After a couple of rounds of skeet with the Miroku last Saturday, including a 20/25, which I felt was enough to be going on with, I thought it might be fun to try a round with the Westley Richards (see earlier Westley-related entry).
At this stage it has to be admitted that the Westley is hardly the perfect skeet gun:
- auto-safety, typical of a game gun
- double trigger
- right barrel is Cylinder (no problem there) but the left barrel is choked somewhere around 3/4 to Full
- comb of the stock is slightly high for me
- long barrels (32″ but feel longer)
The auto safety isn’t too bad, you just need to get into the routine of ‘close action, safety off, shoulder gun’. To my surprise I didn’t overlook the safety once during the round.
The double trigger only lost me one clay through not getting off a second shot at all, although there were several very late second shots on the pairs as I pulled the front trigger a second time before rapidly changing to the rear trigger!
With the left barrel being tightly choked, you need to zap the first bird of a pair early with the right/open barrel on stations 1 & 7 and quickly take the second, incoming bird before it gets too close and you have to get too surgical with the choked barrel.
At 40 yds the 3/4 choke reduces the spread of shot by about 30% and I presume that the same reduction of spread broadly applies at closer distances. In the event, my reactions weren’t fast enough to guarantee the ‘hit the second bird well out’ scenario (understatement!) but I did manage to hit the pair on station 7 (pretty surprising, given how close the incoming clay must have been!).
As far as the length of barrels (and potential for overswing) is concerned, I was so engrossed with not forgetting to change triggers that I never noticed any problems in that area.
The height of the comb (too high for me) gives more of a trap than a skeet sight picture and, unless I am careful, I shall be missing high (as well as front, back or whatever!).
All in all, good fun (if not an astounding score – about 10/25 if memory serves) but the Wesley & I will be back again. It’s a nice old piece and it deserves some action, although a bit of ‘walked-up’ along a hedgerow might be more appropriate!