Two Modern Westley Richards Rifles at the U.S. Agency

Two modern Westley Richards big bore rifles just arrived here at the U.S. Agency and are going up for sale on the used gun page of our website (https://www.wrusedguns.com/). These two rifles were ordered new by the customer at the turn of the 21st century and are being offered for sale for the first time.

Up first we have a Best Quality bolt action finished in 2003 and chambered for the ever popular .416 Rigby. Built on a modern magnum length, double square bridge Mauser action with a drop belly straddle floor plate, allowing four rounds down, and an inside the bow release. The action is topped with H&H style quick release mounts and 30mm rings that are properly engraved with the Maker’s name and serial number. The bolt body is jeweled or “spotted”, and the bolt knob is checkered with three panels. The bolt shroud is color hardened with “SAFE” inlaid in gold and is fitted with a Model 70 type, three-position safety.

The 24” barrel has a WR pattern quarter rib, with one standing Express sight inlaid with a gold pyramid (50 yds) and two folding leaves lined in gold (100, 150 yds). There is also a barrel band front sling swivel and Westley’s patent combination foresight with rearward folding sight hood and flip up night sight.

The Walnut stock is laid out perfectly with contrasting horizontal figure combined with vertical “fiddle back” running the length of the stock on both sides. The stock has a thin rubber pad, and a right hand English style cheekpiece, a color hardened trap grip cap and single recoil bar, traditional wrap point pattern checkering with Mullered borders and an ebony forend tip.

The rifle’s action, barrel and bottom metal retain their original black and “4. Cartridges” is engraved on the floor plate. The serial number is inlaid in gold on the trigger bow and the action screws, grip cap and recoil bar have a touch of engraving.

The rifle remains in as new condition.

The second rifle, also finished in 2003, is one of the modern Fixed Lock double rifles chambered in .470 3 ¼” NE. Westley Richards re-introduced the time tested A&D fixed lock rifle in the late 1990’s as a very high quality, English made double rifle aimed at the Professional Hunter. In its new incarnation, it was referred to as the “PH Model” and was a sort of modern day take on the White Hunter fixed lock rifles made by the firm just after WWII. Only, the new version of the A&D fixed lock rifle has always been made by the same gunmakers who build the Exhibition guns and rifles Westley Richards is so well known for. However, the fixed lock rifle comes with a minimum of standard options to keep the base price down.

The concept was promising but when one starts to add upgrades such as engraving or Westley’s patent foresight, the price quickly approached that of a Best Quality Droplock that those options are standard on. We also find that our famous Hand Detachable Lock, or Droplock, double rifle is priced very competitively compared to our counterparts in London. I am sure this also plays into the thought process for many of our clients who opt for the hand detachable lock version. As such, not many of the modern A&D action rifles have ever been made and, the few that have been produced, tend to have Gold Name engraving only.

Whatever the reason for the low production, the modern day fixed lock rifles are quite rare in any configuration, let alone with a host of luxury upgrades.

The second rifle in this gentleman’s battery is one of these very rare fixed lock rifles and it is a luxury version and best quality in every way. Chambered in the ubiquitous .470 3 ¼” NE, it has 26” chopper lump barrels with the Model “C” doll’s head extension, Westley Richards pattern quarter rib with one standing Express sight (50 yds) also inlaid with a gold pyramid and one folding leaf lined in gold (100 yds), with Westley’s patent combination front sight.

The rifle also features Westley’s snap lever work, “beetle back” non-automatic safety, disk set strikers, and two triggers. The trigger guard is rolled and has an extended tang. The action body has a slightly rounded bar that would be comfortable to carry on long marches and is finished in traditional color hardening with blacked furniture. The whole action is engraved in a luxurious bold scroll pattern that is wonderfully cut and shows up nicely on the case colored action.

The rifle is stocked in luxury walnut with a right hand English style cheekpiece, checkered side panels with drop points, a trap grip cap and a thin leather covered recoil pad. The semi-beavertail forend has Westley’s ejector box, Deeley forend latch and the traditional horn forend tip.

