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Posted By: SMP16Ga. French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/09/16 10:00 PM
I am looking for some help identifying this gun. Based on my research it seems to be a french gun. I was told that it was 16Ga. and I think it has 2 3/4 chambers (the 17.1 proof, the 70, and it chambers 16Ga. 2 3/4 shells fine.) I think it is proofed for smokeless powder (the PT under the crown.)

Am I correct? Is there anything else that someone can tell me from the proofs.

I am also looking for a good gunsmith in the Norfolk, Virginia area to check it out before I shoot it.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Posted By: skeettx Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/09/16 10:14 PM
Hello Stephen
Welcome on your first posting
See below , and look at #34 on the St Etienne column
Posted By: Argo44 Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/10/16 01:44 AM
Stephen, The gun was proofed in St Etienne. The barrels are stamped “double epreuve//“ (double proofed) and the proof mark verifies this.

The Marking “M Serre PT” is not clear (possibly meaning “tested or hardened for PT” - “a St Etienne” - “in St Etienne.”

There is a mark on the barrel lock…”AUHOLEREGI” or variant… and “CURTIEN” or variant. If you can provide a readout on these words, I’ll research them some more. This might be the barrel maker.

Re the marking “Roturier, Ste. Foy la Grande.” - this looks like this is the seller or perhaps the firm which assembled the gun. This is normal in French guns. Little hardware stores all over France marketed guns assembled from imported parts...sometimes not even putting a name on them...or if they got enough aristocratic patronage, they'd add a name....

Sainte-Foy-la-Grande is a commune in the Gironde department in Aquitaine in southwestern France on the Dordogne River 30 miles east of Bordeaux. (Aquitaine - think Gascony and D'Artagnan from 3 Musketeers). I believe it was once two towns…the Port Sainte Foy de Pinuilh and Sainte Foy…they apparently merged in the 19th century into Sainte Foy la Grande. (believe Porte Sainte Foy was the head of navigation on the Dore River and was quite prosperous for a time). The Dordognee River runs due east from Bordeaux then up into the Midi and forms the border between Geronde Department and Dordogne Department. There is a canal up the river starting at Ste Foy.

There apparently was a very well known company there the Etablissmente Roturier in the 1920’s-50’s which manufactured tools, assembled bicycles, repaired motorcycles, tractors and sold hunting and fishing equipment, etc., typical French hardware store serving a region. Monsieur Jean Edmond Roturier….may have been the founder or a descendent. I can’t find much about Messieur Roturier or his company. However, in 1976 the “Maison Roturier,” listed as an “Armurerie” (a gun store i.e armory), was established by Jean Marie Edmond Vircoulon, identified as an former employee and associate of Roturier… Another post indicated M. Vircoulon took this firm or at least the name over in 1955 and ran it for 54 years.

Vircoulon retired in 2009 and his shop at 41 Rue Victor Hugo was closed. The name, however, ultimately was taken over by a young 26 year old protege Bastien Pierrot. His shop is at 19 bis de l'avenue Leclerc à Pineuilh (part of Ste..Foy la Grande). Here is an article about him.

Pierrot studied at the armorer’s school in Saint-Etienne, spent 5 years in Italy working for famous makers of shotguns, spent another year in London in sales and repair of shotguns. His store “Maison Roturier” sells rifles, carbines, shotguns and shells. He also repairs guns. Since he was in London, he probably speaks English (and by the way that whole area was owned by the British crown up to about 1420 (Elenore of Aquitaine married (2nd marriage) Herni II, Duke of Normandy and King of England = the 100 Years War, i.e. battles of Crecy, Poitiers and Agincourt, Ste Jean d'Arc, etc) and is very pro-anglo/American).

Vircoulon is now the unofficial historian of the area. I think he is on Facebook. I’m sure if you wrote to him and sent some pictures, he could tell you more about the gun and the history of the Ets. Roturier…. My father was killed in Normandy; I was tracking down the locations of all the photos found in his camera and my experience is the French are very helpful in such matters.

By the way “roturier” in French means “a person not of noble birth” or a “commoner.” As an aside, in 1983 upon returning from Africa my wife and I drove up that road into the Midi going from Bordeaux to St. Chamond and St Etienne. The Dore is beautiful...

