Westley Richards’ interesting ejector system …

Deeley ejectors in a Westley Richards, Anson & Deeley hammerless SxS shotgun. Pic from The Explora.
Deeley ejectors in a Westley Richards, Anson & Deeley hammerless SxS shotgun. Pic from The Explora.

Here’s the next post in my continuing tribute to Westley Richards’ former Chairman & Managin Director Simon Clode.

I have mixed feeling about ejectors. Part of me appreciates them. Ejectors can satisfy. If you think of breaking a clay or downing a bird as a sentence, hitting your target is the verb and the shells kicking free of the chambers is the exclamation point.

Deeley sxs shotgun ejectors, contained in their "box"
Deeley sxs shotgun ejectors, contained in their “box”

But another part of me thinks ejectors just complicate things and eventually break. Some designs are unreliable, and a lot of them make it a pain to pull unshot shells from the chambers. On top of this, ejectors are absolutely unnecessary for all of shooting I, and most of us, do.

Back in the 19th century, ejectors  were brand new. While not revolutionary, they were evolutionary and a sign of how the newest shotgun designs were adapting to the newest shooting craze: driven game.

In 1885, Westley Richards patented their Deeley ejectors (nine years after their Anson & Deeley hammerless shotgun).  Self contained in a kind of box and complex, it was difficult to make. But it was also easy to install as a completed unit. This led many makers to buy finished ejectors units and install them on their own SxSs.

In this video, you can see just how complex Deeley ejectors are.

Westley Richards’ brilliant Anson & Deeley design …

Westley Richards Anson-Deeley Cutaway, pic from The Explora
Westley Richards Anson-Deeley Cutaway, pic from The Explora

Many of you know Simon Clode,  the Chairman & Managing Director of Westley Richards, passed away last week. In tribute to him, I’m putting up a series of posts dedicated to his great company.

Today’s, we’re covering one of Westley Richard’s huge contributions to the world of double barrel shotguns: The Anson & Deeley action. Patented in 1875, the A & D action was simple, rugged and easy to build. It was also revolutionary and one of the first successful “hammerless” shotgun designs created.

A: Hammer, shown forward in “fired” postion

Key parts of an Anson & Deeley boxlock SxS shotgun, from Finegunmaking.com, Steven Dodd Hughes
Key parts of an Anson & Deeley boxlock SxS shotgun, from Finegunmaking.com, Steven Dodd Hughes

B: Mainspring, drives hammer

C: Cocking level, tips hammer into position when bbls drop

D: The spring with hold the trigger sear (E) in place.

E: Trigger sear, releases hammer when trigger is pulled

In the late 19th and into the 20th century, it was the basis for thousands of side-by-sides made throughout the UK and across Europe. After WW2, it even found its way to Japan, where it was used by companies like Miroku and the Sakaba (SKB) Arms.

Today, a handful of companies still make true Anson & Deeley boxlocks: Westley Richards (of course) a few British and European firms, and Connecticut Shotgun (see their oddly named “Christian Hunter“).

Auction alert: SxS Webley & Scott Model 700 12 gauge, 28″…

Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28" bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls

Here’s the kind of auction I like to see: A great gun, well described, and No Reserve. When the hammer falls, this side-by-side’s new owner will get himself a nice double and an even better deal.

Webely & Scott introduced the M700s in the 1950s. These rugged, reliable SxSs were entry-level shotguns and the company made thousands of them. Each was built on Anson & Deeley-style actions–one of the most reliable shotgun designs ever created–and used just-as-proven Southgate-style ejectors.

This M700 is on Gunbroker.com now and the listing ends 6/19/2016 11:00 PM. It’s being offered at No Reserve, so you could end up getting a heck of deal.

Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28" bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls

Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls: Pre-war quality, lightweight Game gun with heavy (1 ¼ oz. proofs) and tight chokes. This is a great looking & unusual gun: A 28”, 6 lb. 6 oz. gun with heavy proofs. Barrels in proof: L. .728 R. .728 ChokesL L .039 (Extra full) R .028(Light Full). Classic features include highly figured oil finished wood with fine flat-top checkering, checkered butt, and really nice engraving. Action retains nearly all of its classic British case colors, barrels about 85% of original black with excellent wood & checkering. Has no import marks and appears to be a special order gun given the extra nice engraving and wood. Stock oval has fancy monogram dated 1955. 14 ½” LOP to checkered butt.

Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28" bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28" bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28" bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28" bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28" bbls
Lightweight, Mid 50s Webley & Scott Model 700, SxS 12 gauge ejector gun, 28″ bbls

Super rare: a 16g SxS by Pittsburgh Firearms…

Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun

It’s a week of firsts. Thursday, there was this 16g Miroku. Today it’s another rare 16, this one by the Pittsburgh Firearms Company.

From I dug up online, it looks like the Pittsburgh Firearms Co. was from around 1860 to the mid 1880s. Sometime towards the end of their life, they imported Westley Richards’ Anson & Deeley patent boxlock shotguns. It also appears they imported Anson & Deeley patent guns made in Birmingham by a company (or companies) licensed by Westley.

Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun

This one was definitely made in Birmingham, and it carries the “not for ball” proofmarks in use from 1875-1887. It also has the big, round cocking arms that are typical of the early Anson & Deeley actions. I’m almost certain the bbls are damascus, and it looks like they’ve been hotblued.

I don’t know how many of these boxlocks Pittsburgh Firearms made all together, but I bet the number is very low. I’ve only heard about 4-5 of them.

Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun

Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock: This is a very old side by side made by Pittsburgh Firearms. It is a 16 gauge shotgun and has 29 inch barrels and double triggers. The gun says not for ball on the gun meaning it was made around the year 1885. It has beautiful engraving .The serial number is very low-305. Weighs 6.2 lbs. locks up tight with the Anson and Deeley box lock action, shiny bores. Comb-2in Heel-3in.

Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun
Pittsburgh Firearms 16 ga. Anson and Deeley boxlock SxS Shotgun

The world’s first self opener??

The 1860s were a decade of upheaval and innovation.

Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener

As the Civil War raged (1861-65) and the first transcontinental railroad crossed the US (1869), the percussion era in firearms ended. In about a decade, muzzle loading shotguns were replaced by breechloaders and paper cartridges.

These breechloaders started out as hammer guns. But by 1871,successful hammerless models by Murcott and Needham were on the scene. In 1875, Westley Richards introduced their Anson & Deeley barrel-cocking, hammerless, double barrel shotgun and revolutionized sporting guns.

During this period, thousands of firearms patents were granted in Europe, the UK, and the United States. Great Britain’s Henry Tolley filed for a handful of them. Henry was most likely the younger brother of the men behind J. & W. Tolley Gunmakers (Birmingham about 1858 to 1955) and the shotgun here incorporates one of his innovative ideas: a self-opening, Anson& Deeley boxlock shotgun.

Until I saw this gun, I thought Purdey’s Beesley-patent sidelocks were the world’s first self-opening doubles. But Purdey introduced their Beesley-patent hammerless sidelocks in 1884; this Henry Tolley was made before that, probably around 1880.

From the outside, it looks like a standard  boxlock. But when you turn the toplever, you can feel the plungers/springs on the flats of the action pop the gun open. And these plungers function this way whether or not the gun has been fired, making the gun a true self opener. Take a look and let me know what you think. Please let me know if you own, or have seen, another boxlock like this. I love to take one apart and see how it really works.

Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener
Tolley Self Opener
%d bloggers like this: