Grand Obscura. Great Rarity from Westley Richards Past

To me, a great part of the enjoyment of fine guns is the discover of things apparently insignificant; the “bits and pieces” that form parts of the whole that is history. Here are three of them that speak quietly of grand times gone by.

Westley Richards Selvyt Tin

Westley Selvyt Tin with Model Deluxe Faunetta.

It is a simple thing, a finely painted tin box holding a miniature pillow anointed with some very special elixir. We often find the “Selvyt” cloth, a kind of short velvet, perhaps the predecessor to micro fiber for wiping down and preserving guns. But here is the Selvyt “Preserving Pad”. Its single purpose was to maintain the wonderful Westley Richards Hand Detachable Locks. At this modern moment it has another, to correct and maintain history properly. They are not, droplocks. They are, “Westley Richards Hand Detachable Locks, one of the grand accomplishments in gun making. Regardless of purpose, the wee Selvyt pad and tin are one of those delights of days gone by.

Westley Richards Explora 'Fixer'' tool.

Westley Richards Explora 'Fixer'' tool.

Explora Bullet Page from Catalogue

Next is a tool, the only of its kind I have ever encountered and one that more or less should not exist. It is a “Fixer” a tool very common in the world of the Holland & Holland Paradox and other shot and ball guns. Its job is to create a ring crimp in the cartridge case, pressing into the big groove in the Fosbery-Paradox bullet. These “normal” Paradox loads began as black powder loads (that were routinely reloaded) and evolved to some degree into the nitro era. Our “Fixer” here is Westley Richards AND Explora marked. The curious thing about it is, unlike the other shot and ball guns, the Explora began life as a very high performance nitro/cordite round. There were many sophisticated things inside: a special liner to support wads allowing the powder to burn and among others a very long “primer” that was turbo-charged with black powder or gun cotton to effectively ignite a powder that was fundamentally too slow for the application. Also, the L.T. Capped Explora bullets had only a very small central ring and the Explora cartridges I have seen are not “ring” crimped in the same way as the other shot and ball loads. In short I just do not think the average hunter/shooter loaded Westley Richards Explora cartridges. But here we are, confronted with a Westley Richards Explora Fixer. My answer to its existence is the “Special bluff cone jungle bullet”. These are big round nose bullets, with a very large central ring. I suspect this fixer is made to crimp them in place, perhaps in darkest Africa or India, with black powder.

Bishop of Bond Street Shot Flask

Lastly we find a quiet relic, something to my eye that is very special. When I bought it, it was quality shot pouch in nice condition. The maker was “Bishop” but I thought little of that. When I unwrapped it, there it was; not just Bishop, but Bishop Bond St.! Now that was another Bishop altogether, this Bishop was none other than Westley Richards Bishop, The Bishop of Bond Street. This is William Bishop who was Westley Richards’ agent in London for a very long time. His hands and a Westley Richards percussion gun grace the dust cover of The Second Edition of the Bicentennial book Westley Richards, In Pursuit of The Best Gun. Also, within the book is a very interesting chapter about “The Bishop.”

Bishop of Bond Street Shot Flask

Bishop of Bond Street Shot Flask

The flask is simple plain leather with a steel lever top, but obviously of fine quality and one that has had care beyond the norm. All of the stitching and leather are still in good pliable working order, including the ring at the bottom. These almost always fail after 150 years. It is shown in the photograph with an original swivel, spring snap on an original harness, keeping company with Westley Richards #9360, a best percussion lock 10 bore game gun circa 1850. (The serial number conflicts with later dates, but there is a significant duplication from the mid percussion era and the early 1900s in that range). I will carry the gun again this autumn, but this year it will be charged from the Bishop’s flask. If one is afflicted with the romantic, it is pretty easy to see the Bishop in his top hat and white cuffs handing the gun to his customer and wrapping the flask in a packet of brown paper for the coach ride home.

Further down the road with the little .410. The first 2000 rounds…

Westley Richards .410 Droplock

After a couple thousand targets, a few doves and one armadillo who insisted on digging under everything in our yard, I’m down that road far enough to have formed some opinions about .410 guns and one Westley Richards gun in particular.

