The gun for the first persons

Perhaps no other gun brand that was so famous in Russia, as LeBeau, and its fame is mainly connected with the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II, who loved and admired this Belgian brand.

Of course, the king could choose any weapon, but stopped at the guns of company “LeBeau-Coralli”. Say, one of the most famous photographs of the Emperor holding a model of the company Grande Russe.

If you have the ability to hold weapons company “LeBeau-Corelli”, you will definitely use.

Here I am such a lucky opportunity missed, seeing in one of the Moscow shops shotgun “Prince Golitsyn”, so was able to assess the quality and characteristics of a particular model, as well as all brands of Lebo.

Established in 1865 the company Lebeau became known only in 1876, when he received the Grand Prix at the exhibition in Philadelphia to celebrate the centennial of the United States, and then honorary diploma and a gold medal at the Paris exhibition in 1878.

Nine years later, in 1897, at the industrial exhibition in St.-Petersburg the company was awarded a large silver medal.

Then the young Emperor Nicholas II, assessing the merits of the Belgian guns, ordered from LeBeau paired instances of 20-gauge with a barrel length of 75 cm (they got numbers and 31831 31832, and subsequently entered in the catalogue under the No. 98 as a model of the Grande Russe). By the way, the Imperial guns had a castle in the block.

It is interesting to note that before 1905 hunting in the Russian press mentions August LeBeau did not exist, and this despite the fact that he was already a supplier of arms to the Imperial house.

Here, for instance, writes L. P. Sabaneev in the second edition of “Hunting calendar”: “In Belgium, the best gunsmith is considered, however, is not Frankot, as suggested from us, and Bodson, the guns of which there are very many shooters of the charging of the Belgians”.

But already in 1905 in the price list gun store A. Bitkova on the Belgian gunsmith is referred to as “the newest star on the horizon of armour”.

“Among these values, as Perde, Holland-Holland – we read in the price list, he took equal place; his genius was appreciated by the emperors of Russia, Germany, Spain, and other personages of the Imperial and Royal families to hunt with guns, made workshop LeBeau.

Pillow trunks full set of hallmarks. Interestingly, the cartridge chamber in this instance have a length of 65 mm. Photo by the author.

Better glory is hardly ever achieved any artist-armourer. August LeBeau is a supplier of the above High personages, and it is the best recommendation”.

However, what is marketing, as it is now said. For a few years to make the company as famous and even when the LeBeau was already dead (died in 1896)!

By the way, hunting catalogs continued to praise his weapons until 1913: “LeBeau should be considered the first master of Liege.”

And really, say what you will, but a weapon produced by the Belgian company were of high quality and robust design. The greatest popularity it enjoyed among the Russian aristocracy, and especially for this audience, we created a model with big names: “Count Sheremetev”, “Prince Golitsyn”, “Prince Kurakin”, “Prince Kudashev”.

From a modern point of view, it was not exactly a model, more likely, modifications or versions, different engraving, carving, length of barrels, boxes settings. A similar picture we observe at the leading weapons manufacturers today: a few basic models are adapted in accordance with the wishes of the customer.

Some sources you can find information about that shortly before his death August LeBeau began to cooperate with the Ferdinand, Kurali.

No documentary evidence of this, but there are reasons to believe that after the death of LeBeau (July 23, 1896) co-operative society “Credit Union” has filed a lawsuit against the heirs of the gunsmith debt collection company in the amount of 14 766 francs 22 centimes, after which it became the owner of Ferdinand, Kurali.

It is likely he just bought the company from the heirs or creditors and continued the work of LeBeau, using not only technical developments but also his name. Since that time the company has gained the name that is to this day – “LeBeau, Coralli”. Soon, a new firm named as supplier of some of the Royal houses of Europe – Spain, Italy and of course Russia.

The beginning of the XX century coincided with the intensification of Belgian colonial policy. War and revolution gave rise to the demand for weapons of war. The company decided to try their hand in its production.

The choice fell on an army revolver Webley&Scott, and in 1902, Corelli signed a contract on supplies of the army of the Belgian Kingdom. The “LeBeau-Corelli” had the opportunity to put their guns in the showroom Webley&Scott in London.

As a result of this close cooperation has created a new firm, called the Webley-Lebeau-Courally Continental Firearms Makers. She continued to produce rifles model Grande Russe with locks in the block and the “Prince Kurakin” with locks, copy the extracted castles Westley Richards.

Interestingly, the company, as we have seen, was not opposed to joint projects. In the store, where I was able to hold the original “LeBeau-Corelli”, was put a gun, in design reminiscent of the classic model Lebeau, but without the engraving, additional decorations, and on one side on the boards was the inscription Lebeau-Courally, on the other – Verney-Carron.

