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British Sporting Firearms Books

The British sporting firearms books include general works on British rifles and shotguns, plus some individual British gun manufacturers.

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Richard Akehurst

Game Guns & Rifles, Percussion To Hammerless Ejector In Britain by Richard Akehurst (1969) is an authoritative and readable account of one of the most inventive periods in British gunmaking, from 1830 to 1900.



Christopher Austyn

Classic Sporting Rifles

Classic Sporting Rifles by Christopher Austyn (1997) includes the characteristics, origin, best British and American makers (in separate chapters), collecting and auction price information and more.



Modern Sporting Guns

Modern Sporting Guns by Christopher Austyn (1994). For more than two centuries English gunmakers have built the finest shotguns and rifles. This tradition has continued to the present day. Austyn discusses problem areas that a collector should look out for, these occur mainly as material or structural flaws. He notes however that there is almost nothing that cannot be repaired on a sporting gun. Those who shoot will find the chapter on accessories of interest.


Gun Engraving

Gun Engraving by Christopher Austyn (1999) is the first overview of British twentieth century gun engraving. A fascinating archive relating to three influential early twentieth century engravers, notes on the work of contemporary engravers. Comparison of standard and specially engraved guns and their values.


David Baker

Heyday Of The Shotgun: The Art Of The Gunmaker At The Turn Of The Last Century

Heyday Of The Shotgun: The Art Of The Gunmaker At The Turn Of The Last Century by David Baker (2000). British craftsmen brought forth the finest guns ever made. This overview looks at all aspects as well as the ammunition available for these guns. Appendix lists the gunmakers of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in business in 1900s.


Thomas Horsley: Gunmaker Of York

Thomas Horsley: Gunmaker Of York by David Baker (2006) is a detailed account of the life and career of one of the nineteenth century's most notable gunmakers. Ever innovative, Horsley registered a number of significant patents in the nineteenth century, expiring only in the 1950's.


The Royal Gunroom At Sandringham

The Royal Gunroom At Sandringham by David Baker (1989) with foreword by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The Royal Collection of guns at Sandringham is known for examples of fine craftsmanship, technical excellence and exquisite decoration. This collection has been specially photographed and published for the first time.


Paradox: The Story Of Colonel G V  Fosbery, Holland & Holland And The Paradox Rifled Shot And Ball Gun

Paradox: The Story Of Colonel G V Fosbery, Holland & Holland And The Paradox Rifled Shot And Ball Gun by David Baker & Roger E Lake (2010) is an in-depth, long-term study of a remarkable gun and its equally remarkable inventor. George Fosbery had the unique distinction of winning the Victoria Cross armed with a weapon of his own invention, while his part-rifled gun effectively doubled the accurate range of the ball & shot gun.


Geoffrey and Susan Boothroyd

The British Over-And-Under Shotgun

The British Over-And-Under Shotgun by Geoffrey and Susan Boothroyd (1996). Frederick Beesley, Tomas Boss, Robert Churchill, William Greener, Holland & Holland, James Purdey, James Woodward and Westley Richards, the great names of British gunmaking, have all played a notable part in the development of fine over-and-under shotguns during the twentieth century. Geoffrey Boothroyd and his daughter, Susan Boothroyd, trace the histories of these and other celebrated British gunmakers. Geoffrey Boothroyd outlines his theory that the over-and-under descends from the German Bockflinte, combination small-game rifle and shotgun, developing an idea first put forward by Major Hugh Pollard in his book Shotguns of 1926.


Nigel Brown

British Gunmakers: Volume One - London

British Gunmakers: Volume One - London by Nigel Brown (2004) is an invaluable and informative reference contains a rich collection of facts and anecdotes about the London gun trade.



British Gunmakers: Volume Two - Birmingham, Scotland And The Regions

British Gunmakers: Volume Two - Birmingham, Scotland And The Regions by Nigel Brown (2005) sets out the history of the Birmingham, Scottish and regional gun makers and specialist trade workers throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries with individual histories of 60 businesses and where known, details of their serial number records, many of which have never been published before. Kindle Version


British Gunmakers: Volume Three - Index, Appendices & Additional London, Birmingham, Regional And Scottish Records

British Gunmakers: Volume Three - Index, Appendices & Additional London, Birmingham, Regional And scottish Records by Nigel Brown (2009) is the third and final volume of the most comprehensive series of books ever published on the gunmakers of the British Isles. This book enlarges on the factual information set out in Volume One and Volume Two. In addition, and just as important, it also includes the results of the unique record research on 120 additional Birmingham, Scottish, and regional gunmaking firms and over 70 additional London ones.


