Ian Sweetman, owner of I S Sweetman Gun & Rifle Makers, has forged a rather impressive career in the gun trade.

Starting out in his early teens as a Saturday boy at a local shooting ground, Ian has gone on to complete two apprenticeships, work for some of the most prestigious names within the London and Birmingham trade, achieve a McMillan Award for Excellence in Gunmaking and establish and run his own gunmaking company. 

During his seven-year stint at James Purdey & Sons, Ian was tasked with creating the bolt action rifle department and managed the team who development and produced the latest Purdey bolt action rifle. This was a huge accomplishment for Ian and James Purdey as a company, with positive feedback from some of the harshest critics in the trade and proven success in the field. It has been quoted as “the most accurate best London bolt action rifle ever produced.”

With extensive knowledge of building best quality rifles, as well as a varied selection of skills in other aspects of gunmaking including repairs and renovations, and specialising as a finisher, Ian’s gunmaking portfolio is quite remarkable. He now runs his own workshop, a traditional set up in rural Hertfordshire, offering his clients everything from bespoke builds to strip and cleans. 

Discussing preparations for this year’s World Gunmakers’ Evening, Ian explained. “I always thoroughly enjoy this event, it is a great opportunity to catch up with friends in the trade and meet people with a similar passion and appreciation for craftsmanship.

“Having attended for several years and represented other gunmaking companies, it is very exciting to be displaying rifles with my own name on. I think it is really important that clients get to meet the gunmakers behind the ‘brand’ and speak to those who are actually building their guns. It is the only way they can truly understand the hard work and dedication that goes into a build.”