Finally, the rifle is complete in its original lightweight green canvas case and, for all intents and purposes, this rifle remains in as new condition as well.

These two rifles are in the U.S.A at the Westley Richards Agency in Florida.

For more information please contact: L.D. McCaa (850)677-3688 or visit the Westley Richards Used Gun web site (https://www.wrusedguns.com/).

Brace of Westley Richards Pre-Owned Guns

Two superb pre-owned Westley Richards shotguns are the latest additions to our already comprehensive list of used guns and rifles that we offer here at WR.

The first is a classic 20g hand detachable lock, single trigger shotgun. Originally built in 1912 the gun was returned to us in 1992 for a complete rebuild. We fitted new 27” barrels with 2 3/4” chambers, choked 1/4 & 3/4. A new, beautifully figured, straight hand stock and splinter forend measuring 15 1/8” to the centre of the chequered butt, with a drop of 1 1/2″ at the comb and 2 1/2” at the heel, cast off 9/16” at the heel, 3/4” at the toe and 1/2” at the face which is slightly swept.

The scroll back action features our patent hand detachable locks with a single selective trigger, snap lever work, model C dolls head and beetle back automatic safety. The action was re-colour hardened and the cover plate and trigger guard re-engraved with a game scene and dog on the trigger guard bow by Dave Hudson. The rest of the action has the traditional house scroll and WR name in gold banner. The gun weighs 5lbs 11.5oz and comes in a lightweight leather case with accessories. Although not original, the gun is a beautiful example of a 20g droplock, the exhibition grade wood and upgraded engraving make for a very attractive gun. Not only that but it is, effectively, a modern gun with as new barrels capable of shooting modern 2 3/4” loads. It points and handles extremely well.

The second is pretty much completely opposite to the first gun. A 12g sidelock ejector with two triggers. Completed in 1982 and built as a best quality, 7 pin, bar-action sidelock ejector. Featuring two sets of barrels, the originals measure 27” with 2 3/4” chambers, choked improved cylinder in the right and 1/2 in the left, a concave rib engraved ‘WESTLEY RICHARDS & CO. ENGLAND’. The second set which were ordered in 2008 by the current owner, measure 29” with 2 3/4” chambers and are choked 5/8 in the right and Full in the left, with a concave rib and the same engraving. The action is engraved with detailed game scenes on both lock plates and a bold scroll surround, a retriever on the action bottom and carved oak leaves on the fences. The straight hand stock measures 15 1/8 to the centre of the chequered butt with a drop of 1 7/16” at the comb and 2 5/16” at the heel and is cast off 9/16” at the comb, 7/16” at the face and 5/8” at the toe. The stock is fitted with a gold oval and the splinter forend has the Anson push rod release. The gun weighs 6lbs 11.3oz with the 27″ barrels and 6lbs 12.7oz with the 29″ barrels. It is neatly housed with both sets of barrels in a mid tan case with tools. A versatile gun for every type of game shooting.

Both guns offer something different and remain in excellent condition throughout. They will be on the used gun site shortly, but for any questions, please contact me directly at ricky@westleyrichads.co.uk   or +44 121 333 1918

A Vintage Holland ‘.30 Super’ Here At Westley Richards

Hollands ‘.30 Super’ cartridge is without doubt one of those all time classics that spurned a modern generation of .300 magnums. Introduced in 1925 it was developed to fill the gap between Hollands .275 and .375 Magnum cartridges, at a time when the British gunmakers were competing incessantly to cater for a booming worldwide hunting market. India and Africa were the principle hunting destinations of the time where the topography and native big game species allowed for the use of these ‘modern’ long range magnum cartridges.

Interestingly the .30 Super does differ from the .300 Holland & Holland Belted Magnum so care must be taken when loading for this particular cartridge. As a cartridge the .30 Super was capable of handling 150, 180 and 220 grain bullets all of which respectively proved devastating on medium to large game. Elmer Keith the famous American gun writer, editor and hunter was a big fan of the cartridge and built several rifles up which he used to take numerous North American big game animals including several trophy class sheep.