First and foremost, this gun has given me more enjoyment and just plain fun than any gun of any sort I’ve ever had. Super quick, super light, no recoil and super unforgiving if I don’t pay very strict attention. When the stars align and things seem right with the world, targets break and birds come tumbling down. When they don’t, they really don’t.

For me, at least, the lesson is pay attention to all the little details; leads, follow through and especially gun mount. The slightest error in any of these things and my success rate drops, really drops.

Chokes and loads have been an education. While I have neither the patience nor the statistical background to properly dissect the mathematical meaning of all those little dots on our plating board I can determine if the centers of patterns are where they belong and if a bird or a target is in danger at various distances in those patterns. Loads go where I point, no question and with both barrels. Half ounce loads of number nines will break every target on the skeet field if I do my part but much beyond 25 yards with .004″ constriction skeet chokes things fall apart very quickly. In my opinion this is simply not an adequate combination for game shooting. However, thankfully there is a three quarter ounce of number eight and one half loads from Winchester which is another story indeed. I’ve shot several hundred of these loads at various distances at targets both feathered and clay and I see little difference between success rates with the .410 Winchester loads and with standard 28 gauge loads. If the Quail gods smile this season I fully intend to do as much damage to the population as I possibly can with this little .410 as the primary weapon.

By this point the gun has been pretty well vetted and I can say as an absolute fact that the function has been perfect. Ejectors always work, trigger pulls consistent and lock up is the same after a couple thousand rounds as it was with the first box of cartridges.
For whatever it might be worth, the view that a .410 is a silly, useless toy is simply wrong.
A really good .410 with the proper chokes and loads used under reasonable conditions can be as enjoyable a gun as one could hope for.

Proof of the pudding being I run my eye over a group of pretty nice guns almost daily and recently realized I’ve used almost nothing else for the past two months. That is something that has never happened with me prior to this Westley Richards .410 showing up at our door. I’m fortunate indeed.

Thank you DB for this update!

Westley Richards – Gun Cleaning Mat Roll.

WR & Co. Gun Mat

A simple yet useful addition to our range of leather shop cleaning accessory goods, is this Gun Mat which has been designed to compliment our small travel tool roll.

Providing a soft sheepskin pad for your gun cleaning or display, this roll up mat is made from our very durable ‘salt and pepper’ Swiss army canvas trimmed with organic veg tan leather binding and straps. An integral pocket allows for a small selection of cleaning kit, rod, jags, mops and cloths.

WR & Co. Gun Cleaning Mat

The roll is available now in our online store in standard format and is, like any other of our products, available to order with initialling and in other materials such as full leather.

Now available from our store: store.westleyrichards.com

WR & Co. Gun Mat

Practise makes Perfect. A Little Sample before the Engraving starts.

Westley Richards 2rsDear Simon,

The drawings are transferred to the guns with some corrections according to the real “geography” of the objects. I’m practicing on steel copy of British coin, 38 mm in diameter, the figure of Pistrucci’s St. George is bigger than the horsemen on the shotguns, any way, technically it is close. Sending photos of all stages of unfinished experiment.

Paul Lantuch.

em_MG_2130

em_MG_2131

em_MG_2137

em_MG_2138

em_MG_2140

The completed test sample.

Lantuch Coin Trial.

A Needle in a Haystack. My Search for a Westley Richards Gun of my Own.

Westley Richards 12g Droplock Damascus Pair

The past seven or eight years I have been looking for a Westley Richards hand detachable lock shotgun to both use and complement my very modest mix of English, Scottish and American made doubles. And though I have found many, most have had some malady or a mix of short or ill repaired stocks, barrel problems of varying degrees, poorly re-blacked, excessively brushed, chambers lengthened by an unassignable person in most cases, and in short poorly repaired or restored not to mention the most common problem of screws that have been disfigured. The combinations of problems can be innumerable. In these instances you are left to rely on someone’s evaluation and you will likely not have any idea about their integrity or ability to assess the condition and attributes of the gun. I have bought and returned two guns that were not even in the same hemisphere as the dealers’ description. The only conclusion I can come to regarding this is that these, and in no sense am I implying all, dealers are banking on the client being either not knowledgeable enough to recognise the issues or is too lazy to return the gun. The downside for them is that when they do stumble upon a knowledgeable client that has this knowledge they will likely never return to them as a customer, with any sense of trust having been squandered. I have found the good guns, very good ones and they have for the most part been priced out of my range or the timing for me was bad. The guns that I have located without these issues were, at the time, simply not in the budget.

