425 Westley Richards

Tintin

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Maybe triggered by the latest One caliber away from contentment type thread, I find myself daydreaming about one day, maybe, having a .425 Westley Richards built on a 98. :unsure:

Most previous discussions here (and elsewhere) about the cartridge and rifles inevitably include comments about feeding.

Some online content suggests reliable feeding from staggered magazines has been possible with 'normal' feed work, follower, rails etc, ie not using the WR spring loaded lips.

I've reviewed the original patent for WR's lips. One day I may work up the courage (and $s) to show this to the gunsmith. :ROFLMAO:

Has anyone here built a 425WR rifle incorporating the WR lips?

Or know of such a project being completed?

Anyone had success with reliable feeding without the WR lips?

Any other input from those who have built or used rifles chambered for the 425 WR?

WRlips_dwg.jpg
 

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Given all the creativity and know-how among the gun-building profession, there may indeed be examples of a good-functioning .425 WR without the clips. What I will share is a personal conversation about the .425 that I had with Simon Clode, who was leading WR at that time. I had lived in UK for a while and got to know him. He was a very good guy and a very honest. When asked for insight and advice he gave the answer to you straight and each answer was backed by reasoning and extensive experience. He personally advised using .425s that ONLY had the clips.

It's a still-great classic cartridge and the good guys are WR and getting the most out of it with their new builds. Good luck with your project.
 
yes to both. I know a guy who finished a rifle using an unaltered factory Commercial Mauser made for the 425 - no clips - said it fed like grease through a goose.

IS Sweetman from England (former W.R. and Purdey) not long ago showed pics of a 425 he made that used the clips.
 
Thanks @Mark Audino & @baxterb

Mark - what a wonderful opportunity that was for you, getting to know Simon Clode.
 
Given all the creativity and know-how among the gun-building profession, there may indeed be examples of a good-functioning .425 WR without the clips. What I will share is a personal conversation about the .425 that I had with Simon Clode, who was leading WR at that time. I had lived in UK for a while and got to know him. He was a very good guy and a very honest. When asked for insight and advice he gave the answer to you straight and each answer was backed by reasoning and extensive experience. He personally advised using .425s that ONLY had the clips.

It's a still-great classic cartridge and the good guys are WR and getting the most out of it with their new builds. Good luck with your project.


You nailed Simon perfectly. I interacted with him on a grip-cap trap idea once and his response was "very innovative, but our customers won't want it because they stick with traditional designs." I appreciated the no BS advice.
 
I had to look this cartridge up... very interesting. Brass would probably be a bigger problem than building the rifle.

-Matt
 
Tintin and baxterb, here's a story about Simon that you would appreciate. I was planning an elephant hunt in Botswana, and I called Simon about buying a WR double rifle. He responded by giving me his point of view of modern-day elephant hunting. His advice was that TROPHY-sized elephant being taken across Africa (the 1990s at that point) was very different than elephant hunting during the Golden Years of safari. He offered that big tuskers were few and far between but still out there. But to the extent that I could be lucky to find a bull of that class, I should be prepared for anything and everything - meaning that I might not get the opportunity for a classic close-in stalk and brain shot. His contention was that a trophy bull might be an outlier in a group distance-wise and guarded by some askari bulls. His view was that a chance shot I might get on such a desirable bull might be at a distance well beyond accurate placement of a big slug from a double. So, his advice was to skip the double and get a good bolt gun.

So, instead of buying a double from him, I used a bolt gun that I already owned, a .450 Rigby. He could easily have convinced me to buy one of the un-messed-with doubles he had for sale, but he took the high road. I always appreciated that. Simon was and honest advisor.

The upshot of the story was that I saw some big bulls well out of range of a double rifle and eventually took a 70x70 bull with the .450 Rigby.
 
I had to look this cartridge up... very interesting. Brass would probably be a bigger problem than building the rifle.
Hey Matt - Brass is the easy part, Bertram brass and projectiles. (y)
 
Hey Matt - Brass is the easy part, Bertram brass and projectiles. (y)

I thought Bertram had gone out of business? I used to use their 505 Gibbs brass but the company disappeared years ago (some legal troubles if memory serves). Are they back in full swing?

