As The New Shooting Season Commences, Some New Colour from Westley Richards.

Westley Richards New Shooting Socks 2016

Once you have your Tweed shooting suit and your green waterproof jacket there are little areas left to create your own style. To that end I have always been annoyed at the lack of choice of caps and shooting stockings when you visit shops.

In an effort to change that for this season we have had made a wide variety of hand knitted shooting stockings which will add a splash of colour to every outfit. I would like to think people will now be spoiled for choice with this range beautifully designed and produced stockings which are each hand knitted on 4 needles by home based workers in England using the finest Cashmere and other high quality wools.

Each pair of Westley Richards shooting stockings is presented in a specially designed tube package which makes for an easy to wrap, perfect gift!

Westley Richards Shooting Socks.

 

Our range of caps now has 20 different tweeds in 3 styles. All our Tweed comes from the Lovat Mill in the Scottish Borders and are made in England by one of the countries oldest hat makers.

 

Westley Richards 2016 Caps

WR & Co Caps-37512

These new products will be online in our web shop later this week and I hope that you will find something you like!

Utilising the Westley Richards Leather Shop’s Bespoke Ability.

Westley Richards Sam Brown type safari belt

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.

Showing the inside of the Sam Brown Belt

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.

SD Card Holder in Leather

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!

W R & Co. Bespoke blotter

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.

WR Hook Eye Sling with Branding

WR Hook Eye Rifle Sling-34896-Edit

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.

Westley Richards bespoke bag inBuffalo

Westley Richards Bespoke Elephant skin Bag

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.

Introducing ‘The Courteney Selous Safari Shirt’ at Westley Richards

The Courteney Selous Shirt from Westley Richards

Some 20 years ago now, Westley Richards took on the main dealership of the Courteney Boot Co. range of boots in the USA and UK. It was an ideal and complementary range of footwear for our brand. The simple truth that every hunter needs an accurate rifle and an a great pair of boots for every hunt, led us to look for the suitable boot to recommend to our customers headed to Africa.

I recall very well the sizes of the 2 blisters on the bottom of my feet on the day of my first buffalo hunt in Botswana many years ago. I packed a single trigger .470 droplock rifle and wore a pair of ‘custom made’ moccasins which looked great, but allowed too much movement, in all fairness I had probably not worn them enough before the trip. Anyway after a long day’s march after some buffalo I had to call it a day, it spoiled that hunt and many days after also, whilst the healing took place.

Shortly after this event we took on the Courteney Boots distributorship and we have never looked back. Thousands of satisfied customers have been served over the years and many thousands of miles have been hunted in the boots. The praise for the ‘out of box’ comfort of the range of boots never ceases to come in. Many times at Safari Club a customer will come up wearing his boots and tell me ‘I have been wearing these for 15 years’ to which I would quietly think I wish they would occasionally wear out so I could sell you another pair!

All these years later it gives me pleasure to introduce the latest creation from Courteney in Zimbabwe, the ‘Courteney Selous Shirt’, a safari shirt which Gale Rice, owner of Courteney has developed carefully over the past few years. By bringing together the company’s years of experience in the safari field and collaborating with the local professional hunters, Courteney have, I am sure, produced another winning product that will be well suited in your safari wardrobe for many years to come.

The first production is now in the air to us and will be despatched as soon as landed next week. Please order your shirts online here or by clicking on any of the photos.

4 ‘Used’ Westley Richards Fort Knox Titan Model 7241 Safes. – For sale!

Westley Richards Fort Knox Safe.

We have available for collection or delivery from our Bozeman shop, 4 used Fort Knox safes which we no longer require. The safes are as illustrated above, they are clean and in general ‘very good condition’ but with some outside wear to the transfer decal decoration and leading edges of the door.

Fort Knox Titan Model 7241 with interior lighting. Externally, the safe measures 72.5″ H x 40.5″ W x 29.5″ D. We have Two left hand opening and Two right hand opening available. 40 Gun capacity each. (4 rows x 10 gun) Electric lighting and digital lock. The normal new cost of these safes is $6000 each, we are asking $2000 each ex Bozeman.