Cased pair Westley Richards 12g  Damascus Droplocks.

While I have a great appreciation for side lock guns, the simplicity in design of the Anson & Deeley action is my personal favorite and the Westley Richards hand detachable design takes it to a pinnacle of the concept and achievement. I have had a desired configuration in mind which has been the proverbial “needle in the haystack” for me. I wanted: pre-war, hand detachable, 30 inch barrels, straight hand, and preferably cased, and as un-molested as possible. In October of 2015 I took notice of a really nice clean Westley Richards, Heronshaw model on the used gun site. The barrels were 28 inches and the gun was in a nice condition and priced very fairly. After going back and forth to the site over a couple of days and taking several looks I decided, “I’ll take it”. Honestly knowing this is not the configuration I wanted. Yet I then sent off an email and get a prompt reply from Simon that it is being held for a fellow who is away on holiday and that the gun is sold. At this point I am beginning to think that I am not going to find what I want even if I will compromise on model and configuration. Of course the gun I want is available on order, and I am patient and have no problem with the wait, but I cannot make the financial side work. I would just have to sell too many of my other guns to make that happen. In my back and forth communication with Simon I had expressed what I ultimately wanted and he encouraged me to, “Probably better to wait for a droplock. I may have one (or 2) in a minute!” So then a proper used gun remained my opportunity. I would come to realize that this is the first installment of good advice that I would receive and I came to a few conclusions right then, that:

  1. I would rely more on Simon and Westley Richards as the knowledge and ability to correct any issues with the guns lies there, while continuing to look elsewhere. I could purchase a gun in another place and should it be in unacceptable condition or have problems I would need to contract out any work on my own taking additional risk. Just the shipping here and there, back and forth, especially overseas adds up significantly. I wanted to avoid this additional expense.
  2. I would need to have a range of configuration requirements in mind and be quick to know what compromises I would be willing to make quickly. I really had to know what I wanted.
  3. I needed to have an idea concerning grade and condition that is a minimum that I would accept.
  4. I would need to have the budget amount nailed down to allow me to commit to a deal quickly.

So, some 6 months later, getting to the office early as usual and running through the suspect sites including, The Explora, and Westley Richards, I see the blot post, “Damascus Game Guns Sir”? The picture caught my attention immediately. In it I see not one but two droplocks, in a three lock, three label case. The pictures alone told me a story of pre-war guns that interest me. In Simon’s description I learn that they were made in 1907 that the barrel length was 30 inches and that barrel integrity and original chambers were there. He then proceeded to outline the detailed elements of the restoration for both of these particular guns. At this point there is not much for me to think about, only to get a few more details as soon as possible.

Before restoration

The difference is that this time I was prepared along the lines of the criteria I previously mentioned and I believed that I might have found my “needle(s) in the haystack”. I immediately sent an email with a few basic questions and received a prompt reply. The guns were available and the terms were given to me with a note to “be quick”! I countered the terms, lost the battle, and was promised satisfaction with the guns with a more or less, “trust me, you will not be sorry” statement from Simon. At this point I committed to the deal, he agreed and a really pleasant experience began, which in all honesty only enhanced the whole affair. I took a look back through the emails and this was approximately a four hour process from start to finish. Simon did let me know via email the following morning that I had in fact been quick, made a good decision and that his inbox was full of those who wanted these guns. I was next contacted by Ricky Bond, Gunroom Manager and he entertained a few questions, supplying prompt answers as to choke, etc. Ricky asked me what modifications that I wanted to make, did I want to vacate the stock ovals and add my initials? I knew that I wanted to keep it all, guns and case, in a sense together as it came. So the ovals were left as they were though they were made better as to fit and finish through the process. My follow on to that was that we should just complete the work that Simon has outlined. Throughout this four month restoration process Ricky kept me appraised of various activities; barrels back from proof house, barrels at browner, stock being refinished, checkering completed, etc. This level of communication makes the wait easier. Then, as it seems as I get older, the time just went away somewhere and Ricky gives me notice that we are, “about two more weeks or so out”, followed a few days later with “your guns have been shipped”.

