When making a rifle like this there are for me certain periods of anxiety. The first is when the engraving is completed, in this case after over a years dedicated work by Paul Lantuch, and the gun has to be shipped across the Atlantic and entrusted to brokers, customs and airline handling. An anxious few days – will it arrive.
The second, possibly worse period is when the rifle has been prepared for hardening and leaves our shop for the careful hands of Richard St Ledger and the case colour hardening process. At this point I loose all control and I have been called a control freak on more than one occasion!
I am not sure how long the rifle has been at the St Ledger shop but for me it has seemed forever, months, it has probably only been weeks.
Case hardening a rifle with this level of embellishment is a huge responsibility, so of course it is going to take time. Time to understand all the different alloys that have been used for the rifle, time to prepare the work carefully and time to consider how to pack in the charcoal, the heat, the length in heat all the other mysteries of case colour hardening. On my end anxious days thinking will the colour work, will all the alloys stay in and whatever other drama I can think up in my mind awaiting the return!
Yesterday evening I was able to breath a huge sigh of relief, the work returned and I was able to slowly unpack the parts and see the results of St Ledgers work. I can honestly say I had a grin wider than a cheshire cat as I unpacked the parts and saw the magnificent colours that had been achieved for the background of the rifle. A truly spectacular job and I show it below in a raw, lightly oiled state. This is done as next step is to patinate the alloys and refine the gold work prior to sealing in lacquer for protection.
My Sincere thanks to Richard St Ledger for such a magnificent job. One that these shots don’t do justice to but I hope future ones will!