Thursday, February 23, 2006

French Design: Shotguns

Recently, in the incomparable 2Blowhards * , Donald Pittenger was carblogging. He described how the French carmaker Panhard, in the Thirties, made an attempt to make cars with the steering in the middle, and with curved windows on the sides.

He explains plausibly why this was not a success, though I would rate the car's esthetics a bit higher than he does.

But it got me to wondering why the French always seem to make things that look different, in cars (Panhard, Citroen) and in other things. One object that I am more than familiar with is the French shotgun. There have been many odd French gun designs, some as weird as the Panhard, but one that persists, even if it does not conquer, is the Darne. It has been in continuous production since the 1890's because it is GOOD!

Most double shotguns, like this old American Parker, "break" on a hinge between the barrels and the action. The barrels drop down when you move a lever on the top, or, less commonly these days on the bottom, sideways.

This is the near- universal standard in guns these days, from Russian and Brazilian models worth a couple of hundred dollars to English "Bests" like Purdeys that now go for over $100,000. For many reasons-- for instance, you can see at a glance if it is loaded or not, and so can your companions (yeah, though it didn't help the Veep's buddy)-- it will doubtless continue to be.

But the design has a few inherent problems. All that flexing eventually makes for wear, and even a Purdey must someday go in for repair.

And that interrupted topline isn't as sleek as that on, well, this pair:

The dark one is my little 28 gauge quail gun; the silvery one is my big "ball and shot" twelve, the one shotgun so far I have ever had made for me. See those little tabs behind the action? When you pull them up , the breech block slides open, backwards, while the barrels remain in place.

The frame is as rigid as a muzzleloader's. Darnes never wear out-- they just get smoother. And in the old days, they built elephant caliber guns on the same frames, with no extra reinforcement.

Some think they are weird. I love their looks and function.

And they cost a hell of a lot less than Purdeys.

(* Recently Michael Blowhard paid us a touching compliment, saying that "Querencia gets my vote in the category of Best (and Broadest) Range of Interests ..." Thanks, Michael, but I can't accept that-- without a doubt, it is true only of 2Blowhards.)


JohnnyUK said...

French engineering is not only superb, but incessantly inventive. Sometimes this produces step changes in design and functionality , which work, like the Darne shotgun.
However beautiful in it's handling and finish ,the design has a fundamental fault , in that it is impossible to reload in a hurry, so that may be one reason it it never really caught on with mainstream shooters, but still a perfect choice for walked up game .
Think of the wonderful innovative Citroen oil filled suspension sysems , and Concorde( a joint UK / French venture, I admit ), but designs like those were ahead of their times.
However, the downsied is that sometimes the French complicate perfectly functional articles , and sometimes introduce unreliability as a result.
Anyway we should rejoice in French Engineers and their quirkness, they make life interesting!

Steve Bodio said...

Agreed, Johnny. I do wonder why they have not caught on in the States, where the "mainstream shooter" hunts ONLY walked- up game. Just too odd I guess...

WalterH said...

"the silvery one is my big "ball and shot" twelve, the one shotgun so far I have ever had made for me"

I agree about their looks but have never used one so I know zip about the functionality. I want one, though. Is the 12 bore set up with rifle sights for slugs? It looks like it in the photos but it is hard to see. I assume Paul Bruchet made it.

Sliding breech guns are elegant but it is tough to find one to fit a lefty like me.

WalterH said...

"the silvery one is my big "ball and shot" twelve, the one shotgun so far I have ever had made for me"

I agree about their looks but have never used one so I know zip about the functionality. I want one, though. Is the 12 bore set up with rifle sights for slugs? It looks like it in the photos but it is hard to see. I assume Paul Bruchet made it.

Sliding breech guns are elegant but it is tough to find one to fit a lefty like me.

JohnnyUK said...

Hi Walt

If you really want to drool, and see the best of Herve Bruchet's "Darnes " visit and be wowed by some of the finest gunsmithing available anywhere today !
A great investment for your Grandchildren as well!- Art & Function.


WalterH said...

Thanks JohnnyUK

The FusilDarne site was good eye candy. I had looked for it in the past without luck. Even now I can't seem to google it. Someone should tell Bruchet. Some of the pics I had seen in the catalogs before, some not. has good pics too.

JohnnyUK said...

