Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by rookhawk, Jun 10, 2018.
This is an Army Navy Co-Op Society chambered in 404 Jeffery.
The double is a Jeffery and Son chambered in 450 Nitro No 2.
I also have a Westley Richards 425, Holland and Holland 375 mag, Henry Atkin 256 on a MS, Army Navy Co-Op Soc. 303, and Rigby 275.
John you have quite a vintage gun collection based on the photos. If I had enough money, I'd be making you an offer on the Army Navy .404 and the Jeffery double......but unfortunately not today!
Oh, so beautiful!
What does one say? Simply beautiful. I love your taste in firearms. I really admire your collection of working guns.
Gorgeous rifles! Wish I had just one of those!!
John, I love every one of the guns you showed us. Beautiful, functional art.
Not to split hairs, but I don't think that .318 Westley is or ever was a "take down" gun. I think it was a westley removable stock model. There was an escutcheon on the original stock near the forend tip that could be rotated or slid (depending on which they used) and the stock would come off the gun. It would allow the gun to be packed slightly smaller in its case but more importantly, it would allow you to take the corrosive cordite out of the barrel on safari by pouring boiling water down the barreled action to clean it up. You'd then re-oil it and put it back into the stock for the next day's hunt. (they should make guns this way today, especially Alaska guns!)
A WR .318 "Take Down" model would be a nightmare to turn into a non-take down model. There would be a barrel inserted in a bayonet style, 90 degree rotation to lock into the action. The barrel and forend would have a plate affixed to their back, a mating plate on the receiver would connect the two gun pieces, and a plunger would lock the barrel to the action. My WR 318 take down was very accurate so I saw no evidence to suggest the take down diminished repeatable accuracy. However, I would suspect the removable stock models would be even more accurate because the barrel and action always stay together so it is more stable and immune to wear from repeated disassembly.
Thank you for the information reference my 318. The rifle has a short barrel length and I wondered if this corresponds with it originally being a removable stock model. The barrel length is 21.5 inches and I have only seen two other Westley Richards 318 in this barrel length, most that I have seen have had a 26 inch barrel.
A 21.5" barrel length is a very "professional hunter" configuration. Did a PH "bob" the barrels? Not sure, but thats the way they liked them, especially for leopards so it would point faster. Mine had a 26" barrel. Then again, with Westley Richards you could have it any way you wanted it. The sight ramp is definitely a WR authentic piece so if it was bobbed, the original sight ramp was put back. You can call WR and they'll give you the provenance and the original configuration.
Since you love fine guns (and you have several) it would be interesting to know if the latch inlet is still on the barrel inside the forearm. If it is, I bet for less than insane money, you could have the stock removable catch latch put back on. I don't recall how the action was affixed to the stock in a quick release format though?
Its a wonderful gun. I'm not tearing it apart at all, I'm just really interested in their history and modification. There are two of them for sale (not take down) for $6000-$9000 at Cabelas in WV at present if you'd like to see more subjects. There is one on gunsinternational that has a quick release stock if you want to see what one of those types original forend latch looked like. With a 21.5" barrel that gun would come apart into a very compact case of maybe only 22.5" or so. That would be a rather interesting project to undertake. The original cases were unremarkable green cloth with leather edges and green baise lining. A vintage english shotgun case would be easy to find of the correct design and relining to fit your rifle would be straightforward...if you got the stock back into quick release configuration.
This was my 318 WR take down for comparison of a take down barrel design compared to a "removable stock" model.
Lovely things John.
The 318 WR is a wonderful creation in all its forms. My Westley Richards take down is in the same configuration as Rook's, but it also has a factory 21.5 inch barrel. The ledger has no indication of the original buyer, but it is equipped with what the folks at Abercrombie & Fitch assure me is a pre- WWII A&F side mount. When I purchased it, 7/8's inch rings were in place. The folks at A&F changed them to one-inch. I like to think some informed American student of rifles purchased it sometime before the great crash in '29. It is of somewhat indifferent accuracy, but a joy to carry.
Westley Richards 318 Express Take Down by Red Leg posted Jun 18, 2018 at 11:45 PM
My other one is also a pre-war model, but this one is by Cogswell & Harrison and in true "rifle" configuration with a wonderful 26.5 inch barrel. It is a true MOA rifle. The amazing thing is that it was built around a P-14 Enfield action. Only the English could take one of those big ugly brutes and turn it into such a graceful and elegant thing. It barely weighs 7.5 pounds with the scope attached.
