By the age of 19 Selous was in Africa where he was granted permission by Lobengule, King of the Matabele to hunt within his vast domains. This was still the era of the large bore muzzle loader and Selous came to typify the young, tough individuals who sought a very dangerous trade hunting elephant and other game for ivory and meat.
The coming years saw Selous hunt extensively throughout central Africa attaining many specimens for private collections and the British Natural History Museum. He was held in such high regard that in later life a bronze bust of Selous was mounted in the NHM where it can still be seen today as you walk up the grand stairway.
His knowledge of Africa led to his appointment as 'guide' to the British South Africa Company which was mounting an expedition into Mashonaland. He would fight in two Matabele wars during the 1890's before his much celebrated visit with none other than President Theodore Roosevelt during his epic safari of 1909-10. The two would become great friends, as they were equally keen on conservation as they were hunting.
With the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Selous joined up to serve in East Africa as a Captain in the 25th Royal Fusiliers. Having distinguished himself in 1916 receiving the DSO for his actions, he was killed by sniper fire a year later at a place called Beho Beho in what is now the Selous Game Reserve.
Selous was unique in that he saw the use of large bore muzzle loading rifles, through black powder breech-loaders, to the ultimate in modern cordite repeating rifles.
The .425 purchased by Selous was most likely the last rifle ever acquired by him. He wrote a testimonal for Westley Richards on 4th July 1912 stating:
"I can only give your .425 Magazine Rifle the highest praise. Had I only possessed such a rifle in my old elephant hunting days I am sure that I could have killed three or four times as many Elephants as I actually laid low."
The rifle remains in exceptional condition to this day retaining most of its original finish. How the rifle came to be in the hands of its current owner is one of those great pieces of fortune and outright luck, a story we will tell another day. In truth the rifle could not have gone to a more dedicated fan of the company or a more genuine hunter.
The 'Selous' rifle has been very kindly loaned to Westley Richards to display at the 2020 Safari Conventions in the USA. Please pay a visit to our stand to view one of the most iconic rifles owned by without doubt one of the greatest big game hunters of all time.
Dallas Safari Convention 9th To 12th January 2020
Safari Club International 5th To 8th February 2020
vance daigle on December 30, 2019 at 2:54 pm
Great story of a rifle that belonged to a great hunter...indeed. I happen to know the gentleman that this rifle belongs now. A wonderful chap that is a bit of a modern day Selous in my eyes...plenty Pluck!!!
A guy I am proud to call a friend.
Peter Buckley. on January 1, 2020 at 3:18 am
What an absolute Gem of a classic with monumental provenance once belonging to such an iconic hunter !!
Fabulous rifle, Fabulous provenance with abundant historical evidence, just Love it.
Am now waiting on tenterhooks to read how it’s present owner acquired this historic rifle, it certainly must have been a life changing find for such a supporter of “Westley Richards”.
Photography again stunning.
Peter Buckley. on January 1, 2020 at 7:04 am
Just as an aside, the original photograph at the very top of ‘Selous’ seated with his falling block rifle, did l read somewhere it’s a ‘Holland’ ‘Woodward’ collaboration or am l barking (mad) up the wrong tree, just a query out of interest ?
David Hodo on January 1, 2020 at 11:31 am
There is an article on this rifle written by Simon. He was attending the Las Vegas Antique Arms Show, saw the rifle for sale, but didn't know or realize it had been the F.C. Selous rifle. He apparently discovered this fact overnight. When he returned the next day with intentions to buy the rifle for W.R., it had been sold. I thought this article was in the Explora of Jan/Feb or March 2016, but am unable to find it. If you are familiar with this story and where it is located, please post it, or a link. It is a great story and like everything W.R. does, it is over the top!!!
See you in Dallas.
William L Jones on May 8, 2020 at 4:55 pm
Wish I had the 425. I feel fortunate to have the 461 Gibbs and the 256 By H&H plus the Selous walking stick giving to Selous bey Cecil John Rhodes. The 425 as pictured is a real special find. Keep making your wonderful rifles. Best, Bill Jones
Ron Dallaire on September 16, 2021 at 11:03 am
Awesome rifle made for an awesome hunter!! I am glad that this rifle is owned by a true hunter & hopefully will get a chance to again do what it was made to do! Most of these classic fire arms turn up to being closet queens & I hate to see this! As a collector of both classic guns & rifles I try to give them the respect they deserve- I use them but also look after them! Take 1 hunting & u will soon be hooked as I am!!