Scot­tish gun­mak­ing

Shooting Gazette - - Scottish Gunmaking - For more in­for­ma­tion about David Mckay Brown, visit mck­ay­brown.com.

was some­times sup­ple­mented by driv­ing taxis and work­ing as a con­tract deer stalker.

David built his first round ac­tion shot­gun in 1974, and this would prove to be the first in a new sta­ble of Scot­tish shot­guns. He has al­most been forced to sell his first gun on two oc­ca­sions when times were hard, but thank­fully he has been able to keep hold of it. It is the per­fect grouse gun, but it comes with a unique down­side. David is a good shot by all ac­counts, but as he ex­plained, “when you’ve de­signed and built your own gun, you’ve got no ex­cuses for miss­ing”.

Grouse were a main­stay of David’s sport­ing world for decades, and he loves the flavour of a well-cooked bird so much he still makes sure to have enough in the freezer to eat one every fort­night through­out the year. He re­gards grouse as the world’s finest sport­ing quarry, but he is los­ing his ap­petite for the big bird days. Clients often in­vite him to shoot by way of thanks, but while he en­joys these trips out, he often finds more plea­sure in shoot­ing ducks on his flight­pond at home.

David is a mine of old sto­ries. It would be easy to lose track of time in his lit­tle of­fice on Hamil­ton Road in Both­well where his guns are built. The unas­sum­ing shop front be­lies the in­trigue of its con­tents, and as soon as you en­ter 32 Hamil­ton Road, a sport­ing trea­sure trove awaits. A shoul­der­mounted cape buf­falo looms over the desk, and the walls are hung with end­less cer­tifi­cates and com­men­da­tions from ma­jor names in the gun­mak­ing world. David al­ter­nates sto­ries from a He­bridean snipe bog with tales from the African bush, and the smell of lin­seed oil, old pa­pers and the heavy lathes down­stairs is in­tox­i­cat­ing.

After 50 years in busi­ness, David still has an im­mense ap­petite for his trade. A cur­rent trend to­wards high pheas­ants stirs his en­thu­si­asm, and his work re­flects chang­ing tastes and fash­ions in the shoot­ing world. On the rack be­side the but­ter­fly shot­guns stands a special 12 bore over-un­der with 32” bar­rels – cus­tom built to tackle high birds. It is easy to imag­ine that gun­mak­ing can soon be­come for­mu­laic and hide-bound in tra­di­tion, but David’s shot­guns are re­spon­sive to change and progress. Fash­ions come and go every year, and there are al­ways new bound­aries to push and ex­plore. Un­der David’s man­age­ment, the firm has been able to bal­ance the re­fine­ment of tra­di­tional ideas with to­tally new and pro­gres­sive tech­niques which sim­ply did not ex­ist in the 1960s. Leav­ing him to his work and step­ping out into the rain, I felt con­fi­dent that the fu­ture holds plenty of sur­prises from David Mckay Brown.

david's unas­sum­ing shop hides an in­trigu­ing in­te­rior. the smell of lin­seed oil, old pa­pers and heavy lathes is in­tox­i­cat­ing.

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