Final note: have this shop still at 41 Rue Victor Hugo (see sign saying "peche"(fishing) "chasse"(hunting) in the window (MBK is a brand of moto cycle). (I believe also by that time Vircoulon was involved in real estate which may explain the photos by the door); Possibly Pierrot moved back to the original premises? But on the other hand, google doesn't update its french photos that often and this photo might still be from the mid 2000's before Vircoulon retired. From the cars seen in the street pans, the latter is probably true.

We need to see photos of the break key and lock. and other parts of the gun. Thanks.

Gene Williams
Posted By: L. Brown Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/10/16 11:07 AM
Interesting stuff. "Armurerie" is one of my favorite words in French, if you want to practice pronouncing your French R.

3 piece forend. That gun resembles both Merkels and some OU's that were made in Belgium. Back in the 30's, Abercrombie & Fitch sold similar Belgian-made OU's under their own name. You don't run into French-made OU's all that often. The famous one, of course, is the Petrik--which Remington pretty much copied for their Model 32. Then copied by Krieghoff.
Posted By: GLS Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/10/16 12:49 PM
Gene, thanks for the tour. Gil
Posted By: Rockdoc Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/10/16 01:43 PM
Nice gun, 2.75" chambers, double proofs, it even has double triggers. Those French built it right!

Posted By: GETTEMANS Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/10/16 07:03 PM
Interesting research Argo 44. The gun is question is made by Blondeau who make these guns for most of the French dealers in all shape and sizes, even sidelocks. When I saw the picture I immediatly thought about Blondeau and to be sure I attach a link to a gun who is for the moment for sale at Natura Bay, here is the link:
cheers, Marc.
Posted By: skeettx Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/10/16 07:18 PM
Posted By: SMP16Ga. Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/11/16 01:51 AM
Thanks for all the great information. I have more pictures and will try and post a few more tomorrow.

Posted By: SMP16Ga. Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/11/16 05:37 PM
Here are some more images of the gun. I hope this is what you were looking for Gene. I apologize that some of the pictures are a little blurry. Photography is not my strong suit.

Also thanks for all that neat information about the french gun trade in general and my gun dealer in particular.

Still need a good gunsmith

Posted By: Rockdoc Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/11/16 08:01 PM
Wow, I see a lot of wood where there could just as easily be metal. I imagine if it's like most French SXS's it's a pretty lightweight gun. What is the barrel length? Don't be surprised if it's an odd number, the French used metric measurements.

Posted By: Argo44 Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/11/16 10:22 PM
Here are a few more bits about Jean Edmond Roturier. His father Edmond Roturier played in the first ever Rugby game at the Foyen stadium in Ste Foy la Grande in 1909. (Aquitaine is the heart of French Rugby). Jean Edmond Roturier was born in 1911 and was quite a good bicycle racer. You’ll remember that there often is a connection between Bikes, Motorcycles and Guns in France - witness Verney-Carron and Manufrance. Here is a picture of the Roturier Cycle Shop before WWII.

Jean Roturier was president of the Foyen athletic club/stadium and celebrated his 100th birthday in 2011. (Balding guy...he would have been 51 at the time).

By the way, here is a mark on a bush hook manufactured by Roturier. Inscription reads "ROTURIER - A STE FOY." You’ll notice the lettering is the same as that on the sign on the front of the Ets. J. Roturier store at 41 Victor Hugo.

The shotgun engraving more resembles the font on the sign over his bike shop:

This looks like your gun for sale in a 2006 auction. It states that the triggers are gold plated:

Would still like a readout on the lettering on the barrel lock.
Posted By: L. Brown Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/12/16 02:32 AM
The fancy back to the receiver and a different bolting system (looks like no top bolt) distinguish these OU's from Merkels and the ones I've seen made in Belgium (the latter both by Francotte and for A&F--not sure who made the A&F guns).
Posted By: SMP16Ga. Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/12/16 12:53 PM
For Argo44, The first line on the barrel lock says "CHOKE KL(E)D(O)I(T)O_" I can't read the last letter. The letters in parenthesis are possible alternatives to the preceding letter. The second line says "HEURTIER" which seems to be a French surname.

The triggers appeared to have been gold but much of it has worn off. The gun has a fair amount of normal wear. It appears to have been taken care of but has seen extensive field use.

I checked the link you posted. Not only is it like my gun, but based on the serial number, it is my gun. Pretty neat to see where it has been.

