I remember fondly the first time I met Vince when in truth we were both kids just starting out in the gun trade. He approached the door at the old Westley Richards factory in Bournbrook like a scrawny Oliver Twist and rather quietly asked 'Do you have any engravers that can help me? I would like to be a gun engraver.' Lucky for Vince we had one of finest of the day Rashid El Hadi on site who took Vince under his wing and as the saying goes 'the rest is history'.
The basis for this exhibition project is our .600 sidelock ejector double rifle action, with extended tang, back action locks, model 'C' dolls head fastener and snap action lever work. These heavy action .600's really do make a statement and they provide a huge canvas upon which to work. The gunmakers here at the factory put many hundreds of hours of patience and skill into building and preparing this magnificent rifle for Vince.
The theme of the rifle is classic hunting scenes from the 'Dark Continent' combined with a general feel for the flora and fauna. Vince himself estimates that he spent somewhere in the region of 3000 hours engraving this monster. Hard to believe? Just take a look. Practically every single inch of the action has been embellished and what you find on closer inspection is a delicate mixture of fine scroll, sculptured scroll, carving, flush gold inlay, raised gold, and game scenes. The grip trap you saw in an earlier post ('A singular piece of engraving skill') and we have yet to show you the butt plate!
Some of the most outstanding workmanship is on the barrels where a combination of flush and raised gold work along with fine game scene detailing and carved animals is pretty spectacular. Once complete the rifle should make quite a statement about the level of gunmaking and craftsmanship achievable today.
Larry on January 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm
Truly stunning work!!! This is perhaps one of my favorites from this era of WR guns. One can definitely see the influence Rashid had; especially with the barrel work! I can't wait to see this one stocked and finished. Thanks for sharing.
Vance Daigle on January 17, 2017 at 1:17 pm
Good Day Trigger,
What a beautiful gun Sir!!!!! Mr.Crowley your work on this gun is superb, my hats off to you for turning out such an amazing double rifle. I can see where there will be several hours on the weekend for me studying this gun. As I feel it takes much time to really appreciate the finer points of such a project. My hats off to the entire team, this is a great one!!!
Neil McVeigh on January 17, 2017 at 1:25 pm
Simply awsome!Trigger enjoyed the story of Vince's introduction to the gun trade.
Do you think he might be persuaded to tell us more on a blog about his learning curve from apprentice to master!Neil
Peter Buckley. on January 17, 2017 at 2:07 pm
Apart from using an expletive, what can I say only "" WOW ""!!!
'Oliver Twist' was asked for more and he certainly gave it, lost for words its that Good!
Vince Crowley tell me does he paint, he's quite obviously an artist, can't wait to see the but plate, then the completed gun.
Let's not forget the most talented of gunmakers that devote their skills in the first instance that allows Vince to create a masterpiece.
Simon commented that we give only the "best" materials to work with and once again Westley's have proved it!
I think my favourite part of the whole engraving 'so far' is the trigger guard, the tribal mask is something else fabulous, then once viewed alongside the grip cap 'stunning'.
Fabulous work Westley Richards. Peter.
Mark Mitchell on January 17, 2017 at 2:28 pm
This is an absolutely outstanding rifle.Not only is the engraving fantastic but the rifle itself is one of the best made that I've seen in a very long time.The quality is superb.The lads in the workshop are coming along nicely.
Really looking forward to seeing this one finished.
Andre on January 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm
Personally I think it is far too much.....the engraving is exqusite but one has to ask if it is made solely as an exhibition/collector piece...
As an elephant hunter I think it is, in a way, perverting the whole idea of making a perfect working double rifle for hunting big elephant.....but each to his own..
Given the money I would gladly order a .600 NE double for serious hunting in Africa from WR, but a gold name model or color case hardening and some discrete scroll would do it for me...
That said....I think today your firm offer by far the best deal in such rifles and the quality is second to none..!
Trigger on January 19, 2017 at 10:46 pm
Thank you for your response. The rifle is one of our 'Presentation' grade rifles which explains the high level of embellishment and artistic flair. It is also a truly functional rifle, which is always at the heart of one of our rifles. Such projects are a privilege to undertake and demonstrate the level of craftsmanship available from this factory.
Many thanks for your kind words about Westley Richards, lets hope one day we get to build that special .600 for you.
Neill on January 19, 2017 at 4:39 pm
This is exquisite workmanship. Possibly a bit ornate for my personal taste, but the skills involved are incredible and I'm sure the lucky owner will appreciate it.