I recently acquired a Westley Richards .375x2.5 Double Rifle that was specially made as a "Howdah Rifle" and shipped to Bombay, India in 1927. It has 16" barrels with an overall length of 32-7/8".
I've researched for Short Barreled Howdah Rifles, but find only Howdah Pistols. Some of those pistols had barrels nearly as long as this rifle. Some Howdah Pistols even had shoulder stocks attached making them a primitive form of a carbine. When used from the Howdah atop an elephant, this would have been much more controllable than a pistol, and a lot less cumbersome than a full length rifle in the confined space of the Howdah.
Here are some detailed photos of the rifle. It has many very interesting features: Horn Forearm Tip, Horn Grip Cap, and Horn Butt Plate with the Westley Richards Logo. Super condition wood. Sling Eyes. One standing and 4 folding leaf rear sight, 50/100/150/200/300. Lots of original Case Color in protected areas, and a sharp and bright bore. Overall finish of the metal is a superb original "purplish-brown" that shows its character from use years ago. Nice overall Engraving with a "Chinkara" (Indian gazelle) on the bottom of the action, a "Crouching Tiger" on the bottom of the trigger guard, and a "Musk Deer" on the back of the Lever.
I have a Factory Letter from Westley Richards giving all the details of the rifle. I also have a photo-copy of the "hand written" entry in the Original Westley Richards Factory Ledger, showing to whom the rifle was shipped on March 31, 1927.
I have searched the internet and found a Company that still exists today named M. Saleh & Co. in Mumbai, India. I've tried to contact them via email and by phone, but have had little success. I'm hoping to find some original records about the rifle. Perhaps it was special ordered by M. Saleh himself and used for hunting Tigers.
If there is someone out there that can help to continue my research about this rare and unique rifle, please contact me. I'm thinking that another possibility might be that the rifle may have been received by M. Saleh & Co. for one of its customers. Perhaps it was special ordered for a Maharaja or other Tiger Hunter of the time. If you have any suggestions, please email.