Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Location: Lowcountry Ga.
Ted, I don't know how accurate the anecdotal descriptions I've read regarding hunting in France but there was a lot of hunting activity in rural France by the common man, the butcher, the baker, et. al. The Robust was a mail order farmer's gun from what I gather and sold by the hundreds of thousands. I see maybe a half dozen Ideals; fewer Robusts, on the usual internet spots, but hundreds of English guns. Can that be attributed solely to the exchange rate? Best, Gil
PS: Judging from roll crimpers available on Ebay from France (sertisseur) 16 ga was very popular. Most of the crimpers are in 16 gauge that appear on Ebay.
Last edited by Gil S on Fri Jan 29, 2016 9:43 am; edited 1 time in total
Hey! Thanks a ton everybody for all of the replies. RST looks like they've got a lot of different 2 1/2 16ga shells.
If being from France makes it even more unique that makes me pretty happy. I kindof like having something that's not around everywhere.
The gun was owned by my grandpa's brother and then my uncle who recently gifted it to me. It's really wonderful to have such a cool family heirloom and in the 6 months prior to receiving it or even before I knew it existed I had been thinking to myself "hey maybe I would like to shop for a neat old sxs with an English stock and maybe I'd like one in 16ga." I can't believe it. I'm a really lucky guy : )
French guns aren't well known in the USA and catch some ridicule from the masses but, the craftsmanship and artistry are superb. They also come in at a lower price point than the competing German and Belgian firearms.
I have even considered a French Battue rifle a time or two.
Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Location: Mpls, MN.
Hervé Bruchet told me he only got to hunt every few years or so, and it always involved an invitation from a land owner-there really wasn't anyplace he could just go and hunt by himself.
French society is changing, dramatically, and hunting and other outdoor pursuits are not something the new immigrants to France are picking up to a large degree. France is an aging society, has been for decades, and the political thinking was that by allowing large numbers of young people to immigrate from former French colonies, some problems of having few people to work and provide for the population would be eased.
History will weigh that notion, but, rest assured, hunting is not done by the masses in France, like it is, here. And when you speak of the masses in France, you simply must include immigrants. A Muslim immigrant from Algeria will have no interest in a plate with a traditionally cooked Becasse on it.
As to getting quantities of guns from France, to here, the simple language barrier was very effective in keeping that from happening. There were other things, also, but, language is a tough one all by itself.
_________________ "Well sir, stupidity isn't technically against the law, and on that note, I'll remove the handcuffs and you are free to go".
Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Location: Lowcountry Ga.
All French by Manufrance: 16 ga. Loading blocks, powder/shot measures, 16 ga. roll crimper and 16 ga. Robust 226. Loaded up #8 in 2.5" Cheddites this morning for woodcock tomorrow. If you click on the photo, it will enlarge and the full name of Manufrance can be read on the loading blocks. Gil
That's a very nice gun. As noted above, French guns are usually pretty high-quality workmanship, even in the basic grades, and generally cost less than their Belgian or German equivalents. The wood, almost always French walnut, is probably better than most anything that could be gotten today even at twice the price. Verney-Carron is a long-established maker with a great reputation for quality. You look to have gotten a great gun.
Do make a point of being careful with your thumb around the left side of the toplever. That little projection on the receiver which mates with the lever's left side will bite, and hard.
I have a French-made gun of similar design, right down to the lever, but with a Prince of Wales stock. It's tightly choked - like most French guns - but even with 70 cm barrels and a full-length stock it comes in at 5 lb 8 oz. Carry it all day without even thinking about it. It's probably my favorite gun, not that I play favorites.
Congratulations on your acquisition and on joining the site.
Sorry to revive an old thread after a long time away but I've gone through the lite shells I originally purchased from rst and when I came to re-read this thread I noticed photobucket got rid of my old pics.
So I updated those and decided I'd add some more, of the gun and my hunting partner
Looking at the proofmark site Mark posted about early in this thread I can't really tell if the gun was proofed with the St Etienne temporary mark for 14,223 psi or the PT standard final 12,090 mark.
Joined: 06 Apr 2007
Location: The Great Northwet
If you go the RST/Polywad route, they are under 8k psi, so you should be fine. Nice gun, and not too nice to spruce up either. Should be a fantastic upland gun. I had one similar before and it was fantastic. Enjoy!
For whatever reason, and I haven't heard or recall a reason, we just don't see many French guns in the US compared with those from the UK or rest of the continent. Manufrance made a ton of good guns and only a few seem to trickle over here. The Ideal is a classic made by Manufrance and is highly desirable, but only a few show up at the usual online vendors at prices considerably costlier than they would cost in France. Gil
Gil, as you know I have a strong interest in French guns and have pondered that exact question. I also believe I have an answer that makes sense from a historical view point.
Ted's remarks about FX being against the trade may have been true in the time period he's referring to, 10-20 years ago, but to see the numbers of French guns here in NA the way we do English, Belgian or German guns, there would have had to be a a steady commercial level of importation over a century, not private importation over 10 years.
France does have, historically, a more egalitarian hunting tradition that either England or Germany. It is also an incredibly bountiful landscape where, culturally, people of all classes appreciated what was on offer. Hunting WAS more commonplace.
Add to that that France had a large population and again from a cultural standpoint, the French are rather, how shall we say this politely, rather inward looking. iE they don't give a shit about the rest of the world, except as it may prove their superiority.
Unlike the British or the Belgians, their country's economic success was not founded on international trade. So....much like America....their gun trade could flourish without ever developing an export market.
If you go to England or Belgium or Germany or France or ANYWHERE besides Canada and the US, you find very few American guns from the golden age of SxS. But here in NA, they are everywhere. It's the same in France with French guns. While French guns are rare everywhere else, they are drowning in them in France.
950,000 Manufrance Robusts made. Just one model. That number dwarfs the entire output of companies like Parker, Fox, Ithaca, Remington, LC Smith and Lefever. We know the number of graded Manufrance Ideals is in the 100,000 gun range. Check out the quantities of the graded output by Remington, Fox and Lefever. And that is just one company and only two of their models.
If I was a collector or user of classic American shotguns, to find the guns I wanted, I would shop the American market. If one is seriously interested in French guns, it is pointless to look unless one is shopping the French market.
JMHO, but it's damn good one! LOL
_________________ "The world cries out for such:he is needed, & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia"
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