Gold Medal Concours d'Elegance of Fine Guns

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Gold Medal Concours d'Elegance of Fine Guns



Rules, Terms, & Classes

A display and judging of fine sporting shotguns and rifles, in appreciation of the design, engineering, craftsmanship and heritage of these works of art.

A "fine," or Concours-worthy, gun should be in good and safe, shootable condition, or bear a notable provenance or be in some way unusual or outstanding. It need not be a vintage gun to be eligible; contemporary pieces also are welcome. Display guns may be owned by individuals, estates, organizations or companies, but they may not be offered for sale. Display guns must be pre-registered with the Concours.

Gold Medal Concours judges are well-known authors, appraisers, makers and collectors, selected from the fine-gun community for their knowledge and expertise. Judges may display their own guns, but they will be eligible only for the Boothroyd Award, which is selected by popular ballot. A score sheet, totaling 1,000 points for condition, craftsmanship, action type, grade, "character," provenance and other qualities, is provided to help the judges in their selection process.

NOTE: Judging is by appearance, heritage and/or provenance alone. Judges do not measure barrel wall thickness and are in no way responsible for assessing a gun's state of proof, its shootability or safety. An award or honor at the Gold Medal Concours d'Elegance of Fine Guns CANNOT be interpreted as a judgment that the gun or rifle is safe to shoot. A Concours award or honor is strictly an indication of a gun's merit as an artifact of history or craftsmanship. The decisions of the Concours judges or designated award selectors are final.

The Concours Selection Committee places guns and rifles in appropriate classes according to bore/caliber and type of action, age, country of origin and other criteria. Each class is described by a code (CBH12 for Classic British Hammer 12-bore; NAS/SR means New American Sidelock Stopping Rifle--see below).Classes may be combined for judging if there are not enough entries.

At the judges' discretion, and by their consensus, and depending upon the number and quality of entries, Gold, Silver and/or Bronze awards may be made to outstanding shotguns and rifles in many categories and according to the following criteria:


Terms & Definitions
New Completed after January 1999
Classic Made between January 1900 and January '99
Vintage Made before January 1900
American USA-made guns
British England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, etc.
European Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, etc.
NB: Country of majority manufacture, not country of vendor
Stopping Rifle 5,000 ft-lbs muzzle energy or higher
Stalking Rifle Less than 5,000 ft-lbs muzzle energy
Rook Rifle Rook or .22 caliber; equivalent to Small-Bore Rifle
Ball & Shot Drillings, Vierlings, Cape guns, Paradox and other mixed-use guns may be judged on their own or within broader categories (typically as "Combination" guns) depending on the number of entries, condition and other factors, at the discretion of the judges.
Muzzle-loaders Muzzle-loading guns or rifles may participate at the invitation of the Selection Committee and will be assigned to appropriate classes.
Unusual Actions Turn-breech designs, for example, or sliding-bolt actions may be judged on their own or within broader categories, depending on number of entries, condition and other factors, at the discretion of the judges.


Special Awards
Best in Show -- awarded by consensus of the judges.

The Boothroyd Award (People's Choice) -- named in honor of the late British fine-gun authority and writer Geoffrey Boothroyd and determined by popular ballot.

Best L.C. Smith at the 9th Gold Medal Concours -- Sponsored by the L.C. Smith Collectors Association.

Best Lefever in Show -- Sponsored by the Lefever Arms Collectors Association.

The Most Outstanding Italian Gun Award -- Sponsored by William Larkin Moore & Co.

Best Sidelever Action Gun Award -- Sponsored by Gunnerman Books

The Firearm that Best Exemplifies the Style and Spirit of Gunmaking in the
Alpine Region of Europe (Switzerland, Austria, Northern Italy and Southern
Germany) -- Sponsored by the Swiss Gun Collectors Association

Companies, clubs or organizations may sponsor awards of their own creation. These vary from Concours to Concours.

Categories & Classifications
Guns of Historical Significance
At the discretion of the Selection Committee, guns and rifles of particular historical significance (i.e., owned by famous figures or having taken part in momentous events, etc.) may be invited to the Concours and may be judged Gold, Silver or Bronze winners.

Guns of Memory & Tradition
At the discretion of the Selection Committee, guns and rifles with particular personal meaning (e.g., a waterfowler with its hunting log that has been handed down for generations in one family) may be invited for display and may be judged Gold, Silver or Bronze winners.

Side-by-Side Shotgun
Nearly 100 different classes are possible in this category, accounting for combinations of American, British and European; Sidelock and Boxlock; 12-Bore, Big-Bore and Small-Bore; New, Classic and Vintage; and even Pinfire.

Sample class codes include CBS12, for Classic British Sidelock 12-Bore; NABSm, for New American Boxlock Small-Bore; and VEHBb, for Vintage European Hammer Big-Bore (rare, but possible).

Over/Under Shotgun
Since few Vintage (pre-January 1900) over/under breechloaders exist, about two dozen classes are normally possible in this category, ranging from CBS12OU (Classic British Sidelock 12-Bore) to NEBSmOU (New European Boxlock Small-Bore) by way of NAS12OU, or New American Sidelock 12-Bore. Hammer classes exist also, particularly for European (German and Austrian) guns.

Side-by-Side Rifle
Approximately 60 classes exist in this category, including for example Classic European Hammer Stalking rifles (CEH/StR), Vintage British Sidelock Stopping rifles (VBS/SR) and New American Boxlock Stalking rifles, coded NAB/StR.

Over/Under Rifle
With rare exceptions, there are only some 12 classes of over/under rifles, ranging from NEH/StROU, or New European Hammer Stalking, to (theoretically) CBS/StROU, or Classic British Sidelock Stalking Rifle.

Multi-Barrel Guns/Rifles
Unless an unusual number of entries occur, no distinction is normally made between sidelock and boxlock actions or between rifled, smoothbore or combination guns, which are coded appropriately. For example, a Classic European Multi-barrel is designated CEMB, while CEHMB would mean Classic European Hammer Multi-Barrel.

Single-Shot Rifle
Using the terms Rook and Small-Bore interchangeably, almost 30 classes of single-shot rifle are theoretically possible, such as CBRR, for Classic British Rook Rifle; VAStR, or Vintage American Stalking Rifle; and NEBbR, or New European Big-Bore Rifle.

Note: Depending on the number and condition of entries at any Concours, at the discretion of the judges, classes and categories may be combined for awards.


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