Gun Craft: Fine Guns & Gunmakers in the 21st Century
Gun Craft examines today's artisanally made guns, as well as the craftsmen who make them. In it, the author takes the reader into the workshops and factories of the world’s best gunmakers, making their sometimes-arcane craft skills accessible and relevant to anyone who shoots, owns or collects fine guns. Each chapter explores a separate topic; each has been chosen, however, to provide readers with a unified insight into the complicated task of making hand-made guns in both Europe and the United States.
"We challenge you: read three chapters of this book and try to put it aside for later. I did. I tried; I failed and found I had to read on. We challenge you to read each chapter in order and do not look ahead to the next topic. I did this and found continuing intriguing information around each corner. Be sure to go beyond the last page of text (244) and read through the annotated bibliography. The artesian well of information continues to flow in the last 25 pages.
The 23 chapters are mostly adopted from Vic Venters’ columns appearing in Shooting Sportsman over the past two decades. The topics are of such incisive interest that many readers may have clipped the columns for permanent retention. The refreshingly modest price of this elegant book, hardbound, coated paper, clear color photographs, at $ 30, is delightful. It tempts the reader to buy a batch and distribute copies to deserving friends!
As I read Venters’ “lucid thinking, expressed in cleanly crafted language,” (Michael McIntosh--from the introduction) I imagined myself at his shoulder as he visited and interviewed the many living legends of 21st century gun crafting. The information Vic elicited always left me feeling more appreciative of the topics covered in crafting double shotguns by largely handcrafted methods. Mostly focused on British shotgun making, deftly exploring action jointing, barrel making, color case hardening, and proofing, to name a few topics, memorable visits to Belgium and Spanish-Basque gun making sites provided bonus nuggets of information.
While German gun making topics are largely absent, Venters praises the quality reputation of Hartmann and Weiss of Hamburg. Also, the GGCA website is listed in the appendix. A final challenge: Finish reading this book and then pick up your favorite double gun and deny that you notice its features with heightened awareness.
I double dog dare ya! Venters will do this to you."— Richard Hummel, German Gun Collectors Association Journal Waidmannsheil 44
"Unless you are fortunate to have watched your collection of modern and expensive shotguns being handcrafted, Vic Venter’s new book is the closest you will get to the pinnacle of gunmaking today. Featuring technical and historical details about leading gunmakers’ products, what really makes this book stand out is the behind-the-scenes stories of the stockers, actioners, barrelmakers and engravers who dedicate their skills to the world’s Best guns. Thoughtful, intelligent and beautifully written, this is a fascinating and impressive work.” —The Shooting Times & Country Magazine
“Those with even a passing interest in fine shotguns and sporting rifles will need to find a space for this book on their shelves. Vic Venters is an authority on fine guns, as this collection of articles from magazines including Shooting Gazette proves.
Exhaustive research and in-depth interviews with the finest gunmakers from Europe, the UK and the US provides a true insight into the skills behind best guns. . . .” — Shooting Gazettte
“The author is a busy man. In fact Gun Craft (subtitled Fine Guns & Gunmakers in the 21st Century) is a look at a unique period of time in gunmaking which has seen traditional skills supplemented by new technology. Vic is one of America’s most respected fine gun authorities, and this work is a collection of gunmaking columns written for Shooting Sportsman Magazine.” —Fieldsports
"To put it simply, Gun Craft is a fascinating book ... The theme of Gun Craft is how traditional makers are surviving by adopting 21st century technology like modern CAD-CAM/CNC manufacturing, while still making guns of breathtaking quality, beauty and price. In most cases, Venters personally visited the shops of the craftsmen he profiles in the book.
Some of the chapters explain a certain facet of gunmaking such as case-hardening or choke regulating, while others discuss a particular gun – Purdey .410s, for instance. There are also chapters on some older guns. The book contains a good glossary and bibliography and makes an excellent reference. —Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream Shotgun Editor