Please email me or call Kevin Kilday on +1 406 586 1946 if these are of interest.

Update. All these are now all sold, thank you all very much!

The African Shooting Sticks – Accurate Shooting in the Bush.

Tanzania 2006

Any of you who head to Africa for safari will encounter, on your first visit, the use of shooting sticks, these are carried by the PH and provide an instant and stable rest for your rifle. I know I was unfamiliar with this practise 25 years ago when I went on my first safari, using them correctly took some time and practise, the height, the grip and flexibility all take getting used to. I don’t recommend taking expensive screw apart tripod sticks to Africa, it is weight and bulk you don’t need, rely on the PH and his sticks as he will place them fast and effectively giving you chance to concentrate on your quarry. I do however recommend practise with simple sticks which can easily be made at home.

I asked my long time friend Robin Hurt, one of the most respected Professional Hunters practicing today, who has carried the shooting sticks for many a mile, to write a short piece about the importance and use of the sticks which he has kindly done.

Robin Hurt with Shooting Sticks Close to hand (1 of 1)Robin Hurt with his 20 year old shooting sticks close to hand.

Accurate rifle shooting is all about a steady position and trigger squeeze. Without these two basic principals, most people will have difficulty in shooting rifles accurately. An unsteady rest leads to trigger snatching and a resulting badly placed shot. In the hunting field a good rest for ones rifle is crucial as no hunter worth his salt wants to injure or wound an animal – the objective is to hunt the animal in a sporting and fair chance manner and to take a deliberate clean shot.

The problem is that good natural rests to support and steady the rifle are not always at hand, for example an ant hill or a tree trunk. Also one is often faced with long grass or low scrub bush, making a lying down or sitting position shot impossible . This is where the African Shooting Sticks come in handy. The sticks can be set up in seconds, at the precise time the quarry is seen, without the need to possibly spoil the stalk by casting around looking for a rest. Off hand shooting, except at close range under 50 yards and on wounded game, is not to be recommended for most hunters.

My first shooting sticks were made for me by my Wata ( Waliaingulu ) elephant hunter tracker in 1963. In fact it was a simple bi pod of two wooden limbs of just under 3/4 inch diameter, 5 1/2 feet long, lashed together with strips of car tyre inner tubing. The lower tips of the thin poles were sharpened, so as to give proper purchase on the ground and not slip. It was an effective tool – but not perfect. All professional hunters at that time used these wooden bi pods.

Lekini a tracker with the shooting sticksRoger Hurt’s Tracker ‘Lekini’ with his shooting sticks and hearing protection.

Then there was a natural progression to more effective tri pods; using the same materials, but with two of the limbs being 4 to 5 inches longer and a shorter middle limb in the centre, again bound together with strip rubber tubing to give flexibility and strength when opening the sticks. This tri pod had now became an effective rest, for as steady a shot as possible in normal hunting conditions and used daily by most professional hunters.
To this day I carry wooden shooting sticks, home made by my trackers, using car tubing strips to hold the top sector together. My current sticks are now over twenty years old and used on every hunt. They never leave my hunting car and are as essential to my equipment as is a high lift Jack! The advantage of the natural materials is quietness. I have no problem with the commercial shooting sticks available, other than that they can be noisy, being made out of plastic or light metal tubing. But, they are useful for practice.

XD1C1032Robin Hurt following client HH Al Thani out of the bush, sticks to hand as always.

The way it works is that I always carry the sticks personally, and set them up according to my clients stature; by spreading the legs wider or closer together simply adjusts the rifles rest height as the need may be. The client follows close by and directly behind the professional, allowing quick and easy access to the rest.

Another huge advantage of the shooting sticks is that if your quarry is moving or partially blocked by bush or other cover, you can simply rest your rifle in a ready position until such time as an opportunity presents itself, set up immediately to take the shot . By the way, one of the biggest mistakes made by hunters is moving too quickly and in a rushed manner to place the rifle on the sticks. Quick movements are immediately spotted by game . Preferably a slow fluid movement of the rifle on to the sticks is what one should
practice .