-Matt
 
Hey Matt,

Bertram are still very much in business. IIRC there may have been a change in their USA distributor at some stage?

Mark
 
Quality Cartridge made a run of 425 WR a few years ago I bought a couple hundred as I found the Bertram brass horrible. Also you can make it from 404 Jeffrey, which I also did. My rifle is a Montana 99 factory made.
 
A close friend (and former employee) of mine by the name of Jabbar Mollah owns a vintage 1938 made Westley Richards Mauser in .425 Nitro Express caliber (with the original 6 round extended drop box magazine). He’s hunted 5 times in Africa with that rifle so far, and it’s served him extremely well. His rifle is a best grade variant with the feeding clips. He hand loads his own ammunition, by using Belgian Wim Degol bullets (410Gr starmantel soft points & 410Gr round nosed steel jacketed FMJ solids) and old Berdan primed Kynoch cases (which he has annealed and modified to accept boxer primers by drilling flash holes). It’s proven to be extremely effective (in Jabbar’s hands) for even frontal brain shots on bull elephants and end-on-end shots on Cape buffalo.

I don’t recommend anybody to ever use a rifle in this caliber without the feeding clips. The saying goes that the devil is in the details. Without the feeding clips, the rebated rim of this cartridge will cause jams when the operator cycles the bolt quickly during high stress situations. Westley Richards used to offer a budget model in .425 Westley Richards which used to be designated as the “White Hunter” model. These rifles omitted the feeding clips, in an ill conceived attempt to cut corners & save costs. A consignment of these rifles were initially bought by the Rhodesian Game Department for issuing to their game rangers... who learnt the hard way that cycling the bolt very quickly WILL eventually lead to the rifles jamming (often during the most life threatening situations). 4 game rangers were actually killed by irate animals (two tuskless cow elephants, a bull elephant and a rhinoceros) when their Westley Richards .425 Nitro Express “White Hunter” rifles jammed. The game department quickly donated these rifles to theTsetse Fly Control staff working in the Rhodesian corridors, who immediately began to report similar mishaps (as documented by the late Oli Coltman). These mishaps caused plenty of criticism to be misdirected towards the .425 Westley Richards cartridge itself, whereas the real culprit on the “White Hunter” rifles was the absence of the feeding clips. Indeed, those who owned Best Grade Westley Richards rifles in this caliber never reported a jamming problem. Because these rifles came equipped with the feeding clips.

I don’t recommend rifles in this caliber, unless they are built for you by Westley Richards themselves. Even accomplished master gunsmiths such as Joe Smithson, John Boliger, Reto Buehler and Joel Dorleac express hesitation when approached to build rifles in .425 Westley Richards. Even the gunmakers are Holland & Holland and James Purdey & Sons have expressed such hesitation.
 
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Maybe triggered by the latest One caliber away from contentment type thread, I find myself daydreaming about one day, maybe, having a .425 Westley Richards built on a 98. :unsure:

Most previous discussions here (and elsewhere) about the cartridge and rifles inevitably include comments about feeding.

Some online content suggests reliable feeding from staggered magazines has been possible with 'normal' feed work, follower, rails etc, ie not using the WR spring loaded lips.

I've reviewed the original patent for WR's lips. One day I may work up the courage (and $s) to show this to the gunsmith. :ROFLMAO:

Has anyone here built a 425WR rifle incorporating the WR lips?

Or know of such a project being completed?

Anyone had success with reliable feeding without the WR lips?

Any other input from those who have built or used rifles chambered for the 425 WR?

View attachment 566186
I have 2 Westley Richards 425 bolt action rifles .
Maybe triggered by the latest One caliber away from contentment type thread, I find myself daydreaming about one day, maybe, having a .425 Westley Richards built on a 98. :unsure:

Most previous discussions here (and elsewhere) about the cartridge and rifles inevitably include comments about feeding.

Some online content suggests reliable feeding from staggered magazines has been possible with 'normal' feed work, follower, rails etc, ie not using the WR spring loaded lips.

