The boxlock action was the result of a long evolution of hammerless actions, created by two gunsmiths, Anson and Deeley, working for the Westley-Richards company in 1875. The contribution of Anson and Deeley was in the simple and elegant lock mechanism, which provided a hammerless action with fewer moving parts than exposed hammer models available at the time. This allowed a rugged and simple action which was faster to operate than exposed hammer guns. The original model, used a hammer block safety, which was problematic, as it was possible for the gun to discharge when the safety was released. An 1882 improvement incorporated a trigger block safety, which was automatically engaged when the hammers were cocked. This type of automatic safety is still prevalent in modern boxlock actions.

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