With 16-bores enjoying a renaissance, Michael Yardley tries this Boxall and Edmiston 16-bore over-and-under on the range, finding it to be an excellent and desirable game gun
16-bores are enjoying a renaissance. With this in mind, Michael Yardley takes to the range with the new Boxall and Edmiston 16-bore over and under. He finds it to be an excellent and desirable game gun.
For an outstanding gun at a very reasonable price, read Michael Yardley’s review of the Rizzini BR550RB side-by-side.
BOXALL AND EDMISTON 16-BORE
The “sweet 16” is enjoying a renaissance. Several makers are now offering new guns, including this over-and-under from Boxall and Edmiston (B&E). The comeback of the 16 has been heralded before, though appears to have more substance now with more guns appearing and a growing band of enthusiasts. But the practical issue, as ever, is availability of cartridges. When found, these are typically available in three loads: 26/26.5g, 28g and 30g. Though the former two predominate, 28g is more popular than it was.
Until recently, Eley offered a 32g Alphamax (now discontinued). In the US, a 3in, 16-bore has been developed for heavier payloads. Aficionados will tell you, meanwhile, that the 28g (1oz) load is a near-ideal, “square” load. I used both the 26g and 28g loads to win the 16-bore hammer class in the British side-by-side Championship on half-a-dozen occasions. I cannot say, in truth, I ever noted a great difference. However there is a little more recoil with some brands in 28g. By preference, I would use 28g for game and 26g for clays.
BOXALL AND EDMISTON 16-BORE: FIRST IMPRESSIONS
First impressions of the Boxall and Edmiston 16-bore test gun are good. It weighs in at 6lb 12oz – light enough to be lively, heavy enough to be controllable. The aesthetics are pleasing with elegant lines and attractive decoration. Double triggers are a talking point on a modern over-and-under. In addition, they offer instant choke selection and add to the gun’s character. The round action bar and “pommel” (semi-pistol) grip suit well.
The compact, trigger-plate action is profusely engraved with deep scroll created by B&E’s clever laser technology. Barrels are 29in long, Teague choked and 2¾in chambered. Of mono-bloc construction, they are nicely struck-up with TIG welded (and thus invisible) joints. The solid, 8mm-5mm tapered rib is a lovely pattern. And an extended trigger guard and gold oval on a well-figured and proportioned stock complete an attractive, well-specified package.
BOXALL AND EDMISTON 16-BORE: A SCALED DOWN “YARDLEY MODEL”
First of all, on mounting the gun, one is immediately struck by its pleasant, near hinge-pin balance and good barrel weight. The stock shapes are attractive and provide effective purchase. The grip and fore-end are particularly good. Mechanically, the gun is, in essence, a scaled-down version of B&E’s “Yardley Model” launched in 2012 in 12-bore (and in 2014 as a 20). That came about through my discussions with Pete Boxall and James Edmiston, who had been making side-by-sides – boxlock, side-plated and side-lock – by new, high-tech methods. Boxall had led the team on the Holland & Holland Sporter and was, as a high-tech engineer with experience in the automotive industry, perfectly placed to create a new, cutting-edge over-and-under.
Approaching Boxall and Edmiston with a proposal, I provided a stack-barrel prototype and some ideas (my direct involvement in the project ceased some time ago). Boxall used CAD/CAM to put this on screen and the modifications began. He perfected a trigger and ejection mechanism, improved much else and, cleverly, added a plate over the cocking bars in the action body.
Features of the action included trunnion hinging (requiring bifurcated lump barrels) and fixed locks powered by V springs, which offer better pulls than coiled springs because no compromise of sear angles is required; faster lock times, I have always believed, are an important feature in a quality gun.
BOXALL AND EDMISTON 16-BORE: TECHNICAL DATA
This Boxall and Edmiston 16-bore has similar mechanics to the 20-bore but in a dedicated action (barrels, top-lever and safety thumb-piece all specific to the 16). Key features are trunnion hinging with stud pins at the knuckle to the usual Woodward-inspired plan, Boss-style “draws and wedges” bolting reducing stresses at the hinge point (with detachable draws in both cheeks) and traditional V springs to power the hammers. The latter are more efficient with regard to detonation (providing faster lock times) and allow for better gape with no “bounce-back”.
The action has a solid floor, providing additional strength and preventing the ingress of debris. Cocking limbs are independently housed and strikers are larger than average to reduce detonation issues. Semi-rebounding hammers allow efficient striker withdrawal and ensure smooth barrel opening and reduced wear. The surface area of extractors is larger than the norm to improve ejection, too. With regard to the barrels, the convergence angle is machined into mono-bloc to a tolerance of four microns using B&E’s CNC machinery, ensuring regulation from conception.
BOXALL AND EDMISTON 16-BORE: SHOOTING IMPRESSIONS
Most of all I liked the aesthetics and feel of this 16-bore, which is well proportioned and conceived. The specification was near-ideal for the gun; the semi-pistol stock and 29in barrels suited it well. On range, starting with skeet birds, it did not disappoint. I started with a Low 2 bird (a right-to-left crosser), moving on to High 5 (a slightly harder left-to-right) before going to the sporting layouts and towers. Therefore the B&E connected with everything. It felt crisp, precise and surprisingly pointable for a 29in gun. My only quibble was that the triggers were not ideally spaced for me. In conclusion though, this is an excellent and desirable game gun.
BOXALL & EDMISTON 16-BORE OVER AND UNDER
Base price £28,800
From B&E, 45 Atcham Business Park, Upton Magna, Shrewsbury SY4 4UG
Tel 01743 762352