The history of this gun still demands the study. What is it? A joint project? Weapons, custom made? Or weapon sold under the trade-friendly brand?

After the First world war the company “LeBeau-Coralli” waiting for a difficult fate. Changed several owners; after its purchase by Joseph Verre the company was called “LeBeau-Kurali-Verre”. Changed and range of models (listed fitting), expanded range of calibers.

Today, the company produces seven models. Sorry, don’t have an old and iconic models such as the “Prince Kurakin”. More precisely, they are now named differently modern: Baron shotgun with vertical shafts 12, 16 and 20th calibers and Prince with horizontal shafts 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410-th calibers.

This weapon is a high distinction, with locks on the side boards. Except for smooth-bore, there was a line of rifle-barreled fittings Dauphin horizontal location of the guns chambered in calibers 9,Зх74R, 8х57 IRS.

They are recommended for hunting large animals the European. Bolt carbine Marquis made chambered in any caliber from .222 Rem up to .505 Gibbs. For mountain hunting ideal, kyplot Archiduc, which is produced for the American market under cartridges from .243 Win to .300 WinMag, inclusive.

Chevalier carbine is chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum. Double-barreled fitting with horizontal trunks of the Big Five (as the name suggests, hunting for what it is designed) is available chambered in .375 H&H, .470 NE, .500 NE and others.

But back to the shotgun “Prince Golitsyn” is in our hands. This is a real piece of history of the XX century. This model, although established in the twenties of the last century, supplied the Imperial courts of Russia and Europe.

The arms are decorated with delicate traditional engraving with floral ornaments, it has a great walnut, and, interestingly, pad, and patch boards covered with well preserved coloured Kalka. And not only them.

Even triggers have this coating, but it is unusual and looks original. All items USM covered with gold, which on the one hand indicates the level of the weapon, and with another – protects parts from corrosion. In other words, the shotgun is in excellent condition. Maybe they just didn’t use so how to find gun age about a hundred years in such good condition is not easy.

The butt is straight, as befits a gun of this class has no recoil pad. At the end of the buttstock there are two inserts covering the holes that are used to get the perfect balance of weapons with a barrel length of over 70 inches. What would have been easy not with these guns, they will “nod”.

To create a “counterweight” the butt is drilled and fit fractions to the right to get the balance quantity.

Further, these holes are covered with walnut plugs. Weapons pricedata and comfortable, its weight, despite their long trunks, feels like easy. The wide rib has an anti-glare a notch, made by hand.

On the right we see the barrel inscription Aug. Lebeau Courally Liege, certifying the origin of a gun. In General, “Prince Golitsyn” leaves a very good impression.

Guns “LeBeau-Coralli” inextricably linked with the history of Russia. As we would like to meeting with our story as often as possible, and well-preserved rifles across our laps as much as possible!


“LeBeau, Coralli” complex and convoluted history, much we do not know, but the facts speak about the difficult path that led the company to success. It is believed that it has existed since 1865 and originally bore the name brothers Jules and Aug LeBeau.

23 Nov 1876 this partnership was abolished. In the same year was signed the contract for a new partnership “Brothers LeBeau and Co.” with the investor Charles Minatom. The investor is obliged to invest in the company to 100 000 francs. The purpose of the partnership was the production and trade of firearms, and all that “attached”.

June 12, 1879, at the suit of Laroche began the process of bankruptcy of the company, and in 1880 was declared bankrupt, after which the August LeBeau has established a new company “an Elegant weapon. August LeBeau”.

After the death of Augustus LeBeau, the owner of the brand was Ferdinand, Kurali. Most likely, he bought it from the heirs of the gunsmith. In 1902 Ferdinand, Corelli signed an agreement with Webley&Scott on the supply of the army revolver, and the result of close cooperation has created a new firm, called the Webley-Lebeau-Courally Continental Firearms Makers.

After that, the company was several times on the verge of bankruptcy, but each time was revived.


During the reign of Nicholas II organization of the Royal hunt was engaged in a special court service “managing the Imperial hunting of the Ministry of the Imperial court”. The duties of the service included the organization of hunting and processing of hunted animals.

The designs for the annual reports was created by a court artist-animal painter Rudolf Franz. In the document “Journal of Imperial hunting No. 9, composed of trappers Vladimir Romanovich Dizem” provides information about the results of hunting for the period 1884-1909 year. During this time, the great princes and princesses killed 638 of 830 animals and birds.At the end of the hunting season, the service had compiled a list of trophies. The staff of the hunting team included more than 70 officials: huntsman, stremyannyi, stable, foresters, etc. Additionally, as the beaters brought the soldiers, sailors, and peasants from nearby villages. With 1906 on the hunt to go in the cars.

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