The Final Touch

Firearms Markings

Within most professions in this world, despite the best efforts of professional organizations and sanctioning bodies to achieve uniform standards of performance, there are often great discrepancies in skill and ability of members. In many cases, these differences of skill and talent are inconsequential. In others, say, for instance, brain surgery, you would like to think everybody out there practicing the craft is equally and supremely competent. In the world of the arts, manual and otherwise, these variations are not usually life threatening but merely reflect on the general skill level of the practitioners.

So it is with lettering from gun makers, custom and production alike. Some of us get downright persnickety about lettering while others have a more relaxed “Git ’er done” attitude. In my humble opinion, proper markings on receivers and barrels can make all the difference in the world, distinguishing stylish from otherwise indifferently rendered pieces of work. We’ll take a look at some examples of lettering and contemplate available technology.

If you think about it for even a moment, you can imagine the difficulty or producing a stamping die. In the olden days, before photo etching, EDM (electro discharge machining) and N/C (computer-driven) technology arrived, roll marking dies were laboriously carved by hand in steel by engravers of otherworldly skill. In reverse. Or worse, in-the-round to follow a barrel contour precisely. Not surprisingly, these stamping dies were goofy expensive and used exclusively by major manufacturers who could amortize costs over tens of thousands of units of production.
Story By: Hamilton S. Bowen

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