Chapuis Armes C40 style shotgun review
This C40 style is a slim. Good-looking shotgun, with this example sporting some very fine walnut. The stock and fore-end are oil finished, as one would expect with a gun of this quality, the chequering with tidy, fine slot-head screws securing it in place. The slim fore-end with the Deeley-Edge catch is very appealing and it offers a modest palm smell on the pistol grip and a beautifully fitted engraved skeleton grip cap.
Though this gun has a long stock, it is worth recording that Chapuis will produce guns to the customer’s stock dimensions, there is a choice of wood with upgrade available on all their models and of course. There is that silver oval if required. Balance with the 30” barrels fitted to this gun are just in front of the action knuckle, and pointability, handling and overall balance are very good. I suspect of the shorter-barrelled options would produce an extremely fast-handling gun.
The barrels and action
The barrels are built on the well-known monobloc method of construction with solid side ribs and, on this gun, a solid game top rib, though there are other options available. It is chambered for 3” cartridges, proofed for steel shot and fitted with multi-chokes, ranging from cylinder to full-choke and beautifully marked, with relevant details in both French and English as well as the usual notch marking. For a small-bore gun the permanently sprung extractors are surprisingly sturdy and have the novelty of cut-outs to accept the twin locking bolts situated in the standing breech halfway up between the two barrels. Fairly high locking lugs are a technically sound idea.
While the action body is slim and well rounded, it is internally a complex piece of work. To put it simply, it appears that metal is only removed where necessary. This makes for much more tricky machining work but the end result is style with strength. Barrel selection is bottom to top with, on this gun, the optional auto-safe. One of the usual advantages of a non-selective trigger is shorter trigger-pulls than with some selective types — this Chapuis C40 proved to have quite short and crisp trigger-pulls.
The lock work mounted on the trigger plate is tucked away behind the side plates, with each main component part having a fine polished finish. Also, the dimensions, shaping and fit of these side plates are a particularly good standard.
This 20-bore is decorated with laser work, a method that is becoming increasingly used to good effect. The gamebirds — pheasant, mallard and woodcock — are lifelike, while the scroll and foliate-type work is in a distinctly different but attractive style. As well as the sideplates and almost overall coverage of the action body, the decoration extends to the fore-end catch, fore-end knuckle, trigger guard and top-lever. For anyone who wants more, there are further stages of pattern, right up to hand engraving and an even higher grade of walnut. It seems that Chapuis is following the bespoke line of “you pay your money and you take your choice”.
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