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Old January 13th, 2021, 03:18 PM #1
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French St. Etienne Proofed SxS:

Somewhat cross-posted from the shotgun thread. I picked this up at the same auction Mawkie got his Radom trainer from. It has some issues that need to be addressed in terms of wood (nearly cracked-through wrist) but otherwise, she's fully functional from a mechanical stand-point and beautifully engraved on the lock fences. Plans are to reinforce the wrist internally with acraglas and either threaded rod or dowel (depending on how much it needs) and acragals the crack from the exterior via syringe to close up any external gaps. There's another crack on the forend, but I think I actually found a replacement, but need more photos of the example to make sure it matches the engraving and checkering of my gun.

The bores are pitted, especially around the forcing cones, but the pitting is shallow (though broad) so I expect lengthening the forcing cones will remove most of the pitting while also providing for slightly better shot patterning. This particular gun is chambered for 65mm (2.5") shells and I plan to keep it that way.

Overall, I'm happy about the price and it's taken me down another rabbit hole I'd not thought of before. French shotguns, especially French Anson & Deeley-type boxlocks, don't have much in the way of English-language literature written about them, so I have a feeling I'll spend some time on Google Translate and trying to remember my four years of French from high school for the next several weeks while I post pictures on French hunting forums to see what other info I can glean.

Without further adieu, pics:












The last three show the extent of wood damage, nothing that isn't fixable with reasonable skill or money. It also needs a new horn buttplate, but that's inexpensive and something I can replicate myself.

Looking forward to fixing it up and hunting with it.
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Old January 13th, 2021, 04:54 PM #2
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That engraving is absolutely spectacular.
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Old January 13th, 2021, 07:39 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokeEaterPilot View Post
That engraving is absolutely spectacular.
Every single screw head is engraved, even the ones that are hidden. I really feel it's worth restoring/saving.
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Old January 14th, 2021, 08:30 PM #4
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Looks much better here than the auction photos showed. Agree it's worth the effort to make right. Esp. since you bought it right. Keep us updated as the work progresses!
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Old January 14th, 2021, 11:38 PM #5
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Quote:
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Looks much better here than the auction photos showed. Agree it's worth the effort to make right. Esp. since you bought it right. Keep us updated as the work progresses!
Will do. The wrist popped apart as soon as I released the tension on the trigger plate and the tang. I guess it was totally broken through, but the metal was holding it in place.

I already built a jig to keep the proper pressure and alignment to re-set the stock. I've got a box of 3/32" brass stock joining pins and some acraglas gel coming from Brownell's within the week. I may epoxy the pins in place and then use wood-glue for the rest as epoxy likes to have a bit more space to bond properly and I'm going to have this thing clamped tight to make the crack as un-noticeable as possible.

I *think* I might have a lead on a spare forearm that *should* match if I'm seeing it correctly, but I won't know until Numrich gets me some more pictures.

I pulled the trigger plate and did a complete overhaul. scrubbed years of grime off of the triggers themselves, same with the safety mechanism. cleaned everything well, but without affecting patina, and lubed everything properly, and put it back together. It's much smoother now.

I'll likely send the boxlock itself up to Sergey at RustBlue in Mass to have him tear it all the way down (I could do it, but I don't have ultrasonic equipment and he does). He'll get it totally clean and then oil everything and tweak anything that isn't perfect before sending it back. $125+ shipping ain't bad for that. I'll send the barrels to him as well a while later to have the forcing cones lengthened and the barrels honed to try and minimize any remaining pitting. The guys over at the Doublegunshop.com BBS have been pretty helpful in figuring out the history of these things. For example, the locking mechanism is of the Verney-Carron system. This is nice as the helical action lock doesn't need as much regular maintenance to prevent loosening of the action. Again, it's a solidly built piece. Mind you, if I win that other auction I'm in, the barrels and professional cleaning on this may take a little longer to get to.
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