Complete in original canvas case with accessories, the rifle has an honest pedigree.

As the .300 Holland & Holland Belted Magnum the calibre won world acclaim in 1935 when it was used to win the Wimbledon Cup at 1000 yards. Such was the success of the calibre that it led to a new generation of American magnums including the .300 Weatherby Magnum introduced in 1944 and the .300 Winchester Magnum introduced in 1963.

This particular Holland & Holland take-down rifle was built in 1928 and so can claim to be one of the early .30 Super’s. In pretty much original condition, the rifle has a used look about it yet the bore is still sharp and the rifle a slick shooter. Contained in its original canvas case the rifle makes for a great usable vintage rifle.

Hollands side mounts with a period scope appear to be a later addition to the rifle.

Hollands take-down magazine rifle has always been a classic in the sporting rifle world.

Further details on the rifle can be obtained from Ricky Bond ricky@westleyrichards.co.uk

We’re On The Cover Of Shooting Sportsman

This month we’re extremely pleased to be on the front cover of Shooting Sportsman, the leading wingshooting and fine guns publication in the US today. Do pick up a copy because inside you’ll find our collaborative article with the legendary Vic Venters, wonderfully discussing the unique bespoke journey and finer points of ordering a new best-quality English gun.

He eloquently takes the reader through seven key areas that each Westley Richards patron will usually experience on their path to receiving their very own prized best gun. From the gun’s purpose, selecting the right gunmaker, the process and relationship, letting the gunmaker lead, heritage & house style, the eventual waiting game, and how handmade delivers a gun of such rare beauty and handle that it is truly one of a kind.

Shooting Sportsman is a US-based brand with a 30-year history of presenting some of the best wingshooting and fine-gun content found anywhere—their January/February issue’s cover and feature article on Westley Richards being exemplary. The magazine and its social pages dig deep into an array of topics ranging from gunmaking to international shooting travel—all featuring great writing and spectacular images.

Subscriptions are available on shootingsportsman.com and their social media pages can be accessed via facebook.com/shootingsportsman/ and @shootingsportsmanmag

Westley Richards and Our 20th Dallas Safari Club Convention

It is always hard to get back to work after a long holiday but for those of us in the outdoor and shooting industry it is an especially hectic time. With the new year comes the trade show and convention season, this year having events from Reno, Nevada to Nuremberg, Germany and scheduled well into the month of March.

For a British gun maker like ourselves, the two hunter’s conventions put on by Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International remain quite important to our business.

Just coming off of Westley Richards’ 20th Dallas Safari Club convention, Trigger, Ricky, our leather shop manager Tom Beete, and myself are still busy working our way through the many orders and sales we made at the show. This year’s event seemed especially busy with a strong U.S. economy and Dallas Safari Clubs ascension to what many now consider the premier hunting convention in America.

As usual we had an amazing array of wonderful Exhibition Westley Richards guns and rifles, most being displayed for the first time. Showcasing Westley Richards vast repertoire one could see everything from a delicately engraved .410 bore shotgun to the groundbreaking fully carved .600 NE Forest rifle. Highlighting the hand craftsmanship and long gunmaking heritage of Westley Richards, also on display was the last rifle F.C. Selous ever bought and the finest .425 Take-Down the firm has ever produced.

Westley Richards .425 Magnum Express Bolt Action with Detachable Barrel. Bought new by F.C. Selous in 1912.

Exhibition projects, such as the one’s displayed at this show, have become a hallmark of what Westley Richards is capable of producing and why many consider Westley Richards to be England’s premier gunmaker.

At DSC, we were also able to debut our new line of adventure travel bags, the Bournbrook collection.  This new line of luxurious handmade luggage represents an exciting expansion to the fine leather goods made in our factory, right next to our gunmakers. Along with old favourites such as our open ammo wallets and the Deeley rifle slips, these new products like the Bournbrook 48 hour bag, represent the best of British styling and quality and were very well received in their debut.

