What do you think of these insane double rifles?

Over the last few months, William Larkin Moore & Sons has posted some of the finest vintage double rifles I’ve ever seen. There’s quite a range of them, including these two droplock Westley Richards with a ton of killer original condition:

.577 Nitro Express WESTLEY RICHARDS Deluxe Droplock Ejector, Mfg 1903,
.577 Nitro Express WESTLEY RICHARDS Deluxe Droplock Ejector, Mfg 1903,

From the massive, like this side-by-side .577 Nitro Express WESTLEY RICHARDS Deluxe Droplock Ejector, Mfg 1903. An elephant stomper like this can generate 7,010 Ft-lbf of punch with a 750-gr bullet — KABoom! Compare that to a .30-06, which generates 2,981Ft-lbf of smack with a 220-gr bullet.

WESTLEY RICHARDS Deluxe Droplock Express .303 Savage Cased in Orig O&L case, Mfg 1907 Near new all original condition
WESTLEY RICHARDS Deluxe Droplock Express .303 Savage Cased in Orig O&L case, Mfg 1907 Near new all original condition

To the mid-size, like this WESTLEY RICHARDS Deluxe Droplock Express .303 Savage Cased in Orig O&L case, Mfg 1907 Near new all original condition. With it’s lightweight, his double rifle would be perfect for deer hunting here in the States. And since it’s not a dangerous-game gun, the single trigger is just fine.

JOHN DICKSON & SON Round Body Sidelever Express .577 3" BPE Cased
JOHN DICKSON & SON Round Body Sidelever Express .577 3″ BPE Cased

The collection WLM is selling also contains stuff like super rare SxS rifle: JOHN DICKSON & SON Round Body Sidelever Express .577 3″ BPE Cased. To date, Dickson has made around 2,000 Round Action guns. Of these, fifteen have been double rifles and two have been .577s. And the one you see here is in fantastic condition. Special? You bet.

W.W. GREENER O/U Hammer Express 12-bore rifle Cased in O&L Mfg 1886 Very rare and very nice condition
W.W. GREENER O/U Hammer Express 12-bore rifle Cased in O&L Mfg 1886 Very rare and very nice condition

And this ‘friggin oddball OU. It’s a WW GREENER O/U Hammer Express 12bore rifle Cased in O&L Mfg 1886 Very rare and very nice condition. This rifle is just weird, and I can’t imagine why it was ever built. No one I know has seen another like it, and I bet it’s a one-off. On top of that, it looks new. So whoever ordered in back in 1886 never bothered to hunt with it. Maybe once they got it they realized how odd it was and decided they would take something else to Africa.

Auction alert: 12g Westley Richards droplock with hidden value…

WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN
WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN

There are 4 things I love about this classy, little Best-Quality Westley Richards boxlock ejector droplock shotgun coming to auction May 7, 2018 at Poulin’s Antiques in Fairfield, ME.

1. It’s an Anson & Deeley-style boxlock. This is one of the classic British shotgun designs. Reliable & rugged, it’s been around since 1875 and is still used by Westley Richards today (those guns start at £54,500).

WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN
WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN

2. Droplocks (or”detachable locks,” as the Brits call them). Invented in 1897, droplocks are durable, easy to maintain, and just plain cool. Gunwriter Vice Venters wrote “Westley Richards hand detachable…are nothing short of a stroke of genius.”

3. Newish barrels by Westley Richards in 1954. They’re this gun’s hidden value–and a huge benefit. Even though this gun is 100+ year old, it has modern, 2 3/4″ chambers nitro-proofed for 1 1/4 ounce loads (and perfect upland chokes). That means it can shoot most easy-to-find, modern, 12-gauge ammo (just stick to light loads and lead shot).

4. Its estimate. With a low range of $3,000, it could go cheap. And if it goes anywhere with the $3-5,000 range, it’s a deal.

Lot 1014: WESTLEY RICHARDS DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN: Cal. 12 Ga., 2 3/4″. S# 9004. Bbls. 26″ Fluid steel w/ Nitro proofs for 1 1/4 oz. loads were new from Westley Richards in 1954. “Westley Richards” gold name model. Scalloped drop lock action having Case colored finish w/ blue floorplate & trigger guard. Removable locks have fully jeweled surfaces. Single selective trigger. Auto ejectors. Horn-tipped splinter forearm & straight hand stock of hand checkered fine English walnut w/ silver nameplate in toeline. LOP: 14 5/16″ over Universal solid red pad. DAC: 1 5/8″. DAH: 2 1/4″. Cast off. Bore diameter: right – .729, left – .029. Bore restriction: right – .010, left – .020. Wall thickness: right – .033, left – .030. Weight: 6 lbs. 5.9 oz CONDITION: 70% blue w/ fading along sides. Frame retains 30% lightly visible case colors. Floorplate shows 80% blue. Trigger guard has good blue on bow w/ silvering along grip. Stocks have lightly worn finish w/ scattered scratches & handling marks. Very good bright bores. (17-3919/DS). CURIO. $3,000-5,000.

WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN
WESTLEY RICHARDS Gold NAME 12 gauge DROPLOCK SXS SHOTGUN

Peculiar Purdeys: Two of their odder SxS shotguns…

James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence
James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence

Since James Purdey & Sons adopted the Beesley hammerless action in 1880, the company has done a remarkable job of building pretty much the same sidelock, side-by-side shotguns, over and over again. While modest updates and changes have been made, the guns have pretty much stayed the same. To see what I mean, compare this one from 1883 to this one 2006.

But every now and then Purdey did something unique. These are two side-by-side are a couple of those oddballs.

James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence
James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence

This first one looks pretty standard– until you see the hand-detachable locks. As far as I know, the first shotguns with easy-to-remove locks were droplock Westley Richards, introduced in 1897. But these were boxlocks. Holland & Holland was the first company to build sidelocks with hand-detachable locks, introduced in 1908.

(BTW: If you go here, you see how to remove Holland-style hand detachable locks.)

James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence
James Purdey & Sons, 12g with detachable lockplates, by Harry Lawrence

Whoever ordered this Purdey must have admired Holland’s idea and asked for it in his gun. Why? No idea. And even though I’m sure the request left the guys at the factory scratching their heads, they went about doing what the customer wanted (and could be billed more money for).

Unlike H&H-style actions, the locks on Purdey’s are not held together by a single pin running plate to plate. Instead, they’re attached to top, fronts of the action by separate screws. So to make the locks hand detachable, you have to build quick-release levers for of them. You can see them on either side of this shotgun. Not too very looking, but they do the job.

James Purdey & Sons Extra Finish SxS shotgun with W.W. Greener-style crossbolt
James Purdey & Sons Extra Finish SxS shotgun with W.W. Greener-style crossbolt

The next Purdey is one of the oddest hammerless Purdey’s I’ve seen, and the only one I’ve come across with a W.W. Greener-style crossbolt.

W.W. Greener introduced his rounded crossbolt in 1880 as part of his patent for the Facile Princips action. It’s not the most elegant way to secure a pair of bbls to an action, and with double underbites, it’s largely superfluous. But I guess no one told the guy who ordered this Purdey.

Auction alert: a nice looking 12g Westley Richards Droplock shotgun…

12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun

Quinn & Farmer Auctions in Charlottesville, VA has this nice looking double barrel shotgun coming up tomorrow at their a 2/8 sale. I know there’s a lot of vital information missing from the listing, but if you live within driving distance, you may be able to make it over today to see the gun for yourself.

Here are the details on it. This info comes from the actioneer. And BTW, according to the pics the auctioneer provided, at least one of the sets of bbls was made in or after 1954.

12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun: 90-95% original condition, true droplock. Two-barrel set, 28″ & 30″, marked 2 3/4″. Gun made between 1901-1908. Strong traces of case hardening on frame, checkered stock grip. Serial number 16967. Gold oval inlay on underside of stock with intials, “RD.” Top of frame marked with numeral “1” in gold. The shotgun is accompanied by its original leather case with name plate “ROBERT W. DANIEL/BRANDON,” with the name Brandon referring to Brandon Plantation.  Serial # 16967.

12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun
12 gauge Westley Richards & Co. Ltd Double Barrel Droplock Shotgun

What’s this 20 gauge Westley Richard’s little secret?

20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun

Droplock Westley Richards shotguns are nice doubles, and they’re very collectible, especially in the smaller gauges. Most of the time, a 20 gauge will cost you at least $15,000 if it has any kind of condition.

20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun

So when I saw this little 20 gauge Westley Richards double barrel droplock shotgun on Gunbroker.com, I thought WOW – a deal! But after I took a longer look at the pics, I figured out why it’s priced so low.

Take a look at all the images. Then let me know if you can figure out what’s up with it:

20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock with a single trigger, straight-gripped stock, and 15″ LOP.

20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun
20 gauge Westley Richards Droplock Shotgun

The 14 gauge: no one ever loved it…

100 Winchester 14 gauge paper shotgun shells
100 Winchester 14 gauge paper shotgun shells

The history of the shotgun is littered with innovations that never went anywhere. From designs like this 10 gauge from Ethan Allen to the American Arms Co.’s Fox-patent Side Opener, some ideas sounded good, but never really caught on. The 14 gauge was another of ideas that never went anywhere.

Fourteen gauge shotguns used to be popular in the percussion era, and Parker, Lefever and several British & German makers built 14s at the end of the 19th century and into the twentieth. Winchester even tried to revive this oddball gauge in 1960s with a line of Model 50/59 semi-autos.

100 Winchester 14 gauge paper shotgun shellsBut no matter what makers have done, the 14 gauge has never caught on. That’s what makes this case of 14 gauge paper shells by Winchester so rare. I’m sure some cartridge collector will snap these up. I’m sure the price will be pretty high, too.

 

 

 

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