Sold For: $1,506.00
Make: Westley Richards & Co.
Model: Patent 1881 Falling Block Takedown Sporting Model
Serial Number: 12016
Year of Manufacture: According to the proof marks, this rifle was made sometime between 1881 and 1896.
Caliber: The barrel indicates .303 Westley Richards Cartridge, we were able to successfully chamber a standard .303 British round, we do not recommend firing this rifle.
Action Type: Single Shot, Side-Lever Actuated Falling Block Rifle
Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “FOR W.R. 303 CARTRIDGE 37 GRS RIFLELITE” with three Birmingham proof marks and the serial number. The top of the barrel is marked “C.212”, with a “*” and triangle for barrel alignment. The right of the barrel is marked “WESTLEY RICHARDS DETACHABLE BARREL 28”, the underside has the serial number and assembly number 174, found again on the forend bracket; the top of the barrel’s solid rib is marked “WESTLEY RICHARDS & CO. LONDON”. The right of the receiver is marked “PATENT”, the right is marked with a triangle and “WESTLEY RICHARDS & CO. LONDON”. The upper tang is marked “EDWINSON C. GREEN & SON / GUN & RIFLE MAKERS / CHELTENHAM & GLOUCESTER, ENG.”
Barrel Length: 28”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a beaded blade, slotted fore to aft onto a ramp base. The barrel is round but for the top, which is finely matted for glare reduction. The rear sight consists of a standing “U” notched leaf and 4 flip-up Express-style leafs, marked “200 / 300 / 400 / 500”. Forward of these leafs is a flip-up leaf and ladder type, ranged out to 1,000 meters.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are beautiful European walnut with beautiful grain and hand checkering. The forend has a black horn cap, its checkers are still highly defined. There are some gaps in fit to the bracket but it might be from shrinkage due to age; there are only minor marks present. The butt stock has a metal oval belly insert which appears to read “JP”; there is a deep mark on this item, continuing to the wood. There are other scuff and scrape marks, we could not find any cracks and the fit to the receiver is crisp (same with that of the butt plate). There is a repair insert on the left flank of the butt stock, the right has a natural fissure. The LOP measures 14 ¼” from the front of the trigger to the back of the metal butt plate; the plate has a neat storage door, the metal shows patina and scattered dings, rating in about Very Good condition for its age. The stocks rate in about Very Good Plus to Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark and the rifling is shallow. There is moderate erosion the length of the bore.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 15-20% of its metal finish, shown in protected areas of the barrel and receiver. The upper tang has some heavier handling wear. The surfaces have a rich cocoa patina and scattered handling marks. The receiver has some heavier marks around the screw holes and a deep mark on the left side. Please see our pictures. The screw heads have mild tooling. The markings are faded in areas, all are legible. Overall, this rifle rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, however we were unable to remove the barrel; this is supposed to be unscrewed from the front of the receiver with the forend removed and the firing pin block all the way down. With the forend off, there is some play in the barrel to receiver fit, but is reduced to nominal play with the forend installed. The rifle has a thumb safety on the right in the trigger guard. We have not fired this rifle. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: Westley Richards & Co. began way back in 1812 and were recognized for their valuable advances in the evolution of firearms, including the 1881 Falling Block patent which is what we have here on this rifle. The action opens with a right side lever, exposing the breech; when pushed all the way down, an ejector kicks spent brass out. The system is designed around the barrel removal system, we could not get this one to take down completely and did not want to force the threads just to say we did take it down. With its rear African Express sight system that covers 0 to 1,000 yards, unique action and beautiful stocks, this is truly a sight to behold and must have been a cherished object back when people were still getting used to not having to jam a rod down the barrel in order to load another shot. This rifle probably has some interesting stories to tell and has lots of character with the handling wear on its metal surfaces. Please see our pictures and good luck.