Wilhelm Arms & Optics

The motto:
Putting good equipment into the hands of good people
at good prices

Contact us by email at any time or phone (03) 3387880 10.00am - 6.00pm Monday - Friday

Wilhelm Arms & Optics

The background

Richard started his business part time in the mid 1960's doing binocular repairs for shops he was calling on around the country as a sales representative selling photographic equipment. In 1970 he made the big decision to work full time for himself and added riflescope repairs to meet an unexpected demand from sports shops.
Back then, New Zealand had no goods and services tax and the government took 20% duty AND 50% sales tax on binoculars and not quite as much on riflescopes, firearms and other shooting related product. Slowly, he began selling these kinds of items spurred on by customer demand. When G.S.T. was announced, suddenly there was no longer the huge financial gap between repair cost and replacement cost so, sadly, Richard closed his wholesale repair service and turned his attention purely to sales with a limited number of retail repairs; only those which were deemed still economical for the owner.
Over the years, he has applied his personal experience in reloading ammunition, which he began in 1962 both as a hobby and an economic necessity, to stocking and selling equipment and components for ammunition reloading. Combined with his lifelong association with firearms, his working knowledge of binoculars and riflescopes from the inside out, he managed to carve out a niche for himself which has continued to this day. He specialized in selling binoculars, riflescopes, scope mounts, ammunition, plus reloading equipment and components. Richard does not carry out many optical repairs these days and he is likely to accept only those binoculars for which he has the special tools needed and for which no parts will be required to complete the work.
For over a quarter of a century, Wilhelm Arms & Optics operated from a shop at 143A Colombo Street, the main street of Christchurch, until the earthquake of 4th September 2010 resulted in the building having to be demolished. A new phase of Richard's business grew out of this disaster: mail-order. This website that you now see was established for him, without his knowledge, by a customer who saw his need and was able to fill it. For that wonderful gesture of unsolicited help in a time of great need, he is eternally grateful.
The disastrous Port Hills fires of February 2017 came within 30 metres of Richard's home. The consequences of these fires on Richard's future are STILL yet to be satisfactorily remedied.
The tragic consequences of the two Christchurch Mosque incidents in March 2019 are proving to be extremely far-reaching and appear to be unduly harsh on all people in New Zealand who enjoy the various forms of shooting sports. Once we shooting sportsmen and sportswomen were the most vetted section of the community and were respected for it. It seems now, instantly, we are painted as un-trustworthy villains, or worse, by the media, and our elected government.
The business today

The emphasis of the business has had to change when the shop was lost to the earthquake. From being a shop with a wide range of goods on display, it has now become one where the "shop window" is the website and sales are made by mail-order or with pick-up by mutual arrangement.

Up until recently Richard was able to use use Fastway Couriers service, supplemented by N.Z. Post for some non-dangerous goods orders, to send most items around the country. Then along came totally conflicting legislation which threatened couriers and public alike with outrageous fines. This has caused powder, primers and ammunition movements around the country to virtually cease. Previously, Richard was able to send 500g or 1lb of powder to Invercargill for $4.70. During a transition window that the trade briefly were able to use, the charge to send an 8 lb of powder from a depot in Nelson to the depot in Invercargill shot up to an eye-watering $40.00 plus gst. Since then, legislation has tightened up yet further, effectively restricting his sales to pick-up only for powder, primers and ammunition.
One positive, however, is that is permissible for a private person to transport 15kg of powder in a private vehicle around either the North or South Island, or a maximum of 10kg between islands on the ferry. Some customers are using this method and by checking with their shooting friends ahead of their trip, they are taking back with them their own and their friends' orders. Each customer, of course, pays Richard in advance for their own order. It is all working smootly.

No international sales are available for any items on Richard's website. The reason is that it is actually against U.S. legislation.

If you are emailing for a price for non Class 1 dangerous goods and need to know how much the freight will be, PLEASE remember to write your name and address details in your email. Richard will need the physical delivery address if he is to give you an accurate price including freight. Payment is by bank deposit prior to sending or picking-up (usually Internet banking transfers). Alternatively, when you come to pick-up you may pay either by telephone banking transfer or cash. He will always have change available.

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Richard Wilhelm is well known amongst shooters for the high quality of his advice, the honesty with which he trades and the fairness of his prices.

Post-earthquake, Richard has concentrated on reloading components because of limited storage and display space although he still has some binoculars, riflescopes, ammunition, and firearms accessories either in stock, or available to special order so getting a price from him last should ensure you are getting a good price for your major purchases.

Wilhelm Arms and Optics are proud supporters of the North Canterbury Branch of the NZ Deerstalkers Association.