The Scottish firm, and the man who gives his name to it, unite technical skill and artistic flair in the making of best guns.
Scotland’s David McKay Brown is a very different sort of gunmaker. An independent craftsman who has built a thriving business with no outside backers, McKay Brown has made guns bearing his name since only 1974—an eye-blink in time compared to others, such as the aforementioned houses—and the pedigree his firm enjoys was not inherited but earned one gun at a time. McKay Brown makes about 30 guns and rifles per year—minor numbers to the mass market, but by the low volume production of bespoke gunmaking today that easily places him in Britain’s elite first five.
What explains this success? It is tempting to credit it to the gun McKay Brown initially built his business with—the Scottish round action. Patented and perfected in Edinburgh in the 1880s at the firm of John Dickson & Son, the round action is just that, a svelte, sinuous design whose triggerplate-mounted lockwork and mainsprings sit behind the action body, permitting it to be filed up with no hard edges or flat surfaces and one in which its consequent curves have been balanced and integrated harmoniously with one another. — Vic Venters