The Bettinsoli Process
Wood: Special attention to the quality and beauty of stocks and forends has always been Bettinsoli’s strong point. The stocks are matched to the forend following a very strict selection of the same wood, both in the colour and in the variety of shading. The high quality of wood unites with the oil finish and can always be repaired by the end user. Chequering, depending on the models, can be laser cut or refinished in fine lines by hand. A wide range of forends and stocks with various pistol shapes allow the customer his own personal choice.
The main components of each gun (the actions, both in steel and light alloy, the forend irons, the monoblocks, the triggers guards and extractors) are all made from solid forgings, meaning that the material fibers are not cut in any way by tools, therefore the resistance of the material remains intact for the absorption of the shot explosions.
All components are machined on the latest state-of-the-art CNC machines and a well equipped metrological room allows measurement and tolerance control.
The monoblocks are made in special steel (42NiCrMo4) and are appropriately monitored during the entire production process through ultrasonic and surface verifications for internal imperfections.
The production cycle of barrels starts from steel bars that have been made according to the standards set out by the specifications given by the University of Mechanical Engineering in Brescia.
This standard is the result of a series of analysis and tests carried out on samples of steel bars with different thicknesses in such to correspond to gun barrels of different calibers. This is done with the intention to evaluate and determine the safety limits in comparison to distortion and, therefore, to determine the specifications for the production of the appropriate steel. With every supply of steel, a sample is taken out, listed and then stored for a period of 6 months for an eventual follow-up.
The original length of the bars is 5 meters. The bar has to be cut and drilled to the indicated measurement and, by means of a reamer, given the internal diameter.
At this point the exterior is still rough, therefore the next job is to machine turn to allow the next stage which is to cold hammer the internal chokes. After hammering, the barrels have to undergo a second stage of processing to achieve the external profiles with relative coupling up of the monoblock. Verification checks are carried out on the dimensions and the straightness of the tubes. The strength of the production cycle is the achievement of the outside profile of the tubes through the use of particular CNC machines that allow every type of profile.
Next is the pickling treatment which is completely computerized and in a closed circuit thus respecting the environmental regulations and, at the moment, unique in its kind.
With the pickling treatment, we proceed to eliminate all excess alloy through electrolysis.
This “avant-garde” process perfectly cleans the barrels without weakening the structure in any way.
After the pickling treatment has been carried out, the barrels are inspected to make sure the welding has been executed in every part. Then, to the final stage of internal lapping of the barrels.
The following finishing stages of the barrel include the cartridge chamber (also reamed and lapped), internal barrel chroming and, following, the mirror polishing. Then we come to the stage of the rib chequering, straightening, external polishing of the barrels and, finally, blueing.
Once the production cycle is terminated, the borders are engraved.
Finally, the markings requested by the National Proof House and, also those requested by the customer, are laser engraved on the barrel.
Next, a first-dimensional check is carried out on the piece and the exterior of the tube is lapped.
We are now at the stage where the components have to be manually bound together. The people involved in this procedure have a learned experience and, assisted by special toolings, proceed to assemble the various accessories that have to complete the barrel: top and side ribs, lugs and belt rings, ready to be assembled in a predetermined position that will allow the welding.
Welding, in fact, is an important step because it unites forever all the elements to get a complete pair of barrels.
Welding is carried out in controlled atmosphere ovens (with the use of a brazing alloy with a silver base) at a low melting point so the features of the material are not modified.
Strict verification tests are carried out on the temperatures, monitoring the various stages of welding to get the best results.
Drilling these barrels benefits from a context of progressive cone construction where the first section is super bored at 18,7mm for a section of 20 cm determining a minor acceleration of outgoing shot and, consequently, a smooth expansion of pressure with consequent recoil reduction. The second is a progressive section where the bore of the barrel goes from 18,7mm to 18,4mm significantly favoring the increase of velocity.
The last section is comprised of a choke in case the barrel has fixed chokes or the housing for interchangeable chokes.
The reduced angle of the taper, therefore, prevents the radial thrust of steel shot thus preventing any possible damage to the barrel, especially in those with a fixed choke that are able to maintain also full choke.
The Dual Cone barrels, therefore, have a remarkable advantage of compactness of the pattern cone, more range and, not to be considered as less important, a considerable reduction of recoil.
Stock and Forend Production
Formerly in the hunter’s arm, the wooden part of the gun was simply necessary just to hold the gun and, quite often, it was made from “poor” wood such as beech, fir…
National, Circassian, Californian (called French), Turkish, Persian are some of many names describing the same wood, differential above all for geographical reasons but, all come from the tree that produces the well known edible fruit formed from a husk shell and kernal.
The origin of a stock starts, therefore, from pulling down the tree. This is a slow and tedious job because the tree is literally eradicated from the ground with its roots and then sectioned in to planks.
The person in charge of tracing the stocks, draws the various shapes directly on to the planks, paying attention to the grain, the knots and the natural flaws.
After sawing the outline of the traced shapes, the first shape of the stock is achieved: it is called a wood blank.
The next treatment of vaporization helps to melt the tannins that homogenize the color but, above all, to preserve it in time against mildew and xylophagous insects.
Air seasoning has always been considered essential to reduce humidity and give stability to the wood, but new technologies shorten the seasoning time and speed up the drying process, ensuring the necessary structural stability.
In the last ten years the introduction, even in wood divisions, of CNC machines, has brought a certain precision in the wood workings to levels that permit an almost perfect interchangeability with the metal.
In the sanding process, robots of new generation have been introduced, however they have not been able to eliminate the irreplaceable manual intervention of specialized workers.
With time, the functionality of the wood against the whole gun started slowly increasing in both functional importance and aesthetics.
Meanwhile, universally, walnut has been defined the essence for a specific better weight, robustness and recoil absorption.
It is in this particular processing step that the stock stops being only just a support and becomes an essential part for the functionality of the gun.
Important details are the length, the grip measurements, the bend measurement taken at the “nose” of the butt pad, the cast, the pitch and, more than often, the weight…..
To complete the function of the stock, a butt pad is needed and this could be in nylon, rubber and wood.
Functional to use but adding a great aesthetic value is the chequering, at one time only done by hand and, recently also done mechanically or on special laser machines.
The varnish and oil finishes are important but, what really counts for aesthetic effects and for the market value, are the veins in the wood.
The cost depends on the category of the wood, from standard to exhibition, therefore the choice is primarily economic but, as the value increases, it becomes something quite subjective.
Nature, in particularly the walnut tree, gives us such wonderful patterns, inexplainable and unrepeatable, because these patterns show us the spirit of the earth, the warmth of the sun, the cold of the ice, the force of the winds and the composition of waters…