Hi Walt

The "fusil darne " site has only been up and running since just before Christmas, so I suppose it will take time for the search engines to pick it up.
I will mention it to Herve when I next contact him - I am his unofficial ( i.e non commercial ) Champion in UK !
Hope you feel that it is worth the wait!!


Steve Bodio said...

Walter: re the big Darne: it does indeed have rifle sights in what they call a "duckbill" or half rib. I added screw- in rifled chokes by Briley that will put two Brenneke slugs into the same hole at 75 yards! It also has ic & mod for birds. The younger Bruchet, Herve, made it.

Most of the good double gun shops will now bend a stock with hot oil etc, and Briley has a new proprietary process that is supposed to be even easier, so don't despair of getting a left- hand bend. Just find the gun you like, with the right length, and bend it.

Johnny: do you know our friend John Hill? Or are you he?

Great Darne sites. May have to post more on the gun.

JohnnyUK said...


Schh! - You know who!


Anonymous said...

Steve, I am under the impression that Darnes are not "bendable". They have a metallic rod from the action into the stock that does not allow for bending. At least that is what Ted Schefelbein told me about my Darne/Halifax. I can post his description if wanted.


Anonymous said...

Here is Ted's answer to my stock bending query:
The problem on a gun like your Halifax is as follows. Running down through the wrist on your gun is a strange little piece of steel tube, in the shape of a rod, with sharp wood screw threads on the outside, and metric machine screw threads on the hollow inside. When Mr. Darne worker in the twenties, or thirties, or whenever attached the stock to the receiver/watertable, he stuck that rod in some pig fat, and screwed the thing AS TIGHT AS HE COULD GET IT into the wood of the stock. Then, he bolted the receiver to the wood using the internally machined threads in the rod. Sometimes, a 10 mm bolt is inserted from the other end, under the buttplate, on two piece Darne stocks, but this is 'sorta redundant, and not always found on a given gun. Bending the stock isn't an option on a gun like this, and you will be disappointed at best, and rewarded with a broken stock at worst. That long, external wood screw rod cut threads into the stock decades ago, (ever seen a Darne with a broken wrist? That steel rod down the middle makes 'em tough as hell) and even if it did bend, likely would never hold the stock properly again. Don't attempt it, is my advice.

Hope I helped.


JohnnyUK said...


I must say that most Darne shotguns that I have seen to date are "straight stocked" i.e no cast .
However, I am sure that Herve Bruchet would be able to "breathe" on the woodwork of a new, bespoke gun , and provide "cast on" , or "cast off" to suit a specifiers requirements .
When I discussed this aspect with him about a possible new gun , ( as I need around 3/8 in cast on myself),I am sure that he said that he could build cast into the new stock when it was made, rather than bend it !
I suggest therefore that you contact him directly about whether it is possible to change the cast of an existing gun, but one with a stock bolt would be difficult.

Hope this helps


Anonymous said...

Hi JohnnyUK, thank you for the feedback. What I needed for my Halifax was reducing drop and considering it is around a century old (12ga./65mm chambers) I simply went the add-on pad way.

BTW I am new at this blogging thing and I don't want to be too anonymus. SCL is the airport designation for Santiago - Chile, where I am from.

Cheers, JC

j.j. king said...

Have an exquisite little 28ga, imported by firearms center, Victoria, Texas year unknown. Looked on your fusildarnewebsite, could not get it to come up in English tonight, will try again.
Maybe I can lean some more about these fine guns. Also picked up a well used, lightly engraved Charlin a few weeks ago, incredibely smooth action!!

Steve Bodio said...

JJ-- if your gun is case colored and lightly engraved with a straight grip, like mine, it is one of 25 28 gauge R11's imported by James Wayne of Victoria TX in the late 60's. They are as far as I know the only 25 R11 28's ever made (info direct from Mr. Wayne on the phone a few years ago). We are part of a "set"!

If it is a different configuration but from Victoria it is still a James Wayne import. He should be in the phone book.

j.j.king said...


Mine is French Gray and engraved in a floral, rosette pattern, has horn forend tip.

Ted Schefelbein thought it was an R-12. Don't really know, has no grade marks on barrel "flats."

JohnnyUK said...


