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IVG Gunsmith program finishes work on shotgun

Gunsmith Tech shotgun Duree Bennetts

IVG Gunsmith Tech instructor, Dave Bennetts (left), and IVCCD Chancellor, Dr. Chris Duree (right), stand with the shotgun that the gunsmith tech students have been working on this past year.

The second year students of Iowa Valley Grinnell’s Gunsmith Technology program have been working on a very special project this year. The class received a 20-guage shotgun last winter and have made various modifications to the stock and action since January.

The shotgun is a Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company (CSMC) Inverness 20-gauge, manufactured in the U.S. by Connecticut Valley Shotgun Co., a small, but high-end firearms manufacturer. Due to the unique and intricate engraving on the action, the gun has an estimated value in the mid five figures.

Shotgun Engraving

Due to its unique and intricate engraving on the action, the gun has an estimated value in the mid five figures.

“We sincerely want to thank Martin Rabeno for allowing us to perform the work on this fine firearm,” says Dave Bennetts, Gunsmith Tech instructor at Iowa Valley Grinnell. The shotgun was beautifully engraved by Martin Rabeno, from Durango, CO. Rabeno is a charter member and past president of the Firearms Engravers Guild of America. His firearm won the award for “best engraved shotgun” at the annual Firearms Engravers Guild of America Show in Las Vegas last January.

“Our students and instructor being given the responsibility of working on this particular firearm is significant in the sense that we could not have asked for a better endorsement of the gunsmithing program we have built at our Grinnell campus,” says Dr. Chris Duree, IVCCD Chancellor. “Because of our corporate partnership with Brownell’s, the background experience and expertise of Dave Bennetts, and our state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, the program is gaining national attention and an outstanding reputation. We’re very proud of Dave and his students. This is simply a strong testimonial to the quality of our program.”

Gunsmith Brownells

Pete Brownell (left), President of Brownells, looks over the shotgun with IVG instructor Dave Bennetts.

Because the original gun was left “in the white” (not hardened) ready for engraving, the action needed to be hardened properly before shooting. The class completely disassembled the shotgun down to its smallest parts. The action and various small parts were sent to Turnbull Manufacturing in New York state for color case hardening.

The stock was stripped, refinished, and then put back together.

The Gunsmith Tech class took the original stock, and made adjustments to customize it for the owner. While the action and parts were off for hardening, the stock was stripped of its finish, and a hand rubbed oil finish was applied to further enhance the wood grain. When the action was returned from being color case hardened, all the color was stripped from the parts in order for the engraving to stand out. This was done because the firearm will ultimately be a showcase piece for the engraver.

The action and parts were then checked for fitting, with minor adjustments made, reassembled, and stock installed. Lastly, a leather covered recoil pad was fit to the shotgun. The shotgun has been shipped back to the owner.

“Having known David [Bennetts] as a personal friend for many years, I had the highest regards for his abilities to assist me in the final fitting and finishing of this shotgun,” says Rabeno. “His skills and professionalism did not disappoint me…a job well done.”

For more information on the Gunsmith Tech program at Iowa Valley Grinnell, visit the website at or call 641-236-0513.

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