Empress Maria Theresia appreciated the work of Ferlach's armourers. The art of gunsmithing has been practiced in Ferlach in Carinthia for more than 500 years, and weapons from the Rosental are acclaimed all over Europe. They grace the weapon collections of noble houses and museums from St Petersburg to Cleveland. They can be recognised by their approval mark, which is impressed on the lock, stock and barrel once the master supervisor has certified their excellence. This quality control practiced since 1631 is the foundation stone of the town's enduring success.
Every hunting rifle manufactured in Ferlach is unique, tailor-made to the specifications of the client. They select the calibre, lock mechanism or barrel combinations, determine the ornamental engraving for the metal plates on the stock, and choose the solid wood. Then the client is measured for barrel length. It is fascinating to witness the combination of many highly specialised crafts, which only survive through the art of gunsmithing. Garneurs, engravers, stockers and basculeurs work hand in hand to produce individual pieces, which the master gunsmiths fit together to produce the perfect weapon. Once complete, the weapon is submitted to the "Beschussamt" (quality control office), where it is loaded with cartridges which produce greater force than usual. If the weapon withstands the test, it is certified for sale.
Eleven master gunsmiths manufacture around 200 rifles each year. The process takes considerable time, sometimes even years, if the engraving and decoration is especially intricate. The list of clients is proof enough that rifles from Ferlach are a royal hunting weapon of artistic merit. The international fame they have achieved is proven by the students who come to Ferlach Technical School from all over the world, to train in the art of gunsmithing and later open their own workshop with the "Ferlach Gunsmith" warrant proudly displayed.
A visit to a traditional gunsmith is a must for all rifle enthusiasts! Here are some useful contacts.
Ludwig Borovnik: www.ludwigborovnik.com
Fanzoj Jagdwaffen: www.fanzoj.com
Karl Hauptmann: www.hauptmann-rifles.com
Koschat Jakob: www.jagdwaffen-ferlach.at
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