As I said earlier,the "fusildarne" website was only established by Herve Bruchet just before Christmas. He is intending to to translate the site into english , but has not yet mangeged to get around to it!.It will be there soon!

The 28g's are exquisite!, and pretty collectable, but Herve is making them again!


Anonymous said...

There is an interesting article by Geoffroy Gournet about Darnes (and another on Manufrance Ideals) at his website:
Click on News.


Anonymous said...

Steve., Talked to Mr Wayne this morning really delightful fellow. He determined that mine is a R-15, straight grip, horn forend tip,gray finish. I had to tell him how to remove sliding breech to determind action type. He also thought it "strange" that mine does not have "obutrator"(sp) disks, but that it is no big deal.
He also explained that the straight crossbolt safety was his idea for American shooters.
Really appreciate the info and his name.
Also order a copy of your book good guns, hope it will contain a bit more info and will be looking forward to the English translation of the fusildarne site by Herve

Thanks again

ArtUS said...

The Darne: An English gunsmith, now in Pennsylvania, looked at my almost Darne (JohhnyUK told me that lots of imitation Darnes were made, usually pretty good). The gunsmith said, "Very French." When asked what that meant, he said, "Complex but simple to operate, well balanced, and it looks very good indeed." And it did.

Paradoxically, the Darne never caught on I think because it requires some complex engineering. Break-open doubles can either be made exquisitely (Purdeys) or churned out cheaply from a Turkish factory. Not so with Darnes; not at least until computerized milling. And also, they did look 'strange'. But come to think of it, what could be stranger than a shotgun that breaks open in the middle?

Why don't I have a Darne now (except for the counterfeit)? Mostly because their resale value is low as it is for anything 'strange'. In fact, I was warned against buying one by another Englishman, a gun fitter. I am old and one of these days my widow will need to sell my guns. Why burden her?

But thank heaven for M. Bruchet. And maybe more rational shooters will recognize the Darne design for the gem it is.

J.J. King said...

Just got a copy or your Good Guns Again and really enjoyed. Was actually looking for more information on the Darne, not much but found that you likes mirrored mine closely.
I really like my Darne and an ancient looking Charlin 16 ga. Had picked up one of the highly engraved silver SKB's in a Rod and Gun club in Izmir, Turkey back in early 70's. Later acquired a nice Parker GH and find it points very well in spite of pistol grip.My son
shot his first round of skeet with this gun not knowing what it was and found that he much preferred the configuration over newer more popular types. Also have one of the nicer Orvis(Gruella) sidelocks.
Had to give my son his grandfathers old Stevens 16 ga double.
In rifles give me the Marlin lever actions, also like a couple of Win. mod 94 centinnels with pistol grip, crescent buttplate, 26" half octogen barrel and 3 shot button magazine ( this handles and points similar to a nice shotgun).
Dad got me one of the last Mod70 featherweights when I finished high school in '63. My real pride is a Ruger #1 light rifle in 7x57 I found at a gun show for a song. It looked horrible, no rust or scratches but stock looked as though it had set in bright sun for years. After much scraping and fine sanding and many coats of linseed and Lin-speed it is now beautiful
Also agree with you on handguns, S&W cannot be beat out of box, have "matched" K-22 and K-38 which will go to Son some day.

After this will try some of your other publications.

barbara said...

Very interesting on the darne deal, well any of you fellers know anyone with a 12 gauge block they want to sell?? I need the the no4 fussil halifax block ...interesting story on why its missing you can e_mail me at please help

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Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me anything about Peugeot over under shotguns?
None of the well known gun dealers (gfuys who sell $100,000.00 guns) can tell me anything. I know Peugeot made guns- like Yamaha they made lots of different things-
including tools and Bicycles.
Certainly could use some help here

Steve Bodio said...

I knew that Manufrance made many things but I didn't know about Peugeot. I'll ask around. Readers?

Anonymous said...

Onto Peugeot guns:

I can confirm that. When Peugeot was not yet so famous as a carmaker, it also manufactured shotguns. I guess this happened at the beginning of the last century, but like you said nobody, even famous gun retailer, knows about this.
Well, when my aunt was emptying her country house in Italy, we found one: a pretty nice Peugeot over under with fine incisions and, unfortunately some rust as well. I think my aunt still has it.
It is hard to believe but it is almost impossible to get any informations on these guns...


Steve Bodio said...

