McKay Brown’s Celebratory Guns

50th-anniversary McKay Brown gun

One of the 50th-anniversary guns.

by Douglas Tate
Photographs courtesy David McKay Brown
engraving of a mounted Robert the Bruce

The engraving of a mounted Robert the Bruce.

In the fine-gun world, a classic design coupled with a famed maker equals success. This year David McKay Brown, who has taken the Scottish round-action—attributed to both James MacNaughton and John Dickson—and made it his own, celebrates 50 years in business.

To commemorate the golden anniversary, McKay Brown has built a brace of over/under smoothbores. The set of two guns—a .410 and a 28-gauge—were commissioned by a Texas collector. The client wished for the engraving to be in harmony with the two smallbores and decided that butterflies would be appropriate. The work was undertaken by Valerio Peli of Creative Art, in Italy, and features an abundance of butterflies and flowers in multicolored gold against a background of deep-carved scroll.

In addition Creative Art was commissioned to engrave a McKay Brown side-by-side celebrating the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. The gun was built for Clark Campbell, whose company, CA Models, is located 1½ miles from the battlefield. The gun is engraved with a mounted Robert the Bruce wielding the war axe with which he split Sir Henry de Bohun’s skull in single combat as a prelude to the battle. Scottish thistles are carved on the fences and toplever. The gun is stocked with collectors’-quality walnut, and the serial number is 1314 for the date of the battle.

The basis for all three guns is the Scottish round-action, which features a firing mechanism fitted to the triggerplate, situated behind the gun’s main action body. The round action is as beautiful as a butterfly but as strong as an axe. McKay Brown learned to build it while working for John Dickson & Sons of Edinburgh. In 1967 he quit Dickson’s and began his own gunmaking business. With a half-century of building “best” guns behind him, McKay Brown is now Britain’s longest-established independent gunmaker.

For more information, contact David McKay Brown (Gunmakers), 01144-1698-853727.

Douglas Tate

Doug Tate is an Editor at Large for Shooting Sportsman and is the author of British Gun Engraving (Safari Press, 2000).

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