I am fortunate, that in the Westley Richards used gun department, we deal with a wide variety of guns and rifles made by a whole host of different makers and it is with genuine excitement and intrigue that when a ‘new’ preowned gun comes through the doors, I get to unwrap the parcel and find out what’s inside. Sometimes my excitement is short lived when the gun is not what we’re looking for but luckily, for the majority of the time, the excitement stays with me as we offer the gun for sale.
This gun is the perfect example of that. It’s a beautiful Westley Richards Heronshaw boxlock ejector in superb original condition. Featuring 28”barrels, 2 ½” chambers, choked ¼ & Full which nearly all Heronshaw guns were choked. The action is a fixed lock, double trigger with all the normal Westley features, snap lever work, model ‘C’ dolls head extension and beetle back safety. The engraving is of our classic Westley scroll style which is unusual for a Heronshaw as they normally were engraved with a basket weave. It retains a good amount of original case colour hardening and the stock is highly figured with a very nice finish to it, measuring 14 5/8 to centre. The gun was completed in 1935 and comes in a leather case with accessories. It will be on our used gun site shortly at £4,995.
The first models of the Heronshaw were built from around 1920 onward and were sold as more of a value ejector gun as an alternative to the more expensive hand detachable lock. Priced at £52 and 10 shillings for a double trigger and £63 for a single, the Heronshaw proved to be a popular model with some later models having single selective triggers and hinged cover plates for inspection. It is a personal favourite of mine and is a solid, well made boxlock ejector that carries its own style of beauty and certainly stands out from the other boxlocks on the market. Should you not be lucky enough get your hands on this one, I have two more due in very soon!
In the new year, we will be making our annual trip to the USA to attend the Dallas Safari Club Show from the 5th to the 8th of January, the Antique Arms Show in Las Vegas from the 20th to the 22nd of January and finally Safari Club International also in Las Vegas from the 1st to the 4th of February. We will be showcasing the full range of bespoke guns and rifles available to order as well as a large selection of used guns and rifles, together with our range of W. R. & Co. leather goods. We look forward to welcoming customers old and new and hope you are able to meet us at one of the shows. Should you be unable to make it to any of the shows, my colleagues Ricky Bond and ‘LD’ will also be available at our Florida agency from the 10th to the 13th of January and on the West Coast from the 23rd to the 28th of January where appointments can be made to view our selection of new and preowned guns and rifles.
My father has been a gun dealer for as long as I can remember. In turn, I sold my first gun when I was only 11 and by the time I was out of high school I had made the gun business my career choice as well. As my career moved on and I was buying, selling and trading guns, I became enamoured with Best English guns, in particular those made by Wesley Richards. Through a mutual friend I met Simon Clode and I was happy to help him with his logistics during the Safari Club show season, help he was glad to accept. More and more I bought and sold fine guns and more and more I found myself calling on Simon for advice. What started as some friendly help became a mentorship that eventually evolved into a job offer, and really the only offer that could lure me away from the family business.
When Simon broke the news of my new position of manager of the Westley Richards Agency back in July, I was somewhere between Bozeman, MT and Gulf Breeze, FL as I was moving shops. Simon had wanted to keep the move quiet and seamless and announced the move only when we were packed out of Bozeman and on the way south.
The drive was a precursor to the long days ahead as we started to remodel our new space in Gulf Breeze and my training would start on how things get done the Westley Richards way. While new gun making has always been the hallmark of the firms two hundred year history and remains the core focus of the business, the buying and selling of rare and fine guns has also always played an extremely important role in the company’s success. Westley Richards offers a quiet, discreet and personal service for its clients offering a unique ability to acquire and sell fine and rare guns based on many years experience and many ‘little black books’ recording what guns are where.
There are two chapters from our company’s history book “In Pursuit of the Best Gun”, that are most interesting to me, they cover Walter Clode’s and Malcolm Lyell’s tenures with Westley Richards. Each of these chapters highlight their contributions, not only to the English gun trade, but to the American gun market as well, by dealing in high quality firearms, widely from India, to the American gun collector. Today that same tradition is carried on by Simon Clode, who has been quietly selling the World’s finest guns for 30 years.
