Salter & Varge

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Sam Andrews 643
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:20 am

Salter & Varge

Post by Sam Andrews 643 »

I have a Salter & Varge BLNE in my collection and I am mildly vexed by the lack of information about this company online. I have, however, come up with this snippet from the archives of the Dáil Éireann detailing a debate on Wednesday, 29 Apr 1953 (Vol. 138 No. 7), which may be of interest.


Mr Dillion asked the Minister forDefence whether any surplus or obsolete armaments or equipment have been disposed of by the Army during the last 12 months; and, if so, if he will state (1) what categories of equipment and armaments were represented in the disposal, (2) who was the purchaser or purchasers and (3) whether the equipment or armaments were exported and, if so, to what destination.

Oscar Traynor, Minister for Defence (Mr. Traynor): A number of weapons of unsuitable and obsolete patterns were disposed of by my Department during the last 12 months.
(1) They consisted of rifles, revolvers and pistols, of which there were some 27 different patterns in all, and none of which was capable of firing the types of ammunition held in Army stocks.
(2) The purchasers were Messrs. Salter & Varge, Limited, Empire House, St. Martins-le-Grand, London.
(3) The weapons were exported to England.
John 39
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Salter & Varge

Post by John 39 »

Hi Sam,

Thank you very much for this information, no doubt Salter & Varge exported the gun to other countries. I have updated our history of the firm.
Sam Andrews 643
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:20 am

Re: Salter & Varge

Post by Sam Andrews 643 »

Any idea from the stamps what date this one is?

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John 39
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Re: Salter & Varge

Post by John 39 »

Hi Sam,

13/1 is the old method of stating the bore i.e a little tighter than standard 12 bore.

The proof master seems to have wanted to use just about all the stamps in his armoury!

I think the gun was proved twice although it does not have any re-proved mark. The original proof was just before 1904 as revealed by the Birmingham Provisional Proof mark on the barrels. The 12 in a diamond was the chamber Size mark used from 1887 to 1904 - the letters were omitted after 1904 because the chamber size was stated as 2 1/2 or 2 1/2", this was used 1925 to 1989. As regards second proof, this was possibly necessary if changes were made to the barrels, 18.6 (mm) was used 1984 to 1986, 65mm was used 1989 to date.

LP over 08 may mean London (re-proof) in 2008.
Sam Andrews 643
Posts: 25
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:20 am

Re: Salter & Varge

Post by Sam Andrews 643 »

Hi John,

Thanks so much for navigating this. I was scratching my head over all the marks. If it was originally proofed in 1904, it begs an interesting question about Salter & Varge, which, according to the historical database, was only formed in 1933. Did they buy up a lot of overstocks from Birmingham makers? Was it rebarrelled?

Would love to know what prompted the reproof in 2008. Took it out today for some clays and can report that a humble Birmingham box lock is the gun for me over an aristocratic Macnaughton!
John 39
Posts: 452
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Salter & Varge

Post by John 39 »

A lot of guns and parts were made in the late 1800s and not all of them were sold. It would be natural and typical that a merchant such as Salter & Varge would hunt around Birmingham makers to find guns to sell. I don't think this gun was re-barrelled in its early life but almost certainly is was in 2008. The re-proof was most probably prompted by a minor knock to the barrels. Birmingham guns were, are still are, badly underrated!
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