January/February 2020

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Editor’s Note by Ralph Stuart
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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 . . . .

Ralph P. Stuart

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

Becoming Hunters

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

The Opener

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

Gun Review

The CZ Sharp-Tail

By Bruce Buck

Field Gear

Gear for the trip and the destination

By The Editors

Going Public

Waterfowling in Texas’s Laguna Madre

By E. Donnall Thomas Jr.

Going Places

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

Gear Guide

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.

Shot Talk

Clearing up misunderstandings about pressure vs. recoil

By Tom Roster

Hunting Dogs

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

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