SOLD FOR: $5433
Make: Westley Richards
Model: 12 Bore Droplock
Serial Number: 16773
Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1909-1924
Caliber: 12 Gauge, 2 1/2” Nitro Proof
Action Type: Lever Actuated Break Open, Side by Side Shotgun with Dual Triggers, Ejectors and Droplock Action
Markings: Each barrel rib is marked “WESTLEY RICHARDS 178 NEW BOND ST. LONDON GUN MAKERS BY APPOINTMENT TO HIS MAJESTY GEORGE V REX ET IMP.”. The bottom of each 28″ barrel is marked with a series of British proof marks, “WESTLEY RICHARDS / SPECIAL STEEL” around a triangle, and “17400”. The 30″ barrel set has British proofs on the bottoms of the barrels and the flats, the bottoms of the barrels have the same Special Steel markings, and “16773”. Each barrel set has engraving motif at the breech-end, across the seam between the rib and its extension, and at the end of the extension. The exposed portions of the forend iron and latch have scroll engraving. The water table has Westley Richards patent markings and British proofs. The top of the receiver between the extension and lever is marked “WESTLEY RICHARDS / PATENT ONE TRIGGER” (this shotgun has dual triggers). The guard is marked “16773”, found again on the floorplate and each lock. The lock assemblies also have Westley Richards patent markings. Each side of the receiver has “WESTLEY RICHARDS” engraved on a banner and the receiver has extensive scroll engraving. The engraving continues onto the floorplate, guard and lever. There is a hunting dog scene engraved on the trigger guard.
Barrel Length: One 28″ and one 30″ barrel sets are included.
28″: The left bore has a constriction of approximately 0.020″ corresponding to Modified, the right approximately 0.006 corresponding to Skeet.
30″: The left barrel has a constriction of approximately 0.026″ corresponding to Improved Modified, the right approximately 0.001 corresponding to Cylinder Bore.
Sights / Optics: Each barrel set has a silver-colored bead mounted to the front of its rib.
28″: 6 lb., 12.7 oz.
30″: 6 lb., 14.7 oz.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered deluxe walnut with ebony-tipped splinter forend, straight grip, straight comb, black buttpad. The buttstock has a few minor marks, most notable is a nick in the bottom of the wrist to the right of the trigger guard. The forend has only light handling marks. The checkering is sharp. There are no chips or cracks. The LOP measures 15 1/4″ and 14 1/4″ from the fronts of the triggers to the back of the pad, 14 1/4″ and 13 1/4″ to the back of the wood. The pad shows little in the way of wear. Drop at comb is approximately 1 1/4″, drop at heel 2 1/8″, consistent with both barrel sets. The cast is about neutral. Overall, the stocks are in Excellent condition as not original to the gun.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Professionally Restored
Bore Condition: The bores are bright. There is no erosion in the bores. In this writer’s opinion, the bores rate 10 out of 10.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 98% of its metal finish. There are only a few tiny marks through the finish. There is infrequent minor erosion under the finish, most notable on the trigger guard. The action shows faint operational wear. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are generally clear, some of the inspection/proof marks are worn and the dog scene on the trigger guard shows wear under the finish. Overall, this gun rates in Fine-plus condition as restored.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly including ejectors with both barrel sets. The barrels lock up to the receiver with no play. The safety does not engage automatically when the lever is pressed, but functions properly when engaged manually. We did not fire this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: This shotgun comes in a custom English-fit wood case with brass corner bolsters, brass locking latch (no key included) and the interior has red fabric lining in various compartments for the barrel assemblies, stocked receiver, and accessories. A pair of snap caps is included.
Our Assessment: This is an exceptionally smart early 1900’s Westley Richards side by side shotgun. Few makers are ever compared to Westley Richards – though Parker, Webley & Scott, Purdey and Merkel are among them. The Droplock is an interesting system, allowing the removal of the locks by hand, with no tools by simply opening up the lock plate and pulling the locks out. This gave it even greater ease of maintenance and cleaning than traditional sidelock guns. Introduced in 1897, the Droplock is still made today!
This example has been quite expertly restored with the vast majority of the markings well preserved. A second barrel set has been fit to the receiver, making for a versatile set. Rounding out the restoration is a gorgeous set of deluxe walnut stocks with a straight grip and an ebony tip on its splinter forend. There is much life left in this shotgun set and it will surely enhance any collection. Please see our photos and good luck!