Recently I read that some Peugeot guns were also made on the Darne- type sliding breech action.

Anonymous said...

Wish I knew more about Charlin. Louis Drake seems to think they all slide on roller bearings. Of course the one he sold recently was featured in DGJ and was sourvenired to a Pratt&Whitney engineer by a Maharaja who presumably admired aeroplanes.


Steve Bodio said...

The only Charlin I ever had was sold mistakenly by a gunsmith. It slid like greased roller bearings, despite being a plain grade.

Anonymous said...

Just bought a Charlin 12 from Thad Scott in Miss. Strait stock, cased, no engraving. Doesn't have the Darne belly band.


Anonymous said...

I am interested in buying some Peugeot Darnes guns, and I need prices of each model. If anyone knows, leave a comment here.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to see that french fixed barrel guns have a great reputaion overseas.
Concerning the last message, I know that theres some web sites in France on which you can find darnes and charlin guns (and also soleihac, which are copies from Darne, as Peugeot guns). In case of, I can post the corresponing links.
For people who are familiar with french languague, a book on the Darne history was also published and it still available.
I would also point out that the Manufrance IDEAL gun is also famous for its original system.

User of
Darne R10 16G
Charlin 12G/16G
Manufrance IDEAL 328 16G
Maisonnial 20G

Steve Bodio said...

Eric-- I would like to see the links and a ref for that book.

I also have a 16 ga. Ideal-- see here.

I'd love to have a Charlin. Or a rotating- breech Darne.

Anonymous said...

Hello Steve,

The links are the following and translated in english: you can find books and old guns and you will find a very rare Charlin.
But all the books for Darne and Ideal are in french.

And also if you want to buy a Charlin: (adds): I'vejust bought a Charlin on it.


Steve Bodio said...

That Le Hussard is a wonderful site-- and I'll get those books. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I was recently in a gun shop in Paris where they had an unusual shotgun for sale. This gun had no firing pins, but rather uses some sort of electrical ignitioin system, and of course specisl shells. I'd like to learn more about it, but I've forgotten the mnufacturer's name. Do you know?

Anonymous said...

I have a 16 Gauge Charlin that came from France. Can anyone tell me what it could be worth?

Steve Bodio said...

One would need a lot more detail.

Charlins are nice but often very short in the stock for American or English taste.

Anonymous said...

Here is more detail on the Charlin if it will help you anyone tell me what my Charlin 16 ga. is worth. It has L.C-1 ON IT AND HAS MATCHING SERIAL NUMBERS. THE BARRELS HAS A WORD +STETIENNE 17A ALSO HAS LETTERS PI AND STETIENNE HAS 65 ON IT .Will that help any on what its worth. And it is in good shape and the barrel is great shape.

Anonymous said...

This is a PS. to go with the above asking what its worth. It also has Tabs that you pull up on and the breech slids back.

Anonymous said...

Can you use 2&3/4 inch shells in the charlins?

Steve Bodio said...

Anonymous-- all Charlin sliding breeches have tabs like that. More French guns have 2 3/4 inch chambers than English but you should have it checked.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve on the 2 & 3/4 in. shells. Have always shot 2&3/4 in. shells in it since it has been in the family since 1943.I was told once that the 64 marked on the bottom half of the gun was 64 mm and shoud shoot 2&1/2 in. shells in it. But like I said we have always fired 2&3/4 in. in it. Thanks Ken

Anonymous said...

are Charlins and Darnes the same or what?

Steve Bodio said...

They are similar but somewhat different internally and by different makers. Charlin action is smoother but maybe not as strong as an R Darne.

Anonymous said...

Purchased my first 12 bore Stoeger import(Bird Hunter) Darne in 1973 used. Subsequently have R series 20 bore, another 12 bore(R15), a bespoke Bruchet/Darne(R11) in 16 gauge. The 16 has a double trigger system, where the front trigger will fire the barrels sequentially with two pulls! Absolutely the best handling upland guns ever manufactured. said...


I have a French made 16 gauge side by side shotgun that has been in my family for years. It is in excellent condition. It has not been fired in my lifetime. I'm 43.