Westley Richards’ long history as one of the World’s premier firearms makers was also recognized at the Dallas show by the magazine Sporting Classics. Based out of South Carolina this periodical has long focused on the outdoors and the fine artwork, literature and handmade items that discerning outdoorsman use and collect. We were flattered to be recognized by the magazine and given their Award of Excellence for Sporting Heritage.

We appreciate all of the repeat customers who stopped in to say hi and a very big “thank you” to those that placed new orders. We also want to welcome those of you new to the Westley Richards firm and thank you for your new commitment.

For anyone who missed our display in Dallas we will be at the SCI convention in Reno booth # 2431… We’ll look forward to seeing you there.

Capt F.C.Selous’ Iconic Westley Richards .425 On The USA Show Circuit 2020

There can be few greater names in the history of big game hunting than that of Captain Frederick Courtenay Selous D.S.O, soldier, explorer, big game hunter, scout and adventurer. Born in 1851 Selous’s intention from a young age was to be a naturalist and ultimately one of the finest big game hunters ever to set foot in Africa.

By the age of 19 Selous was in Africa where he was granted permission by Lobengule, King of the Matabele to hunt within his vast domains. This was still the era of the large bore muzzle loader and Selous came to typify the young, tough individuals who sought a very dangerous trade hunting elephant and other game for ivory and meat.

The coming years saw Selous hunt extensively throughout central Africa attaining many specimens for private collections and the British Natural History Museum. He was held in such high regard that in later life a bronze bust of Selous was mounted in the NHM where it can still be seen today as you walk up the grand stairway.

His knowledge of Africa led to his appointment as ‘guide’ to the British South Africa Company which was mounting an expedition into Mashonaland. He would fight in two Matabele wars during the 1890’s before his much celebrated visit with none other than President Theodore Roosevelt during his epic safari of 1909-10. The two would become great friends, as they were equally keen on conservation as they were hunting.

With the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Selous joined up to serve in East Africa as a Captain in the 25th Royal Fusiliers. Having distinguished himself in 1916 receiving the DSO for his actions, he was killed by sniper fire a year later at a place called Beho Beho in what is now the Selous Game Reserve.

Selous was unique in that he saw the use of large bore muzzle loading rifles, through black powder breech-loaders, to the ultimate in modern cordite repeating rifles.

The .425 purchased by Selous was most likely the last rifle ever acquired by him. He wrote a testimonal for Westley Richards on 4th July 1912 stating:

“I can only give your .425 Magazine Rifle the highest praise. Had I only possessed such a rifle in my old elephant hunting days I am sure that I could have killed three or four times as many Elephants as I actually laid low.”

The rifle remains in exceptional condition to this day retaining most of its original finish. How the rifle came to be in the hands of its current owner is one of those great pieces of fortune and outright luck, a story we will tell another day. In truth the rifle could not have gone to a more dedicated fan of the company or a more genuine hunter.

The ‘Selous’ rifle has been very kindly loaned to Westley Richards to display at the 2020 Safari Conventions in the USA. Please pay a visit to our stand to view one of the most iconic rifles owned by without doubt one of the greatest big game hunters of all time.

Dallas Safari Convention 9th To 12th January 2020

Safari Club International 5th To 8th February 2020

 

 

Superb W. J. Jeffery 12g Sidelock Ejector

We are often tasked with finding a good quality English side by side ejector, in tidy condition, by our clients for the upcoming season. Something to use on smaller days when double guns are not required or as a more traditional alternative to the modern over and under, a gun they may shoot well with, but lacks the passion and character of a proper English side by side. Finding an English side by side is easy, I hear you say, but not, as our discerning clients would expect, in superb original condition, ready for the season.

The latest used gun to arrive at WR UK is exactly that. A superb W.J. Jeffery No. 3 Model, 12g sidelock ejector in, what can only be described as, first class condition. Completed around 1930, the gun is built on a 7 pin, square body, sidelock action beautifully engraved with two bouquets of roses on each lock plate, both fences, forend iron and a single large bouquet on the bottom of the action, all surrounded by a fine scroll coverage. The action retains nearly all its original case colours and the file up and shape is of real quality. The 28” barrels feature 2 1/2” chambers and are choked 1/4 in the right and 3/4 in the left. The bores read almost as proofed and the wall thickness is .025″ at the thinnest point.