Then last Friday as I am wrapping up a busy week. I received an email that my package has been delivered to my dealer. This was a very long day at work! My first impression was the care taken in crating and packaging. I am not really sure that I had a picture in my mind of what the package would look like or had even thought about it but I was nonetheless impressed. The whole thing was in a very well-done wood crate clearly made to fit its contents. The original leather case was on top inside the crate wrapped in bubble wrap and blocked to the center with foam blocks. The original leather case had been fitted with very nice replacement leather case straps that were missing in the original pictures. This was the first of a few more surprises. Upon opening the leather case, there were no guns, only small items wrapped in tissue. After removing the leather case I find in the bottom of the crate a nice hard aluminum and plastic foam lined case also blocked into place. In this one, the guns, carefully wrapped first in oil paper, followed by tissue, and then bubble wrap. This was a better package opening experience than any Christmas Morning! The best though, was yet to come. The original case had been, in Simon’s words, “made right”. A great surprise and added bonus was that the original case had been very nicely re-accessorized with basic Westley Richards branded items and those all wrapped as little gifts in tissue. I do not know that I could have unwrapped the guns any more slowly. One I was being careful and two I didn’t want this process to be over so fast. This was fun!

After looking over each piece of the guns I could now see what Simon saw in the beginning that these guns were great candidates for, “a light restoration and refurbishment” as he had put it. As we say in the South, there were just no “hickeys” on these guns. Only honest, even wear and in their original configuration and clearly had been very well cared for.

WR 12g Damascus After Restoration-47

To say that the work undertaken and the results exceeded my expectations is maybe the understatement of my life. Every facet of these guns are now in fabulous condition. The wood is even better than the excellent photographs reveal, remaining just proud as is desired even after refinishing. I had expected the heel and toe plates to not fit perfectly but they do. All screws are North and South. The barrel striking and browning is of such quality that it is hard to describe and is just superb along with the re-blacking of the furniture. The checkering is in great shape and the stock finish all that could be desired. I believe that these are either a three or four iron pattern Damascus pattern and they are beautiful with mirror bores. They were reproofed at 1 1/8 oz. and that is suitable for any use that they will see. I shot them for pattern with Hull brand plastic case 15/16 oz. #7’s and Hull brand paper case 1 oz. #6’s. The barrels pattern beautifully consistent left to left and right to right as the bore and choke dimensions are virtually identical in both guns. Incidentally the guns are consecutively serial numbered along with the barrels, top lever, and forend iron being numbered #1 & #2 in gold. The cast-off in both stocks is at about 3/16 inch which is perfect, with good length, they fit very well. They will be off to West Texas to Dove hunt in the next two weeks followed by a trip to South Dakota for Huns, Sharp-tails, and Pheasant in late October then winter Quail hunting in West Texas and Western Oklahoma. I look forward to using them throughout the coming months.

Finally, I have not one but two Westley Richard’s hand detachable guns. A true pair, so engraved, consecutively serial numbered, cased, scroll back action with beautiful wood and barrels along with many more fine attributes. Not only pre-war but pre-many wars. The other thing that I have not mentioned is that these guns lived their life in the immediate vicinity of my family’s ancestral home. That did draw me to these guns in some odd way.

In this journey my contribution was listening and taking Simon Clode at his word and advice along with exercising patience which is a quality I am thankful to possess. The major contribution was made somewhere around the year 1907 when these guns were specified and built by outstanding turn of the century Gunmakers. I can imagine that they went home at the end of the day deeply satisfied at the results of their labor of love. The latest contribution in this year of 2016, 109 years later, has been made by the team existing at Westley Richards today, to include all of them, each playing an equally important role and function. I feel that they should go home at the end of the day equally as satisfied and proud of their effort just as those that did in 1907. They are building on and enhancing a truly historic legacy and one that is very uncommon today. The entire team has done what their mission states if I may take a little liberty, “They have restored and refurbished a Unique pair of Especially Good Shotguns”. I do not know of any better way to praise the whole team than to say that, “I strongly recommend them without any hesitation”.

Am I a sycophant for Westley Richards? No. There are many great Gunmakers and guns. Am I a fan, supporter, advocate, and customer? Yes. And unapologetically so!

Am I happy with this whole process, from the discovery of the guns, through the whole of the process until today? Why yes, furthermore ecstatic. I found my needle in the haystack!

