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If anything typifies Westley Richards' gunmaking design, then it must surely be the Hand Detachable Lock or 'Droplock' action.  Discovered as much by accident as intention the removable (hence detachable) seven part lock mechanism was, and still is, gunmaking in its very simplest form.  Patented in 1897, only the look of the lock has really evolved to distinguish that of the shotgun from that of the double rifle. The shotgun lock has an integral hammer with striker (illustrated above) whereas the rifle lock uses a separate striker.



The ease with which the lock can be removed and cleaned has made it a stalwart amongst big game hunters from the dawn of the nitro age.  Today, it remains our most popular action design in both double rifles and shotguns.  As you would expect every lock is proportionate in size to the relative calibre or gauge all the way through from .410 to 4 gauge, and .243 to .700/.577 nitro express.



  • Gordon Kinder on November 9, 2013 at 12:46 am

    8 November 2013

    Dear Sir:

    This is to request the completion date for a 12-bore Westley Richards hand-detachable boxlock gun, serial number 15744, which currently is on offer with Bonhams Auctioneers, in their December sale. Your website used to very conveniently provide the specific year of manufacture, but it now provides but a broad range of years, which does not answer this very basic question. I collect Westley Richards guns though only those classified in the United States as "antique firearms," which is any gun manufactured before 1 January 1899. Thus, the year of completion is especially important when I take a decision to purchase.

    I know you have a research service that provides extended details of a gun's build but I do not require anything more than the year of completion, so the rest would be superfluous, and most particularly since I do not own the gun. Nor will bid on it if not pre-1899.

    I would very much appreciate knowing the completion date for serial number 15744, in order to take an informed purchase decision. Thank you for whatever information you can provide.


    Gordon Kinder

    • Simon Clode on November 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      I will find an exact date next week but the gun is pre 1899 with that serial number. We will be correcting the database on the website shortly by the way!


      • Gordon Kinder on December 2, 2013 at 11:47 am

        2 December 2013

        Mr. Clode:

        Thank for your response. I have not revisited this site since my inquiry, which is the reason for my belated thank you. I look forward to the more exact date of completion for the gun bearing serial number 15744, but just knowing that it was completed pre-1899 is a great relief, and that information will allow me to bid on this gun on the Friday, 6 December.

        The website is not yet responding as before, in that it is but providing a range of years and in so doing is not informing the inquirer of the actual year of completion for a given serial number associated with a particular gun, but anticipate that it will be functioning correctly soon.

        Best regards,

        Gordon Kinder

  • djama on April 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    I wanted to know if you sell the cap which helps to cocks the locks . if not, what do you advise me to use instead
    thank you

    • Simon Clode on April 22, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      We do sell a tool to cock the locks, we have a version which we put in the cases with horn handle and brass blade. We can also supply a basic version with wooden handle and copper cocking blade. Alternatively you can use a piece of wood or softer metal, copper or brass. I have been meaning to do a video of "how to cock the locks" but have not got round to it yet. Let me know if you need help.


      • djama on April 25, 2014 at 9:51 am

        thank you for your reply, do you have pictures of these tools, it will help me perhaps be understood, because I'm not sure I understood everything

  • djama on April 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

    I have another request, would you allow me to use some photos for my article. I will be grateful.

  • djama on May 14, 2014 at 5:18 am

    I wanted to know if you have pictures of the tools that helps to arm locks and explain how it works
    thank you

    • Simon Clode on May 14, 2014 at 6:12 am

      I will be doing a full post on this shortly. I have been travelling in USA and now back in UK will photograph and explain this process soon.

      Thank You.

  • Gordon Kinder on July 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    5 July 2014

    Dear Sir:

    What is the completion date for your Westley Richards 12-bore gun bearing serial number "B6327"? Your on-line site "Gun Histories" page still provides just a broad range of estimated manufacture dates for a gun or rifles, and not a single "year" it previously provided the inquirer, before the site was completely updated. However, the inquiry system can provide no information for the aforementioned serial number. Once again, the aforementioned gun is currently on offer the last day of the current month with an auction house, and I am hopeful that serial number B6327, which is in excellent condition, is of pre-1899 manufacture. I collect solely pre-1899 completed guns.

    Also, let me take this opportunity to ask a second question: Were your late nineteenth century guns rib-engraved "Highest Quality" meant to be a special quality range, or but similar to or describes a gun we would generally term "First Quality"? I have a fine, circa 1882, 10-bore gun (Apparently built for a "J.J. Gore, Chicago, Ill.," which provenance is engraved on its escutcheon, who was an early and successful Chicago area capitalist and recognized sportsman.) so marked, serial number 13818, of exceptional quality overall, which is 100% engraved with fine English scroll and game scene vignettes.

    Thank you for your response.

    Best regards,

    Gordon Kinder

    • Simon Clode on July 6, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      Thank you for your enquiry. The website gun dating is done by the book and as we have many books it is not possible to put a totally accurate database online, well it is possible but we don't have the resources, labour wise, to create such a database. As such we are able to give an indication which I think is better than any other maker does and we offer a service to send a copy of the entry in the gun books etc. I am sure you are familiar with this, it involves a fee!
      If you just want to get a date then it is best to call the office and see if they will look the number up whilst you are on the phone and give you a date, under normal circumstances they will. It will be a matter if they are serving customers and are near the record books.

      With regard your second question, it would have meant our "Highest Quality" gun at that time, higher than 1st!

      Thank You.

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