Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

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Alan David 60
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:29 pm

Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by Alan David 60 » Sun Apr 21, 2019 5:40 am

I am interested in the bolt action center fire sporting rifles made by Vickers and from 1927 Vickers Armstrong, between the wars.
The three main calibers offered would appear to be .242, .318 and .404. However, there may have been other calibers offered such as .30/06.

I am building up a data base of serial numbers to try to estimate the total number of these sporting bolt action rifles that Vickers marketed. I have read that the actions were made by DWM the rest of the rifle being completed by the trade rather than Vickers.

Therefore if you have a Vickers sporting bolt action rifle, please post the details here, any photos showing proof marks especially appreciated. Many thanks.

Regards

AlanD
Sydney

John 39
Posts: 251
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by John 39 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 5:28 pm

Just checked the archived forum, sorry to see you didn't get any replies in June 2008, hope you have better luck this time. Incidentally, I think you must have emailed me because I put the email up as a post.

You can search the archived forum by selecting it on the main menu and clicking on Rifles. If you then scroll down to the bottom you will get to the filter, enter Vickers in the Keywords Text box. The second result on the .404 may be of interest to you.

James M. Warren 374
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by James M. Warren 374 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:42 pm

Have just aquired a Cogswell & Harrison, Ltd. marked .242 Vickers sporting rifle.
The barrel is engraved ".242 Express" and from the "Cogswell & Harrison, Ltd" marking it would seem to date on or after 1932 (when the name was changed to "Ltd.").

Serial number is 4017 which does not appear in Cogswell & Harrison records, likely a Vickers-Armstrong serial number?

These are sellers pictures, I will have better ones after I take possession.
I will remove the stock to see if there are any Vickers markings under the wood.

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Alan David 60
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:29 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by Alan David 60 » Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:47 am

The rifle has London proof marks which I would expect to see on a Vickers rifle. It has a four digit serial number which again I would expect to see, on a Vickers rifle.
I have only personally examined one Vickers branded - I say branded as they did not actually make them as such – rifle, and this was years ago before I was really interested in them. So I do not know for sure if they hand engraved the serial number on the trigger guard. This seems to be something a gunmaker/ retailer would do if they wanted to apply their own stock or serial number to the rifle, such as Wilkinson’s and other firms. I am not sure Vickers would need to do this as they were more of a wholesaler and manufacturer, selling guns to the trade.
If Vickers did sell the rifle I would have thought it would have “.242 Vickers” marketed as the calibre rather than the more generic “.242 Express”.
The marking of Cogswell & Harrison’s name and address on the barrel would seem to imply it went through their hands. The address indicating sometime between 1932 and 1939, so within the Vickers rifle production of 1920 to 1940. However, I do not see Cogswell’s buying off Vickers as they were selling a lot more centre fire sporting rifles than Vickers ever did.
Its interesting that Cogswell say they used a five digit serial number and not a four digit number. I have been keeping a data base of the brass one inch signal pistols made in the Great War by the trade, including, W.W. Greener, Webley & Scott, Chubb, Wolseley and Cogswell & Harrison. All of them started at S/N 1, except C&H who started at 50,001 for some unknown reason!

So there are more questions than answers really, lets hope some new information comes along one day.

James M. Warren 374
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by James M. Warren 374 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:16 am

Hello again Alan,
Your observation on your last post:
"...... so within the Vickers rifle production of 1920 to 1940. However, I do not see Cogswell’s buying off Vickers as they were selling a lot more centre fire sporting rifles than Vickers ever did......"

I have recently read that due to Great Depression Era financial difficulties, Cogswell & Harrison, Ltd. had closed/sold their in house manufacturing from some time in 1935 up to some time in 1937 when it resumed.

This 2 year window might indicate that Cogswell & Harrison, Ltd. had to resort to buying in from the trade (Vickers-Armstrongs in this case) to be able to have sporting arms for sale.
Certainly the time line for this rifle (1932-1939) is within expectations?

Another clue is that this .242 is a dead nuts visual clone of the rifle depicted in the Vickers catalog of that era.

Details lost to the mists of time I expect.
- Mike

Alan David 60
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:29 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by Alan David 60 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:32 am

Hi Mike

What you say may well be the case then. Its difficult to come up with much that is certain.

Are there any markings on your rifle which would indicate which German company made the rifle. I have read that Vickers rifles were made by DWM. However, I have also read that DWM did not make sporting rifles only military rifles. So if DWM did make Vickers rifles it would have been only the action and bolt presumably that Vickers used. Someone else made the stock and barrel and other fittings. Vickers would have been capable of making the barrel. The stock may have been contracted out. Having said that someone also had to make the wooden stocks for the 350 odd Vickers Armstrong Pederson .276 semi auto rifles that were made in the 1930's.

Are you able to post a photo showing the full length of the rifle please?

All good stuff.

Regards

AlanD

James M. Warren 374
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by James M. Warren 374 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:12 pm

Alan,
Full length pictures now:
If you want better resolution I can easily email better ones to you.
- Mike

I took it out of the wood and aside from a few of what are likely inspectors stamps on the bottom of the action behind the recoil lug there is nothing.......
The action is not a commercial action as it does have a thumb cut and intact stripper clip guide hump?

The barrel is entirely devoid of marks save the calibre marking “.242 Express”, the Cogswell & Harrison mark, serial number, and then the London proof marks.
The stock under the barrel is stamped with the 4017 serial number as well.
- Mike
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James M. Warren 374
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by James M. Warren 374 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 12:19 am

one more:

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Alan David 60
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:29 pm

Re: Vickers Rifles .242 .318 .404 Survey

Post by Alan David 60 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:03 am

James

Your rifle is a dead ringer for the one in the Vickers Armstrong catalogue I have, including the flattened bolt knob. The action does appear to be a military action with the charger guide. The illustrations in the catalogue appear to have the same action for the .242 and the .318 round. The .404 action looks more like a commercial action and is described as a Mauser action specially made for the .404 cartridge.

As no sales registers seem to exist for Vickers sporting guns the only way of determining the number of rifles produced is to look at the proof day books for the London proof house, which are held in the Guildhall Library in central London. I have looked at the day book for 1920 and found the first rifle that was proofed was in .318 calibre. Unfortunately, going through these day books is quite a time consuming prosses and it is easy to get distracted. So eventually I may be able to get through the day books for 1921 to 1939. At the end of the day i suspect total production of Vickers center fire sporting rifles will be in the hundreds, not thousands.

Interestingly, the Vickers Armstrong catalogue shows the calbre as .242 Magnum Express , rather than .242 Vickers, so this is in keeping with the calibre markings on the rifle.

If you are able to email me any high resolution photos, that would be great. alandavid303 at optusnet dot com dot au

Regards

AlanD
Sydney

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