WR 318 Cogswell & Harrison by Red Leg posted Jun 18, 2018 at 11:46 PM
You know what I love about fine rifles like all 4 of these 318 Westley Richards rifles, gents? Unlike American rifles that become utterly worthless if anything has been molested/modified/enhanced (talking to you pre-64 winchester collectors), not the case with fine British rifles. Each one of these rifles has had some form of improvement done to them at the highest quality. Because the work is of utmost quality and lends improvement to the piece, there is literally no value loss to the gun.
-Proper 1" or 30mm mounts in a claw, pivot or side mount configuration? No problem.
-Winchester 70 type swing safety for lower scope install? No problem.
-Replacement of original pad with a proper Silvers pad? No issue.
-Additional hand rubbed oil finish added to the original stock? Expected, no self-respecting gentleman didn't keep the guns in fine service at all times.
That's why I love fine vintage guns, they can be conservatively improved by best workmanship to make them ready for modern use at no ill-effect to their intrinsic worth. They are meant to be used, have been used, and will continue to be "functional art" in perpetuity.
Exactly! Why I have such a hard time paying the collector's premium on a Parker or Winchester. We treat them like coins in a numismatic collection - percentages of original condition. They are no longer fine firearms. Oh, and guilty on the swing safety. The old flag worked with the 7/8's rings and something like a Lyman Alaskan.
Totally. I remember learning the ropes of collecting from two world experts on pre-64 winchesters, especially model 21 shotguns. First thing they taught me was that they and many other top-top experts have been fooled on original finish...counterfitters are that good. The second thing I learned was that the art counterfeit world has a list of every serial number for every known winchester in the records at Cody. The third thing I learned is that the counterfeiters would buy Model 21s that wouldn't letter (translation: the serial number is legit, there is no build sheet in the archives) and they'd make a $3000 plain-jane gun into a grade 6 engraved gun and sell it as such. And the experts can't tell the difference....and there is no way to disprove it because they buy serial numbers that can't be disproven via Cody. That was when I had enough of American gun collecting. Seeing the millions of dollars of fake colts out there also was enough for me.
But a British made vintage rifle or shotgun? It's present condition speaks for itself. There is no market in counterfeiting them as the labor exceeds the value of the finished work. (except maybe small bore rigbys on military mauser actions...I see fakes) I like to look at a gun, look at its present quality, the "rightness" of the product as a whole, and buy what I love. Basically, owning, buying, or collecting fine British rifles does not take very much cunning and its pretty hard to be taken if you have a basic understanding of them. (versus American guns where experts are duped every week making $50,000 mistakes)
Hi — I’ve lurked for a while but signed up specifically to enter this thread. I love hunting with vintage rifles. I don’t have beauties like the ones shown here, but what they lack in looks they make up in history. My go-to hunter is a sporterized Springfield 1903 made 100 years ago, still with the original barrel but topped with a Leupold VX-II scope. It’s deadly accurate, and I’ve taken whitetail, hogs, axis and one black bear with it. I also have a Steyr-Mannlicher 95/30 in 8x56R with a Lyman peep sight that’s great for hogs, and my “new” baby is a sporterized Oviedo Mauser 93 in the original 7x57 mm with a Williams peep sight.
The idea of using former military rifles as sporting arms appeals to me; I’ve also owned sporter versions of the Mauser 98 and Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk 1.
What a great informative thread this turned out to be!!!
John, Redleg, Rookhawk, some really beautiful rifles that you have.
I can’t agree more that the work quality on the rifles of yesteryear are far superior to the new ones. In April I attended the Huntex show in JHB, and I was horrified at the build quality of some new plastic Sauers, Mausers etc. Ditto for the wood inletting on much more expensive rifles.
Most of my rifles are many moons older than I am, and strangely enough I’m yet to find a well looked after, stock production rifle from the 50s that has let me down ito feeding, accuracy and reliability. It is indeed these old workhorses, nl the FNs, A & B-grade Mausers, Brno Mod21s, Pre-64 Winchesters and the likes that resembles the best value for money.
Likewise for the old Swarovski Habicht, Zeiss Diavari and Diatal and S&B scopes from the 60’s onwards, given they were well looked after.
I will say however, to get the most out of your vintage bolt-action or double rifles and shotguns it is good to have a few new ones in the safe to “abuse”.
Its a waste of the rifle’s value to shoot out a .250 Savage Kurtz culling at night, or chasing bushpigs in the sugar caine or thickets, with a London best double.
And then there is the calibre issue. Life would me much more dull if we couldn’t still keep the 7x57s, 8x60s, .318 and all the old big bores alive, that are simply not available in modern weapons.
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