A Unique Pair of Charles Lancaster 7g Percussion Double Rifles.

Pair of Charles Lancaster 7g Percussion Rifles

For the past 2 weeks or so I have been unable to get behind the camera to take some photographs of new or vintage guns, the shooting season is on us, there is much to do.

Earlier this week I was spurred into action when this magnificent and very rare pair of near mint condition, Charles Lancaster percussion double rifles ‘walked in the door’. Today I was able to put some time aside so that I can share them with you.

The ‘Princely’ guns and rifles of India have played a large and important part in our recent history and during the 60’s and 70’s were ultimately responsible for the survival of the company. The gun dealing was the backbone of the business during the years of small ‘new gun demand’. India with its magnificent armouries were the resource and backbone of this dealing activity a result of which is my admiration and fondness for guns and rifles such as these. These are the predecessors and inspiration to my India and Africa rifle projects, guns and rifles ‘fit for Kings’.

This pair of Charles Lancaster rifles are a magnificent  example of what could be discovered in the armouries and this particular pair of percussion rifles have remained in near perfect condition, down to their original slings, since their manufacture for the Maharajah of Joudhpur  in 1862, no mean feat in itself as they have travelled many miles.

I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have as items like these rarely walk in the door these days to be seen and discovered.

Pair Charles Lancaster 7g Rifles

Pair Charles Lancaster 7g Rifles

Pair Charles Lancaster 7g Rifles

Pair Charles Lancaster 7g Rifles

Pair Charles Lancaster 7g Rifles

A Paradoxical Return – The Restoration of an Exquisitely Rare Gun. – Ross Seyfried for The Explora.

HH Paradox

Under normal circumstances when we consider “restoring” most kinds of firearms it is a fool’s play. As one of my old mentors would say, “Like pounding fat down a rat hole.” If done well, by quality workmen, you will almost certainly spend more than the arm is worth and it will not be worth what you spent in the end. . . . HOWEVER!

One day I was pulled onto the rocks by the siren’s song by a piece so rare and wonderful that I could not resist. It had the look of “Out of India” with a very bad restock, forend used completely up and an attempt at a new hinge pin. But otherwise it was untouched; high mileage yes, but unmolested by “gunsmiths”. And what it was, at least in my mind, justifies my folly. It was an early Patent Royal Best Quality Holland & Holland. It was 16 gauge, it had Damascus barrels and it was a Paradox!

HH Paradox pre restoration

The bores had some frost, but were untouched and the first question before any madness began was, “would it still shoot.” It answered well, with both black powder and nitro loads with bullets from an original mould. So, her soul was alive and well. Now was the time for grand decisions; first, who to do the work and then what to do.

Westley Richards Super Magnum Explora

My whole thought process was aided and assuaged by another gun. This was a best quality, gold-name, Super Magnum Explora with detachable locks that I paid her makers extravagantly for more than a decade earlier. It was a very complete restoration (on an obviously unmolested gun): magnificent stock, beautiful case colours, rust and charcoal blue, done by Westley Richards. It was and is one of the most handsome firearms I have ever seen, simply magnificent elegance as it left the workshop nearly 100 years earlier. I knew what could be done and who could do it. Further I have a long association with Westley Richards and know from the owner down to many of the lads in the workshop they understand old things and their history. The Holland went into a crate and left for England.

I waited for their assessment and even to know if they would agree to take on the challenge and to my delight the answer was “yes”. Some of the work was obvious: A new stock with a perfect piece of “old” wood with stump figure as used in the originals, straighten the bent guard bow, make a new hinge pin and other various pins and screws, and put it all mechanically perfect. That was easy, but then the question from Simon Clode, “where should we quit?” The barrels obviously needed to be struck and browned, but other than some small places the engraving was still sharp and untouched. Ultimately after much discussion we decided, “Not to stop”. My final instructions were to, “Make it new again, just like the day it left the showroom in the late 1800s”. I added a few grand complications: the furniture must have real charcoal blue, the barrel brown must be perfect with high pattern definition and the chequering must be “flat top”. Now it was time to wait, and wait. There was only one sensible time requirement . . . there was no time requirement. “I want your best workmen, in their happiest mood, under no pressure.” Years passed.

