If your barrels need blacking, browning or blueing, Paul Stevens is your man, and he has an exceptional gunsmithing heritage, too. Barrels at the ready...

Paul Stevens is a barrel blacker and browner, keeping your barrels in tip top condition with traditional techniques. The art of the barrel blacker is probably one of the most intricate and difficult in the gunsmithing world. The black on a barrel comes from the process of the steel rustin. And when barrels are re-blacked or re-browned then the original blacking or broening needs to be taken off first. When you understand the delicate process you will be keen to put your gun only to good use.

Perhaps you hanker after (or have) one of the 10 most expensive guns in the world? Or one of the world’s 20 best shotguns? Or perhaps you shoot a perfectly decent hand-me-down. If the barrels need attention then Paul Stevens is the chap to see.


Paul Stevens is the grandson of Norman Johnson of the famous barrel blacking and gunsmithing family. Johnsons (Barrel Browners) & Co, carries on as the long-established master of its trade but Stevens, based near Barnstaple, has also developed an outstanding reputation as a barrel finisher working for many famous names. Paul Stevens has completed some exceptional work for me recently, including both best blacking and browning jobs. He has created, after much experiment, his own formulae based on those handed down to him. “I get work from the trade and private clients. We offer a full preparation and blacking service, including the removal of dents and so on if required. We use traditional rust-black techniques, not caustic salts, which are not suitable for classic British guns with soft-soldered ribs,” says Paul Stevens.  Tel 01271 830723.

Your barrels may be black, brown or blue and Stevens will do an exceptional job with them. For general gunsmiths, riflesmiths and stockers see our list of the top 10 gunsmiths. And be reassured you gun is in good hands.