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Tribute to an old friend....


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While putting a scope on my new Anschutz rifle yesterday, I thought how nice it would be to have engraving on this rifle.. My thoughts then turned to a man I knew decades ago who was probably the most accomplished engraver I ever knew.

His name was Franz Marktl.

The name probably means nothing to most of you unless you were living in Northern Va. in 1970. I fortunately did live there at that time.

As a young man living in Arlington, Va in the early 70's, I spent most of my time and income (unfortunately) at Davis gun Shop, in Falls Church, Va. I loved guns and everything gun related. Guns and good gun people were my life, as it is to this day!

Davis Gun Shop is where the life journey for Franz and s few of us began.

I digress.

Fred Davis was an affable, quiet man. He had one of the finest German luger collections in the country. His gunsmithing skills were legendary. He rebuilt a custom 22./250 with an L579 Sako action, Hart stainless bull barrel, Reinhart Fagen stock and Canjar single set trigger. I had this originally made by another so called gunsmith in my area, who will remain un-named.

Fred turned his amateurish work into near perfection.

Many a groundhog fell in Purcellville, Va to that weapon.

In 1970 Fred took in a young Austrian immigrant named Franz Marktl on a B1 visa and apprenticed him at his shop. Franz was already an accomplished engraver starting as an apprentice at the age of 14 in Austria, but he was new to the US and the engraving/gun world here in the US.

How that would change.

Franz's work was absolute perfection, engraving in the old Teutonic style.

It didn't take long for people to notice.

People waited years to get on his work list at Davis gun shop.

Gun owners from all over the US and the world now commissioned Franz's work.

Over the years kings, queens and heads of state commissioned Franz to do engraving work for him.

His skills had become legendary.

I lost contact with Franz, as life happens with most of us. Wives, children, employment etc.

Time to time would think of those years back in the early 70's at Davis Gun shop and Franz.

Last I heard he had moved back to Austria, then to Arizona.

I had this overwhelming feeling to check up on my old friend the other night.

Much to my dismay, I discovered Franz had passed away last year.

I did not hear how. 

Very sad non the less.

The world has lost one of the last true old world craftsman.

God speed my friend.



Edited by R.L.
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The animals he engraved looked like they were alive. I consider it an honor to have known the man. Seems like a lifetime ago. I was a kid, he was a young man.

Tempus fugit....like it or not.




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