HH Paradox after annealing

H&H Paradox after stocking

Then the note came that said, “We are close”, and some tantalizing photos of the progress. At every step there was wonder in the images; the lines at first and then the details. Finally one day that brown UPS truck with a red-label overnight extra signature giant box. I can only say I was shocked, stunned and thrilled. There she was, new and magnificent in every detail. The perfect inletting and lines, the impossible flat-top chequering and a horn butt plate that had grown with the tree. The furniture black looked an inch thick and the barrel brown not only perfectly coloured, but with every detail of the Damascus pattern vivid. Colour hardening as it would have been back then and the internal lock pins left properly white, while the main pins were colour hardened. The action and barrels were tight, but not that grudging tight as found on so many new guns. Ms. Holland’s action had been made “free”, one of the last and lost arts in fine gunmaking. After hardening the various bearings are burnished, made to move and fit perfectly.

The H&H 16g Paradox

Case hardened action

She came coincidentally on the first day of dove season. The first shot folded a bird at about 25 yards; the third round killed a pair, both of them stone dead crossing at 40 yards. They even added the magic! I confess it has allowed some birds to escape without a shot; I was busy staring at the gun while they slipped by.

HH Paradox 16g

Lastly, I want to personally thank each and every gunmaker who touched it, amongst whom I know Ken Halbert and Sam Banner action work, Romain Lepinois stocking, the 2 Chris’s, Eggington and Bridge finishing and all the others who played some part. Finally Simon Clode for guarding a company so it remembers that it has been making greatness for more than 200 years. The end result testifies to the fact that there was effort above and beyond; for I know a perfect restoration is much more difficult than finishing a new gun.

Ricky Bond – Gunroom Manager at Westley Richards & Co.

Ricky Bond Westley Richards Gunroom manager. Ricky outside the main vault at Westley Richards.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to our readers of the Exlpora. My name is Ricky Bond and I am the gunroom manager here at the Westley Richards & Co. factory and showroom and have been in this role now for 2 1/2 years, previously working as gunroom manager for William Powell under the guidance of Peter Powell.

I now consider myself fortunate enough to work under the guidance of both Simon Clode and Anthony Tregear ‘Trigger’, my path into the trade has been an enviable one and I’ve been lucky enough to gain some great experience and knowledge from some of the very best in the business. I spent most of my early career farming at home in Devon and when people ask how or why I ended up here, the answer is simple, my love of guns and hunting. I have been fortunate to hunt all over the UK, as well hunting in New Zealand. So I share the same passion and interests as most of our clients and am always on hand to offer advice or arrange shooting here in the UK or overseas where we have a huge network of contacts we know personally and trust.

icky Bond Shooting at the company event.Ricky is a keen and very competent shot, winning the last Westley Richards team event.

My role is very much a varied one and the main reason why I enjoy my job. No two days are the same here at Westley Richards, one minute I’m visiting outworkers in the trade, blackers, hardeners, engravers dealing with new gun and repairs, the next I’m conducting a factory tour for a team of visiting hunters and then I’m out field testing a new shotgun before it passes to the next stage of production or completion.

While my title is gunroom manager, on my first day at WR Trigger made it clear that the company didn’t really believe in being tied to job titles and that here we just get on and get things done, whether it is specifically in our job roll or not, the important factor being to make sure our clients are always serviced quickly, efficiently and politely, something that we as a company believe very strongly about. Therefore my role encompasses pretty much everything we do here at Westley Richards, from new gun and rifle production, the buying and selling of used guns, historical enquiries, dealing with the import and export paperwork, and even helping out with Teague Precision Chokes our sister company when needed.

Ricky Bond Gunroom Manager Westley Richards

In addition to this I manage the collection of over 200 best guns and rifles that we have on display here at the factory. This is possibly the finest individual collection of best guns in the country and covers both vintage and new guns by most of England’s premier makers. We have  an excellent range of classic bolt actions from original .500 Jeffery’s to modern day Hartmann & Weiss, we have old Holland Royals in most calibre’s and new ones also, Boss’s, Purdey’s, Fabbri’s and many other wonderful examples engraved by the modern masters, Browns, Coggan’s, Lantuch, Crowley, Spode and even Italian masters. In Westley Richards own make we have a very wide variety including the unique Boutet Gun, Africa and India rifles through to our vintage Ovundo’s single shots and other unique examples. The knowledge to be gained from this collection alone is invaluable.

