John Miall and wife Barbara established Mialls Gun Shop in 1974. John can’t remember when he became interested in guns, but says it was well before he turned 15. That was the age he decided gunsmithing would be his life vocation. It was 1966 when a skinny kid hitch hiked to Warrandyte to pester renowned gunsmith and manufacturer of Fieldman Rifles, Merv Naughton, to ask Merv to apprentice him as a gunsmith. Merv said, “Sorry John can’t really afford to put you on at the moment”. Determined, John told Merv, “That’s ok, I’ll work for you for nothing”. What a deal. Merv accepted his offer and John began his five year apprentiship. Repairing just about everything from antique guns, modern hand guns, shotguns and rifles. At the same time manufacturing the then famous Fieldman line of rifles. Merv must have been impressed or could see him getting skinnier because after a couple of months he began paying John 1st year apprentice wages. It was 1966, John explains, “We had just changed to decimal currency and I was paid $12.50 per week. I seriously couldn’t believe that I was being paid all this money to do what I love, repair and fix guns! A combination of five years of hands on at Naughtons of which two days per fortnight were spent at Box Hill Technical College to gain a mechanical engineering degree. Eventually this won John his gunsmithing qualifications the last apprentice gunsmith in Victoria John recalls.
John was called up for national service for two years. After basic training I was made an armourer and attached to the 1st armed regiment L.A.D RAME (Royal Australian Electrical & Mechanical Engineers). John spent two years working on 30 and 50 cal Browning machine guns, 9MM Browning autopistol and the 20 pounder Centurian Tank main gun. The electric gyro scopic stabilised gunnery on the Centurian was very good and interesting to work on. The V-12 Rolls Royce Meteor engine however was a bit of a nightmare for the mechanics John Recalls.
Back to the Naughtons for 12 months, at this point Merv asked me if I would be interested to take over and run the show at Warrandyte. It was a very tempting offer in a very well established business. I thought about it very long and hard but declined this offer, what I really wanted, was to have a go on my own.
“I got a map of Melbourne and surrounding suburbs”. “I pin pointed existing gun shops and gunsmiths and noticed the Mornington Peninsula had not much. A drive down identified that Frankston would be the best location; central to the peninsula and able to service the Gippsland region as well. I rented a shop in a 3 storey block of 5. I set up with retail in the front and workshop at the rear. It was very hard to break into the game back then being the new kid on the block in the gun trade. I lost count how many times I said to myself ‘just give it another week’. But perseverance prevailed and in 1992 the block of shops came up for auction. So with very little money and big ideas I put my hand up and bought the shops. After the auction I remember walking down Playne Street feeling sick, I was dry reaching wondering how the hell will I pay for the shops.
The Purchase of the shops has enabled Mialls to expand over the entire 5 shops and 3 levels. Included in the basement is a certified testing range and a huge comprehensive workshop that is filled with the very best machinery and workshop equipment.
Mialls Gunshop are without a doubt Australia’s most unique and versatile gunshop and gunsmithing operation. They carry a huge inventory of firearms, accessories, reloading equipment and clothing. There entire product range is offered at competitive discount prices. Mialls is a family operated business with both John & Barb’s son and daughter playing an active role in day to day operations. As you can imagine John insists that his staff are well trained, courteous and above all knowledgeable. So if you are an old hand or new to hunting/shooting and would just like to come in and browse, please do so. The friendly staff at Mialls will be pleased to assist you.