so it seemed only right to rest our feet, and arms, on the grass banks with a cold bottle of something refreshing.
Whilst waiting for dinner Josh came back out with the all important score sheets to reign the victor of the day. Scores are as follow:
In 3rd place was Sam Banner with 39 (20 bore)
2nd was Trigger with a score of 40 (12g Magnum Loads)!!
The winner of the day was gunroom manager Ricky Bond with a score of 42! ( 12g 28g)
Dinner was then served with far more on offer than any of us could manage to finish, even after going up for seconds!
It was a great day that was hosted very well Churchill’s team and no one was left without a smile on their face by the end of it, just a few achy arms.
This particular J. Rigby .470 is used for illustrative purposes only.
When we were active buying rifles in India between 1965 and 1995 the product we brought out all had a common feature, it was in an original unmolested condition. Some had been maintained well, and some not so well, but none had been messed about with by amateur or incompetent gunsmiths. We were able to bring the guns and rifles back to the factory to restore and revive in a subjective and considered manner, to make the gun look its best but not ‘over restored’. We felt any restoration work we did should not be noticeable.
One of the rifles I recall buying in India was an excellent J. Rigby .470 sidelock, I was eager to get it back to England for sale but had to endure the 6-8 month export process. The rifle had colour, condition, a long and good looking stock, it even had its case. A quick sale was a foregone conclusion as these rifles were and remain, a rare find.
When the rifle did finally arrive I had it taken immediately onto the range to test shoot in the safe hands of Ken Halbert. Ken our foreman was regulating our rifles at the time. To my horror the stock snapped in half on the first shot, we were (stupidly in hindsight) using some new shooting assist device which was thrown angrily in the bin immediately after the shot. In a millisecond my perfect vintage rifle joined the ‘restocked and refinished category gun’.
Last week I was sent some photographs of another J Rigby .470 sidelock, it was in a tatty oak and leather case with a missing lock and rudimentary canvas cover. The rifle had an old squashed recoil pad, overall the look of a rifle discovered in a small armoury in India. It looked to me as if transported in time from just before we pulled the trigger that last time many years ago!
I now have another chance and another great rifle to offer shortly, no shooting contraptions this time, just a steady standing shot. This is obviously a rifle that came in from India years ago and had no work done on it ever, this for us, is the perfect place to start from.
For those Rigby ‘rising bite’ fanatics I will state now that the rifle I have is not that model rifle, it is a late 1920’s vintage rifle and utilises (IMHO) the much better and stronger dolls head type fastening system the company turned to with the advent of nitro powders.
We completed this .505 take down this week which is heading down to a client in South Africa. This rifle is specified for big game hunting with a ‘no frills’ approach. Strong straight grained figured wood with blacked parts with makers name only engraved. All the very best functional features of a Westley Richards, no decoration!
As I think I have said before, it is always a pleasure to build these’ working style PH rifles’ as we know they are going to see action plenty of times in their life!