I've reviewed the original patent for WR's lips. One day I may work up the courage (and $s) to show this to the gunsmith. :ROFLMAO:

Has anyone here built a 425WR rifle incorporating the WR lips?

Or know of such a project being completed?

Anyone had success with reliable feeding without the WR lips?

Any other input from those who have built or used rifles chambered for the 425 WR?

View attachment 566186
I have 2 Westley Richards bolt action rifles . No. 39359 made in 1913 . A best rifle with extended magazines . A bayonet type take down rifle . Very accurate at my buff hunting ranges of circa 25 - 75 metres. No feeding lips - it has been and is well used . Zero feeding problems ever . The other is another best rifle No. 43267 . This is a best grade scoped rifle . A flush magazine with no feeding lips . Again zero feeding issues . I have a 404J ( Mauser Type A - Oberndorff Magnum ) and a new Rigby Big Game 416 . In my opinion the 425s are more comfortable to shoot and equally devastating . I reload 410 grain Woodleigh soft nose , Bertram brass , ADI 2209 powder. At 2300 -2350 fps these things are deadly on water buff . I am a huge fan of the 425 . And I adore my 318 WR .
 
Thanks @Hunter-Habib - sadly, my circumstances are unlikely to ever see Westley Richards (nor the other makers you mention) building me a .425. Do you have any pictures of Jabbar's .425 you could share?

But the cartridge stills holds an allure for me.

@PCC600 - your first hand experience of non-lip reliability is heartening.

Would love to see some images of your brace of .425s if you're happy to share.

I've long had a hankering to have a take down rifle and am keen to learn more of the the various approaches that makers took to take downs. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the bayonet type mechanism on 39359.
 
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Thanks @Hunter-Habib - sadly, my circumstances are unlikely to ever see Westley Richards (nor the other makers you mention) building me a .425. Do you have any pictures of Jabbar's .425 you could share?

But the cartridge stills holds an allure for me.

@PCC600 - your first hand experience of non-lip reliability is heartening.

Would love to see some images of your brace of .425s if you're happy to share.

I've long had a hankering to have a take down rifle and am keen to learn more of the the various approaches that makers took to take downs. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the bayonet type mechanism on 39359.
Tintin, I have just dropped Jabbar a message. He is currently in Bangkok, Thailand until Wednesday. He told me that he will take some photographs of the rifle by Thursday and send them to me.

I have been on safari with Jabbar more than a few times over the years. I recall one Cape buffalo hunt in 1980, where the rifle can be seen very clearly in a photograph that we took. It's in one of the albums in my study. Please give me one or two days' time to locate it. When my daughter next comes to visit me, she will assist me in looking for it.
 
That would great @Hunter-Habib - if it's not too much trouble. (y)

Many thanks in advance.
 
My two 425 WR rifles. No.39359 from 1913 is the bottom rifle and No. 43267 is the upper rifle . Both are best grade rifles . 39359 is a takedown with 5 distinct steps in the barrel profile to reduce weight . It also has a milled barrel finish to reduce glare . No. 43267 is from 1958 . It had virtually never been fired when I bought it at a Holts auction in 2012 . They both shoot brilliantly.

IMG_2417.jpeg
 
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I'm a fan (Fanboy) of Westley Richards, was shooting my old WR Steyr 1893 in 375Ex yesterday & loading more rounds today, I have a collection of 318WR cartridges, a couple of .425WR rounds & collect LT tipped bullets in many calibers.

Did want a .318WR rifle but ended up taking the easier route in 338/06 (excellent cartridge) & a .425WR was a dream but went .458Win as a work gun.

The .318WR bullets were a little problem & the rebated Rim on the .425WR were maybe a potential problem (Also affording one) if I was to build one I think I would again take the easier route of using the .404 case but leaving the full size rim on the case & having the bolt face opened to suit !

I also think if in a pinch cases can be made from the Ultra Mag family as they & the short mags were developed from the .404 Jeff ?

Beautiful rifles there @PCC600, congrats on them !
 

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