On the left side barrel it says: Fusil Robust Drevete S.G.D. G

The right side barrel reads: Manufacture Francaise D'armes et Cycles De St Etienne

The bottom says: No 10 Robust

Removing the forearm there is a number: 41737

Removing the barrel shows: Epreuve Officielle Superieure - stetienne 17 0

cal 16 demi-choke perfectionne

PT (with a crown over it)

dharge d epreuve fusil T:2:93-30

charge normale 7 (T?) :1.70-28

canon frette fabrication mecanidue

acier hercule

There are also symbols with MF on either side of the symbol.

I think the above words are correct, they are small and hard to see. I can take photos and post them on Yahoo! if that would help. Do you have any information on the gun like how much I can sell it for and if there is a dealer in my area? Southern Ocean county, New Jersey.

Thank you very much.

Wes Charles

Anonymous said...

I have a Francaise D'Armes ET Cycles- Robust #5 16gauge shotgun.
Can't find anyone to give me an idea of how much this gun is worth. Can you help me.
Thank you
Michael King

Anonymous said...

I have a Darnes "St Etienne" Model#93 (MLE 1886 R35 SALM 1937)
Military Rifle - Serial #13171 and don't have a clue - Looking for any information about this rifle and approx. value. All I know, is that It was brought back from Europe after the war. Thanks for any help. Charles

Steve Bodio said...

Unfortunately the only military reference works I have are 20th century. Readers?

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Jerry said...

Have you seen John Folse's new "After the Hunt" cook book? It has a nice shot of the Darne sliding breech on p.760.

With a rabbit recipe from Matt also and a note on falconry.

Steve Bodio said...

Jerry-- Matt is trying to find me one that is not too expensive!

Corrie said...

DARNE shotguns

Can anyone tel me which model 12 guage Darne shotgun I own?
It has no ingraving and is blued. The sliding breachblock is casehardened. It has a radiused V between the stock and the forend. It has no bone tip on the forend. It has a lever safety catch. I guess it is a R13 or R15.

Can somebody please explain to me the protocol to disassemble the shotgun? I do not know how to get the reciever (barrels) from the armature table.

Steve Bodio said...

Corrie: It is an R10. To remove barrels: after you have removed the action (press tab under rear, slide off backwards) press down the "fork" in the action table, then rap the barrels sharply on the end with a wooden or plastic hammer. The barrels will come loose. To reassemble just reverse. Sliding the action back shut will tighten everything up.

Laurie Handcock from Australia said...

Hi Folks - just found this site and want to say its great to see the Darnes getting some good wraps - I have had my Darne 12 Guage for 35 years and hope to be shooting with it for at least 35 more. One of the earlier commenters in the thread mentioned that they are impossible to load fast and I have to beg to differ on that - if you carry 2 shells in the fingers of your left hand(or right hand depenging on which one you are pulling the triggers with!) you can easily reload very very quickly by opening the breech with the trigger hand and then just dropping the shells in from the fingers of your other hand (takes a bit of practice but means you can get 4 shots off within a few seconds). I have used the technique when shooting pigs with a lot of success (my Darne has short barrels so its range is not great for bigger game and means I have to be fairly close to be sure of a clean kill) - love the gun and it just gets better with age (and still has very little recoil for such a light gun)

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurie

Glad you too, like the Darne!

I should explain my comments further about reloading the Darne quickly.
In UK, game shooting is mostly either driven , or walked up.
So, I am more than happy to use my V19 12G for walked up birds( or standing waiting for a Boar!),and a 12G magnum Darne for flighted duck or geese.

However , I am sorry, but I still beg to differ with your comments, as for driven game, a succession of quick, double shots & reloads are often needed in a very short space of time, when a flush of birds is over you.( Maybe the only flush of your day!)
Then nothing compares with a break action ejector, preferably an assisted opener!, and a handy, large opening pocket, brimming with cartridges
Even better would be a pair of such guns and an experienced loader , I am told.

I have yet to benefit from such a service !( But am open to offers?) .


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Anonymous said...

hello, my father died a year ago and i'm trying to sort through everything. one item i need to sell but do not know very much about is a shotgun, made in france. its a NICKERSON... Verney Carron a saint-Etienne. on my fathers certificate there a nu, serial nu and 12 bore. it's in once only use and was brought around 1983. it's been store away in a safe for years. can anyone tell me if this is a sort after shotgun, what they think it could be worth. i have someone who could be interested in but i haven't a clue what value to put on it. it looks brand new. thank you

Steve Bodio said...

