Hunt with highest calibre

For over 30 years, top-quality bespoke guns have been crafted for customers, from keen shots to Prince William

When an accomplished shot wishes to buy a gun, they naturally look for the highest level of craftsmanship. That often means the name of Michael Lingard comes into the frame.

Michael Lingard holds the royal warrant as gunmaker to the Prince of Wales. He was commissioned by the prince to make a .234 rifle as a gift for his son, Prince William, for his 18th birthday.

Lingard has been making bespoke guns in Friockheim, near Brechin in Angus, for 32 years. His workshop is based in an elegant former bank building, which bears the royal warrant.

“Each gun is made to the individual customer’s specifications,” says Lingard. “They usually want a beautifully figured piece of walnut for the stock, so I travel throughout Europe looking for the highest quality walnut stock blanks available.”

Lingard is particularly renowned for his stockmaking, having learnt the skills during a five year apprenticeship to Ted Slater, a stocker and actioner at London gunmakers Stephen Grant & Joseph Lang.

Each stock is individually crafted to the customer’s measurements. “Usually there is a gold oval or shield mounted on the underside of the stock, that bears the client’s initials or coat of arms,” says Lingard.

The action body may be engraved or carved in a pattern selected by the client.

Lingard says: “I usually produce about six guns a year. An individual gun may take two years to make.”

Personal recommendations often bring customers from all over the world to Lingard’s workshop.

Once purchased (and a shotgun, excluding engraving, starts at around £38,000), customers can return the gun for servicing, knowing they will be in the hands of a gunmaker whose craftsmanship is recognised by the royal warrant.

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