Once upon a time in Europe, only gentlemen hunted with shotguns. No surprise there: guns were fabulously expensive and landowners didn’t want their serfs—I mean tenants bagging the owner’s game (or preparing for armed insurrection). The gilded guns of the landed gentry are a tradition to this day, hand-built by Purdey & Sons, Holland and Holland and other “houses” determined to give well-heeled customers plenty to grouse about . . .

These guns are about as far removed from their mass-produced cousins as a Patek Phillipe Sky Moon Tourbillon from a “gimme” timepiece from a local plumbing supply company. Of course, mass production has its benefits, in terms of price, reliability and functionality. But when it comes to art, well, you can’t beat tradition and craftsmanship.

To wit: the work of Luciano Bosis, as chronicled by the anglophile firearms enthusiasts’ new testament: Shooting Classics.

Larry (Lawrence!) Chesney pens a piece that gives readers a real flavor of the artisanal gunmaker’s art.

His shop lies across a grassy courtyard from the back door of his home. With its patio adorned with flowers and leisurely furnishings, the home seem miles from any sort of metalworking business. And in a way it is, as the little shop of Bosis is more a studio than a factory . . .

After touring the workshop, we gathered with the family in the shadows of the patio. Luciano’s wife, Giuliana, served a light snack as we continued our conversation. Her warm blue eyes smiling from beneath a shock of white hair, she seemed the prototypical Italian matriarch, with lines of character etched by her own years of hard work. She was the ideal hostess, making certain that all were cool and comfortable.

As we sipped on bottles of San Pelligrino mineral water, I asked Laura how many people are employed at their shop. She explained that in the mornings, seven people, including Luciano and herself, work there. In the afternoons three part-timers depart, but they often carry work home.

“These are artisans,” she said, “and they sometimes get the spirit at odd times, say three in the morning. It’s not unheard of for a walnut stock to be completed in the middle of the night.”

Well, that’s what he told his wife, anyway. The article sort of just ends. Maybe it’s an abridged version of the magazine piece. In any event, does anyone actually shoot these things, or do they just look at them. A lot. In private. Just askin’ . . .

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