A picture might help (mail ebodio at gilanet dot com). Verney Carron are still made and not rare so though they are well- made probably not much more than $1000 unless very high grade.

Anonymous said...

thank you for advise, will email you in the new year with some photos. took some with phone camera today doesn't do the gun any justice. from A.F LONDON

Anonymous said...


Steve Bodio said...

I still can't tell from that. Crowns are proof marks. 65 (mm) is chamber length. I believe both were made in St Etienne (Darne still is). Both made S x S 16's with checkered stocks.

Charlin has a smoother action than Darne-- glides like on ball bearings-- though maybe not as strong. I can tell from photos-- email to "ebodio at gilanet dot com"

Brian said...

I have what I believe is a Darne R-10 SXS 16 ga. Could use some help in verifying this. On the underside of the barrels is the following info.

Cannons Darne
Darne Brevete - S.G.D.G.
Type 10
St. Etienne

It also has a Crown over the letters PT in each corner.

I would appreciate any comments / information. I am not very familar with the Darnes. More accustomed to american rifles and german pistols.

Really enjoyed reading all of your comments on these shotguns.


Steve Bodio said...

Sounds like an R10 Darne to me. If it is case colored and not engraved I am sure it is.

Brian said...

It is plain, no engraving. The serial numbers all match. Is there a web site with the manufacture dates by serial number? Would like to find out a little more about this particular shotgun. I really like the balance but will not have the opportunity to shoot it for a while. Live in the mountains and it has been snowing for what seems forever.


Steve Bodio said...

New info from Johnny UK via email:

"Sorry, but I am not up on Darne serial numbers, but if you look on Geoffrey Gournet's website , who is an agent for Herve Bruchet in US

He shows the following info on dates :-

0-50000:up to 1910, one piece stock
4Z 1955-1952
8A...up to 8F 1978
8G Bruchet
8F890...8G204 1981-2004

Other than that, the only answer is to contact Herve Bruchet

Hope this helps

Brian said...


Thanks for your info. I contacted Geoffroy, and found out my R-10 was made around 1919. Looks in great shape for a 90 year old shotgun.


mc15426378 said...

I recently purchased a 16 ga SxS shotgun stamped Montargis on the left barrel in front of the breech. Gun has swivels, ejectors, scalloped blue frame, straight grip stock, splinter fore end. Any info on the maker and the quality of this gun?

Steve Bodio said...

Johnny UK says:
"I have no idea which manufacturer is referred to in this comment .

I entered "Montargis shotgun" in Google and found these 2 references to guns sold in US Auctions - one says Belgian make, the other French - so maybe you can take your pick ?

I wonder if the Barrels were made in Montargis - why there is a ref to A Montargis? - 20k - - 20k -

Sorry not to be more helpful"

Anonymous said...

Previous comment:Verney Carron shotgun

One item i need to sell but do not know very much about is a shotgun, made in france. its a NICKERSON... Verney Carron a saint-Etienne. on
my fathers certificate there a nu, serial nu and 12 bore. it's in once only use and was brought around 1983. it's been store away in a safe for years. can anyone tell me if this is a sort after shotgun, what they think it could be worth. i have someone who could be interested in but i haven't a clue what value to put on it. it looks brand new.

Comment : Hi there. I agree with Steve, that unless it is a really high quality weapon, £450 for a really mint one in 12G Ej, would be a top price in the current UK market. Verney Carrons were marketed for a while in UK, mainly O/U ejectors - very light and handy - mainly machine made, slim , low action, with large scroll engraving . One drawback was a strange safety catch alongside the triggers, which was difficult to operate. Not a good feature in my opinion.
I had one for a time, but sold it.
I think they ceased manufacture some years ago.


mc15426378 said...

This is a followup to my post of yesterday. Looking for info on this gun. Right barrel is marked Poichauvin AR 2. Left barrel is marked A Montargis. On the left barrel flat is stamped Choke Bored Perfectionne and Roncharc Cizfron. The flats also have a crown over the letters PT and the numbers 6.5. Each barrel has,forward of the flats, the number 17.0 and the left barrel has stamped Canon Surette over Double Epreuve with Garantie in between them, all in an oval shape.There are some other words/letters/markings but they are faint. The gun has swivels, straight grip and a splinter FE. Anyone have any ideas/knowledge on this gun? Thanks for any info. Mike

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Anonymous said...

