A fine .577 single-trigger detachable-boxlock ejector rifle by Westley Richards, no. 16650 In a West
Lot 279S1
Previously property of James Sutherland: A fine .577 single-trigger detachable-boxlock ejector rifle by Westley Richards, no. 16650 In a Westley Richards brass-mounted canvas case (the lid impressed 'Major G.H. Anderson'), together with a spare set of locks in a faux crocodile skin case with a green velvet lining.
Sold for £66,000 (US$ 109,806) inc. premium
Lot Details
A fine .577 single-trigger detachable-boxlock ejector rifle by Westley Richards, no. 16650
Westley Richards patent fully-selective single-trigger with barrel-selector slide, automatic-safety with stalking-latch, hand-detachable locks, best bold foliate-scroll engraving, the floorplate engraved depicting an elephant, figured stock with chequered side-panels, pistolgrip with engraved pistolgrip-cap (and trap), cheek-piece and recoil-pad (perished), sling-eyes, horn-tipped forend the shortened barrels engraved 'Westley Richards 178 New Bond St. London Gun Makers by Special Appointment to His Majesty King Edward VII, Specially Sighted for Axite Powder 750 GRS Bullet, with scroll engraved matt sight rib with open-sights 100, 200 and 300 sights and block-mounted bead-foresight with fold-away moon-sight and foresight-protector
Weight 14lb. 1oz., 13¾in. pull, 25 7/8in. barrels, nitro proof
In a Westley Richards brass-mounted canvas case (the lid impressed 'Major G.H. Anderson'), together with a spare set of locks in a faux crocodile skin case with a green velvet lining.

Footnotes

  • This rifle is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Westley Richards confirming that it was sold to Sutherland on 31st December 1906.

    Please note that a Safari Press reprint of his book is also offered with this lot


    James H. ‘Jim’ Sutherland (1872-1932)

    Born in Scotland, Sutherland emigrated to Cape Town in 1896, turning to various occupations to support himself, even working as a professional boxer, before moving north to hunt game. He helped the Germans during a native uprising in the early 1900s, and as a British Intelligence officer in the First World War, returning to hunting after the Armistice. He hunted extensively in Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, the Belgian Congo and Malawi, and it is estimated that he shot a total of 1,200 bull elephants alone in his career.
    In 1929 Sutherland fell victim to a conspiracy against the whites by the Azande tribe and he was poisoned. Remarkably he survived and, although paralysed down one side, continued to hunt on horseback, but he never fully recovered. He died in the Ubangi Shari on June 26th 1932, and was buried near Yubo in the Sudan.

    Sutherland is thought by many to be one of the most famous elephant hunters of his time, and his book, The Adventures of an Elephant Hunter, published in 1912, has come to be regarded as one of the best elephant hunting titles ever, rivalling Walter Bell’s publications.

    Major Gordon H. 'Andy' Anderson (1878-1946)

    The rifle was later owned by 'Andy' Anderson, another well-known professional hunter, and personal friend of Sutherland. Anderson served in the South African War and First World War, beginning his hunting career in 1903 in Nigeria. His career saw him hunt in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire and the Congo, and he was one of the professional hunters who accompanied the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) on their safari in 1924. In 1908 he was badly mauled by a lion, nearly losing his right leg, and suffering stiffness for the rest of his life.

    Anderson was the author of African Safaris (1946), recording some of his adventures between 1907 and 1926, and which included some stories about elephant hunting with James Sutherland. He also helped to found the East African Hunters’ Association with a group of other hunters, including Philip Percival, in 1934. He first developed a love of Kenya while on sick leave in 1909, and died there on July 15th 1946.



    ‘ The heavy .577’
    Sutherland makes numerous references in his book to his ‘heavy .577’.
    He writes; "When using the double-barrelled rifles against big and dangerous game it is of supreme importance to have a thoroughly reliable ejecting mechanism, and I find that a single trigger is a vast improvement on the old double trigger, for, apart from eliminating the risk of a bruised finger, the single trigger is indefinitely quicker, enabling a double shot to be place almost simultaneously, if necessary. I have used the single trigger for some years and would on no account go back to the double. Another factor to be considered with regard to a rifle for a big game is the length of the barrels. It is my opinion that they should be as short as possible, certainly not longer than twenty-six inches; for a rifle with barrels exceeding this length is extremely awkward to manipulate in bush country. The double-barrelled .577 which I have used for several years and found admirable in every detail was built for me by Westley Richards & Co., of Bond Street. The construction of the locks is excellent and simple to a degree, so that should anything go wrong with the mechanism in the bush, where you cannot take a taxi to your gunmaker; there is no difficulty in instantly detaching a lock by hand and replacing it with a duplicate. The single trigger and ejector attached to this rifle have on no occasion failed to act."

    He also writes; "After experimenting with and using all kinds of rifles, I find the most effective to be the double .577 with a 750 grains bullet and a charge in Axite powder equivalent to a hundred grains of cordite. The heavier double-barrelled .600 bore rifle, with a bullet weighing 900 grains, lacks the penetration of the .577, while its weight (16 lbs. against 13 lbs. of the latter) renders it a much more awkward weapon to handle. I think the superiority of the .577 over the .450 and .500 rifles, will be evident when I state that I have lost elephants with these last two rifles, while I have bagged others with identically the same shots from a .577."




    Literature:
    James Sutherland, The Adventures of an Elephant Hunter, London, 1912

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that there is a hairline crack in the stock to the rear of the top tang
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