By Michael Yardley of The Field
Tuesday, 09 November 2010
A new round action 20 bore over-and-under shot gun from Guerini
This month we are looking at the new Guerini Round Action gun - one of several new round-bar guns coming out of Italy. We have looked at Guerini guns previously and been impressed by their styling, performance and value.
I shoot a Guerini 20-bore Maxum gun at driven game and have been extremely pleased with its performance over three seasons. All the Guerini guns I have examined to date punch above their weight. Does this new gun meet the same standard? Let's put it under the microscope.
First impressions are good, especially when one considers the price is £3,775 including VAT (with a plainer, colour-case hardened model at £2,775). This model looks different to side-plated, Maxum, Essex and Forum guns. Although based on a similar action, it is fabricated from a new forging dedicated to round-bar guns, and achieves improved strength as well as a character of its own. The well-engraved action combines tight scroll with some bolder floral work to the rear. There are also floral panels on the fore-end iron and to the fences. It all strikes a good balance - modern Italian styling at its best.
The rear of the action is scalloped with a large, open-radiused cut. This looks good and adds to an overall impression of curvy elegance. The fore-end is of rounded pattern and not too bulky. I thought the shapes at the tip might have been improved. And the fore-end fastener button might have run to a metal cap (but that could be asking too much at the price). The butt is well conceived with an open-radiused, semi-pistol grip. This was a good design and practical for driven game where an over-radiused grip can make a gun uncomfortable to hold with the muzzles raised high at ready. I was not quite sure about the style of the rear chequering panels which might look better with traditional borders rather than compound curves - a small point.
The 30in barrels were bored at 15.8in (quite tight for a 20-bore) and fitted with multichokes and a "solid" (but hollowed) sighting rib as well as solid joining ribs. The striking-up, construction and blacking were all first class and, considering the price, exceptional. The barrels are monobloc, and the joining of the tubes to the bloc was better than I have seen on some Guerinis. The tubes were straight when examined by the traditional method (looking for the concentricity of the shadow circles in the bore when the barrels are held up to a natural light source).
General finish on the gun was exemplary and far better than on some more expensive products. Few guns even close to its price bracket look or feel as good. On the subject of handling, the gun (one of a pair) came to the shoulder well and was notably lighter than the de luxe Guerinis I have encountered previously. It weighs in at 6½lb with 30in tubes - spot-on for a fast-handling grouse or partridge gun. The 30in tubes nevertheless maintain stability and pointability and would not preclude the gun's use on a high-bird day.
There is little radical about the mechanical design (save for the new action bar). It combines stud-pin hinging of Woodward pattern with a Browning-inspired bolt mating with a bite under the bottom chamber mouth. Although necessarily higher in the action wall than a gun with Boss- or Beretta-style bolting to the rear, the gun looks very svelte. The design is strong, too, and well proven as far as its works are concerned. The single trigger is of the usual inertia type and, unusually, non-selective.
The marvel of Guerini is in making a high-quality and attractive gun at an affordable price through the use of hi-tech machinery. This extends to the engraving which has additional handwork (done in the Giovanelli Creative Arts studio - it carries the master's signature). In terms of machining tolerance, quality of finish, and aesthetics, the hi-tech revolution has transformed gunmaking at all price levels. Guerini uses it with real flair to create a highly desirable gun at a relatively modest price.
I choose guns for test either because they are new and interesting or because the Editor or I have come across something that we think is worth testing. There is an element of pre-selection; the chaff is winnowed. Having said that, I am happy to report that this was a splendid gun to shoot. A friend, Tom Hewlett, who had been shooting a pair of Guerinis with some success for a year or so, decided to treat himself to a second pair for back-up. His earlier guns are 30in 20-bore Maxums (similar to mine save for their barrels). We both noted the new guns handled a little quicker than the old but they shot naturally well with no noticeable increase in felt recoil although there was a significant reduction in weight. Handling qualities were excellent and trigger pulls good. This gun offers elegance and functional efficiency - a lot of bang and a little subtle bling for not too much buck. If we had such a category, it would be a "Best Buy".
Maker Guerini UK
Unit 18, Small Heath
Trading Estate, Armoury
Road, Small Heath
Birmingham B11 2RJ
Tel 0121 772 1119
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