By Douglas Tate
The history of the Basque fine-gun trade can be broadly defined by its mercurial ups and downs and its ability to copy existing designs. Kemen—meaning “strength” in the Basque language—owes much to Francisco Sarriugarte, who in 1959 started his modest atelier manufacturing copies of British side-by-sides. When his sons, Arcadio and Juan Cruz, joined him in 1988 and helped established Kemen, it was the triggerplate Perazzi that inspired them.
Recently a laser-engraved model known as the Oxford Premium was offered as a special promotion. Initially available as a limited edition of 10 through June 30, the promotion now has been extended to 10 additional units. I asked Kemen’s North American sales manager, Nagore Alvarez, why the gun is called the Oxford. “The name ‘Oxford’ comes from the engraving style: elegant and classic English type,” he said.
The Oxford Premium features a detachable trigger group, comes in 12 or 20 bore, and is intended for game shooting or sporting clays. Barrels are 30" or 32" with 3" chambers and fixed or Briley multi-chokes. The stock is “according to customer’s measurements” in either French or Turkish walnut with pistol, semi-pistol or straight grips.
Alvarez is eager to promote the brand. “We want people to know Kemen has already established a dealer network in the US that offers demo guns of our high-end Titanium Suprema.” This model differs from the Oxford Premium in that it is made of titanium rather than more affordable steel and is hand engraved. Kemen has service centers at Gordy & Sons, in Texas, and Griffin & Howe, in New Jersey, and demo guns are available through Chris Batha, in South Carolina; Pine Hill Plantation, in Georgia; and William Larkin Moore, in Arizona.
For more information and pricing, contact a dealer or visit armaskemen.com.