Farquharson rifle

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Farquharson Rifle
Type Hunting, military-target
Place of origin  UK
Production history
Designer John Farquharson
Designed 1872
Manufacturer Gibbs, Jeffery, et al
Produced Gibbs: 1872-1910; "PD" models: circa 1895-1927
Cartridge Various
Action falling-block action
Feed system Single Shot

The Farquharson Rifle is a single-shot hammerless falling-block action rifle designed and patented by John Farquharson, of Daldhu, Scotland in 1872. George Gibbs, a gun maker in Bristol, became a co-owner of the Farquharson patent in 1875 and was the sole maker of Farquharson rifles until the patent expired.[1]:97 Fewer than 1,000 Gibbs-Farquharson rifles were made, the last one being delivered in 1910.[1]:140

A few years after the original Farquharson patent expired in 1889, many English gun makers began producing their own versions of Farquharson rifles utilizing actions made by Auguste Francotte in Herstal, Belgium.[1]:317 These actions were essentially exact copies of those used by Gibbs to build his military target Farquharson rifles, which had a solid combined lower tang and trigger guard.[1]:126, 313 The actions had "PD" stamped on the receiver, which stood for "public domain," indicating there was no patent infringement in utilizing the design.[1]:126, 313 W. J. Jeffery & Co. produced most of the "PD" Farquharson rifles, with the first ones being sold in 1895 as their Model 95 Falling Block Rifle. In 1904 Jefferey introduced a larger version of this action called the Model 1904 and chambered in the 600 Nitro Express.[1]:318 The Model 95 and Model 1904 were listed in the Jeffery catalogs right up until 1927.[1]:318 However, beginning in 1912 the advertisements for the falling-block rifles carried the notation "Now made to order only, having been superseded by the Magazine Rifle."[1]:320

Frederick Courteney Selous, was a British explorer, officer, hunter, and conservationist, famous for his exploits in south and east of Africa. Selous used a .461 Gibbs Farquharson for much of his African hunting. This is a photo of him on African safari, with two shot Kori bustards and his Holland & Holland Woodward patent rifle. Circa 1890s


Because of their rarity, original Gibbs-Farquharson rifles are highly prized collector pieces today. The "PD" Farquharson rifles by Jeffery and other makers are less rare, but are still generally considered collector pieces rather than working weapons. Ruger introduced their No.1 single-shot rifle in 1967.[2] The No. 1 is a proprietary Ruger falling-block design loosely styled after the Farquharson rifles, and remains one of Ruger's best selling firearms.

Gunmakers offering bespoke single-shot rifles similar to the Farquharson design, but none follow the internal workings of the original, include Soroka Rifle Co. in New Zealand, Dakota Arms Inc. in Sturgis, South Dakota, USA and Sturtevant Arms Company in Pueblo, Colorado, USA.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Kirton, Jonathan: The British Falling Block Breechloading Rifle From 1865 (1997).
  2. ^ Ruger No. 1 press release at http://www.ruger.com/

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