This percussion barrel was produced by the Manufacture de Versailles under the direction of Nicolas-Noel Boutet. Boutet has often been called the "Michelangelo of gunsmiths". He manufactured beautifully decorated firearms with elegant lines and mechanical sophistication that exceed most of his counterparts of the late 18th century-early 19th century. As the leading French gunsmith of his day, Boutet was Napoleon Bonaparte's personal gunsmith and produced exquisite firearms for the Emperor, generals and marshalls as well as the standard arms issued to the troops. This gold inlaid smooth bore percussion barrel measures 9 3/8 inches long and gauges at 52 percussion. The barrel features a blade front sight and a grooved rear sight. A pair of gold inlaid bands at the breech flank two gold inlaid Boutet proofs which appear on the upper left and right flats. The number "86" is gold inlaid on the top flat near the front sight and another gold inlaid band is at the muzzle. The upper left flat has "BOUTET" in gold followed by gold inlaid accents and the upper right flat has "A VERSAILLES" in gold followed by gold inlaid accents. The underside of the barrel at the breech is stamped "No 86".
Good. The barrel has a mixed brown-gray patina showing some scattered minor pitting overall and some minor tool like marks at the breech. The gold inlay is fine. What a project for an inspired Gunsmith Guild member to prove their skills by completing this barrel.
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