Westley Richards 1869 Improved Martini 500/450 2 1/4″ Case Rifle, Antique

SOLD FOR: $1775

LSB#: 210722TS99

Make: Westley Richards

Model: 1869 Improved Martini

Serial Number: 1134

Year of Manufacture: 1869-1894

Caliber: We believe the barrel is chambered for a form of the .500/450 cartridge with a 2 1/4″ case. The chamber should be cast to confirm prior to firing.

Action Type: Single Shot Lever Operated Falling Block

Markings: The top of the barrel’s chamber ring is marked “RIFLE / 2 1/4 CASE” and the left side with “1134”. The top of the barrel in front of the rear sight is marked “HENRY’S PATENT RIFLING”. The left side of the receiver is marked with “WESTLEY RICHARDS PATENT  / 170 NEW BOND ST. LONDON”. The safety lever is marked “PATENT”. There is a British proof mark on the left of the barrel by the serial marking.

Barrel Length:
 30 1/2”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade dovetailed to a base fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a folding ladder-style sight presenting a “U”-notch when folded down and with a “V”-notched slider for use when the ladder is folded up. The left of the base is marked from 1-4 for use when the ladder is down. The right of the ladder is marked from 5-10 and the left is marked from 1-5, with very different adjustment increments on the two sides, possibly for use with different loads?

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece smooth walnut with a nosecap, barrel band with sling swivel, straight wrist, straight comb, swing swivel in the belly and steel buttplate with trapdoor storage compartment. The trapdoor has been made from a bicentennial half-dollar. The forend is slotted for a cleaning rod, but none is present. There are scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There is a more notable scrape on the left of the forend behind the barrel band. There is a loss along the edge of the cleaning rod slot. There is a repaired break in the buttstock across the left side with fills on each side of the wrist, on each side below the comb, and one more further back on the left side. The LOP measures 13 3/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The buttplate has scattered wear and surface oxidation with some areas gone to a moderate-dark patina. Overall, the stocks are in Good condition as refinished and repaired Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Refinished

Bore Condition: The bore is light gray with well defined Henry-style rifling. There is minor erosion scattered through the bore with infrequent minor pitting, mostly toward the muzzle-end.

Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 50% of its current metal finish. Remaining finish is mottled with wear and areas gone to a light patina. The surfaces show treatment with cold blue. There are scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches, most notable on the barrel in front of the knox and at the rear of the breech-block. There is infrequent surface erosion and some light surface oxidation. The action shows operational wear. The screw and pin heads show tool use but remain serviceable. The markings are clear. Overall, this rifle is in Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. It has a safety on the right side of the receiver. We did not fire this rifle. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None

Our Assessment: Although commonly referred to as the “Improved Martini”, the Westley Richards’ Model 1869 action actually pre-dates the Martini action used in Britain’s Martini-Henry Service Rifles. When the British adopted the Martini-Henry as a Service Rifle, they actually had to pay Westley Richards because the Martini design infringed on four of Richard’s patents. Also, in parallel with the British government, Richards developed their own cartridges for use with their rifles, starting with the No. 1 Case in 1869 and the one-tenth inch longer No. 2 Case in the 1871-1872 period. The No. 2 case is also known as the .500/450 Musket round. This WR M1869 rifle is chambered for a 500/450 variant which uses a 2 1/4″ case. It is in about Very Good overall condition as Antique, showing wear consistent with use in the field as well as a repaired break across the buttstock. The bore is good, especially considering its age, and the mechanics are strong. This rifle will make a fine addition to any collection of Martini or Westley Richards rifles. Please check out our photos and good luck in your bidding!

Westley Richards 1869 Improved Martini 500/450 2 1/4" Case Rifle, Antique
Westley Richards 1869 Improved Martini 500/450 2 1/4″ Case Rifle, Antique