Everything great is simple. It is the simplicity that guarantees reliability, durability and beauty. This refers not only to the weapon, but to our environment on the whole. However, the ability to find, feel and see the simplest solution is the key to the genius of Master, creating masterpieces.
Modern hunting guns have been made so perfect, that providing duly maintenance they may serve to several generations of hunters. However, hand-made guns have advantages comparing to the mass manufactured guns. They have a better balance, accuracy of parts fitting. Hand-made guns serve longer, they are artistically complete, stylish, because in most cases the master is both a designer and a production engineer. As a rule, gun hand making is a family business of hereditary gunsmiths, passing down the secrets of their mastery from generation to generation.
Karl Hauptmann armoury company is relatively young. The founder of gunsmith dynasty of Hauptmann was Karl’s father – George Hauptmann, who set up his gun workshop in Ferlach (Austria). It happened after the First World War. Today this company does not exist, but Hauptmann family carefully keeps the samples of guns, made by George at the beginning of the ÕÕ century.
Having decided to follow his father, Karl first worked at the largest Austrian armoury Steyr, and in 1938 he returned to the native Ferlach and opened an gun-making company, named after him.
At present Karl Hauptmann company is headed by Karl and Herd Hauptmann – son and grandson of the founder. The company makes combined, rifled and smooth-bore hunting guns with calibers from.22 to .700 N.E. and from 12 to 410. Annually up to 40 pieces of guns of various types are produced. It is impossible to affirm that a certain model is the essential gun of the company. However, currently the Hauptmann company card is a triple–carbine with three horizontal barrels.
Why are three barrels placed horizontally? Because this is the greatness of the construction, as it is this location of rifled barrels that gives a number of advantages. The first one is in the fact that in any case a classic position tee base (two upper, one lower barrels) is always heavier than a horizontal one. The second advantage is in the comfort of recharge, because it is not always easy to recharge the lower barrel. And finally the third, main advantage. Provided classic joint of two rifled barrels, to ensure hitting one target from both barrels, it is recommended to make a pause of 5-7 seconds between shooting to give time to the first barrel to cool down after the shot. In other words, the pause is necessary to wait till the second barrel thermo-deformation is over. Hauptmann’s idea is that the block of three barrels is a rigid structure, thus, while shooting the middle barrel is not deformed. Gun manufacturers worldwide find the way out of this situation by «hanging out» the drilling barrels on the independent cantilever suspension. This is the technique used by «Krieghoff», «Blaser» and other famous gun-making companies, but the traditions of hand-made, expensive guns do not accept these innovations.
In Karl Hauptmann’s triple the middle barrel serves as a thermo-absorber for the outer pair of barrels. It is made faceted, which makes the block even more rigid. Besides, the barrel is made as a single unit with the breech socket, back sight, swivel base and foresight. Side barrels may be either cylindrical or faceted. Every barrel has a breech socket.
The structure of barrels block enables to enforce large caliber horizontal tees using the width of under-barrel hooks. Their width for small calibers is 10 mm, for African calibers it is enlarged up to 12 mm. Normally, the tees are made with barrels blocks of calibers 8õ57IRS and 9,3õ74R. The triple can have all three barrels of the same caliber or the right and left barrels of large (African) calibers, while the middle one is of a smaller caliber.
On the tee of small calibers a single extractor with three legs and a groove for the middle barrel head is installed. Large calibers may be made with an ejector.
Side barrels are served by two locks on footboards, the middle lock is of «Blitz» system with a short V-shape spring is mounted on the lower key-plate. Two triggers are installed on the carbine. The forward one is completed with a hair trigger and works only for the middle barrel, rear trigger works in the following sequence – first push – shot from the right barrel, second push – shot from the light barrel.
For African safari Hauptmann, as a rule, makes horizontal tees with side barrels of calibers .470NE and middle barrel with the caliber of 8õ75RS. Side barrels on this gun are faceted with side grooves for reducing the weight.
Horizontal tees are comparatively light. For instance, the weight of a triple with the caliber of 8õ57IRS is only 3,66 kg, while its barrels weigh 1,665 kg. The weight of the African tee with side barrels of .470NE and the middle one with the caliber of 8õ75RS is 5,34 kg, while the barrels weigh 2,64 kg.
Hauptmann horizontal tees are adjusted at the distance of 75 m. Herewith the acceptable spread of bullets is up to 60 mm, and the midpoint of hitting never exceeds a circle of 40 mm. Provided the tiniest non-correspondence with the parameters of adjustment, the tee barrels are mercilessly unsoldered, and then refitted and resoldered.
As any hand-made guns, Karl Hauptmann weapon has fine art engraving. This is one of the most labour intensive, expensive and important stages, determining the gun image.