The personal favourite part of my job is the used gun dealing, something which Simon is very passionate about and which he has enthused me to pursue and shares his intimate knowledge. The used gun dealing has always kept Westley Richards alive and helped us continue to trade to this day. From Mr. Walter Clode’s dealings in Inida and then Simon in more recent times, acquiring some of the finest English guns and rifles made to ever come to market has been their passion and has made Westley Richards the place to buy from if you’re a serious collector. I would think 70% of this business is done discreetly and privately as many clients don’t want it known they are either selling or buying. As a result we’re always on the look out to buy used guns individually or as collections either outright or to be sold on a commission basis competitive to the auction house terms.  I love to see old guns put back through our workshops, given a new lease of life, knowing the enjoyment the new customer will have with them will be probably as much as the person who first bought them 100 or so years ago.

Ricky Bond. Westley Richards Gunroom Manager.

To contact Ricky please call at the factory (44) 121 333 1900 or via our email.

Westley Richards is now actively looking for an an assistant to join our team in Florida USA. A person with a passion for guns and hunting with great admin and customer skills and a desire to learn our business. Please email me via the Explora for details. Simon

Three Famous Westley Richards .577’s

When discussing vintage nitro Westley Richards rifles there are three in particular that always end up dropping into the conversation somewhere along the line.  Not only were they used by three very famous individuals, but all were of the same calibre – .577 3″ Nitro Express.

These rifles were owned by professional ivory hunter Capt James Sutherland, hard man actor Stewart Granger, and legendary writer Ernest Hemingway.  All three men suited this iconic calibre as their personalities were certainly of the larger than life variety.

James Sutherland .577Captain James Sutherland’s .577 now on display at our factory.

Sutherland’s rifle resides here at the factory and although well used it still has crisp rifling and great condition.  Luckily we have the case and spare locks to go with it.  This rates as my own all time big game rifle particularly as it has all the great Westley Richards features, including our single selective trigger!

Stewart Granger .577Stewart Granger’s .577 with tallies of game hunted inlaid in stock.

The Granger and Hemingway rifles now reside in private collections and are both cherished by their respective owners.  Each is a great historical rifle in terms of our own legacy and that of the two men who owned them.

Ernest Hemingway 577Ernest Hemingway’s .577 complete with original case.

Both of these rifles retain lots of original finish as they were ‘client’ as opposed to ‘professional’ use rifles.  I always like Grangers inlaying of Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo in the stock with the tally of each hunted, those marked with a ‘c’ having charged him!

I was lucky enough myself to hunt buffalo with a brand new Westley Richards .577 hand detachable lock double rifle last year in Tanzania with Danny McCallum safaris.  Not only was it a privilege to hunt my buffalo with Danny himself, but I was able to take one at under 15 paces in typically long grass.  Whilst there are many that would deride the use of such a heavy calibre rifle I have to say that it was certainly very comforting in the thick stuff and as Danny himself said ‘it speaks with authority’.  Need I say more!

Westley Richards Exhibition Projects – The Next Paul Lantuch Engraved Guns in Design.

Westley Richards 1rs

Two months ago when Paul Lantuch visited the factory after completing the finishing of the Africa rifle we discussed at length the next projects that were on the cards. These included a pair of round action 12g guns, a .577 Hand Detachable lock rifle and a further .600 NE sidelock double rifle in the Africa, India series.

I was in 2 minds whether to post these drawings of the fist project up, the pair of 12g round body sidelocks, initial thoughts of people plagiarising a practise rife in this area. Perhaps it is a bit premature, but then I felt they are such nice drawings why not!

The drawings also show nicely the process of designing an exhibition gun so that a concrete theme can be executed. So many guns are engraved with minimal, if any, layout and composition work being done in advance. Paul and I have been bouncing drawings and thoughts back and forth across the Atlantic for the past 2 months and these are now the working drawings for  the guns. There will of course be additional engravings and carvings but the “theme is set”.

The pair of guns will be executed in the Rococo style, carved steel relief figures and decoration with a gold background. I am afraid you will have to be very patient to see the end result but we are off and running now as they say!

Westley Richards 1ls

Westley Richards 2ls

Westley Richards 2rs

Westley Richards 3b Westley Richards 1b Westley Richards 2b