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British Shooting Show 2024 - Calling Apprentices!

Nowhere do the concepts of sporting equipment, engineering and art collide, quite like they do in the gunmaking arena. Not just any gunmaking; ‘best’ gunmaking.

The British cult of the ‘best gun’ has its roots in the late 1700s, when pioneers like John and Joseph Manton elevated the blacksmithing skills of what was then quite a rough trade and began building sporting guns and rifles of the very highest quality and finish.

That was in the era of the flintlock, which seems far removed from today’s powerful and accurate centre-fire rifles and shotguns but the principles of construction apply now, as they did when our firm’s founder, William Westley Richards, stated his mission ‘to build as good a gun as can be made’.

That simple phrase encapsulates our company ethos today and every craftsman and woman we train and employ strives to contribute their part to the process and takes pride in the finished product: A product that carries a price tag in the tens, sometimes the hundreds, of thousands of pounds.

Westley Richards guns and rifles are bought, and used, by royalty, aristocrats and captains of industry all over the globe, as they have been for two hundred years.

To qualify as a gun-maker of the highest level requires aptitude, dedication, curiosity, passion and ambition. Here at Westley Richards we can teach you everything you need to join our world-leading team.

The term ‘world-class’ is over-used, especially with regard to sportsmen, but in the world of gunmaking there is no better accolade than say you have been apprenticed to a best English gun-maker, of which none are held in higher regard than Westley Richards.

The skills our people learn at these benches are a passport to a fulfilling, lucrative and elite level of craftsmanship that few other trades can rival.

After an initial induction period of three months, our apprentices are channeled into a five-year scheme of hands-on learning in the factory, as well as attending associated college courses. After one year, depending on preference and aptitude for more mechanical or more artistic tasks, apprentices will be assigned to a speciality trade within the gunmaking team to learn properly.

Over time, our qualified specialists cross-train so they can learn all the skills required to action, joint, stock and finish a gun or rifle.

In order to replenish the relatively small number of specialist ‘best’ gunmakers within the trade, Westley Richards is currently seeking a small number of new apprentices to join our Central Birmingham team.


The British Shooting show in February will give anyone interested the opportunity to visit the Westley Richards stand, see some of our gun-makers in action and talk to them about the life and work of a modern gun-maker.

We welcome motivated school leavers, as well as more mature individuals, especially those with a background in engineering, art, wood or metal working, or any trade that has developed some level of practical, artistic or engineering aptitude.

Come and talk to us, see the amazing guns and rifles we make from raw materials like steel and walnut. Gunmaking is not for everyone but it may be for you.

Tickets for the British Shooting Show are available from here -

The Explora Blog is the world’s premier online journal for field sports enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, conservationists and admirers of bespoke gunmaking, fine leather goods and timeless safari clothes. Each month Westley Richards publishes up to 8 blog posts on a range of topics with an avid readership totalling 500,000+ page views per year.

Blog post topics include: Finished custom rifles and bespoke guns leaving the Westley Richards factory; examples of heritage firearms with unique designs and celebrated owners like James Sutherland and Frederick Courtenay Selous; the latest from the company pre-owned guns and rifles collection; interviews with the makers from the gun and leather factory; new season safari wear and country clothing; recent additions to our luxury travel bags and sporting leather goodsrange; time well spent out in the field; latest news in the sporting world; and key international conservation stories.

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