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A Westley Richards Gold Name Droplock Double Rifle in .577/.500 No.2 Nitro Express.

Next week we are having one of our vaults refitted so we can hold our collection of guns and rifles with more visibility. Visitors to the factory have always enjoyed seeing the variety of different firearms we have here, a collection not restricted to our own manufacture, but including guns and rifles from most of the English makers.

Westley Richards, Droplock, 577-500

Whilst moving guns out of the way today we unearthed this 'one of a kind' gold name hand detachable lock double rifle which we completed in 1996 for a French professional hunter. I had actually completely forgotten we had this rifle in the building. The calibre is .577/.500 No.2 and when I say one of a kind, I mean it in terms of it being the only double rifle we have built in this calibre. It has a 'no frills' finish which is typical of a professional hunters requirements, better to spend the engraving money on ammunition!

The rifle has no sling swivels and a flat beavertail forend which fills two roles, one giving plenty to hang onto and secondly to provide a comfortable flat surface so the rifle can be carried on the shoulder with barrels facing forwards. You can see where all the barrel black is worn off from just behind the front sight block where the rifle has been held for many a mile. The rifle also has a stalking safety, the front sight cover is removed, there is a large gold  V on rear sight to aid faster sighting and a large bull elephant engraved by Rashid on the cover plate. This is no doubt a species identity help, something like the perfect shot, see a bull that looks like this 'take it'! All in all, a totally practical rifle.

The .577/.500 No2 calibre in nitro format was a cartridge introduced by Hartman and Weiss who made some single shot falling block rifles in this calibre. The original cartridge was a black powder version which was introduced sometime before 1879 this was then developed in various formats including Nitro for black and fullNitro load with a variation in bullet weight of from 300 grains up to 570 grn, The nitro version for our rifle used the 570 grn. bullet and we think the velocity was around 2300 fps. It was a powerful round and the rifles weight of 14 lbs. compensated for this.

Westley Richards, Droplock, 577-500A .22LR is dwarfed by the 2 rounds of .577/.500 No 2. 

Westley Richards 577-500 droplock double rifle.

Bull Elephant on WR rifle

 

14 Comments

  • Neill Clark on June 4, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    A real beauty, and a true demonstration of the gunmakers art, it is a tool with no great frills, yet it is still exquisite.

    I've thought of asking before, but these pictures have finally made up my mind, is their any possibility of buying a print - the image with the .22 round is very appealing. PM me by all means, and thanks.

  • Gary Duffey on June 4, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Absolute classic, hand detachable, gold name action & barrels, great colors and fences to me that are as beautiful as any ornate double. The simplicity only enhances and highlights the Bull Elephant by Rashid. Wonderful rifle!

  • atilla otto von funkhausen on June 4, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    hi westley richard thanks soo much for sharing this information
    in germany and austria i have seen many hartmann und weiss
    hauptmann fanzoj and peter hofer sidelock double rifles ans singleshots
    in this 577-500 hartmann und weiss cartridge which we call this round
    its a great modern and one old cartridge,all ammo is loaded by
    mr.wolfgang romey and are distributed both in germany and austria
    do you make droplock doubles in this round today?

    sincerely
    atilla otto von funkhausen
    berlin
    germania

    • Simon Clode on June 4, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Yes, we can still make this calibre today, we have the chamber tools and knowledge!

      Thank you.

  • jack l. pertham on June 5, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    thats the finest engraving i have seen on any gun
    that bull is almost like a black-white photo

  • Robert Rose on June 9, 2015 at 8:34 am

    Many thanks for your informative blog
    You describe the 577/500 in this article as having a Hand Detachable Lock. I am familiar with your Drop Lock, the mechanics of Box Locks and various Side Locks, but am curious to how a Hand Detachable Box Lock works.
    Thanks
    Bob R

    • Simon Clode on June 9, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      The 'hand detachable lock' is the long and original, even correct terminology for the 'droplock'! Like most things today a shorter, quicker version was found and was adapted by the Americans and I tend to use both and they refer to the same system! Apologies for the confusion!

  • Gordon courtney on July 9, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    what a lovely 577/500 no 2, i also have a 577/N500 no 2 hammer double by thomas bland, 1906 cordite proof, bores mint never fired, but a modern one like yours i am so envious its my favourit round. Thanks so much for posting the photos.

  • Gordon courtney on July 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

    I should have added, i love the 577/500 no 2 so much, its such a charismatic cartridge, and as this one of a kind rifle would be financially beyond most of us, would it be possible to fire a 570 g bullet in theses older 577/500 no 2 , 440g bullet, cordite hammer rifles, and what advice could we get on powder and final velocity, 1800 to 2000 ft per sec would be fantastic, of course the barrels will need re re-regulating , but its a small price to pay., i am not the only one who has asked. ( See British military forums. ) apology for my second reply attempt but i just cannot help it, many thanks.

    • Simon Clode on July 10, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Gordon, thank you for your comments. I think the answer should be no, you cannot shoot a 570g bullet safely in the old rifles. I am sure people do and it perhaps works but the action was not designed or proofed for that load of increased bullet, powder, pressure etc. Some old rifles are on huge actions and it could be possible but if you want to be sure you have the rifle proofed, the risk you take is that it gets scattered around the proof house in bits!

      Grahame Wright is the authority on reloading for all these calibre's and has written some books about it. Woodleigh has just published a book with Wright on the subject also.

  • Gordon courtney on July 11, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Many thanks for your comments, the truth always hurts, ha ha, i guess i will have to persuade you to part with this lovely 577/500 no 2, you never said if its in England or the USA, love to see it and hold it. I also have a mint 450/400, 3 " by lyon and lyon late of Bonhams, so i am not too unhappy, th put photos of my doubles on British military forums under 577/500 no 2, until then once again, i wish you well. Gordon Courtney

  • Gordon courtney on September 1, 2015 at 9:04 am

    It is suggested old black powder 577/500 no2 doubles were proofed to 10 tons.....i just got a copy of Greame Wright's book 3rd addition, the straight cased 500 by 3" nitro tables on pressure tests on full nitro loads, ...show.570 grain woodleigh FNJ, ...R15 powder..95grains...fed 215 primer, Bertram case, 2090 ft/sec...pressure 10.1 tpsi.....interesting !!!!!! but not for the faint hearted, guns do blow up, the pressure is defiantly interesting but right on the upper limits of safety, it seems reducing the bullet to 500 grains would not reduce the pressure....this is an extract from 577/500 no 2 forums. It must be noted many guns were Nitro proofed in the early days of cordite, but it was meant for the light nitro for black loads, not the full nitro loads of say R15 mentioned above.....Its all interesting stuff , i wanted 500 grain bullet at 1900 ft/ sec, the quest for the safe load goes on.....Unfortunately Graeme shows nothing in his book on the 577/500 no2 a bottle necked cartridge. Perhaps one day i will need the power for dangerous game, who knows, but don't worry i love my 577/500 no2 Thomas Bland and i will not put her in danger.......ha ha ..regards gordon

  • Richard Bruckman on October 12, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Is this weapon for sale ? And how much , just a dream , How much ? Thank You Richard B. Bruckman .

    • Simon Clode on October 12, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      I afraid this rifle itself is not for sale. The price of such a rifle is that of our new gun price listed as 577 which is in the region of £65.000.
      Simon

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