View Full Version : Engraving question about production shotguns....

September 2, 2009, 04:11 PM
I was just wondering how the engraving is done on production shotguns in the $2,000-4,000 range, specifically the Beretta shotguns? Is this type of engraving done completely by machine? And, if so, does anyone know what type of tooling is used?

September 2, 2009, 04:20 PM
Until you get into the upper 5-digit and above range, engraving is done by mechanical means, including laser. Well-done machine engraving or laser is hard to tell until you get a loupe and look closely

September 2, 2009, 04:41 PM
Well-done machine engraving or laser is hard to tell until you get a loupe and look closely

What are you looking for to determine if it's machine/laser engraving vs hand engraving? I seem to find myself interested in learning more about shotgun engraving lately. Any good resources you could suggest?

September 2, 2009, 04:56 PM
I think the engraving done on most production guns / like Browning or Beretta is being done by machine programmed lasers these days - and then they do some gold inlay for accents, etc - but I don't know for sure what they're using.

I will say the newer models - like the 625 series from Browning is done pretty well .....especially for the price..


I think its the same, where they use programmable lazer engraving machinery, even on guns even out of the Browning Custom Shop - where you can still order a B25 Superposed with 25 or so different engraving patterns and you can send them a custom drawing they'll duplicate / same on some of the higher end Beretta DT-10's I've seen ( you can check out Joel Etchen guns as a source ) ........ where you can easily spend $10K on a gun.

September 2, 2009, 05:38 PM
Here's a nice site:

Here's Creative Art:

http://www.creativeart.it/gallery.htm (probably the best single group of folks)

Engraver's Guild:


Hand engraver's forum:


Check out some from Fracassi Firmo on Rizzini guns: (many think his daughter is even better)


September 2, 2009, 05:45 PM
Thanks, guys - this is exactly what I was looking for.

September 2, 2009, 06:01 PM

If you go with SKB (remember that from another thread?), you would also want to check out Angelo Bee:


September 2, 2009, 07:38 PM
Not sure where you're at Skans - but if you can make it to Reno when they have their convention (timed to coexist with the SCI convention), you'll feast your eyes on some of the best this country (and world) has to offer. Used to live there and went a few times, always blew me away to see the skill and artistry some folks possess.......


September 2, 2009, 09:51 PM
IIRC, Skans is actually interested in giving engraving a whirl in one method or another... If I am wrong, he will surely put me in my place...

September 2, 2009, 10:07 PM
Then he'll definitely want to make it to Reno and look at joining some of those professional organizations - some of these guys take apprentices.......

September 3, 2009, 07:54 AM
Another thread I thoroughly enjoyed was "An American engraver in Italy". It provides a lot of interesting background and technical info that the author picked up during his visit with various master engravers such as Firmo and Francesca Fracassi.


September 3, 2009, 08:15 AM
Skans is actually interested in giving engraving a whirl in one method or another...

No....not yet anyway. Sometimes certain things just kind of "grab" me out of nowhere. For a long time I really didn't appreciate engraving on shotguns - most likely because what I was looking at wasn't all that interesting to me or I thought it was simply gaudy. But, the work done by some of these really skilled engravers is breathtaking. I can really appreciate and admire the depth and detail that some of these artists can chisel into a piece of steel.

Yes, I'll admit, I'm envious - I wish I had that kind of skill.

September 3, 2009, 08:22 AM
Skans, If you think you can scribe a groove into metal, get some used $75 NEf guns and ruin them all you want... You can't devalue it. I am not one to take on a metal engraving task but it is so cool to look at even a sub par thing I did and take pride that I did it myself. That gun WA posted in Gen Dis is exquisite beyond mention! I have never owned a SXS or OU but that gun is absolutely awesome. I thought you mentioned a desire to scribe a gun in that thread.

September 3, 2009, 08:49 AM
Watched a show on one of the odd channels a while ago - they had a section with, IIRC, Creative Art in Italy and were showing how one of their more famous folks did the bulino engraving with his little metal "punch" and a very powerful microscope/viewer. It was estimated that one of his projects would take over 1,000,000 "punches" to make the dots necessary for that side of the gun. It was also going to take the better part of a year to make it happen. The photo-like quality of the bulino absolutely amazes me everytime I see one

September 3, 2009, 12:27 PM

- Francesca Fracassi

"The most striking thing I noticed were the tiny parallel lines used in the sky and water, the were almost straight with the occasional bump or flutter to indicate movement, they were so tiny and well cut, with no trace of an edge or burr that one expects to see on even the best cut line. And the tiny nicks of the bulino, so small as to appear to be dots, were always laid out in the direction of flow in the scene, with not a single mark out of place, every touch of the bulino tool having a purpose in the scheme of the overall view." - An American engraver in Italy

No polishing, no inking, no burnishing, no nothing other than a wipe of oil when the work is finished.

September 3, 2009, 12:41 PM
She did the swan without inking? Wonder how she got the shadow effect??....

September 3, 2009, 05:46 PM
For years FN & Brownings were hand engraved in Leige Belgium, the European capital of engraving. The (now out of production) A5 which had small amounts of engraving on the receiver were done by the younger apprentices, generally women. Full coverage pieces were handled by the more experienced and Master engravers. Masters were allowed to initial their work...these signed works of art command a premium and are highly sought by collectors.

Laser engraving and CNC engraving frankly looks "too good"....with unusually smooth cuts. Hand cut (chisel) engraving will show short little cuts, sort of like gouges throughout each line. Powered engravers (Gravermiester) leave smoother cuts than hand chiseling and rounded corners tend to be more perfect.