The stock measures 14 5/8” to the centre of the leather covered recoil pad and has a bend of 1 1/2” at the comb and 2 1/8” at the heel. The cast measures 1/4” off at the heel and 3/8” at the toe. The splinter forend has the Anson push rod release, forend diamond and engraved tail pipe. Weighing 6lbs 7.4oz the gun comes to the shoulder with ease and is as delightful to handle as it is to look at. Cased in a lightweight, compact, leather case with a set of cleaning rods, snap caps and cleaning accessories. A very beautiful but perfectly usable sidelock for a variety of game shooting.

The trade label reads 9, Golden Square, Regent Street, London W1, which matches the engraving on the rib. William Jackman Jeffery died in 1909 and the company was taken over by his brother Charles. His nephew F. Jeffery Pearce took over the company in 1920 when Charles died and saw it through till 1957 when the company was sold to Malcolm Lyell who at that time, also owned the Westley Richards London agency and fishing tackle specialist, Farlows.

The No. 3 model sits between the No. 1 and No. 4 sidelocks that were offered by Jeffery’s at the time. Costing £52 for a single gun and £105 for a pair and came in 12, 16 or 20g.

While we would normally associate the name W.J. Jeffery more with rifles, their shotguns, and sidelocks in particular, were of superb quality and this gun would rightfully hold its own against the other London makers of the time.  To quote the Jeffery catalogue of the 1930’s:

The excellence of our Guns and Rifles is known all over the world, and we claim that for accuracy, soundness of workmanship, durability, and style of finish, goods of our manufacture are unequalled. We make every effort to keep the price of our weapons down to the lowest possible limit consistent with sound workmanship. We can confidently invite a comparison of our prices with any other firm doing the same class of business, feeling sure that this comparison will result in our favour”.

The gun will be on our used gun site shortly. Please contact me direct for any initial inquiries at ricky@westleyrichards.co.uk

 

Some Great Vintage Holland’s At Westley Richards US Agency

Four very nice Holland & Holland shotguns have come into the Westley Richards U.S. Agency and are just going up on the secondhand gun site (https://www.wrusedguns.com/view/all-listings/). We have been fortunate to have some very fine Hollands this year and this new group of guns is no exception.

Holland’s is famous for many innovations in gun making, but none more so than the Royal model hammerless sidelock. While the Royal needs no introduction to most readers of this blog, this most recent group of guns features some of the more obscure models offered by the storied firm.

The first two guns are 12g and 20g Northwood models. After WWII, Holland & Holland offered a boxlock ejector that was made in the Birmingham trade then finished, shot and regulated by Holland’s in London. This gun was known as a Northwood.  Sometime in the 1980’s, Holland’s made moves to produce their own boxlock. The project lead to the company purchasing the venerable Birmingham gunmaker W. & C. Scott and offering two models, the new Cavalierand the Northwood, the latter being the less adorned of the two.

Both models were based on the proven Anson & Deeley fixed lock or “boxlock” action. Available in 12g and 20g and built on dedicated frame sizes with scroll backs and Scott’s spindle top lever. All the parts were made in Birmingham at the W&C Scott factory and the guns were stocked, engraved and finished in London at Holland’s factory. According to Donald Dallas’ book Holland & Holland, The Royal Gunmakers, Complete History (Quiller Press, 2003)the project ran about a decade ending sometime in the 1990’s and Holland’s only made about 200 of the very high-quality guns.

The two Northwood models here at the Agency have traditional scroll engraving, color case hardened finishes and 2 ¾” chambers with 1989 Birmingham proof marks. They are nicely stocked with straight hand grips, auto-safeties, two triggers, and rolled trigger bows. The 12g weighs just over 6 lbs. with 28” barrels and the 20g weighs just under 6 lbs. and is fitted with 27” barrels. Both of these guns are in superb condition and in their own lightweight canvas case.

