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 Post subject: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:12 am 
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The "Guild Gun" is a term which has me puzzled. Just yesterday a forum contributor said that this would mean a gun with barrels, stock & action from different suppliers and that would seem to cover most eventualities.
On that basis Messrs Purdey, Holland & Holland etc made Guild Guns in that their barrels were sourced from (say) Whitworth, Birmingham, or Leige, the locks from perhaps Brazier or Chilton, and the woodwork and engraving from any amount of outworkers.
This would also apply to the majority of Birmingham names, trade directories of the period say 1850 to 1914 show many more gun 'part' makers than actual gunmakers.
The same can be said of the great majority of early American made shotguns where the barrels came from either Leige or Birmingham.
So when does a gun become not a Guild Gun :?


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:32 am 
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A guild is just an association of highly skilled craftsmen performing a specific craft or trade. There are many different trade guilds and it's not unique to guns. However take a look here: http://www.acgg.org/

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:22 am 
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From what I understand, the typical "guild" in turn of the century in Belgium was composed of a group of firearms craftsmen who may even occupy the same place of business and share tooling, etc to build complete arms.

The ACGG is a completely different "guild", we are an association of craftsmen whose goal is " the advancement of the art of custom gunmaking". There was never any attempt for the ACGG to be anything like the old guilds in europe.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 12:45 pm 
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From what I was once told it was a craftsman or group of craftsmen who were not yet accepted into the master gunsmithing guild. Guild guns were a final "exam or test" if you will, that showed the crasftsmen's ability as a gunsmith and maker. As they were a sort of a final test, usually there were no makers name on these guns because they weren't from a recognized maker. I don't know how accurate this theroy is as to a guild gun.


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:03 pm 
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Many firearms "manufacturers" outsource various parts, even today, ILO making everything inhouse.

Ruger, for instance, owns Pine Tree Castings - which entity makes investment cast firearms parts ( including receivers/frames) for sundry other/competitive "gunmakers".

What's usually meant by a "Guild Gun" refers generally a gun (usually a smoothbore) made in Europe (Spain, Italy, Belgium,etc), that has had it's various components made by different various entities, whether those be family or some other relationship ( like just a plain business relationship).

A "Guild Gun's" barrels, ergo, would have been made by a barrelmaker, the action by an actioneer, the stock by a stockmaker, and the metal engraved by an engraver/firm.

The various components then usually went to yet another entity for assembly/fitting, then either kept or forwarded for metal & wood finishes prior to being sold/surrendered to an exporter or other retail/wholesale outlet.

.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gunbut t
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:09 pm 
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Customstox wrote:
From what I understand, the typical "guild" in turn of the century in Belgium was composed of a group of firearms craftsmen who may even occupy the same place of business and share tooling, etc to build complete arms.

The ACGG is a completely different "guild", we are an association of craftsmen whose goal is " the advancement of the art of custom gunmaking". There was never any attempt for the ACGG to be anything like the old guilds in europe.


Okay you have lost me a little. Guilds, all kinds of guilds were very popular around the turn of the century and acceptance into these various craft guilds varied wildly. I fail to see how a modern guild is much different than a guild from around the turn of the century. They are still composed of skilled craftsmen and artisans to a specific trade. It seems to me that you guys are placing some special meaning to the gun makers guilds of a hundred years ago when they are no different than any other trade / craft guild of the times. Modern guilds have taken on a slightly different form but the intent is the same. I see no difference with the ACGG.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:14 pm 
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Crisco Kid's answer is basically the same as my own thoughts.
In reality then, unless all the component parts are made in-house and finished in-house, all guns are "Guild Guns".
Why then single out the Belgian offerings :?


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:21 pm 
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[In reality then, unless all the component parts are made in-house and finished in-house, all guns are "Guild Guns".]

IMO, the reality is the reverse - "Guild Guns" are all guns that have had all their component parts made completely by different/separate entities; whereas many makers today make many/most of the firearm, only outsourcing a portion of the complete firearm (usually)

.

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Last edited by CriscoKid on Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 1:22 pm 
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I think you are muddling outsourcing of parts with guild manufacturing. Here is another discussion on the topic: http://firearmshistory.blogspot.com/201 ... ng-in.html

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2011 9:47 pm 
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FX4,
I have several s/s shotguns that were considered guild guns. Two were built in Belgium, one with Pierre Gosuins name as the maker and one made by Galand. The term guild was used rather loosely at time to describe gun and part makers that worked together to build guns. As I said, often they shared the same building as was the case with Gosuin. They were not an association as such, they just had a working relationship.

The ACGG is not even close to that. The intent when founded was to further the "art" of custom gunmaking. We have an annual exhibition that for most members can at times be a good marketing session, although in recent years the attendence has been rather poor. Our intent is not to have a group of people to jointly manufacture firearms. We have a scholarship committee and dedicate funds to fostering young men and women who desire to find a future in gunsmithing.

