Choose from the Americas (USD) or Global (GBP) websites to see content specific to your location and shop online.

Shop Our Summer Sale


Westley Richards

+44 (0)121 333 1900

Group 3 Created with Sketch.
Request a brochure
Contact Us
Delivery & Returns
Your browser is out of date!

In order for us to provide you with the very best experience while visiting our websites, you must use an up-to-date browser.

Update my browser now

Blog Post Featured Image

Elegant 12-bore Pistol Hand Classics

Straight hand (what some American writers call 'English Grip'), semi-pistol or full pistol grip stock profiles are choices that many customers spend a great deal of time contemplating. Some choose for aesthetic reasons, others for their perceived performance variance.

The choice of an elongated pistol hand for this pair of exquisite 12-bore game guns has delivered a truly beautiful profile and provided the shooter with the consistent, secure hand hold that many modern sportsmen have come to prefer.

Every British gunmaker has a set of hand shapes and grip styles that become recognisable to the educated eye, though these do evolve with the passage of time.

There is a school of thought that a pistol-grip is preferable for single-trigger guns as it ensures reliable and repeatable placement of the hand for every shot and, therefore, a more consistently angled trigger pull, which is essential to the reliable function of a three-pull single trigger.

The stylistic form of these elegant guns will be familiar to anyone who has seen, handled or used Westley Richards game guns over the last century. It is a style, format and profile that has become comfortingly familiar, and combines beautifully with the company's traditional scroll engraving.

A pair of mid-weight, fast-handling, single-trigger, droplock ejectors is as good as it gets in the coverts or grouse butts and the dimensions of these guns would be very much what the typical sportsman of 1910 would have expected to collect from our Bond Street shop.

There are, however, some modern details that raise them into the modern era, even if they are not observable when the guns are assembled.

The most technically interesting of the modern features are the Teague chokes. Victorian gunmakers experimented with bolt-on muzzles with different chokes but they were not successful and the idea was shelved for decades.

Today, Teague chokes are all-but invisible when in-place. They provide flexibility of shot concentration so that the gun may be prepared for any altering circumstance, be that driven grouse, where a tight first barrel is preferred, or driven partridges, where two open chokes do better.

Teague Precision Chokes, the world's premier producer and fitter of precision choke tubes, is owned by Westley Richards and the two companies work closely together to ensure perfect results.

The presence of interchangeable chokes obviates the complication of a selective single trigger mechanism, so both these guns are fitted with a non-selective single trigger.

Simple solutions are usually the best and these guns offer the option of variable chokes but have a simpler and more reliable trigger set-up.

Choke was standardised, by W.W. Greener, in 1875, extending the range of a normal shotgun. Winchester introduced the 'Winchoke' in 1970 as the forerunner of modern interchangeable chokes.

Teague sets the modern standard, with multiple choke options for lead shot and even for steel shot.

Here, we have supplied each gun with a set of Teague chokes, presented in their own cases.

The traditional dimensions of these guns include the barrel length of 30" and the weight of 6lbs 8oz. Before heavy game loads and short barrels interfered with the fashion for British game gun proportions, this was the norm. Churchill's influence between the wars led many shooters to experiment with short barrels but that fashion has largely been forgotten, with modern sportsmen favouring long barrels once more.

Chambers are the modern standard 70mm (2 3/4") because that length is now far more prevalent and offers greater variety of load choice for both clay and game shooters, with options from 21g to 36g for a 12-bore.

The metal parts are finished with traditional blacking of the furniture (which is the gun-making term for parts like the trigger guard and top-lever) and colour case hardening to the action and forend iron. Here, even the trigger blade is case hardened, as are the Deeley patent forend catches, which Westley Richards has been using since 1873.

It is notable in this era, when so many much more modern designs and systems are available, that so many customers still think the best medicine for a traditional game day: be it grouse, partridge or pheasant, is a classic set of drop-lock ejectors, build to a design that was conceived when the Marquiss of Salisbury was the Prime Minister and William McKinley was the US President.

The truth is that they work. Guns like this feel balanced in the hands, they come to the face instinctively and lock onto the target using hand-eye co-ordination alone. They shoot where you look, open eject and close effortlessly; and they involve the shooter in the process of shooting as an integral part of a sublime process, not merely the wielder of a shooting iron.

Aesthetically they are undeniably pleasing. The figure and colour of each walnut stock complements the case colours of the action. The proportion and flow of the trigger guard eases into the perfectly angled elongated pistol grip, then the stock flows from grip to comb to toe and heel. In profile, the guns just flow. There are no ugly bulges or flimsy appendages, the wood and metal have grown into the perfect shooting tool. Beauty follows form, follows function.

The bespoke, Alcantara-lined, leather, double case is packed with the necessary accoutrements that accompany the pair. Two sets of replacement locks are supplied in their individual leather cases. Turn-screws, oil bottles, strikers in their pots and snap-caps, jags and rods complete the ensemble.

The green boxes depicted below contain the Teague multi-chokes for each gun.

We still open Westley Richards cases like this made a century ago, containing guns that look very like these do. The form is classic but today we build to even higher standards than our forebears.

Perhaps sometime in the 22nd century, when the internal combustion engine is a distant memory, someone will open this case, take out these guns and marvel at the craftsmanship and the beauty they communicate to the eye.

Perhaps they will even get to take them out and shoot in the same coverts and moors we are lucky enough to frequent today.

Whether for the discerning collector or the avid sportsman, Westley Richards firearms represent the epitome of excellence in the world of bespoke gunmaking. Known for the droplock shotgun, over and under shotgundouble barrel rifle and bolt action rifle, the company has achieved an illustrious 200 year history of innovation, craftmanship and artistry. As part of our best gun build, clients can choose from three levels of gun engraving: the house scroll; signature game scenes; and exhibition grade masterpieces. All Westley Richards sporting arms are built at their factory in Birmingham, England. Discover more about the gunmaking journey at our custom rifles and bespoke guns pages.


  • Paul Phelan on February 21, 2024 at 8:48 am

    Really beautiful pair of guns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published