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Westley Richards Bolt Actions at the U.S. Agency

Westley Richards & Co. played an important role in the development of the bolt action magazine rifle with patents in improved sighting systems, detachable barrels, some of the first high-performance bullets, and their now iconic proprietary cartridges. Westley’s has been making a bolt action of some sort since the beginning of the twentieth century and has made them in a variety of grades and configurations with distinct characteristics in the style of each rifle from era to era.

Pair of W.R.&Co. “Stalker” Magazine Rifles

Currently we have two different braces of Westley Richards rifles for sale at the U.S. Agency that are quite interesting.

The first is a pair of Westley Richards & Co. Best Quality Bolt Action Rifles chambered in .375 H&H Magnum and .458 Winchester Magnum.

These rifles were finished in the mid 1980’s and built on a Pre-War, Standard length ‘98 Mauser actions with two-position side safeties, one piece bottom metal with straddle floor plates and inside-the-bow release, and stippled trigger. Each rifle is engraved with small traditional scroll surrounding a raised gold kudu on the rifle chambered in .375 H&H and a raised gold elephant on the .458 Win. Mag.

Both rifles have 24” barrels and are engraved on top with the Maker’s name and fitted with WR pattern quarter ribs, 1 standing/2 folding leaf Express sights (50, 100, 150 yds), WR patent combination foresight, and a banded and barrel mounted front sling swivel. All engraved in matching scroll. The .458 is made for opens sights only and the .375 H&H’s receiver is drilled and tapped for scope ring bases.

Both stocks have nice straight figure, appropriate for rifles in these calibers, and both have traditional straight combs for using iron sights.  The stocks also have right hand beaded cheekpieces, full pistol grips with engraved steel trap grip caps and recoil bars, horn forend tips leather covered recoil pads.

These two rifles were built as a pair with another near identical pair of rifles made a few years later. Each pair of rifles was broken up sometime over the years but we now have 3 of these 4 rifles in stock for resale with this pair being brought back together.

I always say the .375 H&H Mag is one of the greatest sporting cartridges ever invented but, on the other hand, the .458 Win. Mag, is often misunderstood. The cartridge bears a bad reputation due, mainly, to being ahead of its time. Those bad reports early in the cartridge's history tainted the reputation of the .458 Win. Mag. However, over many decades of use in the African bush the cartridge has proven to be a very good option and viable choice for a dangerous game cartridge.  

 

Pair of .425 Magnums

Two other interesting rifles currently at the Agency are chambered in Westley’s .425 Magnum Express introduced around 1906-1907. Westley’s Managing Director at the time, Leslie Taylor, was looking create a rimless cartridge that was suitable for bolt action rifles that could generate ballistics similar to the cartridges often shot in double rifles. Taylor design criteria was for the the cartridge to fit on a standard-length action and work with a standard bolt face. This gave way to Taylor inventing the first “short magnum”. Basically, a cartridge case that gets its powder capacity from its girth and not from its length. Starting with the .404 case, Taylor shortened the length to fit in the magazine box and he trimmed the rim diameter back to work with the standard action’s bolt face. This gave way to the first rebated rim, patented in 1906. The rebated rim also allows the .425 cartridge to be used with standard Mauser stripper clips that made for easy and fast reloading. To accept the 5 rounds from the stripper clip, Taylor also patented a hinged magazine box that protrudes below the stock and gives the .425 such a distinctive profile.

When combined with the deeply shaped magazine box, there is enough room to strip 5 rounds of .425 free of the stripper clip into the magazine, allowing the shooter to chamber the first round as the bolt is closed.  This type of rifle was the choice of F.C. Selous and countless others who pursued large and dangerous game, and it remains alive and well today as a popular choice for our new bolt action rifles.

Westley Richards & Co. .425 Magnum Express Bolt Action Magazine Rifle

Featured here are two of those iconic cartridges that have both received some updates to give them another 100 years of service.

The first is a rifle built prior to WWI. It has the original 26” barrel, action, and magazine with a ramp style front sight and Westley’s island rear sight with 1 standing/4 folding leaf rear sight regulated out to 500 yards. The rifle’s barrel also has Medford rifling, which was used by Westley’s prior to WWI and sometime afterwards as well.

The rifle was made a “colonial” grade rifle which was the most basic offering in a rifle from Westley Richards. No doubt rifles like this were more often subjected to hard use than the higher grade versions Westley’s offered. This rifle underwent a restocking in the last decade by master gunsmith James Tucker. While James can build a rifle from start to finish, he is most well known for his stock making and I would argue he is one of the best stock makers in the world today. This rifle features a very well laid out walnut blank that has an understated figure appropriate for such a rifle. The flat top checkering on the rifle is flawlessly executed and an example of Jame’s talent.

Westley Richards .425 Magnum

The other .425 Magnum for sale was completed by Westley Richards in 1994. Whether it was due to to the loss of the old time gunmakers, lack of raw materials, the Mauser factory in Oberndorf being destroyed at the end of WWII, along with changing consumer preferences, after WWII Westley’s lost the wherewithal to manufacture a lot of its iconic models such as detachable barrels and drop-belly magazines. For these reasons, it became common practice for the firm to acquire older guns the firm had made and refurbish them for resale. Sometimes just a touch up to the finish, other times it might require a restocking, and there were times when only the action could be salvaged.

This rifle is based on an original Westley Richards action with a drop-box magazine originally made for the .425 Magnum Express. After the First World War, Westley’s installed two spring loaded “clips” on the .425 actions fitted with the drop-box magazine. These clips are perpendicular to the action’s raceways and intended to keep the cartridge straight in the magazine and ensure positive feeding of this short, fat cartridge.

Building a new rifle on the old action, Westley’s installed a 22” Lothar Walther barrel with the traditional banded front sling attachment, island rear sight, and Westley’s distinctive foresight with combination brass bead and flip-up night sight and hinged sight protector that folds back towards the breech.

The modern stock is nicely figured with a traditional RH beaded cheekpiece, a 14 ¾" LOP over a red rubber pad, and full pistol grip with a smooth traditional horn grip cap. There is a single steel recoil bar and an ebony forend tip. The hand and foregrip are checkered at 26 lpi with Mullered borders and single ball sling stud on the toe line and a stock oval that has been polished.

In 2020, Gunmaker J.J. Perodeau installed a quick detachable claw mount for 30mm EAW rings and a new bolt shroud with an M70 type 3-position safety that works with a scope. The rifle includes a Swarovski Z6i 1–6 x 24mm scope with an illuminated 4-Ai reticle.

In addition, J.J. fabricated a new rear sight that fits the existing dovetail on the island base, that also serves as a mounting surface for a Trijicon RMR red dot. The original rear sight and Trijicon RMR are also included with the rifle.

The rifle shoots extremely well (test targets and load data available) and feeds and functions flawlessly. The rifle has been shot and hunted but overall remains in very good shape. Clearly the rifle has been well cared for.

Both rifles are in stock and ready for immediate delivery.

Westley Richards has an outstanding reputation for supplying a comprehensive selection of pre-owned guns and rifles. We pride ourselves on our in depth knowledge of the many sporting arms built over the last 200 years, placing particular emphasis on big game rifles, like the 577 Nitro Express, 505 Gibbs and 425 Westley Richards. Whether looking to grow or sell your collection of firearms, or simply require a trusted evaluation, our team from the sales department would be delighted to hear from you. To view the latest available, head to the used shotguns and used rifles pages, and for those interested in new firearms, explore our custom rifles and bespoke guns pages.

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