For the Rockdoc, The gun is light weight 6 lb. 1 oz. It is very nicely balanced and feels very natural when I bring it up to my shoulder. The barrels are 27 9/16 inches or 70 cm.

Posted By: Argo44 Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/12/16 11:05 PM
Stephen, Societe Heurtier & Cie (sometimes "SH&Ci" on barrels) is a renowned maker of barrels in St. Etienne. Heurtier supplied barrels to all the well known known companies, Manufrance, Verney Carron, Zapatto Freres, etc. I believe they expanded into other areas as well (cameras, bicycles) until in the 1930's they were a very large company. I believe they are no longer in business sadly. Larry might know more.

The other letters appear to reference the chokes...can't help you much there. There are not a lot of French words starting with "K" and they are usually imports from other languages (except "kilo" and derivatives). Usually you'll find on French guns after "CHOKE" the word "RECTIFIE." Check and see if this fits. Whatever, this is a St. Etienne gun.

Whomever bought your gun back in 2006 didn't do anything with it evidently. But it looks like it's found a good home. Really nice looking piece. I still think that if you're a history buff, you ought to write to the people in Ste. Foy la Grande...they might tell you who it was sold to etc. Given the prominence of the family, Jean Roturier was the President of the local Stade and Rugby team for 50 years, the records might still be extant.

And by the way, gold plated triggers? Pleaassssseeee. This had to have been a trophy or presentation piece and as such might be significant to someone.
Posted By: L. Brown Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/13/16 04:10 PM
The 17.1 should be the bore diameter. That's about .673, somewhat overbored for a 16ga. Which means you won't want to try and measure choke with one of the "drop-in" gauges because you'll get a misleading result.

Agree with Argo that anything starting with K is odd in French. Might be a German or Dutch name indicating the type of steel used? Although that would be odd coming after "choke".
Posted By: SMP16Ga. Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/14/16 12:04 AM
The letters are very faint so I could be wrong on what they are. It is OK I guess. I will probably have to contact the folks in Ste. Foy La Grande to find out more. I am still looking forward to shooting it.

As far as the triggers go, I don't know if they are actually gold plated but they were a gold color at one point.
Posted By: Argo44 Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 12/02/16 04:11 AM
Stephen, I'm curious whether you ever wrote to Ste Foy la Grande about your gun. I'm tempted to write something for you myself or send you a French language text that you could mail. My curiosity is piqued by the fact I'll be visiting Bordeaux again next spring.
Posted By: SMP16Ga. Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 12/05/16 02:32 PM

Sorry for the late reply. I have not written yet. It has been a busy autumn. I would be grateful for any help. I hope you have an enjoyable trip this spring.
Posted By: Argo44 Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/18/17 05:36 PM
Stephen, WildCattle posted this on the French gun term line which looks to be the answer to your question about the M. Serre FT on your barrels. Hope it's shooting well.

"This is a Mr Serre Ft (Fabricant=maker) in St Etienne, e.g. a last name.
15 rue Chapelon in the early 1930s."

Since "Heurtier" is on the barrel lump, assume that Heutier was the source of the barrels, M. Serre put the whole thing together in Saint Etienne and Roturier marketed it at Ste. Foy la Grande. That's about as complete a history of a 1930's St. Etienne gun as you can come up with. If you write to Ste Foy la Grande they might even be able to get the name of the person to which it was originally sold.
Posted By: ed good Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/18/17 08:03 PM
not aware of gunsmiths around norfolk...however, gunter pfrommer, located in rocky mount, va, is an excellent gunsmith who can check your gun out and make sure it is safe to shoot...
Posted By: SMP16Ga. Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/24/17 09:27 AM

Thank you for the additional information. That does seem to be a complete history of the gun until its original sale.

I have not had much opportunity to shoot it. I haven't been able to find any skeet or trap ranges in my area so I have to wait until some friend invites me over to their farm to do some shooting. It handles very nicely. I am still adjusting to its point of aim.

Posted By: SMP16Ga. Re: French? 16 Ga. O/U - 08/24/17 09:33 AM
ed good,

Thanks for the lead on Gunter Pfrommer. I took it to a local gun shop and the gunsmith there looked it over and test fired it. I don't think they had a lot of experience with old doubles. They test fired it with field loads and it did not blow up. They recommended that I stick to field loads. I have shot it at skeet and it functioned fine. I may let Mr. Pfrommer look at it at some point for a more thorough evaluation.

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