At Cordings we pride ourselves in supporting British manufacturing, so it was good to see a new British made gun appear on the market, manufactured in Lancashire, proving that innovation and craftsmanship is still very much part of Brilliant Britain. We caught up with Elaine Stewart, from Longthorne Guns to find out what makes their British made shotguns so special.
Cordings: James’ background, although manufacturing is not gun making. What inspired him to create Longthorne?
Elaine: A general boredom and disillusionment with sub contract engineering, which he had been doing since leaving school, he needed a project and a challenge (and it’s certainly been that!!!)
Cordings: What makes a Longthorne gun special?
Elaine: We feel that we’ve taken a huge evolutionary leap as far as the design is concerned because we could, they are made out of a single piece of high specification steel, our barrels are also parallel not converging (converging is the norm) this means that the barrels are much lighter and stronger than conventional barrels. There is no soldering on joints, and they shoot accurately where they are pointed (unlike conventional barrels which don’t necessarily) there is also much less felt recoil.
Cordings: The engraving on the guns is superb, who creates this for you and where do they draw their inspiration? This is applied using a hi tech process, what difference does this make? Do you feel this replicates the traditional method?
Elaine: Our Daughter Chloe designs the engraving designs which are all drawn by her initially, Chloe is inspired by our clients requirements but if she does an in house design she researches it first depending on the style we want and then adds a little of herself. We do use mechanical methods to produce the end result and then hand finish everything, but we believe that the methods we use do take longer but replicate hand engraving because of the level of detail. Hand engravers have mistaken it for hand engraving which is such a complement.
Cordings: Have you found since setting up Longthorne that you are learning from your clients?
Elaine: Yes, we do listen to our clients and this is what has helped us progress, obviously you can’t take on board every little thing but some things we do and we always value input.
Cordings: Manufacturing in Britain has been declining for a number of years, and it is wonderful that you have bucked this trend. What challenges have you had, and what do you feel can be done to help companies like yourself thrive in Britain?
Elaine: Challenges have been so numerous and on-going, there is a definite skill shortage which should have been addressed many years ago and a general reluctance in some sectors to pull together and /or move forward. We don’t mind training when we find the right people for the job. You can’t make true English guns in Italy or Spain so here is where we have to be.
Cordings: Who would you love to create a Longthorne for?
Elaine: It is a great pleasure to make a gun for anyone who shares our passion for innovation and appreciates the care and development we put into them.