In the 1973 Gun Digest, John Amber wrote a piece about Darne shotguns, and his trip to St. Etienne to order a new V grade gun. In the article there is a picture of a V grade 28 gauge, and an R grade 10 gauge, featuring the same black oxide finish. It is not blued, and does not match the barrels. There is a subtle hint that this is an older photo, as the 10 gauge cartridges shown are Eley, and packaged differently than they would have been in 1973. Amber would have had the resources to create a composite photo with the Darne 10, and Eley ammunition, and the 28 with 1960s vintage American 28 gauge ammunition. This is a photo of the ten and a V 28 gauge from the article:
Paul Bruchet began his career with Darne in 1964. By the time of Amber’s trip, he was the supervisor on the V Gun line. It is almost a certainty that the two men met, either on that trip, or, a later trip that happened in 1975.
Fast forward to 1995, when I was in St. Etienne, I asked Paul Bruchet, Herve’ Bruchet, and Pierre Boutet, a longtime action fitter about ten gauge Darne guns. They looked at me like I asked about ghosts. None of them had ever seen a 10 gauge Darne. Paul doubted they were produced regularly, and suspected that a few out workers had likely produced several, under the table, so to speak, and then walked away from the idea. None of them, nearly 100 years experience at the bench at Darne, had ever seen a 10.
Over the years, I’ve come to know of the existence of perhaps half a dozen 10 gauge Darne guns. Several appear to be very old, case colored specimens, a few are the engraved, but, black oxide finished R model sliding breech versions, and a single gun in England is a magnificent V22 grade 10 gauge, finished exactly as a V22 should be, with 2 7/8ths chambers.
I have never handled or fired a Darne 10.