Chapuis Armes C135 Artisan Super Orion review
An eye-catching design
You really will not believe you can buy such a stunning, hand engraved, hand finished gun for anything under five figures. In pure presentation terms at this price point it really is quite stunning, and while not a sidelock it even stands up well against guns from some of the biggest names in shotgun manufacturing. Even better, it is just as pleasant to shoot with as it is to look at.
The first thing to catch the eye is the beautifully figured and finished wood. It offers a stunning stock, with a wonderful oil finish and a good straight hand stock not only adds to the sleek lines of the gun, but it also gives a very natural and comfortable feel whilst shooting.
The attractive figuring extends into the fore-end where one finds a well-sculpted Schnabel design and very well executed chequering, providing plenty of grip without feeling rough and without disguising the natural features of the wood. There is also a very nicely shaped and finished walnut butt plate, also notable for how comfortable it is on the shoulder.
Another positive in terms of visual appeal is the hand engraving covering almost every square centimetre of metalwork on the gun. The design features Acanthus scroll work with some real depth to the engraving, along with a game scene vignette on each side and the bottom of the action body, each featuring a different flushing game bird. The extended bottom trigger tang is a feature many would argue adds to the good looks of any gun, and particularly suits this C135 gun with its long, slim straight hand stock.
The gun’s most impressive feature is how well it deals with recoil. One would expect any gun on the lighter side, particularly a 12 bore, to give you a bit of a kick. But the C135 felt benign with little felt recoil and no noticeable muzzle flip. Trigger pulls are lovely and crisp, and a rolled edge to the trigger guard provides plenty of protection and comfort while shooting. The only disappointment, however, is the lack of barrel selection, though this is mitigated by the use of multichokes.
Chapuis in the field
The C135 is very well balances, coming to the shoulder consistently and comfortably, and feeling very lithe in the hands. The gun moves well without feeling too flighty and trigger pulls are very satisfying. Recoil control really is tremendous for a gun this light and would surely be most welcome on a long day in the field. The lack of barrel selection may be a problem for some, and the gun occasionally requires a little extra effort to open, which may become wearing if one found one’s self in the hot seat on a busy drive.
Overall, this gun leaves an almost universally positive impression. Given the price it seems extremely good value for money.