Silvio Calabi

Rigby: A Grand Tradition

Rigby: A Grand Tradition by Silvio Calabi, Steve Helsley & Roger Sanger(2012). This is the fascinating story of John Rigby & Co., which details the legendary exploits of famous Rigby owners Jim Corbett, W D M Bell, Field Marshall Mannerheim and others. It is the story of colonial adventure, of the world's most famous big-game hunters and their rifles. Extensively illustrated and including a thorough treatment of the development of the technology behind Rigby rifles and ammunition, this book provides substantial insight into the people, adventures and rifles behind big game hunting in the early 20th century.


Ian Crudgington & David Baker

The British Shotgun: 1850-1870, Volume 1

The British Shotgun: 1850-1870, Volume 1 by Ian Crudgington & David Baker (2011) is a tribute to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the British gun trade. Many unrecorded designs and artifacts, including the single trigger, the over and under gun, and the single barrel or the classic side-by-side gun. The complete story of the evolution of the British shotgun.


The British Shotgun: 1871-1890, Volume 2

The British Shotgun: 1871-1890, Volume 2 by Ian Crudgington & David Baker (2011). The continuing story of the complete evolution of the British shotgun.



The British Shotgun: 1891-2011, Volume 3

The British Shotgun: 1891-2011, Volume 3 by Ian Crudgington & David Baker (2011). The third and final volume of story of the complete evolution of the British shotgun.



John Nigel George

English Guns And Rifles

English Guns And Rifles by J N George (1947). "Being an account of the development, design and usage of English sporting rifles and shotguns - from their introduction during the 15th century until the advent of the metallic cartridges in the 19th century - together with notes on muskets, service rifles, blunderbusses and other arms. Including also various historical notes and accounts regarding individual makers and users of these arms."


English Pistols And Revolvers

English Pistols And Revolvers by J N George (1938) "An Historical Outline of the Development and Design of English Hand Firearms from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day."



David Grant & Vic Venters

Best Of British:: A Celebration Of British Gun Making

Best Of British:: A Celebration Of British Gun Making by David Grant & Vic Venters (2010). David Grant has photographed the best examples of contemporary British gunmaking, along with choice historical examples. Vic Venters provides detailed text describing the guns and the craftsmen who built them. An appendix provides history and background on the various gunmakers and companies. Examples from the leading British gunmakers include David MacKay Brown, Purdey, Holland & Holland, Boss, Greener, Peter Nelson, Westley Richards, William Powell and David Sinnerton.


Jonathan G Kirton

The British Falling Block Breechloading Rifle From 1865

The British Falling Block Breechloading Rifle From 1865 by Jonathan G Kirton (1985) is he full story of this popular group of British rifles. The mechanical and artistic details are fully illustrated in the patent drawings and photos gathered from around the world. The author, a mechanical designer himself, has filled in important gaps in action construction and markings with his own drawings. Also added are the biographies of inventors and makers as well as lists of the rifles by each producer.


Don Masters

Atkin, Grant And Lang

Atkin, Grant And Lang by Don Masters (2005) are the stories of gunmakers Henry Atkin, Stephen Grant and Joseph Lang. Also includes Hussey, Grant & Woodward, Lancaster, Watson, Harrison, Beesley, Hellis and Wright. A very comprehensive and detailed study.


The House Of Churchill: E J Churchill Ltd, Practical Gun And Rifle Manufacturer

The House Of Churchill: E J Churchill Ltd, Practical Gun And Rifle Manufacturer by Don Masters (2002) contains the history of the world renowned Churchill gunmakers, one of the best known of all English gunmakers, as well as wonderfully entertaining anecdotes of the Churchill family. Also includes serial numbers and dates of manufacture of its guns from 1891 forward, price lists from 1895 onward, a complete listing of all craftsmen employed at the company, as well as the prices realized at the famous Dallas auction where the "last" production guns were sold.


