J. D. Dougall & Sons of Glasgow, made in 1895
12 Gauge, A & D Ejector, side-by-side shotgun
We are are always pleased to have the opportunity to offer a J. D. Dougall gun, they are always of the highest quality and beautifully fitted and finished. Whilst Edinburgh based gunmakers were taking much of the limelight in the nineteenth century it was Dougall that really caught the attention of sportsmen across the country with the introduction of his Lockfast gun and his business in Glasgow thriving to enable him to open a London branch.
The action is partially scroll engraved with the 'J. D. Dougall & Sons' banner on each side of the action, the engraving is very crisp and the action retaining some hardening colour. The gun is fitted with beautifully dense French walnut stock, and it is finished off with 1in ebonite extension. The gun is fitted with fine-pattern damascus barrels and they are on the heavy side, but most Dougalls we have encountered are heavy. The barrels are in excellent shape inside and lock-up to the action is firm and tight.
To prepare the gun for sale it had has a full service, strip and clean and the wood has been gently cleaned and re-polished, the chequering cleaned out and the furniture re-blacked and the barrels re-browned.
- Price: £2250
- Action: Anson & Deeley, third bite, top lever with Scott spindle and Purdey bolt, Anson push-rod fore-end
- Gauge: 12
- Barrel Material: Damascus
- Barrel Length : 30in
- Chambers: 2 1/2in
- Proof: Birmingham Nitro Proof at 12 (.729)
- Bores: .736 (R) & .729 (L)
- Walls: .030 (R) & .033 (L)
- Chokes : CYL (R) & 5/8 (L)
- Ejectors: Yes, W&R Deeley box type
- Stock dimensions: 1 5/8in drop at comb, 2 3/8in drop at heel, 14 3/4in at heel, 14 7/8in to centre, 15 1/4in at toe
- Cast Off: 1/4in
- Weight: 7lb 6oz
- Location: Dunkeld
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James Dalziel Dougall
John Dougall (I) established his business in 1760, possibly at 88 Trongate, but it was not until 1808 that he became a hammerman and purchased his admission as a burgess and guild brother. By 1818 he was recorded at this address as a fishing rod maker, needle and fish hook maker. In 1819 his son, James Dalziel Dougall (I), was born. In 1826, John moved to 177 Trongate, and two years later, he opened an additional shop at 9 Argyll Arcade where he described himself as a fishing tackle maker. The business name changed to J & J Dougall, most likely a partnership between John and another relative. In 1831 the business at 177 Trongate traded as John Dougall, fish hook maker, but the business of J & J Dougall opened another shop at 52 Argyll Arcade where it traded as gunmakers, fishing and fowling tackle makers.In about 1840 John (I) appears to have retired or died, as does his relative in the business, and it was continued by James (I). From 1840 the firm described themselves as gunmakers, fishing & fowling tackle makers.
From 1841 the business traded as James D Dougall and it seems their only premises were at 52 Argyll Arcade. At this time James (I) was 22 years old. On 25 May 1841 he married Janet Spiers. In 1842 James' first son, John C (John II), was born, he was followed in 1844 by a daughter, Margaret, and in 1850 by a second son, James D (James (II)). In 1844 James (I) was admitted as a burgess and guild brother. In 1845 he was admitted into the Incorporation as a fish-hook maker, his "essay" being "a square broach or widener". By 1848 the firm had acquired additional premises at 51 Argyll Arcade and James (I) described himself as a fishing tackle maker and practical gunmaker. An advertisement at this time stated that the firm had been established in 1760 and offered "an extensive assortment of Fowling pieces" and "in the workshop department every care is taken in the manufacturing of guns, the best material only being used and superior workmen only employed"; "Guns restocked and bored to shoot close and strong". The gun making workshop department was located at 80 Mitchell Lane. From 1850 the firm occupied 23 Gordon Street and traded as gun maker and fishing tackle manufacturer. An advertisement at this date stated "Fowling pieces. Rifles etc. made to order to any style or pattern. and their shooting warranted, being bored and tested on an unerring principle." James (I) was one of the first English gun makers to recognise the potential of the breech loading guns exhibited by Lefaucheux at the Great Exhibition in 1851. On the 3rd March 1859, J D Dougall registered patent No. 566 for a muzzle-loading breech action with recoiling chambers and a long nipple vent which ignited the front of the powder charge.