Here at the Westley Richards Agency, I will be doing what I feel I do best, and that is finding and selling fine guns. I will be available to assist in making new gun orders and answering questions as well as help with receiving orders that are imported from the U.K. But one aspect I am most excited about is the handling of the select and very high quality second hand guns that come through the agency.
The dealing of used guns is an important part of Westley Richards’ history and I’m looking forward to carrying on that tradition to the very high standards set.
Today, I am very pleased to introduce a very nice, small collection of guns and rifles which we have recently received these are new to the market and will be available on our used guns site during the coming week. These guns and rifles are all based here in USA and I would welcome any calls of interest.
James Purdey & Sons .375 H&H Magnum Express Rifle.
James Purdey & Sons. 12g Over and Under 2 barrel set.
Holland & Holland Royal .500 3″ Double Rifle.
Holland & Holland Royal 500/450 Double Rifle.
Holland & Holland Royal .375 Flanged Magnum double rifle.
James Purdey & Sons. A Pair of 20g 28″ game guns as new.
James Purdey & Sons. 12g Over and Under two barrel set as new.
John Rigby & Co. .470 double rifle. (Not Rising Bite)
Holland & Holland Royal .500 Double Rifle, cased and unfired.
Westley Richards Hand Detachable Lock ‘droplock’ .470 Double Rifle.
Holland & Holland Royal .500/450 double rifle.
Holland & Holland Royal .375 Flanged Magnum Double Rifle.
James Purdey & Sons. A .375 H&H Magnum Express Double Rifle.
James Purdey & Sons. A Vintage .369 Purdey Express Double Rifle.
Holland & Holland. A Pair of 12g ‘Sporter’ Over and Under guns.
Pair of E. J. Churchill 12g sidelock game guns.
Westley Richards .300 WSM bolt action rifle built in Kurtz action.
Asprey, London. A 300 Win Mag Carbine rifle.
Fabbri 12g Over Under.
Fabbri 12g Over Under
Fabbri 12g Over Under Shotgun
Holland & Holland .375 H&H Magnum Bolt Action.
John Rigby .416 Bolt Action rifle on Magnum Mauser.
Westley Richards .375 Bolt Action rifle built on original Oberndorf Magnum Mauser.
My thanks to Emma who came over from England to take the photographs and teach me some more tricks with the camera.
I think this is a nice and fitting conclusion to the story of the pair of Damascus Barrel guns, which both I and new owner Gary Duffy have both posted about, to show that they have made their way through the restoration and on to a new life in the field doing what they do best!
In the shooting and hunting world the necessity for a ‘pair’ of guns is really only ever associated with the driven game shooting scene as practised primarily in the UK and Europe. It is therefore of great fun and interest to actually build a pair of double rifles and if you are going to do it then you may as well go big!
In this case we are proud to present our very first pair of .600 droplock double rifles! You really don’t get much bigger. When we first embarked on this project a few years ago, my client a young and enthusiastic hunter of big and dangerous game came to me with the request for a new .600 droplock double rifle. Nothing out of the ordinary really until I suggested ‘why don’t we do a pair?’
I am sure many of you, just like my client did at the time are asking ‘why do a pair?’ the reason was really quite simple, because we could! The client thought it a great idea and this is not somebody who wants them just to look at. We have hunted before with single .505’s, .577’s and .600’s, this new pair of rifles are going to get used and that was really in many ways the stimulus for the project in the first place.
Now to the rifles themselves. A matched pair of deluxe .600 droplock double rifles with 24″ barrels, extra hand detachable locks, deluxe scroll engraving with full case colour hardening, complete in a buffalo skin oak & leather case with full complement of horn handled tools. Matching grained leather slips made to measure for transporting the rifles in the hunting truck. Overall a lovely package and unquestionably a very unique one!
We have to be quite secretive about who we work with in this field, especially in the area of engraving where quality work is competed for. Hence I am afraid this will be a ‘no names’ given out piece of writing!