The ‘Northwood’ Model

The ‘Riviera’ Model

Another gun in the group is a factory two-barrel set 12g called the Riviera Model. In Dallas’ book, he says the Riviera Model was offered for more than 30 years, from 1933 to 1967. Despite being available for over three decades, it is a rarely encountered model.

I have seen the Riviera model featured in Holland catalogs from before and after WWII and described as:

“…12 bore Hammerless Ejector Gun with two pairs of interchangeable 28 inch barrels, treble grip action, two triggers-front hinged, hand-detachable locks, selected French walnut, chambered for the 2 ¾-inch case, weight about 7 lbs. 4 oz. to 7 lbs. 6 oz…introduced particularly for sportsmen desirous of a using one gun only, for either game or trap shooting. One pair of barrels bored full choke, while the second pair throw more open patterns for game shooting”

The Riviera was built on a Badminton hammerless ejector sidelock action with Holland’s patent hand detachable locks and Treble Grip action that accepted their hidden third bite. Another obscure name from Holland’s, Badminton was used for a plainer sidelock that employed the same action as the Royal model but without the famous Royal pattern house engraving.  This was originally known as a No. 2 but donned a new name after WWI and named for Holland’s Badminton shooting school.

This Riviera was built in 1937 and ordered with very specific details by the customer. As specified on the factory build sheet, the first set of barrels are choked at .004” and .010” and listed on the build sheet as “field” barrels. The second set of barrels are choked .029” and .040” and described as “pigeon” barrels. Each set of barrels have original 2 ¾” chambers and the same wall thickness as specified on the factory build sheet (.024” in the field barrels and .026” in the pigeon barrels). The barrels are numbered, in gold, “1” and “2” respectively and also marked with the “98 New Bond St.” address and “Riviera” is engraved on each top rib.

The action of the Riviera model is engraved in a bold floral pattern with the Maker’s name on each lock plate in flowing banners with gold lined cocking indicators and fire blued pins, and the word “SAFE” inlaid in gold. On the bottom of the action it is engraved “Badminton Ejector”. The gun comes complete in its original two-barrel “VC” case.

Last and certainly not least, is a Holland & Holland 20g Royal Brevis. The ‘Royal Brevis’ Model

The word Brevis is Latin for “short” and is the name Holland’s uses for any Royal gun made with barrels shorter than 28”. Introduced in 1931, the Royal Brevis was conceived to keep up with the trend of shooting with shorter gun barrels made popular by Robert Churchill. Referring again to Mr. Dallas’ book, The Royal Brevis name was not used in any Holland catalogs after WWII, but he says it remained available. In my own experience, I have encountered many post-war Holland’s with barrels shorter than 28” but not marked Brevis; no doubt this is a very rare gun to find made in modern times.

I know barrels shorter than 28” are often frowned upon by some. But let’s be honest, most upland hunting in North America is for walked up birds that flush in different directions, with little to no warning, and often in tight cover. This type of shooting is simply better served by shorter barrels. While I fully understand the benefits to long barrels for pass shooting doves or high driven pheasants, the fact is so called “short” barrels are handier in tight cover and easier to change their direction when shooting birds who flush or fly erratically. Lightweight guns like this Brevis are fast handling and easy to carry making them tailored made for the kind of hunting we Americans enjoy.

Finished in 1992, this gun is made in the traditional Brevis configuration with 26 1⁄2″ barrels but specially ordered as a lightweight, weighing only 5 1⁄4 lbs. The gun has a an exceptionally dainty action body and beautifully struck lightweight barrels. The gun also employs all the same best quality features of the Royal such as hand detachable locks, Holland’s self-opening mechanism on the barrels and Royal engraving. This gun has a brushed or “coin” finish, gold lined cocking indicators, two triggers with the front one being articulated and a rolled trigger bow and the serial number and the word “SAFE” are inlayed in gold.

