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.
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.
Prior to World War II, the demand for small bore shotguns, namely those in .410, did not exist like it does today. One reason was the perception that the .410, the smallest of the shotgun bores, was considered a cartridge best suited for a new shooter like a child or a smaller frame shooter such as a lady. However, despite its size, in the right hands the cartridge can be lethal on even the heartiest of small game such as wood pigeons or rabbits and hares.
In a late 1920’s Westley Richards catalog introducing the “Westley Richards .410 Shot Gun and its Cartridge”, the catalog highlighted these same sentiments:
“For occasional use about the place, and for Ladies. Carefully bored – even and deadly effect”
the catalog continues…
“We say that the .410 is an excellent little weapon for the beginner…yet even the old hand need not despise this little gun…it is a most useful addition to the gun room if only for the express purpose of keeping down the vermin in the close season.”
Three stunning pre-owned Bosis Michelangelo Over/Under shotguns are going up for sale in our Birmingham gunroom. Easily one of the finest handmade over/under shotguns produced today, guns made by Luciano Bosis are renowned for their shape, handling characteristics, superb fit and finish, their stunning stock blanks and, of course, their wonderful engraving. Just as one would expect, each gun in this composed trio, a 12g, 20g and 28g, is superb in all respects.
Just as important as “location” is to the value of real estate, so is “condition” to the value of a gun. The common rule is, the closer the gun remains to its original factory condition, the more desirable it is among collectors.
Another important factor to a gun’s value can be its rarity. Guns can fall into the “rare” category if they are found in a configuration seldom produced by a maker. Another reason a gun could be considered “rare” is if it remains in high original condition despite its age or intended purpose. If you look long enough and have a lot of good luck, you might even encounter a gun in a rare configuration that is also in high original condition.
After a long time of looking and more than my share of good luck, an exceedingly rare and extremely well preserved Westley Richards 562 Grade Hammerless Combination Shotgun and Rifle chambered in 12g and .500 Black Powder Express recently landed at the U.S. Agency. This is the type of gun collectors can spend a lifetime looking for.
Westley Richards has always offered high quality, fine leather goods and other accessories for the discerning sportsman to transport and care for their guns and rifles. Today Westley’s continues to produce these traditional handmade items, made side by side with our guns in the Birmingham factory, with a whole host of other gun care products that today’s hunter and shooter will still find useful.
As someone who travels extensively with firearms for hunting as well as travelling to trade shows and making house calls, there are four items from our leather shop that I find are especially well thought out for the travelling sportsman and shooter. The Westley Richards Tool Roll, the Gun Cleaning Mat, the Redfern Cleaning Pouch and the small J/M/B pouches are items that have become indispensable for me and I think they would benefit any shooter or hunter by adding these to their shooting kit.
The most recent project completed and ready for delivery is this Best Quality Hand Detachable Lock rifle chambered in .500 3” NE. From the classic cartridge it is chambered for, to the timeless Droplock design and traditional house engraving, this is the quintessential Westley Richards double rifle in every way.
Westley Richards is credited with being the first to adapt the .500 Black Powder Express to a new smokeless propellant called Cordite, sometime around 1890. Offering a vast improvement in ballistics over the black powder loads best suited for deer or stag, the new nitro based smokeless powder load made the .500 Nitro Express a legitimate alternative to the much larger 8 and 4 bore black powder rifles historically used for animals such as elephant or buffalo.
Today’s .500 3” NE shoots a 570gr, .510” diameter bullet at a standard velocity of 2,100 fps delivering just shy of 6,000 ft lbs. of muzzle energy. However, the cartridge can be safely chambered in a rifle weighing about 11 lbs. For hunting large dangerous game, there are few rifles and cartridges that come in such a well-balanced package, combining such awesome ballistic performance in a manageable size and weight. This is the reason I believe the .500 NE remains one of the most popular double rifle cartridges ever produced.
With those new developments in propellants like Cordite, came improvements in the design and construction of rifles as well. Fast Forward over 100 years of gunmaking and we have what might be the pinnacle of double rifles, new Westley Richards rifles like this one.
As a maker of luxury firearms, we believe there is nothing more flattering than when a client places another order with us. Let’s be honest, the creation of a bespoke gun or rifle is a costly endeavor that takes a long time to come to fruition. When a client is so pleased with the process that they want to repeat it, well, that says a lot.
Long before I ever thought of working for Westley Richards, a good client of mine from my previous job was asking my opinion on some secondhand English made double rifles for sale at the time. I posed the question to him, that if he was willing to spend that kind of money on a secondhand rifle, why not consider ordering a new one?
My second comment was, “if you do decide to go that route, I would order a Westley Richards droplock”.
I then introduced my friend to Simon and Trigger and the results of those conversations produced the Modele De Luxe .500 3” NE Hand Detachable rifle Trigger wrote about in a blog from September of 2018.
Fast forward a few years later, when I was actually working for Westley Richards, I took an order from the same client for this Modele De Luxe Bolt Action chambered in the venerable .416 Rigby to pair with the double rifle.
Super deluxe walnut stock complements the engraving on the metal and is highlighted by the high gloss hand rubbed oil finish.
With gunmaking at its core, the Westley Richards firm has a long history of dealing in secondhand guns and rifles of all makes and models. We continue that tradition today handling some of the World’s finest firearms. However, our interest does not end at just fine guns but also includes any other items built for purpose with flawless function but also beautiful in shape, fit and finish.
I believe anyone who appreciates the guns, rifles and fine leather goods produced at Westley Richards will also see the beauty in these handmade knives I came across in my most recent travels.
Jim Behring/Treeman – A longtime outdoorsman Jim Behring of Michigan is best known for his Skagel inspired knife making style. Known as “Treeman” knives, a name from a previous career cutting trees, his knives are highly regarded among collectors and hardcore outdoorsman alike.
Jim hammer forges 35 to 55 knives per month and while he is a very prolific maker, his knives are relatively rare to find on the secondhand market and certain era knives and configurations are rising in price year over year.