318 Westley Richards Square Shoulder

I want to write a short article for the South African Cartridge collectors newsletter on the 318 Westley Richards Square Shoulder. A double rifle has turned up here, I think this would be of interest to our readers. I need quite a bit of help, including the patent drawing. This is apparently “Square Shouldered Case Patents 2762-4661 II.” That is what is written on one of the guns, does not make any sense, must have been transposed incorrectly. The other gun has “WR’s patent No 2762 of 1911”. I have a set of book on British patents but it only goes until 1900 (& earlier), no later. This is going to date from approximately 1911, maybe a bit earlier.
Next thing is a drawing out of a Westley Richards catalogue about 1914 – the only one I have is “List E” dating, I would guess from about 1911 (they list some of the awards they have received and that is the latest date). There they show the 318 but not the square shoulder version.
The last thing that I would like to get (Last thing that I know about, great thing about collecting is finding out how little one actually knows when one starts delving into something) is an advert that refers to this case type & apparently shows a cutaway of the case. According to Rob Buttweiler, the inner powder chamber of the case is the standard shape, it is just the outer case profile that differs – turned on a lathe, I understand.
And anything else that might be interesting on this subject.
Any help appreciated.

Hi Will, I’ll send you the patents convering this design.

Will, I just noticed your comments regarding the internal profile of the case. The 1911 patent proposed many different external and internal case designs, including straight tapered cases with a very thick neck. The one illustrated in the February 1914 brochure has an intenal shoulder.

Is that a partial or impending head separation?

Here is the 2762 patent drawing for everyone to see:

A specimen of the .280 Westley Richards is also reported to exist with the square shoulder and the experiments also describe a modified “.280 Eley”, which could be the same or maybe a .280 Ross.

Westley Richards is still in business and still in Birmingham


another good source of information on anything to do with Birmingham gunmakers and their ammunition is the curator of the Birmingham Proof House Museum. If a rifle exists it would have to have been proofed so they should have a sample.


So, according to Fede’s drawing they started from thick case walls cylindrical brass and lathe turned the neck?

Modern Silent Sniper cases in 5,56 mm and 7,62 mm are made in the same way.

Pivi, those are the different case types proposed. Two different manufacture processes were considered: swaging and turning.