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Westley Richards - Making the Impossible Look Commonplace

The sable and the impala so beautifully engraved on the underside of this .318 Accelerated Express are clues as to its intended hunting sphere in the years to come. This rifle is another classic Westley Richards medium game double which bears inspection of every detail.

Not just a perfect modern iteration of the company's best known model, it transports nineteenth century aesthetics and developmental genius into the hands of the twenty-first century hunter.

Regulated for 250-grain bullets, loaded into the traditional brass bottle-neck case especially made by Kynamco for Westley Richards, this wonderful medium game rifle is again viable, after decades during which the world considered the .318 cartridge obsolete.

Westley Richards customers know better and we remain the only company on earth making rifles in .318 Accelerated Express. Any reader wondering why should consider the accolades it received when introduced, while King Edward VII was still on the throne.

"I have shot for 30 years with rifles of every bore and kind and as far as I can judge, this is one of the best killing weapons I have ever used",  wrote one happy customer.


From the outset, it proved powerful and accurate; delivering 2,418 ft/lbs of energy at 200 yards and still travelling at 2,088 fps at that distance from the muzzle.

A 250 grain bullet with 50 grains of Cordite behind it would pierce a 7/16" steel plate at 100 yards with either  a solid or a soft-nose loaded.

We delivered this rifle with 200 new rounds, setting it up for a lifetime of safaris.

Weighing 9lbs 2oz, this is no heavier than an equivalent magazine rifle. With 25" barrels, a classic Westley Richards quarter rib and a manual safety, it is set for action.

The aesthetic is classic, with a scroll back action, Taylor-patent, hand-detachable locks (with a spare pair supplied in their own case) pistol-grip stock with grip-trap cap, strap-over-comb and cheek-piece. The single trigger is selective and all the major components colour case hardened.

The dark Turkish exhibition grade walnut stock is deeply figured, without being fussy and the glossy blacking of barrels and furniture blends nicely with the dark streaks in the wood and the blue hues within the case colours.

In addition to the two striking game scenes, the metalwork is fully engraved with best scroll work. This extends the full length of the quarter rib and beyond.

Gold is used sparingly, featuring only on the rear 'V' sight, the serial number on the guard strap and the word 'SAFE'.

Unusually, this rifle was ordered without a case. For transporting a hunting rifle to Africa for a safari, airlines require an approved flight case, with suitable locks. So, for many orders the case is made more for presentation purposes than practical ones.

This customer is clearly a serious hunter for whom an expensive case might seem unwarranted expenditure.


Serial Number 20437 left the bench in January 2024, a full 118 years after the .318 Accelerated Express was first introduced.

It is something of a tribute to the ingenuity of Leslie B. Taylor and his team of late Victorian gunmakers that the rifle and the cartridge he was selling to his appreciative customers all those years ago is still seen by some as the ideal medium game combination for an African safari.

This customer specified a leather-covered rubber recoil pad and integral sling eyes in the bottom rib and the stock. We supplied a 2" dark green canvas & mid tan sling to travel with the rifle to its delivery destination.

These medium weight double rifles have such a purposeful look about them. They really do handle like perfectly balanced shotguns, enabling lightning-fast, yet controlled, target engagement and confident, quick shooting.

Of course, they eject and re-load just like a shotgun too, making the action as instinctive to a regular bird or clay Shot as checking his watch or buttoning his shirt.

A gunmaker said recently, when discussing what we do; "nobody really understands just how hard it is to make beautiful guns and rifles like this".

The raft of accompanying paperwork that travels with each rifle during its passage from commission to delivery is bewildering: parts numbers, breech centres, convergence formulae, chamber depth, headspace, rim-cutting, gap-setting under barrel flats, as well as countless other minute calibrations which have to be perfect, in order for the finished rifle to pass inspection.

The diagrams, technical drawings and check-lists required to pass the rifle on at each stage of construction would surprise anyone outside the gun trade.

The customer only sees a beautiful rifle that operates instinctively and feels 'right' in every way, and inspects a paper target from the range, which shows two bullet holes 3/4" apart at 50 yards, made by firing Right-Left barrels in turn.

That, after all, is the mark of any professional at the top of his game - to make the impossible look commonplace.

This .318, like every beautiful Westley Richards rifle that leaves Pritchett Street, looks like it grew organically from walnut and steel into the creature is it today.

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.



  • Paul Phelan Professional Hunter and Wildlife Manager on April 22, 2024 at 9:10 am

    I would love to hunt with it !

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