John Lyell, Gunmaker, Aberdeen Scotland.

Has anyone heard of or know where to find information about this gunmaker? I have come across an old double .500 calibre something or other in terrible condition (broken through the wrist) and want to bring it back to life. Pictures incoming.

Sounds like an @Bentaz or @danmac question to me…

Hes mentioned briefly in one of my books as using others designs under licence.

And i found this online.

John Lyell set himself up in business in Aberdeen about 1823 and originally marketed ousehold grates. By 1830 Lyell was advertising as working at the “Sign of the Golden Gun” and announced that he had taken on an experienced gunmaker (unnamed).

Lyell later appears to have given up making firearms and simply acted as suppliers and repairers.

First recorded in Aberdeen Directory 1824-25, firm last mentioned in directory for 1879-1880. Listed in the Directories as gun-maker from 1831.

There seem to be a fair few of his guns still being sold for pretty good prices around the world.

1 Like

The one I have my hands almost on has an interesting safety added to the half cock. You can slide a bar to prevent the hammer from being fully cocked.

The rest of the rifle design appears to be completely copied from a Rigby. Photos to come.





At minimum, a new stock is required ($2500-3500).

Then its a question of browning/blueing/leave it be.

1 Like

Nice. Did you figure out what its chambered in?

Have you got someone in mind for the work?
The stock may be repairable… after all, it’s not like you’re gonna be shooting this old gem, are you?

Not shoot it, are you crazy?
Little bit of Trail Boss, lotta fun! I’d wanna shoot it.

1 Like

From what little Ive read, and not being at home where I could slug it, its about bang on .50 calibres, it appears to be a straight walled chamber about 3" long so Im going with .500BPE of some sort.
I sent Ross Waghorn a message to see if he can have a look at it.

Yes, I absolutely intend to load shoot and hopefully take a dozen critters!

3 Likes