All in all, this group of guns offers a nice selection of Holland & Holland guns, all at different price points, and are more examples of why vintage Hollands remain so desirable.

For further information on any of these guns please contact:

‘LD’ E. Duke McCaa II

Telephone: 850 324 1150  Email: ld@westleyrichards.com

Holland & Holland .470 NE Modéle de Luxe Sidelock Ejector Double Barrel Rifle.

Just arrived at the U.S. Agency is one spectacular Holland & Holland .470 NE Model de Luxe double rifle. According to the factory ledgers, the rifle was completed in 1964 for a renowned hunter, firearms aficionado and very influential patron of the gun making trade, Mr. Donald S. Hopkins.

In one of my favorite books, White Hunters: The Golden Age of African Safaris by Brian Herne (John Macrae/Henry Holt & Co., 1999), which is a history of the safari tradition and influential hunters on the African continent, Mr. Hopkins is mentioned and best summed up. According to the passage, “Donald S. Hopkins of Spokane, WA…was a very wealthy man and co-developer on several different rifle cartridges known as the O.K.H. (e.g. the .333 O.K.H. Invented by Charles O’Neil, Elmer Keith and Don Hopkins). The first Hopkins safari was three months…hunts often lasted six months…he made a record eleven safaris averaging nine months apiece in search of an elephant (thought to be mythical by his hunters) with tusks weighing 150 pounds each.”.

Not only was Mr. Hopkins a passionate hunter but, judging by this rifle, he was also a very serious patron of the English gun making trade. The bespoke rifles he commissioned pop up from time to time and this must be one of the finest I have ever encountered.

Obviously, Mr. Hopkins pushed the makers to deliver the best that could be had, as this rifle features engraved game scenes of a quality and realism far beyond the norm for this vintage. Each game scene on this rifle is highly detailed and of excellent quality, even by today’s standards, but certainly when compared to the somewhat naïve engraving still prevalent at the time the rifle was made. As noted in the factory ledgers, this rifle was engraved by none other than Ken Hunt.

I have read that Mr. Hunt started his apprenticeship at Purdey’s in 1950, studying under the great Harry Kell, Jim Jones (formerly of Sumner’s workshop) and Bill Smith. Each man was a master of his respective type of engraving. For instance, Mr. Jones had been engraving small scroll and floral patterns since he was 13 years old and Mr. Smith was equally experienced and specialized in large scroll. Finally, there was Mr. Kell who specialized in-game scenes and carving and, in the view of many, is one of the father’s of modern engraving.

After World War II, there was a growing trend of fine guns and rifles becoming the canvas for high art engraving. Mr. Hunt learned his trade from these masters and, in turn, perfected the skills required to execute not only the standard house pattern scrolls developed around the turn of the 20th century but also the ability to engrave and carve steel with breathtaking realism.

Today, Mr. Hunt is widely viewed as one of the World’s finest engravers and he remains one of the last links between the old-world, standard “house” engraving and the modern role of engraving as an art form in and of itself.

A rifle that is not short on details, the color hardened lock plates are pinless, meaning the pins that hold the action’s parts to the plates do not show on the outside leaving the surface uncluttered for engraving. A fitting touch for such wonderful engraving. The highly detailed game scenes show running black rhino on the right side, a bull elephant bluffing a charge on the left and, in my opinion, what would become one of Ken Hunt’s signatures, the head of a lion with piercing eyes on the bottom of the action. The Maker’s name is engraved along the action bolsters and the balance of the receiver is engraved in a very well executed bold foliate scroll pattern true to Holland’s Model de Luxe motif of the pre-war era. Rounding out the engraving, the fences are carved in a vine and leaf pattern and each game scene vignette is signed “K.C. Hunt”.

The 25” chopper lump barrels have Holland’s hidden Treble Grip third fastener, and hand filed pattern quarter rib and front sight. There is a factory original pop-up “ghost ring” sight behind single folding leaf regulated at 100 yds along with a folding moon-sight on the front.

