His career in rifle shooting and manufacture, and the 1948 Olympic British Team’s Free Rifle

Plus – five facsimile documents of his 1950 journal “THE MARKSMAN”

Probably best known for his involvement in the production of the Centre-Fire High Power rifle used by the British Team in the 1948 Olympic Games, Knott was a keen sporting shooter, with considerable experience in game shooting and with many rifle types, but his expertise also ran effectively through the world of small-bore target shooting.

This latter part of his varied shooting career in the U.K. is what brought him to the attention of our research.

His business, known as “John C.J Knott Ltd.”, of Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey, was in premises not far from where he was born in Epsom in 1914, and the firm assembled rifles in conjunction with his contemporary, S. Broughton, another successful shooter and member of the Ham & Petersham Rifle Club near London.


Over the years of his small-bore rifle production, Knott used BSA Martini actions and barrels, as well as Mauser bolt actions.

His specialist stocking brought to his doors those with very specific requirements in the specifications of their target rifles. Knott’s rifles were not without success in competition, and he built a significant reputation on that success.

He was, though, reputed to have been something of a ladies’ man, and not all his contemporaries had the highest opinion of his extra-curricular activities; although it is said that he was of a highly sociable nature, and he has been described in that endearing way as a “likeable rogue”.

It is fitted with a Parker-Hale No.7A rear-sight and their P-H F22 tunnel foresight with exchangeable elements. The rear-sight is carefully surrounded by the finely figured woodwork.

Details of this sight are to be found on the BSA Mod. 12/15 page via the link above. In 1950, Knott became one of a small team of shooters cum journalists who ventured into the world of publishing.

Their diminutive magazine “The Marksman” was a short-lived monthly journal which was initially published in mid-1950 as a “Specimen Issue”.

It was followed up over a period of only a further four months, until its demise with the final issue No.4 (of Volume 1) in November of that year.

The Editor was M.E. Bradfield, and the Art Editor one E.C. Horner.

Many of the articles were either written, or sourced by, an advisory panel consisting of Captain E.W.H. Brookes, A.J. Foster, J.B. Leslie and John Knott himself.

Left is an image of the cover of the September 1950 issue – Vol.1 No.2.





Mike: 0411 707 060 

Di: 0417 784 543


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