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Vickers Armstrong and the
THE VICKERS MARTINI TARGET RIFLES

The Vickers Armstrong industrial giant stemmed from the foundation, in 1828, of the Sheffield steel and bronze foundry which later became Naylor, Vickers & Co.
Born in 1804, Edward Vickers, a miller, joined, at around the time of the birth of his first son, the steel firm run by his father-in-law, George Naylor. His two sons, Thomas and Albert, eventually also joined the business which, by 1867, had moved entirely into the hands of the Vickers family.

The company's move into armaments came in 1897 with the acquisition of the Barrow ( in Furness) Shipbuilding company and its arms manufacturing subsidiary, the Maxim Nordenfelt concern of which Thomas had become chairman, and which company was itself a marriage of Hiram Maxim's firm, developed on his machine gun designs, and the Nordenfelt business, which produced the famous multi-barrel (four) quick-firing small-calibre cannon. The outcome of the merger was the Vickers, Sons and Maxim company.

They are, in small-arms terms, probably most well known for the notorious and effective - "Grand Old Lady of No Man's Land" - the Vickers machine gun. Collectors of more readily publicly available Vickers' production items will also know them for their versions of the No.1 bayonet for the S.M.L.E. (Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle)
Vickers' foray into the small-bore rifle arena came in the very early 1920s. By 1924 they were advertising their Mk.I Martini target rifles and accompanying sporting versions. In 1927 the business merged yet again, this time with Armstrong Whitworth, itself an amalgamation of the interests of the well known industrialist, Sir William Armstrong, and Joseph Whitworth, the famous self-taught engineer responsible for so many advances in rifle design and most of the thread and engineering standards which unified manufacture in the latter period of the industrial revolution.

The Vickers Armstrong empire was effectively broken up, between the 1960s and 1990s, into parts respectively forming into sections of, amongst other things, the nationalised British Steel Industry, the British Aircraft Corporation (latterly BAE), and Marconi - by then part of General Electric. At the end of the 'last' Century, Vicker's, who had acquired the Royal Ordnance Factory in 1986 ( now closed, and from whence the 'Enfield Pattern Room' National Firearms collection was, in 2004, removed to the care of the Leeds Royal Armouries), were taken over by Rolls Royce and.

For whatever reason, the company then opted to join the fray with the Birmingham Small Arms Company, W.W. Greener and those other arms manufacturers who took up the gauntlet on behalf of the Earl Lord Roberts who, at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, was instrumental in the encouragement of rifle-shooting within the populace, and the associated formation of the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs.

Vickers' small-bore Martini rifles proved, over their comparatively short production span between the early 1920s and the Second Warld War, to be highly competitive. They developed a deserved reputation for accuracy, still displayed by many of the surviving examples.

 

Vickers
Empire Model
Match Target Rifle
£300

This is the Empre Model Vickers Match target rifle with excellent chequered walnut furniture and fixed aperture rearsight on the rear of the action.

The Empire model was one of the last variants of the Vickers Martini actioned miniature target rifles.

This rifle is complete with the “Perfection” rear sight and AG Parker Model 2 tunnel foresight

The Vickers rifles had one fundamental difference to the opposition; the barrel and action came as one piece, fitted in to a one piece stock

Very Good - Excellent Condition