Alex Martin made in 1913
12 Gauge, A & D Ejector, side-by-side shotgun
We are pleased to be able to offer a vintage boxlock ejector gun by Alex Martin of Glasgow, this one delivered on the 1st June 1913.
This pre-war example is marked as a 'Caledonia' however it is not the plain gun usually associated with this model. The gun is in excellent condition inside and out. The barrels measure very well, bores are unmarked and bright and only the slightest mark on the outside under the fore-end wood. All engraving and pins are crisp and the action has some remaining colour. The gun has a well figured stock which has been gently re-freshened and the sunken-rib barrels have been re-engraved with the very long name and address from this period and re-blacked, highlighting the Caledonia name that is inlaid in silver into the barrels.
- Price: £1650
- Action: Anson & Deeley, top lever with Scott spindle and Purdey bolt, hidden third fastener and Anson push-rod fore-end
- Gauge: 12
- Barrel Length : 28in
- Chambers: 2 1/2in
- Proof: Birmingham Nitro Re-Proof (at .729 in 1968)
- Bores: .729 (R) & .731 (L)
- Walls: .031 (R) & .033 (L)
- Chokes : 1/4 (R) & FULL (L)
- Ejectors: Yes, Southgate type
- Stock dimensions: Drop at comb 1 5/8in, Drop at heel 2in, 14 7/16in at heel, 14 3/8in to centre, 14 11/16in at toe
- Cast Off: 3/8in
- Weight: 6lb 4oz
- Location: Dunkeld
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It has been generally acknowledged that the firm of Alexander Martin was established in 1778 and this refers to the grandfather of the man who made the name of Alexander Martin famous around the world.
Alexander (I) was a cutler and possibly also a gunmaker, a burgess and guild brother in Paisley, about 7 miles from the centre of Glasgow. In 1742 he was recorded as a journeyman with John Hyndman.
His son, Alexander (II), was born in 1791 in Paisley, and almost certainly worked for his father. He appears to have married in about 1814, and was later recorded living in Paisley with his wife Margaret (nee Millar b. 1796) and children Allen (b.1815) who does not appear to have entered into the gun trade, Alexander (III) (b.1816), and Elizabeth (b.1826).
Alexander (II) and Alexander (III) became hammermen, burgesses and guild brothers on 22 July 1835, aged 35 and 19 respectively, this must have been almost immediately after Alexander (I) died. They were admitted to the Incorporation on 28 August that year and both their "essays" were gun main springs.
It appears that Alexander (II) inherited the business in 1835 when it was at 153 Trongate, Glasgow. He and Alexander (III) traded as gunmakers, fishing rod and tackle manufacturers. It appears that Alexander (II) left Glasgow to return to Paisley in 1837.
Alexander (III) moved the business in 1837 to 179 Argyll Street. In 1842 he moved to 181 Argyll Street, and in 1844 to 18 Exchange Square. In 1848 the firm took additional premises next door at 20 Exchange Square (later re-named Royal Exchange Square). In 1852 the firm's address was given as 20 Exchange Square, but they may also have occupied number 18.
In 1854 Alexander Martin described himself as a gunmaker and cast steel rifle barrel manufacturer. In 1856 the firm moved to 28 Exchange Square, and in 1861 to 22 Exchange Square. In 1862 the firm was recorded at 20 Royal Exchange Square. On 14 April 1880 Alexander (III) registered patent No. 1531 for a front hinged multi-barrelled repeating pistol.
Between 1886 and 1890 the firm's address was given as 22 Royal Exchange Square, but it would seem that they continued to occupy 20 Royal Exchange Square. Their address in about 1893 was 20 Royal Exchange Square.
In about 1897 the firm described themselves as gun makers and makers of pistols, sportsmen's implements, fishing rods and tackle, they were also taxidermists. It was in about 1897 that a branch was established at 128 Union Street, Aberdeen. By this time Alexander (IV) would have been 27 years old so he probably managed the branch.
In about 1901 the firm's address in Glasgow was 20 & 22 Royal Exchange Square.
In 1902 the firm amalgamated with Alexander Henry & Co of 18 Frederick Street, Edinburgh; both firms continued trading under their own names from the same shops with the exception of the Edinburgh shop which moved to 22 Frederick Street and traded under both names.
In about 1934 a branch was opened under the name of Alex Martin at 2 Friars Street, Stirling, and in about 1938 their Aberdeen shop moved to 25 Bridge Street.
It is unlikely that the firm made any guns themselves after 1939, during the 1950s and early 1960s most of their guns were made by A A Brown & Sons of Birmingham.
In about 1950 the company were armourers to the Scottish Rifle Association and a small shop was opened at Bisley in Surrey. It was in about 1950 that the Stirling shop and the Edinburgh shop closed.
The firm was latterly run by Sandy Martin, but in 1965 it was sold to John Dickson & Son Ltd. A number of historical items were put into the "Martin Collection" at the Glasgow museum.
In 1971 John Dickson moved the Aberdeen shop to 35 Belmont Street where it continued to trade as Alexander Martin until it closed in 1985. The Glasgow shop closed in 1988.
The firm made its name through success at target shooting. They made Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield target rifles, breech loading .256 calibre match rifles, and target rifle sights. The firm's trade mark was a thistle surrounded by two leaves.
In the late 1920s and early 1930s the firm developed (but did not patent) a lightweight "ribless" shotgun with three or more short sections of rib at the muzzle, centre and breech, but because of increased recoil due to the light weight, it did not prove popular.