Historical information on gunmakers; primarily those associated with long range target rifles.

England George Gibbs | William Soper | Joseph Whitworth
Ireland John Rigby
Scotland Daniel Fraser | Alexander Henry
USA Homer Fisher | Charles Overbaugh

George Gibbs, Bristol, England

Manufacturer of the muzzle loading Gibbs-Metford rifle and the breech loading Gibbs-Farquharson-Metford rifle. See also: W.E. Metford

William Soper, Reading, England

Manufacturer of a single shot breech loading rifle, renowned for its rapidity of fire.
  • The Soper Rifle - Sent for trial at Woolwich, the rifle and was rejected on the ground of "complication of breech arrangement." [1867]
  • Breech-loaders V. Muzzle-loaders - Report of comparative firing of the Enfield muzzle loader and the Soper breech loader [1869]
  • The Soper Rifle Factory - In Liquidation - News report from 1881 dealing with the sale of the Soper Rifle Factory

Joseph Whitworth, Manchester, England

Approached in 1854 by Lord Hardinge to investigate 'the mechanical principles applicable in the construction of an efficient weapon,' Whitworth's experiments revolutionised rifle design.

John Rigby, Dublin, Ireland

Rigby muzzle loading and later breech loading long range match rifles were famously used by Ireland in international shooting competitions against America.

Daniel Fraser, Edinburgh, Scotland

D. & J. Fraser manufactured a falling block breech loading rifle for Match and Military Breech Loader competition.

Alexander Henry, Edinburgh, Scotland

Alexander Henry (1818-1894) was an Edinburgh gunmaker of muzzle and breech loading rifles including the Henry Fraser two position rifle. Henry's rifling was famously used on the Martini-Henry rifle, adopted by the British Army.
  • The Henry Rifle - A. Henry's "entirely new principle in rifling fire-arms" [1861]
  • The Henry Rifle - Description of the Henry muzzle loading rifle [1862]
  • Obituary: Alexander Henry - A selection of obituary notices following the death of Alexander Henry on 27 January 1894
  • Muzzle Loading Rifles
  • Henry-Fraser Two Position RifleA.Henry & D.Fraser: Improvement in Fire-Arm. United States Patent Office. Specification forming part of Letters Patent No. 201,524, dated 19 March 1878. (nb. the British Patent was applied for on 21 April 1877 and granted on 6 July 1877, under Patent No. 1559). Muzzle and breech loading versions of this rifle are known.

Homer Fisher, New York, USA

New York dealer who sold Fisher's Muzzle-Loading Long Range Match Rifle and other American breech loading match rifles. Fisher was a member of both the Amateur and Empire Rifle Clubs of New York and the US Team to Ireland in 1880.

Charles E. Overbaugh, New York, USA

Charles E. Overbaugh has been reported as at one time Sharps Rifle Manufacturing Company's chief travelling salesman and exhibition shooter. He was instrumental in the design of Sharps Model 1877 Long Range Rifle. In 1878 he established his own business, C. E. Overbaugh & Co. Manufacturers and Dealers in Guns, Rifles, and Sporting Goods.