Shooting sportsman around the world know that there are a lot mysteries in the world of fine firearms, even today when the web makes information so easy to find. One of these mysteries is the gunmaker, or gunmakers, Guyot.
Over the years, I’ve come across a bunch of double barrel shotguns with the name Guyot on them. They have come in a variety of grades – from field-grade boxlocks to Best-quality sidelocks. All of them appear to have been from France and they have all been very well made.
Guyot, Arqer. A Paris, 18 Rue de Ponthieu
A few year ago, the gunsmith James Flynn wrote this article about a 16 gauge Guyot shotgun a customer had sent him. It originally appeared in Shooting Sportsman magazine. Here’s an image of gun, courtesy of Mr. Flynn:
This guns looks to have been made in the 1880s. With a bar-in-wood-style action and a push-forward underlever, this is an unusual hammerless gun. These features were more popular on hammerguns, like on this Purdey from Steve Barnett Fine Guns, but almost never seen on hammerless models. The gun also has Whitworth fluid compressed steel bbls and it’s a non ejector. I suggest you read the whole article and check out the pics to learn just how interesting and well made this gun is.
Hey London, eat your heart out.
Here’s another Guyot sidelock, courtesy of Lewis Drake and Associates. This is a 12g, Best-quality game gun, marked N. Guyot, Paris. It was made in the 1930s and it’s in near new, original condition:
Description from Drake’s site:
“Guyot, Paris, best 12ga. lightweight sidelock game gun. Wt. 6 3/4 lbs. Stock dimensions: 14 1/2″x 1 5/8″x 2 3/4″x straight. Superb 28″ chopper lump steel barrels with 2 1/2″ chambers and mint bores (.726″/.726″), choked .011″/.020″, with good wall thickness (.030″/.033″), retain 100% of the original black finish. Nicely engraved action with ejectors, hidden 3rd. fastener, bushed firing pins, articulated front trigger, and automatic safety. Beautiful bar action sidelocks with intercepting safety sears are of the highest quality and, along with the action, retain 95% of the original hardening colors. Nicely figured straight grip stock with checkered butt and splinter forend retain virtually all the original finish.”
Nice, huh? Looks at how the forend iron matches up and fits into the action. I’ve seen Purdeys that aren’t as well made.
Here are more pics of this fabulous gun. As you can see, it’s a best quality – I would say on par with some of the finest guns made in the UK.
Here’s another N. Guyot, Paris, sidelock, pic courtesy of Safari Outfitters. I saw this gun at a show last winter and I thought it was a Purdey:
It sure looks like Guyot was influenced by Purdey’s engraving pattern and overall style. The toplever is also Purdey-esque and the gun has chopperlump Whitworth-steel bbls — like a Purdey. Notice that the hinge pin screws in from the right-hand side on this one. On the Guyot above, it comes in from the left. Why? I don’t know. Also, the screw that fastens the lock to the action is blued on this gun. On the other one it’s color-case hardened. Again, I have no idea why.
Beautiful boxlocks, too.
Along with sidelocks, I’ve also come across some fantastic boxlocks by N. Guyot, Paris. Some of them have looked Belgian and reminded me of Francottes (I’ve heard of Guyots bearing just Belgian proof marks). Others have had their own look. Here’s a 16g, image courtesy Cabela’s Gun Library:
As you can see, this N. Guyot boxlock is a top-quality shotgun. It features Sir Joseph Whitworth fluid-compressed steel bbls (very English), ejectors, a hinged front trigger, and it looks like it intercepting safety sears (these would keep the gun from firing if the hammers dropped without the triggers being pulled).
Those dimpled pin/screw heads are real Continental, too. I like how the action is filed up on the gun, especially the shoulders/double beads on the sides. Whoever made this gun put a lot of time and work into it. Just look at the metal-to-metal fit. Very well done.
And finally, here’s a pair of 16g Guyots, also courtesy of Steve Barnett Fine guns. These are sideplated boxlocks with exquisite, full coverage engraving. Again, these are very nice guns.
So what do we know?
Not much, really:
-A number of gun makers and gun retailers who traded under the Guyot name.
-They spanned a timeframe from the last 19th to the mid 20th century.
-They made some very nice guns.
-They may have had some guns made by Francotte or by other makers in the Belgian trade.
Here’s what I’ve found out about the gunmakers going by the name Guyot:
This listing of Guyots from a guide to Europeans who were involved in the gun trade
And that’s about it.
Do you know any more about them? Do you have one?
Contact me and we’ll talk.