Tanzania 2006Roger Hurt and client on the sticks. Note the forefinger grip on the forend.

Practice shooting off sticks will prove invaluable to better coordination and accurate field shooting . Practice standing , sitting and kneeling using the sticks . For sitting and kneeling I use one of the upright limbs and use my hand and fore finger to lock the rifle in position. For standing shots I personally also like to anchor the rifle on to the sticks by wrapping my left hand fore finger around the rifles barrel / fore end and holding the sticks where they are bound together, with the rest of my hand .

My son Derek, a professional in Tanzania, carries two sets of sticks – a short pair for sitting and kneeling shots and a normal long set for standing shots . His tracker carries the shorter pair and simply passes them to Derek when needed. I am too set in my ways to learn new tricks and only use one pair that I adjust as needed!

For longish or difficult shots on windy days , over 150 yards, I will often offer extra support to the hunter; by holding the sticks with both my hands and my body bent in a slightly crouched position, that in turn gives my shoulder as an added rest for the shooters elbow . This in effect gives a two position rest .

226Lunchtime picnic use for the tripod!

Shooting sticks have other uses – they can be used as snake tongs to capture snakes ( not advised ! ). On one occasion in South Sudan I used the sticks as a spear to impale an unfortunate forest Guinea Fowl when I didn’t want to disturb the area by shooting! Here in the Namibian mountains, they make a useful walking stick in our difficult steep terrain! I often use them to carry small game as on a pole hung between two people ! Last season one of our P Hunters fended off a furious warthog with his sticks , when they surprised it charging out of its resting place in an Aardvark’s hole! I have used them as a make shift fishing rod by tying some line with a hook on one end! Yes, they have all manner of uses apart from being a splendid rifle rest!

Some further tips that may be found to be useful are :-

– Never rest the barrel on the sticks – always the fore end. Metal contact with the sticks will result in the shot going high.
– For standing shots, stand with your legs well apart. This will help stabilize your shooting position.
– For sitting shots, bring up your knees so that your elbows are rested. This will greatly improve your shooting.
– To make your own sticks, choose saplings that are strong and straight, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Strip off the bark. Hold the sticks upright, and cut to length. As a height measurement, cut them at the level of your eyes. The centre limb should be 4/5″ shorter . Bind all three pole’s with rubber strops tightly at about 1 1/2 inches below the top of the shortest sapling. You can tape or rubberized the twin stabilizer arms on the longer poles for added quietness and support.
– Get in the habit of taking off the rifles safety in one movement in time with placing your weapon on the shooting sticks.
– Don’t place your rifle on the sticks with the fore end and your hand grip too far forward as this creates a seesaw effect.
– If your making your own shooting sticks, try to find hard wood poles that are as straight as possible. Any bends found after de barking can easily be sorted by holding over a fire and straightening the heated sapling .
– Lastly practice makes perfect. Make or buy your sticks and make yourself familiar with them and their use. Go to the rifle range or some other safe place and practice shooting off them.

Good hunting !
Robin Hurt

XD1C0808Robin has 2 very successful hunting operations in Africa where he operates from Namibia and Tanzania. Please follow the links for further information.

I will be discussing with our stick makers in England the manufacture of simple sets of these tripod shooting sticks with some details by our leather shop for protecting the rifle.

A carved Stick, a Pair of Western Boots and Pair of Guns, Each take 2 years to get made!

2 years to get

In early 2014 I ordered a pair of boots in Bozeman at the shop of custom maker Tony  English who had moved, as it turned out ‘temporarily’, next to the Hat Shop I have used now on four occasions. I have had safari and other custom hats made and always very pleased with the result, the company is Rocky Mountain Hats run by the father and son team of John Morris Snr. & Jnr.

