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Blog Post Featured Image

The first Westley Richards top lever, breech opening gun, sold in 1862.


Westley Richards, first breech loading gun

This gun, our first 'top lever' gun has been shown in our previous catalogue, our book and in some posts here on the blog. What I have never shown is the whole gun, only a close up of the top lever and butt plate. So here for the first time is a shot of the whole gun. You can pull this photo off the blog and turn it the right way around on your desktop!

The first top lever breech opening Westley Richards gun sold.


  • Fowad on May 22, 2015 at 12:03 am

    A beauty indeed and more out of curiosity, how you got this back from the first owner. There must be a story behind it.

    • Simon Clode on May 22, 2015 at 6:19 am

      I don't actually know how we got this back, it has been in the Westley collection of guns for many years. When Holland & Holland returned our London agency after they sold to Chanel we received back many of our records, guns and general ephemera that was left in London. This gun was amongst those returned.

  • steven nash on May 22, 2015 at 9:02 am

    One pound in the 1860's according to 'equivalent value' tables puts the gun at around £1900 ! in todays money.Extrapolating from this :-
    1. How cheap labour was then ! (I assume the majority of a new gun's cost today is now labour)
    2. What a wonderful collection of new WR's would grace my cabinet at these prices

    • Simon Clode on May 22, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      I will have to dig out the old wages books and let you find 'equivalent value' of those but I think yes, it is the cost of wages, as the raw materials are inexpensive, a block of (expensive) wood and 10 lbs of steel!

  • Fowad on May 22, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I am very regular follower of your blog which I think is best and most detailed about not only Westley richards but other British gun- makers. Specially the posts related to the Indian royalty and their guns and rifles and photos from the RAJ. As I am from india and interested in guns... I have always heard about the weapons of Nawab of Bhopal, surprisingly never heard of in your posts, although I have seen many guns by Westley Richards in Bhopal but more often Holland, purdey's and Rigby's. Are there any entries in your record or you came across any guns of Bhopal's.

    • Simon Clode on May 22, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      I do know that The nawab of Bhopal was not one of regular customers. I am sure if I was to look I could perhaps find some though, I am sure I have in the past.

  • Neill Clark on May 22, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Oooooh.......Damascus barrels, how I love Damascus steel. What a gem Simon, thank you for sharing the pictures. Decent of Hollands to let you have it when they sold out, I really admire WR, English gun making owned in England, that's how it should be.

    • Simon Clode on May 22, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      Malcolm Lyell was the CEO of Holland's shortly before they sold to Chanel, Malcolm had managed our shop in Conduit Street and then purchased our shop and later Hollands when they were in trouble, he was mostly responsible for repatriating the bits and pieces. It was very decent of them to give 'our stuff' back! It was actually loaned but that would have been impossible to prove!

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