Reader & Friend JohnC sent me this pic of a Smith Model 629, which had all sorts of electronic drool stains on it:
I have to say, the artwork is well done, and extremely tasteful.
And yet, I have a love/hate relationship with engraving. On the one hand, I regard the gun as a tool, and adding embellishment like the above often seems to me to be like engraving patterns onto a screwdriver or a chainsaw.
On the other hand, I will never love any garage tool as much or in the same way as I love my 1911 — or pretty much any of my guns, really. Guns may be tools, in other words, but not quite so much.
My problem with adding engraving onto a gun is that it makes it pretty, and that means you start treating it differently, either in its actual handling or else in frequency of use. Turning a range gun into a safe queen… well, I think you all know where I stand on that issue.
Over at the Daily Timewaster, C.W. often has pics of fancy guns, like these two:
…and once again, I’m somewhat conflicted. While nobody can complain about the craftsmanship in either case, I just can’t get excited about it other than that: appreciation of the artistry.
Even with fine shotguns, I’m of a more conservative bent. Here are two examples, from Steve Barnett’s House Of Horrors, of otherwise identical Venere-model shotguns from Abbiatico & Salvinelli:
I love the first, but kinda “meh” about the second. And of course it’s not just the Italians. Here are three from J. Purdey, the ultimate stiff-upper-lip Brit company:
Love the first, “meh” about the second, and the last is revolting.
And all that said, I think completely untouched shotguns look like shop tools. Here are a pair of Winchester Model 21s:
The first is foul, the second is sensational: understated elegance, defined.
What say you, O My Readers?