On the 7th May 1860 James (I) registered patent No. 1128 for his famous "Lockfast" action, where the barrels, rotating on the hinge pin which turned by means of a downward moving lever also acted as a cam, sliding the barrels forward before dropping down, and lock into bosses on the action face when closing. The first version of this was a double barrel pin fire gun with an upward moving lever, the improved version was a centre fire with a downward moving lever. Both shotguns and rifles were made on the principle, the rifle being a capping breech loader using a combustible cartridge. There were several variations to parts of the mechanism. Twelve or so years later, Dougall introduced a snap action version. The patent was the most successful of all the slide and drop actions and was used by Holland & Holland amongst others. The Lockfast was made over a period of about 25 years. In 1861, James (I) went to Belgium and licensed several Liege gun makers to use his Lockfast patent. Other holders of licences were Benjamin Cogswell, W & J Rigby, E M Reilly and John Lyell of Aberdeen. An unlicensed user of the patent was the firm of Nixon & Lawton of Newark, Nottinghamshire who had to publish an apology and pay the royalties due. In 1864, John (II) was left to manage the Glasgow shop and James (I) and James (II) moved to London where they opened a shop at 59 St James's Street. James (I) became involved at this time with the Schultze gunpowder company but his precise involvement is unknown.
Over the preceding years, James Dalziel Dougall had increasingly devoted himself to writing to shooting magazines (under the pseudonym of "A Glasgow Gunmaker") and writing books. Amongst his titles were "British Rural Sports", "Scottish Field Sports", "The Shotgun and Sporting Rifle ", "Shooting Simplified" and "The Rifle Simplified". In 1865 he re-published "Shooting Simplified". It appears that John Wilkes joined the firm in 1867 in some capacity. In 1872, J D Dougall was appointed Gun and Rifle Manufacturer to the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), who ordered a Lockfast gun. From about this date Dougall guns carried the Prince of Wales' feather crest on the action, or words referring to the Royal Appointment. The firm was also given an appointment to the Duke of Edinburgh (Alfred) but the precise date this occurred is not known.
In 1882, the firm moved to 8 Bennett Street, St James's Street, London, and started to trade as J D Dougall & Sons. In 1888 James (I) and James (II) became directors of the Smokeless Powder Company Ltd which later became the Smokeless Powder & Ammunition Company Ltd. Their factory was at Barwick, Hertfordshire with London offices at 9 New Broad Street. By 1893 the company was exporting powder to India and making powder for revolvers. On the 28th February 1891 James (I) died aged 72. In 1892, James (II) became the first Chairman of the Armourers Club (the Gun Trade Association), a position he held until 1894. In 1893 he was recorded as Managing Director of the Smokeless Powder Company Ltd. In this year the inaugural meeting of the Inanimate Bird Shooting Association took place with James (II) as chairman.
In 1894, James (II) died aged only 44. It would appear that John Wilkes was appointed as Manager and he, ran the business for his executors until 1896 when it closed and Bozard & Co. took over the premises. In 1895, the Glasgow business was sold to Charles A Ingram (nephew of the famous target rifle maker) but continued to trade under the name of James Dalziel Dougall & Sons. In 1904, when the lease on 23 Gordon Street ran out and was not offered for renewal he moved the business to 3 West Nile Street, on the corner of Gordon Street and, in 1912 to 18a Renfield Street. Charles Ingram's address at the time was 18b Renfield Street. In 1920 the firm occupied 4 Bothwell Street, Glasgow, it ceased to trade under the Dougall name between 1923 and 1929, although the firm of Charles Ingram continued until 1946.