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By: Geoffroy Gournet

Herve Bruchet

"A fine mechanic, a great piece of engineering, originality as robustness."

The 21st century Darne is made from the original stock. It is the same traditional high quality steel. There is no investment casting or parts from Spain or Korea, as many others. The stock is attached to the receiver with a screw from the back. A steel rod going through the stock make this last one much more solid than the original ones. They all come with selective ejectors. The Famous obturators are still present on the model 13 and above. Each gun is hand finished, in a little production, with a special care making these guns unique. Disassembly is surprisingly quick, mostly for the V grade. Open and slide back the slide, push a little button under the Vend of the slide and pull back the slide off the receiver. Easy but not the first time if nobody show it to you. Keep movement gentle in order to avoid to scratch the stock when the slide is freed. There is no reason to remove the slide other than to clean it. For that, deep it in diesel. As before, there is three size of action, the 12, the 16 and a small block for 28 and double express with barrels coming from Lothar Walter. Calibers for the last one are 8x57, 9.3x74 , 30 Blaser, all very European caliber although other calibers more popular in Africa or the U.S. could be offer to satisfied the customers. Time to have tour guns varies from 4 to 12 months.

 

It may look uneasy to reload  at first, but with a little practice,  as it become an automatism, it become as enjoyable. As going from automatic to manual shift or the reverse. Old hunters who get used to it feel sorry for people who do not know the joy of fixed barrel shotgun. Fixed barrel are appreciated by people reloading in narrow space or on the boat while hunting ducks. The feel of the Darne is light at the front and quick to point. Barrels can be regular or “canon plume” ( barrels feather ). This last one stand out by a 2 inches top rib a the beginning of the barrel and another 2 inches top rib at the muzzle. These very light barrels are typical from Saint Etienne. A joy for grouse or woodcock hunting.

You can order a Darne in caliber 12,16,20,24,28 or 410 magnum, as well as big calibers for safari. As in the good old days, there is a ”R” and a “V” grade. The V is an upscale Darne, with double sears, a completely different inside. As already said somewhere else, probably R Darne in similar words: “the V is to the R what the Holland is to the Anson&Deeley”

The "P" is  close to a "V" minus :no double triggers, less engraving. But I think it have a big lever.

Bruchet 9.3x74 in case

A LITTLE HISTORY & Information for the collector.

The first gun of Regis Darne of 1881 was already a very different action with fixed barrel. The well known sliding action appeared as the model 1897. The stock: originally in one piece, will become done in two piece in 1906.  Some guns will  be manufactured with one piece stock until the twenties. The action could be find as shotgun or double rifle or mixte. Big caliber have been 500 Eley, 375 H&H and special Darne ammo.
In despite of short disruption from 1978 to 1981, the company have always been in business. In 1981, Paul Bruchet, formerly from Darne, bought the stock and machine and ran the company. At this time some of the gun will have the name of Bruchet.  Since 1986, Bruchet bought the "Darne" name. Today, his son Herve who joined him told me that around 800 000 Darne sliding action have been manufactured. Among it, there is 10 to 15 % of "R", the rest being :V"

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

V has a Bigger top lever. The top lever axel is not apparent. A half inch push button under the forend allow a quick disassembly of the barrels.

R The axel or pin of the top lever is apparent. The front of the spring in the middle of the  receiver must be pressed down with a pen to pull back the barrels for removal.

The grade is indicated by 0 to 12 same punch marks on the table of the barrels

0 to 6 punch marks: R 10 to R16

7,8 punch marks for P& and P8

9 to 22 for V19 to V22.

On the current production, PT with one crown stand for the smokeless proof at 960 bars, with 2 crowns 1200 bars  and 3 crowns 1370 bars.

There is some special order call HS (hors serie), seen on R as on V. The RHS in mainly developed by Bruchet. VHS or RHS is stamped on the barrels table.

Halifax, as punched on the top lever. Three grades:3, 4 and 5

Punch with the numbers 3,4 or 5. The Halifax is a product from the past and id the lowest grade. But is as strongly built.

Regis Darne did not look very successful to prevent a flurry of copies.

If the top lever or other parts are signed by an other name, it is likely a copy. Numerous firms copied the Darne of Regis Darne. As: RPF for Rivolier Pere et Fils, F Darne ( Francis Darne), Peugeot, Soleihac, Schmitt, and more.

I  have read somewhere than the gun have even been copied in Canada.

Fakes that have been through the Darne company for servicing received a triangular punch mark within the words: “Darne vu”. (Darne seen)

Few Darnes have no  "DARNE" stamp on the top lever but good marks inside. So always check the barrels.

 

SERIAL NUMBER FOR AFFIXED BARREL MODEL R V P & HS (Many Exceptions Occur)

0-50000:up to 1910, one piece stock

A001,A002...A999,B001...Z999:1910-1925

AA001,AA002...BB001...ZZ999:1926-1935

3A001,3A002...3B001...3Z999:1935-1948

4A001,4A002...4B001...:1949-1955

4Z 1955-1952

5A001...5Z999:1962-1968

6A...1968-1974

7A...1974-1978

8A...up to 8F 1978

8G Bruchet

8F890...8G204 1981-2004

PHOTOS

Frame and slide throughout production.

 

8x57 Bruchet

 

9.3x74 Bruchet

 

28ga Bruchet

 

Bruchet V22

 

Bruchet V22

 

Darne 1910 12 gauge

 

Darne Salesman Gun

 

Paris Darne store

 

V22 Darne #FF9..

 

Darne Express 500 Eley

 

Darne Paradox 14 gauge/450 caliber

 

 

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