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THE "CERTUS" RIFLES by Cogswell & Harrison

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The famous London firm of gunsmiths - Cogswell and Harrison - produced this .22 rimfire military style training rifle shortly after the formation of the civilian rifle club associations; particularly the Society of Miniature Rifle Clubs in 1903. The rifle had earned a quite reasonable reputation in miniature calibre target shooting circles by 1906.

images by courtesy of the Enfield Pattern Room



The training rifle example above has a bolt action very closely resembling that of the the War Office Pattern Miniature Rifle of 1906; this could well have been due to the specification, issued by the War Office, to which submitted designs were required to conform. The Certus later became available in a more familiarly known shortened fore-end target style stock and with a modified bolt action.

It is interesting to note that Cogswell & Harrison also marketed full-bore calibre centre-fire bolt-actioned rifles and even a single-barrel bolt-actioned 12 bore shotgun under the "Certus" name. Seemingly, by the 1920s, Certus had become more of a trade name representative of Cogswell & Harrison than the name of a specific firearm.

See " Random Writings on Rifle Shooting" by A.G. Banks,


This pattern rifle was a proposal for a training arm that could have afforded Cogswell & Harrison with a highly profitable contract had it been successfully trialled and approved. It has the contemporarily expected full-length military style furniture, and is in .22 rimfire calibre.

Serial numbered W2974, it has an overall length of 44½ inches and a weight of approximately 8lbs. 3ozs.

The Pattern Room's object number for the rifle is PR.15 - very early in the then current recording system that is in use for those exhibits in the original Pattern Room collection even now; since it was transferred from Enfield via the Royal Small Arms Factory, then Nottingham based, into the care of the Royal Armouries at Leeds in 2000.















The same tapered bolt action was used in various sporting models of Cogswell & Harrison's rimfire rifles.

An example is illustrated below.


Below: a contemporary advertisement promoting their

"Expert Marksman" and "Rook & Rabbit" rifles.



































This was the far stronger action that Cogswell & Harrison utilised on rifles of all calibres,

from full-bore hunting rifles to small-bore target and sporting models.





In a piece on Rifles of the World, John Walter wrote to the effect that the unique turning-bolt action patented in March 1900 by Edgar Harrison was made in small numbers. Named for the company's telegraphic code-name, the Certus mechanism was built around a stubby rotating bolt-head set into a reciprocating block. When the handle was lifted, disengaging the locking lugs from the receiver, and block could be slid backward along rails set into the stock.

The extractor and ejector were built into the bolt-head and block respectively. The safety catch
was a radial lever on the right rear side of the block, and many guns had readily detachable barrels.

Production most likely ceased in 1914 with the commencement of the First World War.

A Certus Expert Marksman's rifle was offered in the Cogswell & Harrison catalogue of 1900 in plain or engraved versions. It had a walnut half-stock, chequered on the wrist and fore-end. The rear sight was an exchangeable 'V or peep- plate sliding in a channel on the back of the travelling block.



We illustrate the patent, application no. 4097, of 1900.

Click image to bring up hi-res file and magnifier


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