Verney Carron Update

I was in coversation recently with Herve Bruchet , Head of Bruchet Darne,St Etienne, bespoke manufacturer of Darne sliding breech weapons, and the magnificent, new 20G. Damon Petrick O/U , and so I mentioned about the current situation concerning Verney Carron .
It would appear that they are still in business at;-
Verney-Carron SA
54, Boulevard Thiers
BP 80072
42002 ST-ETIENNE Cedex 1
Phone 011 33 477 79 15 00
Fax 011 33 477 79 07 02

Hope this helps


Hans said...

Dear Stephen,

I read your blog as I was googleing about a similar french gun your blog describes. It’s hard to find decent material about it.

My family had this shotgun hidden in attic for decades (it has no legal documentation). The barrel and everything else seems fine, just bit dusty. Do you think it has some rarity or value or it’s just a cheap old shotgun to hunt rabbits (or actually hunt swans, for what a local guy wanted to buy it from me with €150. Yes, some people eat swans…). Also I have couple pictures...


Hans (

Bill Fisher said...

Back in 2006 I asked if anyone could tell me anything about Peugeot Under/Over Shotguns. I could still use some help on this one. I know that there have been (and may well still be) at least two others in the USA, but that is about it. Anything since "06 ??

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AnnRJ said...

Hi guys. Looking at a Charlin .16 ga. s x s. How do you remove the barrels? I see the button on the bottom which moves a spring in the action after sliding breech is open, but I can't figure out how to pull barrels and forearm off. Also, clarify for me the comments about 2 1/2" vs. 2 3/4" shells: which should I try, or do I try both lengths? Asking price for this sweet little gun is around 1,000. It's light-weight and really the kind of gun I like to shoot for turkey and so on. Thanks for any information you can share.

Ken Dallmeyer said...

AnnRJ, I have a Charlin 12 gauge for 8 years. It is unique. I use it for trap and skeet and receive many comments about it. To separate the barrel open the breach about half. Hold the wrist with one hand and with the button on the bottom of the action pushed in tap the floor vertically with the muzzle. It should release, if not tap a little harder. Would you consider a trade? Ken @

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Anonymous said...

i have a 9mm shot gun. french made. i am trying to find alittle info on it. my email is

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have a Darne Halifax 16ga with 65mm chambers, serial number in the 50800 range. Any information regarding date of manufacture would be greatly appreciated.

Steve Bodio said...

I don't have the book of Darne serial numbers. You might Google Geoffrey Gournet, the engraver who also imports Darnes. The number seems high, but I bet they made a lot of Halifax guns.

Shorter chambers imply older guns. I liked the old Halifaxes, which were often more balanced because they had long barrels and no monobloc, thereby avoiding the muzzle light tendencies of high grade Darnes that can make them hard for English and US shooters to hit with.

Unknown said...

Hello sir-  I have a single shot, bolt action shotgun with an inside bore diameter (at the muzzle) of .477”, or 12.1158mm.  , or .472”.  It’s too big to be a .410, and too small to be a 32 gauge (.526”).  It has what looks to be a serial number, 10197.  Also "60 13.0”.  And some proof marks, a crude sketch of which I’ve attached.
It's been suggested to me that this gun is French. It bears a proof mark, an X with four arrows projecting from the inner sides of the X. Above the X there are the letters PT, and above that is what looks very much like a crown. Any chance you can tell me what this is?  It’s not a high quality gun, has a very plain wooden stock, cheap nickel finish on the bolt, etc.  But I’m still curious.  Any help appreciated.

Todd Hand said...

I own a 16 over under Peugeot.

Todd Hand said...

I have one.

vincent rago said...

I just acquired a 28 gauge Fireams Center Inc. Darne R11 - case hardened, lightly engraved - straight stock - serialized 4S23 on lever, sliding block, barrel and chassis

Unfortunately mine has had Buttstock replaced - blonder walnut that does not match forearm.

From your post and one here .. where J.J. King also posts - that accounts for 3 of 25

I just ordered a period brochure from Gunnerman that was described as Firearms Center Inc. Darne brochure.

Curious if you have any other info.