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Available Guns

SOLD - John R. Gow & Sons of Dundee

12 Gauge, A & D Ejector, side-by-side shotgun

We are pleased to be able to offer a vintage boxlock ejector gun by another local gunmaker to us, John R. Gow and Sons of Dundee. 

This pre-war example is in great condition inside and out, the action features border and acanthus scroll engraving with crisp engraving on the furniture and pins. The barrels measure very well, bores are unmarked and bright and we have re-blacked them to prepare the gun for sale. The open choked, short barrels suggest this gun was setup for the grouse and the tubes incorporate flashes of scroll engraving at the breech ends. The gun has a plain, straight-hand stock which we have re-oiled and cleaned the chequering out.

Interestingly, the gun incorporates a coil spring ejector patent, which is often mistaken for a Baker ejector coil spring system. Patent No. 12,606 of 1908, was granted to Frederick and his son Frederick George Rogers, gun action makers in the Birmingham gun quarter. The system uses a coil spring powered sliding kicker mounted in the fore-end iron which is released by a simple rocker lever mounted underneath it and tripped conventionally by a trip slide in the action.


  • Action: Anson & Deeley, top lever Purdey-type extended bolt and Greener cross-bolt extension.
  • Gauge: 12
  • Barrel Length: 27 1/4in
  • Chambers: 2 1/2in
  • Proof: Birmingham Nitro Re-Proof .719 (R) & .729 (L) in 1969
  • Bores: .724 (R) & .731 (L)
  • Walls: .031 (R) & .030 (L)
  • Chokes : Imp Cyl (R) & Imp Cyl (L)
  • Ejectors: Yes, patent coil spring
  • Stock dimensions: Drop at comb 1 5/8in, Drop at heel 2 3/8in, 14 15/16 at heel, 14 7/8in to centre, 15 1/4 at toe 
  • Cast Off: 3/8in
  • Weight: 6lb 13oz
  • Location: Dunkeld

John Robertson Gow & Sons of Dundee

John Robertson Gow was born in March 1812 in Longforgan, Dundee and his initial trade was as a cabinet maker. In October 1852 John Robinson married Barbara Reid. They initially had two sons, Robert John (b.1852) and John Robertson (II) (b.1854) who both later became gun makers and then another son, Peter Reid (b.1863), who became a draper but later a gun maker.

Between 1862 and 1865 John Robertson (I) and his family moved to Dundee. There appears to be no record of John Robertson Gow in the 1871 census but he was recorded in the street directories between about 1874 and 1878 at 27 Nethergate, Dundee as a gun maker.

In 1881, John Robertson (I) was listed as gun maker living at 3 Westfield Lane, Dundee with Barbara, Robert and John Robertson (II) (both described as gun makers), a daughter and two more sons George Robertson (b.1865, later becoming a gun maker) and James Reid (b.1870). Sometime later, the business was known as John R. Gow & Sons.

By 1883, it appears that John Robertson (II) had left the business in Dundee and went to work for the gunmaker Francis Brebner in Darlington, Co Durham. The connection to Brebner was that he had apprenticed to John Robertson (I) as a cabinet maker in Perth. This was perhaps a short-lived venture as John Robertson (II) returned to Dundee, but not to re-join the gunmaking business but working as a steam engine fitter until his death in 1903.  

Robert John died in July 1885 and John Robertson (I) in June 1895 and so the business was continued under his sons, Peter Reid and George Robertson. The remaining brother, James Reid, joining the business in 1901 as a gun maker. Peter Reid died in September 1915 and his brother, George Robertson, in February 1935.

Gows’s of Dundee was well known for its fishing tackle manufacturing and filed a number of patents over the years for improvements to spinning lures and dry fly-fishing equipment. Like most provincial gunmakers they loaded cartridges under their own name and under the names "Tayside", "Special Blue", "Pheasant" and "Xcel".

The last remaining son of John Robertson (I), James Reid, died in September 1960 and management of the business passed to his daughter, Dr. Evelyn Reid Lindsay Gow. In 1975, the business became a limited company, John R Gow & Sons Ltd. and continued to trade mainly in fishing tackle until the downturn in customers in a city centre forced the business to close in 2014.