Ask any gun-maker what is most likely to cause problems and they will tell you; single triggers and ejectors.
With the completion of Westley Richards gun number 20449, we can point to some significant developments which will have repercussions for future production. This gun may be a game changer.
At first glance, it looks very familiar. It is a 28-bore with ‘drop-locks’, a single trigger, Deeley & Edge forend catch, scroll and game scene engraving, an elegant Woodward-style grip and rolled-edge trigger guard.
It is a supremely elegant example of its type and will certainly turn heads but the real magic is out of sight, hidden in the mechanics of the gun. The importance of this gun lies not in how it looks but how it works.
The ejector work is familiar. It is the Deeley patent ‘box’ ejector which has been the usual system applied to Anson & Deeley action and Taylor hand-detachable lock versions since the late 1800s.
However, what the gunmakers did during the production of 20449 was to spark erode the extractor holes, rather than cut them. The perfect alignment and precision with which this technique can be carried out has perfected the operation of the ejectors significantly. Film of the live-fire testing shows empty cases flying eight or nine feet and landing side-by side. During two thousand test shots, not one miss-fire or stuck case interrupted procedings.
Two thousand trouble-free shots will be familiar to users of two- trigger guns but single triggers can require careful attention and adjustment before they are completely reliable.
This new 28-bore has an entirely new single trigger system: one never seen before on a Westley Richards, or indeed any other gun. It was designed from scratch to be simple, durable, easy to set-up and reliable. By reducing the limbs from nine to four, the liability for wear, damage and means to go out of order are also reduced.
The new mechanism dispenses with a threaded central pin and replaces it with a peg, which can rotate if necessary without working loose, which was a common fault with the old system.
The new trigger is faster and easier to make, much easier to regulate and should prove more reliable. It is a good example of the continuation of development that we, at Westley Richards apply to improving the functionality of our products. They may be invisible but in long-term usage, they add imperceptible value.
A functional advantage of the new trigger is the exact duplication of the action required to fire the first barrel and the second. Many single triggers require a longer pull to fire the second shot, giving the pull a ‘drag’ that many shooters find unpleasant and off-putting, especially when applied to a double rifle.
Of course, a new gun is more than the merits of its mechanical components. From a user perspective, they should do their work unobtrusively and simply deliver a pleasant experience. The only time we actually think about ejectors or triggers is when they malfunction.
The choice of wood for this project gets the balance betwen subtle and decorative just right. With amber hues forming the background, reminiscent of traditional French walnut, the darker figure running through the wood marbles but does so in a uniform direction from comb to toe and visible through the base of the grip, eventually dissipating as the hand forms and flows into the head, by which time it is more uniform and straight grained.
The figure continues from forend iron to horn tip, giving the gun a symmetry of colour and contrast. Sandwiched between the two wood sections, the slim profile 28-bore action is beautifully case-colour-hardened, with subtle blues, greens and straw-toned yellow-browns blending like a petrol slick on water. The continuity is further developed through the case colour hardened trigger blade.
Sam Faraway’s fine and medium scrolls are beautifully laid-out with subtle groups of scroll panels on top-lever, doll’s head, rib and guard. The traditional feel is lifted by the application of gold inlay of ‘WESTLEY RICHARDS’ in a scroll banner situated centrally on the action body and on the rib.
The bottom plate features a pair of quail on the wing, in a thin-gold-lined cartouche. Their presence adds some glamour to the otherwise restrained and subtle overall appearance. Slim gold lines encircling the breech ends of the barrels continue the theme.
The 29” barrels suit the gun, with its 14 ½” length of pull. The custom profiled Woodward-style grip adds a pleasing refinement to the silhouette. The whole package oozes elegance.
All together, this very traditional looking shotgun carries the genes given to it by its nineteenth century creators but, with the addition of these twenty first century refinements, it is more purposeful than ever.
neil mcveigh on October 12, 2022 at 5:44 am
Looks great and good luck to the new owner,I like his/her taste.
Could the new trigger design be retro-fitted to our older single trigger guns?
Christopher Sarpy on October 14, 2022 at 11:45 pm
Stunning new gun!