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+44 (0)121 333 1900

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Westley Richards Hand Detachable Lock Double Rifle

Throughout the history of African Safaris, Westley Richards & Co. double rifles have always been held in high esteem and have been the choice of legendary sportsmen and big game hunters such as Ernest Hemingway and James Sutherland. We can claim to have built over 1,000 big game double rifles, more than any other British maker, and it is our steadfast belief that our rifles are classics of their type and cannot be recommended highly enough for the pursuit of large game in unforgiving environments.

James Sutherland’s famous Westley Richards & Co. .577 3” NE Best Quality Hammerless Ejector
Double Rifle #16650, with patent “One Trigger” and spare locks, ordered in 1906.

This confidence in our double rifles is based on the simple yet brilliant design of the Anson & Deeley boxlock action coupled with Taylor’s hand detachable locks. This design makes our rifles incredibly durable and easy to service; something any sportsman can appreciate. With only four component parts, two pins and the plate they are mounted to, the lockwork of the droplock is as simple as it can be made. With fewer parts in the space, they can be made more robustly than the lockwork of other designs and there is just less to go wrong.

In addition to the lockwork’s inherent toughness, the longitudinal slots milled in the bottom of the action that accommodates the lockwork, requires less steel to be removed from the action’s bar than on that of a conventional boxlock. In turn, this leaves more steel in the action bar, making the droplock the strongest of all the boxlock actions.

The hand detachable locks are also well suited to harsh environments where the most dangerous game is often found. Dust and moisture can be hard on firearms, especially on those with complex mechanisms. In contrast, the simplicity of the droplock forgoes the need for the small, delicate parts a sidelock requires. Moreover, the removal of the locks without tools allows for easy cleaning and maintenance and instant replacement with a spare lock, in the unlikely event of a malfunction. A feature that is not only convenient, but one that offers tremendous peace of mind.

“the construction of the locks is excellent and simple to a degree, so should anything go wrong with the mechanism in the bush, where you cannot take a taxi to your gunmakers, there is no difficulty in instantly detaching a lock by hand and replacing it with a duplicate.” James Sutherland, “The Adventures of an Elephant Hunter”

Such simplicity and purposeful design also bring beauty of form in the finished rifle, allowing it to be scaled in size, up or down, to appropriately accommodate virtually any cartridge. All the while maintaining the quick handling characteristics fine double rifles are prized for, no matter the bore size.

Along with the droplock action, the “Snap” lever and Model “C” Doll’s Head bolting system, patented in the 1850’s and 60’s by Westley Richards, son of the founder, remain hallmarks of the firm to this day. Westley Richards’ “Snap” lever, meaning its top lever closes automatically, and the Doll’s Head, because its shape was thought to resemble that of a doll’s head, were first introduced together in 1862. This arrangement was so strong, it was the only fastener on Westley Richards guns for many years. In the latter part of the 1800’s we combined the already tried and true Snap lever and Doll’s Head fastener with the double under bolt, making a triple-lock system that is one of the strongest bolting systems known.

Westley Richards Unmistakable Snap Lever and Doll’s Head Fastener.

The incredible holding power derived from the Doll’s Head rib extension and double under bolt combined with the simple, robust design of the droplock action, gives our double rifles unrivaled strength, especially when subjected to firing the heaviest loads.

The Model “C” Doll’s Head Rib Extension

It should come as no surprise that Westley Richards & Co. has also offered more variety of rifle chamberings in its doubles than any other maker. From small caliber, high pressure cartridges generating chamber pressures as high as 60,000 psi to big bores that generate over 7,000 foot pounds of muzzle energy, our rifles have been chambered in them all. Testament to the strength and versatility of the of droplock action.

Westley Richards The Forest Rifle in .600 NE

Not only has Westley Richards & Co. made more big game double rifles than any other British maker, but we are also the only firm in England who routinely produce double rifles in the largest of the classic British Big Bores. In fact, since 1900 we have built just over 100 double rifles chambered in .577 3” NE alone, more than any of our competitors. While several gunmakers around the World are making rifles in .470 NE and .500 NE, rarely do you see anyone attempting the .577 NE or .600 NE. However, these large format rifles are a specialty of Westley Richards & Co. that has been finely honed over the last 120 years.

Combining unrivaled experience, superb fit and finish, phenomenal engraving, and unmatched handling characteristics with our iconic and failsafe droplock design, Westley Richards hand detachable lock double rifles leave no detail missed and ensure you have a trustworthy companion when you most need it.

To inquire about commissioning a bespoke droplock rifle, please feel free to contact us.

Managing Director, Anthony “Trigger” Alborough-Tregear

+44 (121) 333-1904


U.S. Manager, Duke ‘L.D.’ McCaa

+1 (850) 677-3688

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.

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