Meet The Team - Keith Stockdale

Tuesday 30th August 2022

When did you join Holland & Holland and what was your role at the time?

I came from GKN Aerospace, and started at Holland and Holland on 5th March 2007. Initially I was employed as a CNC programmer and operator.

And what is your role now?

The opportunity arose for a Machine shop foreman. I was interviewed, and I was actually offered an engineering, CAD design role within the team instead. It took around four years to transition, and John my predecessor’s retirement to get where I currently sit as Engineering Manager.

What is it you enjoy most about your role?

The role isn’t without its challenges every day. Working with a skilled team to resolve the issues is very satisfying. I would like to think that from either raw material to finish machined components, I’m making a positive improvement to our products however big or small. This is a huge undertaking and only possible with assistance and knowledge from all our craftsmen and women who contribute on a daily basis.

What would you say is your proudest moment to date?

I think without doubt for me the Stalking rifle project. Under previous management I was given the most basic of briefs to create a bolt rifle for an entry level price tag. Not to do things by halves and miss an opportunity for R&D the task began. In a little over six months the rifle was ready to shoot, and on budget. It had all new metal work, latest DLC coating, new bedding concept with Carbon fibre, and a fully CNC machined stock. We shot the rifle over a few weeks, and carried out back to back tests with rifles deemed by our shooting instructors as good rifles. In the end our then shoot test and regulator was happy to say that it shot as well, if not better on the day.  It really shows what is achievable, when an engaged team work together and focus on a project.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I’m trying to get back into regular triathlon training, with the plan to compete again. I shoot, and long term would love to get another dog to train and work.

Do you have an interest in shooting or fieldsports?

I shoot game and clays, and up until recently had the most enjoyment from working my German Pointer on some local shoots. I’ve been stalking for a few years and can see myself getting more into it having now purchased my own rifle.

Are there any exciting engineering developments in the pipeline at Holland & Holland?

There are plans for a new design of Bolt rifle in progress. This will include an angled magazine box, and stock shape which goes back to the desirable rifles from our earlier years. It will also include some of the features from the Stalking rifle mentioned previously.

We have an ongoing project with two of our Royal models. Beretta have kindly given us access to their state-of-the-art tomography machine, to scan the finished guns at component level. The purpose is to capture the parts for us to create machining models. The relevant shops will be consulted so that the parts can be manufactured much closer to a finished state, but still leaving material for the craftsman to do their job, and give the guns the Holland and Holland feel.

As always, if you could choose one Holland & Holland gun or rifle, what would it be? 

It would have to be a 12 Bore Royal Side by Side. it is such an iconic part of the Holland & Holland brand and history. I have also had the pleasure of shooting them at our Shooting Grounds in Northwood.