The best quality English sidelock sporting gun is surely one of the world’s great artefacts. In such guns, form truly follows function as grace, beauty and superb handling dynamics come together to give the sportsman unequalled pleasure and joy in ownership and use. These qualities are synonymous with the guns of A.A.Brown and Sons. Albert Arthur Brown established the business in 1938 and made his name building guns of fabulous quality which were ultimately signed with the names of many famous makers. He, together with his sons Albert H. and Sidney continued to work this way for many years, his company establishing itself as a “gunmakers’ gunmaker” - a firm that the trade turned to when only the very best would do. However, in the early 1970s, ten years after Sidney's son, Robin, started his apprenticeship, it was decided that if A.A.Brown was going to build the very best, it would do so under its own name.
Today, under Robin's leadership, Browns build the very finest sporting guns in their workshops, a short distance from historic Birmingham, in the Mediaeval village of Alvechurch. They have enjoyed more than seventy years of continual production with an order book that has always bulged. If you were to visit there you would be struck not only by the evidence of fine gunmaking, epitomised by the stunning shape of Browns rounded-action sidelock, which has an aesthetic appeal all of its own and is quite unlike any other gun, but also by the huge amount of servicing, restoring and customising that gives the workshop a constant buzz of activity. Browns’ reputation precedes it and seems to ensure that the company is never short of work.
Browns’ best guns are the side by side Supreme de Luxe, which uses an optional barrel mounted self-opening system, and the over and under Series 8. The mechanics of the Supreme de Luxe are similar to a Holland & Holland “Royal”, however, the aesthetic is entirely A.A.Brown. The rounded action of the Supreme de Luxe, developed out of a customer's request for a gun that seemed smooth and sleek, has slightly domed lock plates and a double bar to the action which adds to the effect of a rounded gun. This look now lends itself to the Series 8, mechanically based on the Hill/Woodward design but with the trademark smooth rounded style. It is this roundness that gives A.A.Brown guns their organic feel and distinctive appearance.
The firm have also developed the Brown Beretta, a modification of the Beretta 687 EELL Diamond Pigeon, although the process can be applied to any Beretta model. This once again came about from a customers desire to have his Beretta handle a little more like his best guns and so the B.B.Game was born. Customers can choose any number of the available changes to go from simple stock alterations and refinishing to the full blown ‘de Luxe’ version, details of which can be found on the B.B.Game page.
It is the opportunity for a customer to have the gun tailored to his or her exact wishes that make people come back and order bespoke guns time and time again. A.A. Brown & Sons are no different to any other best gunmaker in this regard, but an attention to detail that can only come from true perfectionism sets them apart with an aesthetic and tactile quality that cannot be described and yet sticks in the mind. Robin’s son Matthew, who is responsible for this website and the photographs, is now working with his father in forging a path for the company to follow for the next generation of sporting shooters and yet the story has barely changed. The best quality English sidelock sporting gun is still, surely, one of the world’s great artefacts. In such guns, form truly follows function as grace, beauty and superb handling dynamics come together to give the sportsman unequalled pleasure and joy in ownership and use. These qualities are synonymous with the guns of A.A.Brown and Sons.