Peter McManus

One Man's Gun Quest: 50 Years Of Gun Collecting

One Man's Gun Quest: 50 Years Of Gun Collecting by Peter McManus (2005) is a well-illustrated book with a wealth of detail covering English guns and the gun trade.



Jeremy Musson

Westley Richards & Co: In Pursuit Of The Best Gun, 1812 - 2012

Westley Richards & Co: In Pursuit Of The Best Gun, 1812 - 2012 by Jeremy Musson (2012). Westley Richards & Co is the oldest prestige gun-maker and this book was written to commemorate the company's bicentennial. It covers the richly illustrated history of this English gun-making company.


W Keith Neal and David H L Back

Great British Gunmakers: Forsyth And Co. Patent Gunmakers 1806 - 1852 by W Keith Neal and David H L Back (1995)

Great British Gunmakers: 1740 - 1790. The History Of John Twigg And The Packington Gun

Great British Gunmakers: 1740 - 1790: The History Of John Twigg And The Packington Gun by W Keith Neal and David H L Back (1975). The authors have succeeded in re-assembling an important eighteenth century family armoury at Packington Hall, the home of the Earls of Aylesford, which contained eleven firearms by John Twigg. Detailed photographs illustrate the mechanism and decoration of the important pieces from the Packington collection.


Great British Gunmakers: 1540 - 1740

Great British Gunmakers: Messrs Griffin & Tow And W Bailes 1740 - 1790 by W Keith Neal and D H L Back (1980)



Great British Gunmakers: 1540 - 1740

Great British Gunmakers: 1540 - 1740 by W Keith Neal and David H L Back (1984) completes over twenty years of work by the authors. It places on record the names of men who in their day were craftsmen and unsurpassed in the quality of their work.


Great British Gunmakers: The Mantons 1782 - 1878

Great British Gunmakers: The Mantons 1782 - 1878 by David H L Back (1993) contains detailed descriptions of all the firearms made by members of this famous family which have been traced by the author and the late W Keith Neal over a long period, in the case of Keith Neal stretching back to the 1930s. A very scarce comprehensive and important reference.


The Mantons: Gunmakers

The Mantons: Gunmakers And The Manton Supplement by W Keith Neal & David H L Back (1967) is the definitive work on the famous English gunmakers. The book closely documents the lives and works of both John and Joseph Manton as well the activities of three sons in England, Australia and India.


Douglas Tate

Birmingham Gunmakers: A Complete Overview Of The Birmingham Gun Trade And Its History As Well As A Listing Of Birmingham Gunmakers

Birmingham Gunmakers: A Complete Overview Of The Birmingham Gun Trade And It's History As Well As A Listing Of Birmingham Gunmakers by Douglas Tate (1997). An excellent work detailing the makers and models of fine shotguns from Britain's Birmingham region. Tate examines the gun-making history of the area and focuses on such makers as Greener, Bonehill, William Powell, W C Scott and many others.


British Gun Engraving

British Gun Engraving by Douglas Tate (2000). In this comprehensive book, Douglas Tate and master photographer David Grant bring us the most opulent examples of British gun engraving in existence. These handsome guns are from the greatest private collections in Europe and the USA and because of this, are rarely seen by the public.


Walter G Winfer

British Single Shot Rifles 1

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 1: Alexander Henry by Wal Winfer (1998) Alexander Henry's total production was approximately 2500 rifles. He was the first prominent British maker to promote the falling block and was also the most successful. Henry's craftsmanship was unsurpassed and the many surviving examples attest to this. He was a true experimenter and his developmental work in rifling and cartridge design was very significant. Henry also explored the development, somewhat unsuccessfully, of hammerless action designs. The book also covers loading techniques and common problems encountered.


British Single Shot Rifles 2

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 2: The Gibbs Farquharson by Wal Winfer (1998). The Farquharson action made by Gibbs is one of the great legends in the history of the worlds' gunmakers. Gibbs sporting rifles participated in the stalking hunts of Scotland but more importantly saw the big game fields of India and Africa. Selous used Gibbs rifles on some of his African hunts. This book tells the history and development of these famous Gibbs rifles with detailed photos and drawings.


