Guerini Completes Custom Shop
Guerini USA Completes Custom Shop
The long, honored tradition of matching myriad customer expectations to mass-produced guns in factory custom shops is alive and well—with a new twist.
Since assembly-line firearms began being offered, customers have clamored for the one-off combination: the variation that doesn’t make it to the catalog or local shop. In the American custom-shop tradition, Colt revolvers were famous before the Civil War for both their form of lavish embellishment and the function of their hand-fitted finishing. In its heyday Winchester could offer everything from an initial-engraved forearm oval to the wildly overdressed lever-action to an Ulrich-engraved Model 21. A hand-finished Superposed from the Browning Custom Shop offers a beautiful link to both the classic American company and European craftsmanship.
In keeping with that tradition, this past February Guerini USA completed its Custom Shop and Service Center at its Cambridge, Maryland, headquarters, where it will offer a wide array of custom options for its popular Caesar Guerini line of Italian-made over/under shotguns. The workshop—part of a 6,500-square-foot expansion that also includes a fully equipped warehouse—offers the space and tools for eight workbenches and facilities for working and finishing both wood and metal.
“We didn’t really want to engage in this until we had a system in place for it, until we were set up to do it right,” said Wes Lang, president of Guerini USA. “We get a lot of requests for oddball stuff outside of our usual services. But for us to offer consistent high quality and a timely turnaround, we needed to structure our services—decide what we could do, where and for how much—and we needed the people before we could start saying, ‘Yes,’ to custom work that we knew we could do.”
Offering examples of what fueled planning for the program, Lang cited custom stock dimensions and wood upgrades as being the most common requests. “We would do maybe a dozen custom stocks a year,” Lang said, “only under the most special circumstances. We didn’t even know what to charge. Giorgio [Guerini] was not set up to do it, and I wasn’t set up to do it.” Most of the projects ended up being outsourced to other shops in Italy. Now customizing a dimension or two will be possible in Maryland by modifying a stock that was fully headed up at the Guerini factory in Italy by standard processes.
Although not yet completed at press time, a custom-shop section of Guerini USA’s Website (www.guerini usa.com) will describe the full menu of services offered. Lang eventually hopes to offer a feature where customers can browse a selection of walnut blanks for their custom-gun projects. In addition to custom stock dimensions, the custom shop will offer light engraving and stock-oval initials, leather recoil pads, and gunfittings by John Skinner, the head of Guerini’s service department who formerly led the shotgun program at Orvis.
According to Lang, each customer will have an opportunity to discuss custom work with a Guerini USA gunsmith, who will explain the shop’s services, rates and turnaround times.
For more information, contact Guerini USA, 410-901-1131; www.gueriniusa.com. —Ed Carroll
- By: Ed Carroll