The boots just arrived 2 years later and it made me think, I always have a lot of people say ‘2 years’ to make a gun, that is so long, why? So here in one photograph, waiting for an impending trip to USA and getting acclimatised in the new boots, is my pair of guns which take 2 years to build, the pair of boots which took 2 years to build and a carved walking stick which took at least 2 years to get! So we are not the only ones!!

My Favourite Shooting Coat – The First Model Schoffel Ptarmigan. A Classic.

Schoffel Ptarmagin Coat My cap, coat, bags and sticks waiting for the season! 

It is funny what gets rolled into a gun deal on occasions. Recently, I took on a variety of guns and rifles, books and other things. The final item was a box of Schoffel shooting coats, their first model Ptarmigan which led to their success in the shooting field which just happened to be my favourite coat for shooting, I was as pleased to get these as the guns! The Ptarmigan has sold in its 1000’s, it was designed specifically  for shooting in UK, is light, warm and waterproof with plenty of movement. In the many years since this coat was introduced no other company has made a better replacement and it is almost a ‘uniform’ amongst game shooters here!

The first model is the one I have always liked and continue to wear for all my shooting in UK, the colour is perfect, the trim is right and fabric handle is very nice. Like all clothing products it seems, if it gets popular cost then comes out of the make so profit goes up. They say the new models are more technical, but I have not had issue with mine.

So for the lucky few, in my opinion, we have online just 29 of these coats in random sizes, for both ladies and gents. A really great coat, new with original tags at a much reduced price than the current models! Have a look, click on the images below!

Schoffel Men'sSchoffel Women's

Another Piece of Ephemera for the Walls at Westley Richards.

Westley Richards Leather Goods.

I was really pleased to be shown and then able to buy this piece of Leather ephemera, a vintage etched mirror which was an award of some kind. It seemed an entirely appropriate and irresistible prop for the photography we do. Whilst I cannot and do not wish to take credit for the actual award, we did not make leather at that time. I do think it is appropriate for our small leather workshop and feel they would have given the competition a good run for their money, had we been making our leather goods then!

Some New Products Emerge from the Westley Richards Leather Shop.

Tool Roll & Bag (8 of 13)

It was many months ago now that I first posted about these tool rolls I found in Germany in 2015. It was in that post I laid down my intentions to reproduce the rolls authentically and here we are a year later and the job is finally completed! Why did it take so long I wonder?But considering the fabric has to be made, the correct buttons and buckles sourced and time has to be found to make it all up and perfect I suppose it is possible, or perhaps someone took their eye off the ball, most probably me! Anyway here finally is our version of the Safari tool roll which is shortly going to be available online. The roll can be filled with a variety of personal items, the stars holders adjust to hold various sizes making it pretty flexible. Here we show with a torch, leatherman and a set of cleaning tools.

Tool Roll & Bag (6 of 13)

Tool Roll & Bag (13 of 13)

Another product that I have always wanted to faithfully reproduce is my Fathers old fishing bag from the 1950’s, one which I was handed down when he hung up his rods. This was made with a fine cloth with excellent zips and fittings but sadly I lost more flies through the holes than I did in the brush behind me on the riverbank, so it had to be retired. We have now sourced all the parts and made this version in our workshops and I myself am very pleased with the result. A classic bag but with the security given by the additional zip closures. I now just need to think of a name for it!

Tool Roll & Bag (8 of 14) Tool Roll & Bag (12 of 14)

The leather bag is one of the first prototypes of Ralph Lauren’s Ricky bag which we developed in conjunction with their design team as an overnight bag for their Purple Label brand many years ago. The bag later developed into their signature handbag and remains available to this day.

A New Boot by Edward Green – The Galway Shearling Lined.

Edward Green Boots

I have mentioned before that I am a great admirer of the shoes and boots made by Edward Green and this new boot in their range is no exception. The Edward Green models we stock for shooting have always been very popular and now you can keep your feet extra warm this winter with this superbly crafted, suede and shearling lined boot, a new addition to our range.Edward Green Boots.