The highly figured walnut stock has a thin leather covered pad, right-hand beaded cheekpiece, traditional drop points, and a full pistol grip with a trap grip cap. The original owner’s initials are inlaid in the bottom of the stock in gold block letters. Again, another special feature noted in the ledgers is the rifle was sent to the U.S. to be checkered by Monty Kennedy who literally wrote the book on the subject, Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks (The Stackpole Co., 1952). Both the stock and semi-beavertail forearm are checkered in an exceedingly well-cut, and very fine point pattern.

The rifle is housed in its original Oak & Leather case and canvas and leather outer cover. Included in the case are the original gilded spare strikers and replacement pin for the detachable lock lever, all housed in a jar made of ebony. The interior of the case retains its original red baize lining, serial numbered charge card and a very rare trade label that Holland’s used for only 3 years (ca. 1960 – 1963). The outer cover’s initial patch reads: “Donald S. Hopkins Spokane, WA”.

The rifle remains in wonderful condition holding nearly all of its original stock finish, color hardening and barrel black.

Clearly, a man passionate about firearms and hunting, this rifle reflects the unrelenting standards and influence Mr. Hopkins had. It also illustrates part of the allure collectors feel to guns and rifles ordered by people of fame, influence and stature. It was customers like these who, more times than not, demanded and received very special care and this rifle is a prime example of what that could produce.

 

Fine B. Halliday & Co. .470 Boxlock Double Rifle

The latest pre-owned rifle to land at WR UK is this fine .470 boxlock ejector double rifle by retailer, B. Halliday & Co. Ltd. Not a gunmaker in their own right, they had guns and rifles made for them in the Birmingham trade and were then retailed through their 63 Cannon Street, London address. Records for Halliday are hard to come by and it is thought they have either been lost or were destroyed during WW2. It is believed that Halliday was employed by W J Jeffery & Co. but then left to start his own business in 1921 at 60 Queen Victoria Street and in 1925, moved to 63 Cannon Street. Cannon street is located in the City of London itself, centrally located between St Pauls Cathedral, the Bank of England and the Tower of London.

The rifle is built on an Anson & Deeley, fixed lock, double trigger action with Tigers and Indian Elephant scenes engraving with a nicely executed scroll surround. The game scenes are typically naive, a common feature on guns from the interwar period destined for the Indian market.

The 26” barrels have tidy bores and the rifle shoots a very respectable group (see target below). They feature a file cut quarter rib with Dolls Head Extension. A rear express sight with one standing and two folding leaves regulated at 100, 200 & 300 yards and a single bead ramp foresight.  The target was shot at 50 yards using Hornady 500 grain soft nosed ammunition and was shot with a 6 o’clock hold due to the rifle being regulated at 100 yards. The pistol grip stock measures 14 ¼” to the centre of the traditional recoil pad with an extended tang, grip cap and silver stock. The splinter forend features the Anson push rod release.

The rifle weighs 10lbs 9.5oz and is neatly presented in an oak and leather case with cleaning rods, snap caps, oil bottle and leather sling. The case would appear to be a later addition and features trade labels from London Guns of Victoria, Australia. The rifle was acquired by Walter Clode from India via Australia sometime in the 1980’s, during the height of Mr. Clode’s used gun dealings. It was sold to a local hunter by Mr. Clode in May 1987 and in the last 32 years has hunted on 3 different continents and has been a much trusted companion on a wide variety of hunts in East Africa, Canada and has even been back ‘home’ to Australia’s Northern Territory.

It really is a super rifle with a good deal of character. It remains in original condition and would have a had a light refurbishment by Mr. Clode in the 80’s. There are the usual handling marks on the stock as you’d expect but the stock is sound and the rifle functions perfectly. This rifle is ready and waiting for its next safari and offers someone a fantastic opportunity to acquire themselves a great English double, in one of the most popular big game calibres ever made.

The time has now come for Westley Richards to once again find a home for this great rifle and it will be on our used gun site shortly. Please contact me for any enquiries; ricky@westleyrichards.co.uk