Thursday, July 21, 2016


I have been interested in cars all my life which is natural when you know that my mum and dad owned a garage and lived on the premises and I grew up around cars. I fixed them, raced them, repaired them recovered them sold them and took them apart. The simplicity of the Morris Minor engine was not that different the mechanics of the 4 cylinder Mazda engine in the latest model 2 hatchback.
But in contrast with the first car built by Benz in 1885 they are generations away in terms of power output reliability and complexity. The engine used by Mr Benz only had one cylinder and the massive power output of 3/4 horsepower.

Although I was introduced to rifles when I was quite young as I did some 22 target shooting at the Milnathort rifle range and was taught to strip and clean the very basic single shot breech loader that was used for target work I was not that interested in the technology.

This all changed a couple of years ago when I met a self confessed serious gun nut when I was skiing in Salt Lake City and he started me off on the history of gun making and insisted that I should watch this video.

I did and marveled at the skills and craftsmanship of the early gunsmiths.

We have had some bad weather recently and while I have had a good wifi connection I watched and read some material on early gun designers and manufacturers.

Samuel Colt is recognized as the first manufacturer to mass produce guns with interchangeable parts. In other words the first production line was not thought up by Henry Ford.

Peter Mauser essentially perfected the design on the bolt action rifle in the 1880s at the same time as the first crude car with it's one cylinder engine rattled out of that shed in Germany.

That bolt action was used in World War 1 and 2 and is still sold today in a hunting rifle. The exact sane design.

Final thought all gun designers and gunsmiths are men although woman are widely employed on the gun production lines. Why is that ?


  1. The engineering and innovation around the English shotgun and double rifles is fantastic. The quality of the workmanship, mostly made by hand with simple tools and many examples still in use today. New calibers, cartridges, powders, primers all add to the story. Add the artistry of the engraver and you have a work of art.