Just arrived at the U.S. Agency are four outstanding Westley Richards bolt action magazine rifles featuring very rare options and configurations offered by Westley’s prior to World War II. Rarely do rifles like these come to market but to have such a variety, in such high, original condition is remarkable.
This represents only a good opportunity to boost up a rifle collection, it offers a chance to see rifles from both the pre-war and between-the-wars eras with special options usually only seen mentioned in the company’s past catalogs.
Access to, and the availability of, game shooting has never been more egalitarian than it is today. Whether you’re a single gun looking to join a team, a group of friends from overseas wanting your first taste of British game shooting or you are a collection of experienced shots seeking sport on a variety of different estates around the country, there are numerous sporting agents and websites that offer shooting, in all its forms, in every part of the British Isles. And, should you want to be involved in the day without taking part in the shooting; wives, children and (very) well behaved dogs are welcome.
Your actual time on the peg; pulling the trigger, is, in fact, but a small part of the overall day. While it is the sport that brings people together, for many, it is the enjoyment of spending a day out in the great British countryside with like-minded people that brings the real enjoyment. The camaraderie between the guns, beaters, pickers-up and gamekeepers is second to none.
There is more to a day’s shooting than merely reaching the bag as Westley Richards former Gunroom Manager explains.
The cold morning chill; fluorescent, autumnal colours; the smell of gunpowder hanging in the mist; the gentle whimpering of over-excited dogs, the first sip of soul-warming sloe gin; pre-drive nerves followed by an injection of adrenaline at the first flush; the majesty of a towering cock pheasant, wings set, effortlessly gliding across the valley; the quiet admiration of the stylish single shot that folds a super-high bird; and the belly-laughs at that unfortunate friend who can do nothing but clean miss. Just a few emotions that I conjure-up, when thinking about a great passion of mine: driven game shooting. Not only a sport but a way of life for many; a sport deeply ingrained in the history and landscape of the British Isles.
Its not often these days that we get to see a really great hammer gun by Westley Richards pass through our hands. There are clearly notable collectors of hammer guns out there and there must be some wonderful pieces tucked away, but truth is we just don’t see them.
Last week at the factory a simple stunning and elegant 12 bore black powder proof centre-fire hammer gun came in. Not just any hammer gun, but the one used in our 200 year history ‘In Pursuit of the Best Gun’. This gun has remained tucked away in a private collection for many years and we have always coveted it. This gun is about as good as it can get from Westley Richards, especially when you consider that it was built as late as 1885, 10 years after the invention of our famous Anson & Deeley hammerless gun!
Last month our continued collaboration with another elite British brand – Bentley Motors via Bentley Birmingham – saw the team capture our fine leather goods out in the Worcestershire countryside.
For the campaign imagery we were lent the very latest Bentayga V8, newly launched this year, as the ultimate travelling companion to our in-house leather collections. All I can say is the vehicle lived up to its billing “…exceptional innovation and outstanding ride comfort letting you experience every environment in world-class refinement…” – It certainly holds up perfectly to all our country pursuits, as seen on a trip to Wales for Time in the Field with Bettws Hall.
When autumn comes Northern Italy plays host to a very different type of sport with a specific breed of gundog, as Lyn Monk reports.
When the weather turns from late summer into autumn and the cold morning air carries the sound of the deer rutting in the woods it’s time for a small group of enthusiastic owners and their lagotto romagnolo dogs to make the long drive back to the ancestral home of the breed – the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy.
The lagotto romagnolo is a little curly-coated duck retriever and truffle hunter which has been in existence in the region since Etruscan times and the seventh century BC. The breed’s main function then was to retrieve live wildfowl from the vast marshlands back to a flat bottom punt for his peasant masters. There is even a beautiful Fresco painted by Andrea Mantegna in 1474 at the Ducal Palace Mantua showing the Lagotto under the legs of the people. We can proudly say it looks like the same dog that you see today without change. Written records exist from 1591 onwards and in an Erasmus of Valvasone poem The Hunter he wrote about the dog of the region: “We need a rough and curly haired breed of dog that does not fear sun, ice or water that climbs mountains, fords rivers and runs on to steep rocky places, it’s head and hair resemble that of a ram and it brings the bird back to the hunter merrily.”
Mixing elegance, exuberance and subtleness is something Westley Richards has mastered the art of like no other gunmaker. The skill of producing a fine pair of exhibition grade guns that possess all the qualities of ‘collection grade’ with the attributes and modesty of ‘field grade’ is evident in our latest creation, this superb pair of hand detachable lock 20 gauge shotguns.
An original, unopened package of Westley Richards .450 No. 1 Carbine for the Deeley-Edge Model 1869 Carbine. Among his seminal developments such as the doll’s head extension, Westley Richards, the founder’s eldest son, was instrumental in the development of the solid drawn brass case. While metal cases were not a new concept, the Westley Richards patent number 1572 of 1871 introduced a longer, stronger brass case capable of handling higher velocities. This had lasting effects on both military and sporting arms.This is some of the first ammunition to be loaded with such cases. With 55 grains of blackpowder, it shoots a 380gr paper patched soft lead bullet at 1,300 fps.
The pursuit of trophy class Roe buck (Capreolus Capreolus) in the British Isles remains one of the finest sporting challenges for the recreational deer stalker.
Roe buck stalking outside of the rut is about early mornings and late evenings. During April and May the British countryside bursts into life with deer movement all around. Mature bucks establish territories in readiness for the rut late summer. Younger bucks pushed out by these mature bucks often make up the early season quota.
Here at Westley Richards we enjoy the company of many of Britain’s finest artisans, regularly producing exquisite items for our discerning and distinguished clients. Craftsmen and women who are leaders in their individual fields and often, like their parent’s before them, continuing long established traditions in their craft.
Alongside our best gunmaking and highly prized engravings, we are proud to help maintain elite handcraftsmanship on the British Isles, be that with our bespoke leather goods, tailored shooting tweeds, country calf boots, fine hats and neckties and in this article’s case one-of-a-kind stickmaking.