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- The Darne Shtogun -
by Yves Butel

In 1881, a gunsmith from Saint Etienne, Rgis Darne, patented a new basically different type of shotgun. It has a fixed barrel and a rotating breech system : the C model. By pushing the top lever, the breech block rotates 90 degrees on the right and gives access to the chambers (it doesn’t have ejectors). C models were available in 3 grades : C2 to C4.

In 1897, appeared the first famous sliding breech system that we know today. Improved years after years, it was a real commercial success and Darne shotguns won a lot of golden awards in gun shows and shooting competitions.

Typical Darne action face:

The first models had half block barrels, but after 1902 Darne used a new process to fit the barrels together:
Tin soldering (at 250 C) and a Frette (mono-bloc) that holds the chambers. In fact, it was shown that the usual process of copper soldering (1000 C) for half block barrels can damage the temper.

There is four models of sliding breech guns : the Halifax, R, P and V models. They all have automatic ejectors and reinforced butt stock by a wood screw inside the grip.

B&W Pictures of Halifax, R-11, R-13, R-14 (76k)

Color picture of V-21 (25k)


The grade is given by punch marks (PM) under the barrel table:

Quality stamp (punch mark)
(Typically add 10 to the number of punch marks to get the grade)


Proof Marks:

The barrels proof marks consist in two interlaced palms surmounted by a crown (blazon of the city of Saint Etienne)

Example of the 12 gauge 1913 black powder proof:
 
Punch
Black powder (grams)
lead shot #8 (grams)
Pressure (kg/cm)
X St Etienne 
10
60
790
XX St Etienne 
14.5
75
1130
XXX St Etienne 
20
120
1440
XXXX St Etienne 
30
180
1720

When the gun is finished, another proof test is performed:

Black powder:
Nitro powder:
F surmounted by one crown:
960 kg/cm

S surmounted by one crown:
1370 kg/cm

 

PT (Poudre T) surmounted by one crown:
960 kg/cm

PT surmounted by two crowns:
1370 kg/cm

*Other nitro powders were also used.
The following marks are commom:
PR, PM, PJ and PS


Halifax Series:
Three grades : type 3 (3 PM) to type 5 (5 PM)
Upper barrel bolt from type 4
Proof : X for type 3, XX for type 4 and 5
Safety lever
Wood in one piece one certain models (forearm+stock) depending on the year of fabrication

Darne Halifax


The R Series:
Eight grades : R10 to R17 (no PM to 7 PM)
All the guns of this series have the upper barrel bolt
Special closing disks are mounted on the breech from R13
Horn piece in the front of the forearm from R15
Proof : XX for R10 to R12, XXX for R13 to R17
Opening in two steps on all models (first unlock then slide)
Safety lever

Darne R series


The P Series:
One Grade : P17 (7 PM)
Upper barrel bolt
Closing discs
Proof : XXX
Opening in one step (unlock and slide in one movement)
Safety button

Darne P series


The V Series:
Four grades : V19 to V22 (9 PM to 12 PM)
articulated triggers (firing pressure adjustable by shooter)
Upper barrel bolt
Closing discs
Opening in one step
Proof : XXX for V19 to V21, XXXX for V22

Darne P series


The A Series (swiveling breech system):
It looks like the R series except that it has a top lever as on a classical SxS.
The opening is done by pushing the lever on the right and pulling the action 180 degree towards the shooter.
Three grades : A8, A8b, A9
One PM for A8 and A8b and two on A9
Ejectors on A8b and A9


The S series (Over/Under):
Darne also produced few O/U : type S1 (1 PM) to type S3 (3 PM)

Darne S series

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Updated 10/13/97 DCW -Copyright (c) 1997, doublegunshop.com
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