Birmingham-based William Powell & Son (Gunmakers), the oldest family owned gunmaking company in the UK, has been sold to the sporting land agency, JM Osborne & Co.
William Powell & Son will continue trading from the same premises in Carrs Lane in the centre of Birmingham with no changes in staff.
David and Peter Powell, former directors of the gunmaking enterprise, will remain involved through consultancy roles ensuring the long line of family involvement in the business stretching back over 200 years continues.
William Powell & Son craft prized handmade shotguns as well as shooting accessories, country clothing, footwear and fishing tackle. They also specialise in servicing, repairing and restoring all makes of shotguns.
Founded in 1802 by William Powell and Joseph Simmons, the company manufactured firearms for the Napoleonic Wars and American Civil War and patented a number of inventions throughout the 19th century.
In 1860 they purchased the land on Carrs Lane in the centre of Birmingham in order to expand production and constructed the magnificent five storey Victorian building which still stands there today.
Mail order sales through advertising in the shooting press are the mainstay of the business, but direct sales through the Birmingham outlet and gun repairs still make up about a third of total revenue. However, this traditional enterprise is keen to move with the times by fast developing internet sales as exports to the markets in the US and the EU grow.
David and Peter Powell, fifth generation descendants of William Powell, said in a statement: "We were both looking to retire from the business and were very keen to find a purchaser who has a good knowledge of the gun trade, who would not only continue our company but take it on to the next stage of its development.
"We are absolutely thrilled that Christine and Mark Osborne have purchased our firm. As they were both instrumental in the resurrection of the E.J. Churchill Group, they have the experience of the industry and the determination to continue to grow our family business."
J.M. Osborne & Co manage a number of sporting facilities and shooting estates around the country and thus will well positioned within the industry to expand into reatail and develop the original business.
Mark and Christine Osborne of J.M. Osborne stated: "We are delighted to now be involved with such a prestigious name in the shooting industry. When so many other Birmingham gun makers have folded, William Powell & Son (Gunmakers) Ltd under David and Peter's stewardship has continued to prosper.
"We intend to take the business forward, which will include a move to new, much larger premises and expand mail order and internet site. Our aim is to enhance William Powell's position as the preeminent shooting supplier in the Midlands."