Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
Most wingshooters have never
ordered a bespoke gun. Many of us have bought guns new in the box or had guns modified to our liking, but few of us have been through the process of actually commissioning a gun and having it built. In most cases the reason is simple: cost. We attend game fairs and conventions and ogle the wares of some of the world’s best gunmakers, but then we inquire about price and try to hide our sticker shock.
Of course, most of us have at least dreamed about embarking on custom projects. We have short lists of go-to gunmakers as well as favorite models and actions. We know the gauges we would want and the barrel lengths and the stock types. We’ve thought about triggers and chokes and ejectors. And we certainly have ideas about engraving.
I confess that I have performed these mental gymnastics numerous times. I save a little and dream a little and pore over websites and catalogs. With each passing year, however, I can sense the clock ticking—and with it an increasing urgency to “pull the trigger” on a custom project.
Westley Richards is one of the companies I have on speed dial should I win the lottery. The Birmingham firm makes exquisite guns, and I have been drooling over its droplocks forever. One way I keep connected is through the firm’s blog, The Explora (theexplora.com). In it Managing Director Anthony “Trigger” Alborough-Tregear, US Director E. Duke “LD” McCaa II and other correspondents post stories about guns, rifles, engravers, hunting and more—all accompanied by stunning photography.
When this past year Westley’s published a printed version of The Explora, I had to have one. In it I found articles about the company and its guns, various aspects of gunmaking, big-bore rifles and more. And lo and behold—to tempt me further—was a piece by Shooting Sportsman Senior Editor Vic Venters titled “Commissioning a New Gun.” I felt that the article was so well done that I contacted Trigger, who gave me permission to reprint it. You can read the story beginning on page 70.
It turns out that the article fits well in this “Adventure Issue.” Ordering a bespoke gun is certainly an adventure—and no doubt will lead to additional excitement. Other adventures we’ve included are Gary Kramer’s African odyssey “A Wingshooting Safari” (p. 64); Peter Ryan’s “Gunning Under the Southern Cross” (p. 76), on waterfowling in New Zealand; and Tom Sternal’s “Becoming Hunters” (p. 82), about his family’s trip to the Flying B Ranch.
Perhaps one of these will inspire you take a leap . . . .
A Wingshooting Safari
The ultimate mixed-bag hunt in South Africa
By Gary Kramer
Commissioning a New Gun
The finer points & process of ordering a gun
By Vic Venters.
Gunning Under the Southern Cross
Hunting ducks & geese in New Zealand
By Peter Ryan
A series of firsts at the Flying B Ranch
By Tom Sternal
From the Editor
A custom gun of your own.
Attaboys, an inspiring story, a waterfowl addict and plucking
A Bolivian sky darkened with doves
Game & Gun Gazette
The Robert M. Lee Collection, the Federal Duck Stamp winner, saving German guns, a new upland jacket and more
The CZ Sharp-Tail
By Bruce Buck
Gear for the trip and the destination
By The Editors
Waterfowling in Texas’s Laguna Madre
By E. Donnall Thomas Jr.
Hunting & hospitality at Joshua Creek Ranch
By Brian Grossenbacher
To the Point
Some adventures just seem jinxed from the start
By Tom Huggler
Great advice for the sporting life
Hard gun cases for the long haul
By Ralph Stuart
The Gun Rack
The Orvis Chapuis Classic
By Ralph Stuart
Taking the mystery out of misses
By Chris Batha
From the Bench
The hows & whys of installing stock ovals
By Delbert Whitman Jr.
Clearing up misunderstandings about pressure vs. recoil
By Tom Roster
Improving a dog’s performance —and life—through joint health
By Marty Grabijas
The issue of landlocked public lands
By E. Donnall Thomas Jr.
On the cover: A Westley Richards 28-gauge Modèle de Grande Luxe with extra locks. Photograph courtesy of Westley Richards.
Additional photos: Gary Kramer/garykramer.net; Courtesy of Longthorne Gunmakers