Between modernity and tradition, the Fabbrica d'Armi Chapuis has been able to combine, over many decades, the expectations of customers, the technical innovations of evolution and the constant attention to finishes, the masterful touch that distinguishes its products and makes them appreciated by connoisseurs. In St. Bonnet le Château in the Loire district the Chapuis began their activity as embasculators and at the beginning of the XNUMXth centuryor they then proceed in close stages, carrying out the various manufacturing steps until they become complete builders of each component of the shotgun. It goes without saying that this gradualness allows them to fully master each phase of the various processes, aiming - and here it should be emphasized - at the high-end product. The first-person management of the work leads to the research and association of the best technique with the handcrafted finish for a satisfying and satisfying result for buyers who are connoisseurs of beauty and well-made things.
The dominant concept of the company lies in giving birth to an idea of clear validity and from here finding the systems to make it accessible to the greatest number of enthusiasts: today numerically controlled machines, the amazing 5 axes, provide a first-rate operational base with their constant precision, never separated however from the hand of the skilled worker who still today determines the gap between all mechanized and what is made with modern technology combined with the touch of human wisdom.
The Chapuis factory is located in the industrial basin of St. Étienne, an area that has always been known as the headquarters of arms manufacturing companies: continuing the development of shotguns always in step with the times and customer expectations, in terms of technological innovation and executive refinement, guarantees a reassuring vision of the future in the specific sector. To better meet expectations, the House offers three levels of finish, with relative prices, and the customer can thus choose between Classic, Artisan or Grand Luxury. The production sectors see the action shotguns with smooth barrels with side by side and over and under guns while the rifled barrels they unravel between sliding, lever, pump and semi-automatic bolt action rifles to which is added the recent novelty of the in-line movement; and also side-by-side shotguns and with two overlapping barrels: to use the terminology of the countries of origin Express e Bockdoppelbüchse. Of all of them, we have chosen to deepen our knowledge of online movement, today considered the most innovative by some customers.
The innovative element: the ROLS carbine®
For several years now, in-line action rifles have conquered large market spaces, so much so that even the Americans, ultra-traditionalists in this regard, are observing them and a famous and avant-garde company like Savage has proposed a model equipped with a similar technique. Chapuis didn't miss the opportunity and promptly put herself in the running for some time with the most aggressive European competitors by presenting her ROLS® equipped with very interesting solutions in terms of safety above all, ease of use, pleasantness of manoeuvre. The movement is defined with the acronym CLS® (Chapuis Locking System), covered by a patent, and a first interesting data concerns the contact surface between the two locking elements, the bolt head and the breech of the barrel, expressed in 260 mm² which places this system among the most guaranteed in the sector with duration and seal tests that have seen in work pressures higher than 8500 bar.
This linear closure is composed of a head equipped with seven movable segments, pivoted in their central part and with a forward/backward tilting movement, which locks in the breech of the barrel. The handlebar inserted on the right side of the mobile breech has a pivoting movement on its axis ensuring, with an internal pin, the expansion or retraction of the segments for the closing or opening of the obturation complex. It should be emphasized that the movement of the handlebar does not allow dangerous intermediate positions, preventing any release of the striker or its movement towards the primer of the cartridge when the closure is not perfectly implemented.
As for the percussion system, the ROLS® has a separate system from the chambering of the cartridge and a slide inserted in the rear part of the mobile breech compresses the spring: it is understandable how it is possible to move in perfect safety with a cartridge in the barrel by activating the device only when of the shot. In the not infrequent case of a postponement of the shot, a button protruding from the slide puts the spring back in relaxation.
Anyone who has had experience with these mechanisms will certainly appreciate that of the Chapuis where the position of the moving parts and the smoothness of maneuvering never create contrasts: the fissures in the thumb, present in the cold season, create an unpleasant nuisance with some systems which here is avoided, just as it is easy to reach the device with the scope mounted and when you are already in the shooting position. In a shotgun, maneuvers can only be useful or add pleasure in making them: a beautiful frame enhances a valuable picture.
The interchangeable barrels make the ROLS® versatile, expanding the possibilities of use on game of different sizes: the 60 cm size is adopted for .243 Win calibers. – .270 wins. – .308 Win. – .30-06 Sprg. – 7×64 – 6,5×55 SE – 9,3×62. Instead, the 63 cm are adopted for the 7 Rem. Mag. and for the .300 Win. Mag. while moving to 65 cm only for the .375 HH
Particular attention has always been paid to the magazine to make the movements fluid and without jamming of any kind: the presentation of the cartridge takes place in line with the chamber and a mechanical device imperceptibly but effectively lowers the magazine during the forward translation of the bolt assembly . As for the capacity, we note 4+1 cartridges for standard calibers and 3+1 for magnums. The position of the magazine is above the bridge, thus decreasing the total length of the weapon and its release takes place in two stages to avoid loss.
Pressing the release button first releases the trigger guard and bridge which swings back: keeping the pressure on also releases the magazine which can be replaced with another one already full or filled with other cartridges; it is then always possible to insert other charges directly into the magazine by pulling the bolt back and acting from above. Initiating these operations automatically disarms the percussion and firing system.
The junction of the barrel in the breech block is made with modern systems of welding and control of the coaxiality of the two components. From the lower portion of the block a drilled and threaded square is obtained which fits with centesimal precision into the recessed steel seat of the forend: a screw on which the special key supplied with the weapon acts ensures the draft between the barrel and stock. Four notches are obtained from the upper part of the block for the quick and safe fixing of the specific optic base: a system that has already proven itself in various installations.
Finally, there are eight available models of the ROLS® with wooden or synthetic stocks and classic pistol grips or pass-through handles, plus the embellishments given by two different degrees of engraving on the gracefully rounded shapes.
Hoping for a forthcoming field test, we like to underline how Beretta maintains in its magnificent expansion different formulas for the same system, creating alternative possibilities for an increasingly connoisseur clientele endowed with the ability to evaluate and choose. In rifles with in-line movement we note the solution presented above which in Chapuis is achieved with the expansion of pivoting blocks while in the Beretta BRX1 the translating movement produces a rotation of the bolt head with three front lugs. The French affirm, with excellent reasons and in different fields, "Vive la difference" and, again to stay within the ambit of the multi-centennial Casa di Gardone, we observe in the smoothbore semiautomatics the two solutions with gas operated system for Beretta and inertial system for Benelli.
As for the Chapuis, what can I say? To return to the language of the fine French signature: “Chapeau!” with esteem and appreciation for all his weapons work.
Chapuis Armes is marketed in Italy by FRANCHI.