If anything typifies Westley Richards’ gunmaking design, then it must surely be the Hand Detachable Lock or ‘Droplock’ action. Discovered as much by accident as intention the removable (hence detachable) seven part lock mechanism was, and still is, gunmaking in its very simplest form. Patented in 1897, only the look of the lock has really evolved to distinguish that of the shotgun from that of the double rifle. The shotgun lock has an integral hammer with striker (illustrated above) whereas the rifle lock uses a separate striker.
The ease with which the lock can be removed and cleaned has made it a stalwart amongst big game hunters from the dawn of the nitro age. Today, it remains our most popular action design in both double rifles and shotguns. As you would expect every lock is proportionate in size to the relative calibre or gauge all the way through from .410 to 4 gauge, and .243 to .700/.577 nitro express.