A year or so ago, I was approached by a man determined to get into gun engraving as a second career, I invited him to the factory and he came to visit me and showed me his practise plates. He had done a wide variety of work, scroll, game scenes, inlay and I think even perhaps a little relief work. All the work had been done with only a little advise and help from one of our more regular engravers who had steered him over a period of months. The work was very impressive considering mainly self taught and the dedication to doing the work even more so. There was however the confusion of too many subjects and techniques being used, none of them mastered, very nice work but not ready to put on one of our guns.
Over a period of months I handed out various practise and unpaid projects which were taken on board and executed as carefully as possible. I emphasised, as I tend to do, that the basis for all engraving is getting the design and execution of fine scroll down and looking great before trying to move on to the more elaborate work. There is always a tendency with people starting to engrave, to race in and try and compete with the master engravers in the game scene and relief work arena, an area I have always felt best avoided until the scroll is mastered, why run before you can walk! After all who wants a game scene surrounded by badly executed scroll? There is scroll, be it fine or bold on every gun, but by no means do all guns have game or other fancy engraving work specified. Scroll and perfect lettering are the fundamentals as far as the gunmaker is concerned.
This 20g hand detachable lock gun is now the 4th gun the engraver has executed on commission for us in the traditional Westley Richards pattern. My message in this post is to thank him for his work, for listening and staying with the programme to get the fine scroll nailed. I know for both him as an individual engraver and for us a company the method will pay dividends and for my part it will be a great pleasure watching his work develop over the coming years into what I am quite sure will be something very special indeed, after all I have seen the practise plates and what is to come!
The Westley Richards ‘Ovundo’ is a very distinct over and under shotgun that was developed and retailed in various formats between 1913 – 1937. Recently we acquired this vintage 12g version that was originally completed in 1936 which was towards the end of production. The gun has a very lively feel and balance and quite interestingly weighs in at a mere 6lb 8ozs which for a 28″ sideplate over and under is surprisingly light and makes for a great game gun.
The design has been oft-maligned over the years as an often cumbersome looking gun, which is why several years ago we produced a very small batch of guns in only 20g as this appeared the most aesthetically pleasing.
One of the modern pairs of 20g Ovundo with elaborate scroll engraving.
One of the modern pair with full case colour hardening.
People have often questioned why Westley Richards opted for the deep action design of the under hook lump as opposed to the bifurcated system so typical of the shallow bodied Boss and Woodward design. Well you have to go back to the time this gun was being designed and considered that Westley Richards as a company had introduced in side by side format both the fixed lock gun design and then shortly afterwards the hand detachable lock (droplock) design. Both models were absolute signatures of the company and remain so to this day.
Now if you put these designs into an over and under gun, matters become a lot more interesting! Clearly the company was trying to work out its own way of building the over and under format gun in both a fixed lock and droplock format and quite simply the under hook design was the only way they saw fit to do so, allowing for the respective firing mechanisms.
What really amazes me and is so often forgotten is the actual number of variations built in ‘Ovundo’ format. There are fixed lock actions with square back, scroll back and side plates, there are droplock with scroll back, side plates and side plates with inspection ports. Some fixed lock versions have hinged cover plates as in the example shown here. Obviously there were single and double trigger versions and they were built in 12g, 16g, 20g and a multitude of rifle calibres from .425 WR down to .240 Flanged. The are even rifle/shotgun combo’s in one set of barrels and we have a Super Magnum Explora here at the factory.
From left: Vintage 12g Super Magnum Explora, .240 & .350 Rifles, Close up of .240 Rifle.
Much maligned? Well clearly not at the time as it was unquestionably one of the most produced British over and unders. Interestingly the recent 20g examples we built continue to create lots of interest and we are always asked when will the next generation of ‘Ovundo’ be released. With the modern move towards heavier guns shooting bigger loads I am certain it is something in our not too distant future.
The .300 Winchester Magnum, first introduced in 1963 is certainly proving to be a continued favourite in the rifle world and here we have two recently completed at the Westley Richards factory.
