Shotguns As Art

Beretta's exquisite, engraved firearms are in demand. But will technology supplant Old World craftsmen?

There are lots of sounds you might associate with Beretta firearms: the rhythmic pop-pop of pistol fire at a police range, the boom of a hunter's single shotgun blast, the crack of steel on steel as a movie hero slams home a magazine. But in an airy second-floor studio here at the headquarters of the world's oldest firearms manufacturer, in the iron-rich alpine foothills of Gardone Val Trompia, Italy, there's another, more delicate sound: the staccato tapping of engravers adding the tiny finishing touches to the company's custom-made shotguns. And we mean custom: buyers can specify size, shape, materials and just...

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