Monday, July 13, 2009

The things you run into

hanging around the gunsmith's shop.

Spent the day at Oren the Gunsmith's place. Little while after I got there a gentleman who'd called earlier- said another had recommended him- showed up with a shotgun. Double-barrel, 12 guage(chambered 2 3/4" shells), beautiful walnut stock and forend, fine checkering, case-hardened receiver. Turns out grandfather had left it in a case in the attic(some of you are going EEEK!) sometime before he died, which was years ago, and until he ran across it a few days ago he'd never known about it. It had a nasty line of rust along the left barrel, and he wanted to ask about work on it.

A little looking showed the bores were spotless, aside from the streak on the barrel and a couple of small splotches on the right barrel there were only a few tiny specks on the rest of it(on the receiver), and the action locked up like a vault door. On the left side of the receiver was 'P Foury - Expert Armurier', and on the right side '70 Rue Lafayette Paris'.

The thing is beautiful, balanced wonderfully. It had a old slip-on recoil pad, so old it cracked when you pulled on the edge. Happily, he'd dusted it with talc(it looked like) before putting it on and the pad had not stuck to the wood; came right off.

The guy wanted to know could the rust be removed("Yes, and while I probably can't get rid of all the pitting I should be able to clean up most of it and reblue"), would it be shootable("Unless something turns up I can't see now, yes." My contribution as I drooled, "As it looks, I'd have no problem shooting it."), and would it be worth restoring("Yes. Even if not for the value of it being your grandfathers, it's a marvelous piece of work well worth cleaning up.") So a rough estimate was given, the man was happy with it, he was promised a more exact estimate when the rust was off and closer examination made, receipt filled out and the man left happy.

I just searched that name, and I can't find a damn thing. Further searching is required.

It's one of the more lovely firearms I've ever had the chance to handle, and I'm anxious to see how it comes out.


Dan said...

Not that I expected it, but no listing in the P's or the F's in the 30th ed. Blue Book.

BTW, I am gonna have to start hanging out somewhere near your location. You keep getting your mitts on some of the niftiest gadgets.

WV: crilike... just sayin'

Anonymous said...

In the late 19th and early 20th century there were a huge number of gunmakers in Europe. Many of them worked alone or with just one or two apprenticies. And many of them turned out most excellent examples of the gunsmith's art.
If the gun doesn't have Damancus barrels, it is probably of a later make then the 19th century, although some builders were still doing Damancus in the early 20th century.

Firehand said...

I think that's got to be one of the perks of being a gunsmith: someone shows up with something wonderful, doesn't know what it is but "Can you fix it?" and you get to see/work on it. Oren loves that.

Anony, they're fluid-steel barrels; that and the design, I think early 1900's.

And you're right; there were a LOT of small shops turning out work, and a lot of it was flat magnificent. On the breech, right behind where the barrels fit, is decoration that can't be called 'engraving', it's actual carving of the steel, and it's lovely.