A Westley Richards .410 Over & Under Pistol

WR Pistol

We are always amazed by the diversity of products that seem to have left the Westley Richards factory in the last 200 years.  Take for instance this rather unusual .410 over and under pistol.

Completed circa 1935 the pistol is based on a design that was originally patented to Charles Lancaster who used the design for their Howdah and Officer pistols.  It was available from them in various pistol calibres up to .577 and came in both 4 and 2 barrel versions all operated with a single trigger.  The single trigger could also be extended and when cocked act as a set trigger which was handy for precision shooting.

WR Pistol 2

This Westley Richards version is proofed for the .410 2 1/2″ cartridge shooting a 7/16 ounce load which suggests that it could really only have been intended for use either as a vermin control pistol, or more interestingly a specimen collectors pistol.  The idea of facing a wounded tiger with it or some hostile native seems definitely out of the question!

Amazingly it comes presented in a lightweight leather case with cleaning rod and brushes all certainly made at the time it was supplied.  Seeing such a case always fills us with anticipation and yet again we were not disappointed.  A nice fun item to see bearing the Westley Richards name, one we may even use as a template for a new ‘compact’ .410 over and under quail gun!

WR Pistol 3

4 thoughts on “A Westley Richards .410 Over & Under Pistol

  1. That is really nice! As you said, the case and accessories make a wonderful addition to an already unique item!! Although, I’m a bit confused with the set trigger… I can’t imagine a lot of precision shooting was done with this one!

  2. Dear Trigger

    What a gem, now I would like to own this little cracker! (But poor as a church mouse).

    My thoughts as to its use; this pistol seems rather an expensive addition to a Game Keepers equipment to use for vermin control, although Keepers did and maybe still do use 410 pistols to dispatch vermin, I suppose an Estate owner could have made a gift of it for this purpose to his favourite Keeper.

    But I tend to go along the Specimen Collector route, my reason for saying this, your pistol has a military style lanyard loop on the butt so as to enable the user to keep it secured to themselves, it could even have had a somewhat large holster to carry it safely in, and having a set trigger this would enable a collector to take a more precise shot, but I could be just fantasising.

    Great pistol and cased as well, what a find!!

    Peter.

  3. What a fascinating and lovely thing! For a moment I wondered it might for some reason have been re-chambered in .410, but then of course the earlier proof marks would have been visible. Do I understand correctly that the lower part of the trigger hinges down, and then works a bit like the Tranter revolver set-up, whereby holding the lower part back compresses the mainspring and holds the striker ready, and then squeezing the upper part releases it? This blog never ceases to impress!

    Best wishes

    Ned

  4. I used to work at Westley Richards ( barrel filer) back in the late sixties, saw a few Lancaster pistols but I have never heard of a .410 O/U pistol till now. Fascinating what Westley Richards used to make in time gone bye and all high quality.

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