The first is a true left handed rifle built on a double square bridge Mauser ’98 left hand action. The client in this case was very specific about a heavier than normal barrel contour with a recessed muzzle crown as he wants to eke every last bit of accuracy out of the 25″ barrel. The second is on a right handed double square bridge Mauser ’98 action and has our traditional barrel profile with our patent combination foresight and quarter rib. Both have quick detachable scope mounts that integrate very nicely with the square bridges.
One of the nicest things about these rifle and one that we always discuss with a client, is how high grade wood can really make all the difference on a bolt action rifle, particularly if the engraving is being kept to a minimum. Both rifles have stunning exhibition pieces of Turkish Walnut that the finishers here in the factory have spent hours hand oiling to the very highest gloss finish. We think it speaks for itself.
Both rifles have our elegant ‘name and border’ engraving, with little touches on the recoil bar, pins, sights and square bridges, all executed to the highest standard. This is a point often missed by other makers who see such engraving as a cheap option. We use our very best engravers to execute this work and it is always worth the extra time and expense.
May the new owners enjoy many years of use and hopefully perform as well as the rifles do!
It was some months ago now that I posted the first photographs of this .470 rifle, just after it had been case colour hardened. I posed the question about leaving the colour on, or brushing the colour off, the post attracted numerous opinions. (Previous Article).
Here, at last, we see the finished rifle together with the final choice of the client, the case colour left on, the rifle ready for the bush and the natural wear that will occur over time.
In my opinion the correct choice, I always liked the big carved R.B.Rodda rifles with their case colours and I believe this rifle continues in that vein. In the opinion of Paul Lantuch the engraver, the incorrect choice as I know he wanted to see the rifle showing off the engraving at its best!
Either way this engraving work is spectacular and the rifle has, and I am sure will continue to receive many favourable comments from people who have seen it. Not a bad slab of timber also!
A Westley Richards .470 Hand Detachable Lock double rifle. Engraving by Paul Lantuch. Cased by Westley Richards leather shop in a traditional lightweight green canvas Safari style case.
Somewhere, in USA I believe, lies the 3rd matching gun of this set of three Joseph Lang 8g guns. These were purportedly built for 3 wild fowling friends to the exact same specification and on consecutive serial numbers in 1911. The only noticeable difference you will spot is the case label initials, every other detail is that of a paired guns, minor stock measures aside, which are hardly noticeable!
These, once again, like the Lancaster guns and Howdah pistols I showed recently are in remarkable condition and show no sign of use. It is always exciting to find guns in this condition now, a condition which is seemingly so scarce now and guns and rifles found of this quality easily form cornerstones of a collection. These are the types of guns which I have always considered ‘bullet proof’ when it comes to future values, they are guns which no dealer can ever pick fault with in an attempt to realise a (lower) value!
J.Lang 8g Sidelock Underlever side by side shotgun #15061. 34″ chopper lump barrels bored .840 in both with extra full choke. 3 1/4″ chamber. Concave game rib with single bead foresight. Sidelock non ejector action with dolls head third fastener, double triggers and manual safety. Full fine scroll engraving with 95% plus colour remaining. Rounded pistol grip stock with horn extension and engraved oval. English splinter forend with push rod release. Weight 13lb 1oz. Complete in best oak & leather case with velvet lining and compliment of tools. Stock measures 13 1/2″ pull, 1 13/16″ x 3 1/8″ drop, cast off 1/4″ at heel and 5/16″ at toe.
J.Lang 8g Sidelock Underlever side by side shotgun #15062. 34″ chopper lump barrels bored .840 in both with extra full choke. 3 1/4″ chamber. Concave game rib with single bead foresight. Re-proofed in 1980 but only logical reason is that this gun was originally proofed as a 9/2 bore. Sidelock non ejector action with dolls head third fastener, double triggers and manual safety. Full fine scroll engraving with 95% plus colour remaining. Rounded pistol grip stock with horn extension and engraved oval. English splinter forend with push rod release. Weight 13lb 1/4oz. Complete in best oak & leather case with velvet lining and compliment of tools. Stock measures 13 1/2″ pull, 1 13/16″ x 2 13/16″ drop, cast off 1/4″ at heel and 1/4″ at toe.