British Single Shot Rifles 3

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 3: W J Jeffery And The Trade Farquharson With Notes On The Development Of Jeffery's Nitro Cartridges by Wal Winfer (1999) relates the intriguing story of W J Jeffery and the Trade Farquharsons. He chronicles Jeffery's reintroduction of the Farquharson in England. The Trade Farquharsons cover all the Farquharson rifles made by the many firms excepting Gibbs. These rifles enjoyed a short period of importance from about the mid 1880s until 1905. Unlike other firearms of the day they became the poor man's big game rifles, the workhorse big game rifles, used to hunt in Africa and India.


British Single Shot Rifles 4

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 4: Westley Richards & Co. Patentees And Gun Manufacturers, Birmingham by Wal Winfer (2004). Westley Richards was the leader in British breech-loading single shot development. The book describes Westley Richards designs in great detail and shows how they were to influence subsequent firearms development. These designs evolved into the various hinged block and falling block actions. The Model of 1881 sidelever falling block and the underlever Model of 1897, a development from the 1881 were particularly important to the big game hunter. The book also illustrates the whole range of Westley Richards single shot rifle production from the Monkey Tail to the .600 Nitros. Westley Richards developments in black powder and nitro cartridges are also given extensive coverage with detailed information on their history, original loads, acceptance in the market and modern reloading information.


British Single Shot Rifles 5

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 5: Holland & Holland, Holland's Cartridges, Paradox by Wal Winfer (2004) covers the activities of Henry John Holland and how from humble beginnings, developed a firm that is today, second to none. He started in 1835 and as his fame grew he turned his attention to building guns for the top end of the London market. Holland had little interest in target rifles, devoting his efforts to building the highest quality sporting guns and rifles.


British Single Shot Rifles 6

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 6:Webley, Kynoch & Eley by Wal Winfer (2004). The story of the Webley firm, the largest arms manufacturer in England and the single shot rifes they produced. These include the Scott-Field, Webley-Wyley, Model of 1897 and the famous Model of 1902 Rook rifles. Cartridge development by Webley is also covered. A large section of the book is devoted to the cartridge making firms Eley and Kynoch and their evolution as a company, mergers and problems they encountered with the then new smokeless powder.


British Single Shot Rifles 7

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 7: Rook, Rabbit & Miniature Rifles - Early Types & Hammer Models by Wal Winfer (2009) covers the single shot rifles that were made in the greatest quantity in England more than all other single shots combined. These are the small calibre rifles known as Rook Rifles. The book also covers the early percussion and air rifle types and then gets into fascinating story of the needle fires. As these topics are so large two volumes were made. Volume 8 will concludes the story, covering the hammerless rifles, ammunition and reloading and shooting the rook rifle today.


British Single Shot Rifles 8

British Single Shot Rifles: Volume 8: Rook, Rabbit & Miniature Rifles - Later Types And Hammerless Models by Wal Winfer (2009). This volume completes the study of the British Rook, Rabbit and Miniature Rifles. The book covers the hammerless rifles and the diminutive and rare falling blocks in the rook size. A couple of pages are also devoted to some of the American rifles that were imported for this sport. A large section covers the small action Martinis that became important both for short range and gallery target use. Ammunition used in these rifles, loading data and how to make cartridges from currently available brass is discussed.


Graeme Wright

Shooting The British Double Rifle

Shooting The British Double Rifle: A Modern Guide For Load Development And Use by Graeme Wright (1999). In this revised edition, the load data section has been greatly expanded, giving load data for most nitro double rifle cartridges. The pressure tests have also been expanded and all chapters updated. The chapter on paradox guns now also includes information on how they perform as shotguns. Secondly, shooters interested in loading large cartridges in both smokeless and black powder form will benefit from this reference. Those loading large British cartridges even for single shot or magazine rifles will find it of particular interest as well. Thirdly, those interested in internal ballistics will find the pressure tests done at the Birmingham Proof House and the Kynamco factory particularly valuable. Lastly, this reference book contains useful reference information. There are dimensional tables, lists of component suppliers, extracts from old cartridge catalogues, powder burning rate charts and club shooting events and rules. An excellent reference.


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