Choose from the Americas (USD) or Global (GBP) websites to see content specific to your location and shop online.

Shop Our Latest Arrivals

Complimentary delivery with the Explora club

Westley Richards

+44 (0)121 333 1900

Group 3 Created with Sketch.

Westley Richards U.S. Agency

+1 850 677 3688

Request a brochure
Contact Us
Delivery & Returns
Your browser is out of date!

In order for us to provide you with the very best experience while visiting our websites, you must use an up-to-date browser.

Update my browser now

Blog Post Featured Image

An Old Favourite In A New Rifle: The .450 3 1/4" Nitro Express

Today, most Westley Richards double rifles for big game are commissioned in .470, .500 or .577 nitro express. We do, however, get the occasional order for the original nitro express cartridge for dangerous game: the .450 (3 ¼”), which originated with Rigby in 1898.

This stunning rifle is just such an order. Built to the highest level of specification and beautifully engraved, it chambers the old, straight-cased .450 cartridge that was banned by the British for use in India and Sudan, giving rise (in 1907) to Lang’s .470, which was ballistically almost the same but bypassed the legal restrictions then in place.

Old it might be but effective it surely is. The 450 NE was based on the old .450 black powder case, loaded with 70 grains of Cordite and a 480-grain bullet. Kynoch’s latest load data lists the .450 as sending a 480-grain bullet down range at 2,150 fps and delivering muzzle energy of 4,930 ft/lbs.

It was, for a while the favoured British cartridge for dangerous game but by the time the restrictions placed on its use were rescinded, the public had got used to the .470 and that round remained the more popular of the two thereafter.

However, like the .425 Westley Richards and the .318 Accellerated Express, the .450 NE retains a certain amount of affection amongst traditionally minded hunters and we are sometimes asked to build a new one.

For this order, we built a hand-detachable lock double rifle and added decorative side-plates. With 25” barrels it weighs 10lbs 8oz and is regulated for Kynoch cartridges, loaded with 480-grain Woodleigh bullets.

The stunning African game scenes were engraved by Vincent Crowley, surrounded by full deluxe bold scrolls. Gold embellishment extends to the name, the serial number and the word SAFE. The brushed surfaces reveal the details of the lion, elephant and buffalo in all their glory.

Single triggers are not historically unusual on Westley Richards double rifles. The .577 we have in the vault, which once belonged to James Sutherland, as famous a big game hunter as has ever lived, has one and he wrote that it never once let him down.

Here we have used a selective single trigger and a manual safety, to maximize flexibility and speed of fire. For fast target acquisition, we use a traditional quarter-rib and standing and leaf sights, regulated to fifty, one-hundred and two-hundred yards.

 

The 'Modele de Luxe' is a beautiful specification, featuring the very best of figured walnut and full coverage engraving. The exhibition grade stock has a cheek-piece and a pistol grip with grip trap cap.

We shape our stocks for double rifles, just as we do those on our shotguns. This customer required cast off 1/8” at heel and 3/16” at toe. Bend is 1 ¼” at comb and 2” at heel. This way, the rifle can be thrown to the face and fired fast, in the manner of a shotgun. It should shoot where you look.

Westley Richards customers invariably approach us with new ideas, often based on old favourites interpreted in a personal way. As every build it bespoke and unique, we can, and do, make anything possible.

This beautiful double .450 NE will, we hope, soon be in Africa, participating in a quest to bag all the animals so beautifully engraved on the steel surfaces you see here now.

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.

2 Comments

  • neil mcveigh on April 2, 2024 at 2:20 pm

    The best keeps getting better.I don’t know what else I could beneficially add to the spec of this rifle.Enjoy and use it well!

  • Paul Phelan Professional Hunter and Wildlife Manager on April 3, 2024 at 2:16 am

    It is a wonderful rifle and calibre. .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published