Castle Gunmakers, Norham, Northumberland


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Castle Gunmakers, Norham, Northumberland

About us

Barry Wilcox

Barry has a huge passion for shooting, fishing and the countryside in general having spent his entire working life in the gun trade both in the UK and America.

He was encouraged into his career by Bruce (Yorkie) Moore in Ringwood, Hampshire around 1957. A true craftsman, Bruce taught Barry much about modern and antique guns and the gun trade in general. After dealing with the gun trade and being guided by Bruce for several years Barry spent much of the 1960’s and early 70’s working in all aspects of the gun trade in various guises and enjoyed a long period with Chaplin’s of Winchester from the 70’s to the mid 80’s. It was whilst on a trip to Fabrique National in Belgium that Barry first met some of the Italian gunmakers that were really beginning to make their mark, forming ties with the likes of Rizzini Snr, ties that were to prove very useful in the future.

Barry moved to Scotland in the late 1980’s, opening ‘Waterybutts’, his own commercial game shooting and fishing lodge in Perthshire. Soon after he joined up with David Hendry and Major Neil Ramsay to form Hendry, Ramsay & Wilcox, Scotland’s foremost game shooting agency, letting high quality shooting all over Scotland.

In the 1990’s a tempting offer from America led him to manage the Flying G Ranch in South Texas. Here, whilst still gunsmithing and carrying out gun repairs, he used his wildlife management skills learnt in Scotland to win the Brush Sculpture Award for the creation of wildlife habitat, the reward for which was a Green Card!

In 1995 with his Texan partner and a Scottish landowner Barry secured the business of James MacNaughton Gunmaker and began to build their famous skeletal action (bar-in-wood). In 1998 the company acquired John Dickson & Son and formed Dickson & MacNaughton. During this time Barry began sending work to specialist gunsmiths in Brescia, Italy, forging close ties with many of the artisan outworkers as well as large companies. He became close family friends with interpreter Elena Mitchelli who was instrumental in cementing his ties with Cesare Giovanelli, Batista Rizzini, Ivano Tanfoglio and the rest of ‘The Valley’ as it was known. Dickson & MacNaughton continued to build traditional Scottish guns and carry out all types of gun repairs, and Barry headed up the development of a new range of Italian built over and unders, working with Wifra Armi to develop the Alex Martin range. Barry continued to be a passionate ambassador for Dickson & MacNaughton working as Operations Director until retiring at 65.

Unable to settle in his retirement, with his son Sam, they formed Castle Gunmakers Ltd and opened a shop in Norham, North Northumberland. Free from the restraints of Dickson & MacNaughton, Barry once again turned to the craftsmen of Italy, working with Batista Rizzini and Ivano Tanfoglio to build a British inspired over and under of his own design – the pinnacle of a long and distinguished career.

Barry is also a keen clay shooter, and was involved with the television programme ‘Star Shot’. He also took part in Barry Hearn’s ‘White Gold Cup’ at Hever Castle in 1993, being the only person to qualify with a side by side!

Barry may be familiar to followers of Sporting Scene DVDs having been featured in many of them. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all types of firearms and his services are often called upon by auction houses, the gun trade and private collectors. He helps run a small pheasant shoot locally, imparting years of knowledge to those who will listen!

Barry will be pleased to help with technical enquiries and is available for valuations, appraisals, bespoke requirements and general storytelling.

Appointed Dealer

Castle Gunmakers are Appointed Dealers for Rizzini, AYA and Webley & Scott shotguns in Northumberland and the Borders.

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