Our annual exhibition is the only time we get together. We have an annual meeting and nominate new officers and committe members. We have a day of seminars of one kind or another.

If you can see a similarity between that and the guilds of old, you are seeing something that I do not.

The only thing close to that is our annual raffle firearm. I was a member of the 2002 firearm team as the stockmaker and it is a custom gun that we create for fund raising. We have a team on the rifle, metalsmith, stockmaker, engraver, case maker and a chairman. There is actually little contact with each other outside of calls regarding schedules.

We do not just use our members for work although as I do know a lot of them, I often do. My go to engraver has not been in FEGA for some years and it would not have mattered if he was.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:37 am 
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I'll do a little more reading on gun guilds to learn a little more specific detail about them but so far you have not convinced me I am at all wrong. I'm a collector of arts and crafts era guild products, to include furniture, art, and pottery. I fail to see any difference between these guilds and the gun guilds of europe. And by the way the same thing goes in the other trades and crafts, the quality ranges from the merely functional all the way up to elevating the art and craftmanship of the trade.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:21 am 
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Sans Peur wrote:
The "Guild Gun" is a term which has me puzzled.


In firearms, it is often by region: Suhl in Germany, Birmingham in the UK, and Val Trompia in Italy. It is both a romantic and historical term.

There are other guilds: http://www.acgg.org/, various engravers guilds, etc. The classic use of the word means a firearm made by a group of craftsmen in specific region, as opposed to world-wide sourced parts that is commonplace today, and is associated with hand work as opposed to CNC machining, injection molding, MIM parts, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:57 am 
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I've read that it is the making of a gun by an aprentice under the watchful eye of a master craftsman.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:58 am 
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After nearly 50 years associated with the Birmingham gun trade I can honestly say that I had never heard the "Guild Gun" term until I read it on SGW.
Around the UK I think it has been accepted that although the gun components were traditionally sourced from a variety of places the man who finished it put his name on the rib.


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 1:56 pm 
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A "guild gun" is typically the name applied to any continental gun that has no makers name obviously engraved upon it.

Only accepted master gunsmiths were allowed to put their name on a completed gun for sale. Apprentices made and sold "guild" guns for practice and extra income.

That's all there is, it has little to do with who made the barrels or supplied the trigger guards.


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:47 pm 
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Sans Peur wrote:
After nearly 50 years associated with the Birmingham gun trade I can honestly say that I had never heard the "Guild Gun" term until I read it on SGW.
Around the UK I think it has been accepted that although the gun components were traditionally sourced from a variety of places the man who finished it put his name on the rib.



I am assuming that a guild gun is synonymous to a Birmingham 'Trade Gun'. {hs#


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:08 am 
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This is one of those subjects that may be hard to pin down the origin, but i'll be glad if we can. I have heard some version of a couple of different definitions for this term, And I'd love to know the real story on this.

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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:41 am 
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As explained to me by someone at the museum in Suhl, Germany, a gun made wholly or wholly assembled by one shop can carry that makers name. But he may not choose to do that and instead sell the gun through the Guild (Buhag). Guns assembled with work from several shops were usually sold as Guild guns. And guns made by journeymen gunsmiths, still under the tutelage of a master, could be sold as a Guild gun. These guns would still have to pass final inspection for fit and finish and be proofed...and some did carry the Q1 designation recognizing them as being of best quality. Buhag guns can be of VERY fine quality.


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:48 pm 
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Urban_Redneck wrote:
A "guild gun" is typically the name applied to any continental gun that has no makers name obviously engraved upon it.

Only accepted master gunsmiths were allowed to put their name on a completed gun for sale. Apprentices made and sold "guild" guns for practice and extra income.

That's all there is, it has little to do with who made the barrels or supplied the trigger guards.



I think a lot of the guns you describe are bargains. I have two belgian made sxs in classic english style and both are nice guns as far as shooting and feel and I bought them for a song. From pawn shops that just didnt know what they had.


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 Post subject: Re: Definition of a Guild Gun
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:16 am 
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My definition of "guild"guns for the last 50 plus years is a well made piece that has no known specific manufacturers name stamped on it. I agreee with everything else said here but as an example, a gun marked Purdey or Boss containing parts made by a contractor is still a Purdey or Boss. Look at the barrel selector on a Beretta, Guerini, or my Sabbati made Remington STS Comp. They are all the same. IMO they are made in a contract shop and used by all, but the guns themselves are identified by their respective makers. My 1931 Belgian Guild gun has Andrews English steel barrels and locks made by Britte. There are no other markings. So is it an Andrews or a Britte? I have no way of knowing who did the final assembly, fitting, and engraving so I refer to it as a "Guild" gun. It's quality is very obvious and IMO many guild guns far surpass most factory stamped pieces. Lee {hs#


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