New lease of life for an old Westley Richards

Acquired a nice, if tired, old Westley Richards 12-bore boxlock, non-ejector at the weekend. (Opinions differ as to age: one source suggests 1903 whilst another suggests 1938). After shooting clays with a Miroku over/under, its a bit of a shock to go to a pre-War, double-trigger side-by-side! With 32″ barrels, it looks like an awful lot of metal in front of you!

The previous owner religiously cleaned the barrels but stored the gun butt down, and allowed a large amount of 3-in-1 oil to run back into the woodwork. I am now using a paste of acetone and calcium carbonate powder to slowly extract the oil from the stock and fore-end. The external surfaces had a small amount of rust which has cleaned off easily. The right barrel is unchoked and the left barrel is probably full choke.

The serial number is T11335 and shows that the gun is one of Westley Richards’ T-series. The lack of embellishment and simple lines mark this out as a ‘farmer’s gun’.

Update 1: About 10 minutes after typing the preceding paragraph, suggesting that WR’s T-series were farmers’ guns, I have just come across a reference to a matched pair of 28-bore WR sidelocks made for H.H. The Maharaja of Jind, serial nos. T11195 & T11196 (about 200 lower than my serial number). Looking at the photos of the Maharaja’s 28-bores on the Cabela’s website – engraving, gold inlay, etc. – it is plain that they are not farmers’ guns!!

Update 2: Looking back over this entry I see that my T-series is a boxlock, whilst the guns on the Cabela’s website are sidelocks. Yet more variation within the T-series range.

So what exactly comprises a T-series gun? If you know, please leave a comment.

Westley Richards T-Series 12-bore

Westley Richards T-Series 12-bore

Light external corrosion was easily removed with a cloth

Light external corrosion was easily removed with a cloth

Rear view of closed action. Note top rib extension and tip of Greener-tpe cross bolt visible on left 'breast' (an English gunsmithing term!)

Rear view of closed action. Note top rib extension and tip of Greener-tpe cross bolt visible on left ‘breast’ (an English gunsmithing term!)

Circular engraved tip of Greener-type cross bolt clearly visible

Circular engraved tip of Greener-type cross bolt clearly visible

Light surface corrosion cleaned off easily. Engraving of WESTLEY RICHARDS text is basic; not as well executed as on barrel rib

Light surface corrosion cleaned off easily. Engraving of WESTLEY RICHARDS text is basic; not as well executed as on barrel rib

Barrel rib engraving

Barrel rib engraving

Barrel flats with British (Birmingham) proof marks

Barrel flats with British (Birmingham) proof marks

Light surface corrosion cleaned off easily. Engraving of WESTLEY RICHARDS text is basic; not as well executed as on barrel rib

Light surface corrosion cleaned off easily. Engraving of WESTLEY RICHARDS text is basic; not as well executed as on barrel rib

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About Nigel

Retired law firm project manager based in Jersey, British Channel Islands. When he isn't shooting clay pigeons, he's polishing his collection of kukris or digging his vegetable patch.
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