The Art of Gunsmithing

Today was our day to tour the factory of L’Atelier Verney-Carron, with Master Gunsmith, Jérôme Lanoue as our guide. The Verney-Carron company is divided into three areas…. machine manufactured sports firearms, firearms made for security forces and fine handmade sporting arms (shotguns and rifles). This third division was what we had come to see.

As we walked thru the workshop, Michael looked for the more technical aspects of the manufacturing process while I focused on the artisans doing the work that they loved.

As an intro…..each Verney-Carron custom-built firearm is made specifically to fit the customer, taking into consideration the length of their arms, shape of their upper body and contour of their face and head. These details determine the length of the barrel and the shape and length of the stock (part that meets the shoulder). Since each gun must be balanced……

…these calculations are very important. Before work is begun on any firearm, the client is “measured” to see what shape and size of firearm will fit him best…..

The work begins with cutting out the stock and forearm from high quality Walnut that is purchased from around the world.

Once cut out, it is sanded and polished…..

until the beautiful wood grain shines thru. The stock is sent to outside artisans who do any needed hand carving, including the geometric designs (called “checkering”) …..

Metal inlays are often added to the stock….

…and while we are here, let’s talk about engraving!!! The action and trigger guard are made from metal and are often etched in gorgeous designs based on the client’s desires. These can be geometric designs that are deeply etched into the metal…..

….or ones that are more delicate in nature. Note that even the screw is engraved…..

Some even bring a touch of whimsy……

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Some clients have requested that drawings or Coat of Arms be recreated on the metal, and the Engraving artisans have risen to the occasion!!

We moved into the workshop to observe the metalwork being done. It is a painstaking process and you can see the concentration in the eyes of each of the craftsmen……

….as he lovingly creates the needed piece to exact specifications.

Most of the craftsmen have been working in the shop for many years, although there is an apprentice program in place as well. The road to being given a full role in the process is a slow one. The current apprentice (Angelo) first attended a 3 year Gunsmith program and is now in the second year of a four year apprenticeship. It was interesting to watch the Workshop Head (Laurent) show Angelo how to do a particular task…..

….and then to watch as Angelo performed the task, under Laurent’s watchful eye…..

In conclusion, while I am not a shooter, I could certainly appreciate the skill and care that went into the manufacture of each of these gorgeous pieces of art…..

Many thanks to Jean Verney-Carron……

….and to Jérôme Lanoue…..

….for an exciting view behind the scenes of the artisanship of prestigious firearms!!!

If you have an interest in firearms or hunting, you might check out my husbands blog…… https://arnoldoutdoorwriter.com/

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