Developed for use on long-range birds, ASI’s latest shotgun is a big beast, says Michael Yardley, but it’s a handsome one – with serious potential
Unashamedly large and intended for high-bird work, Michael Yardley believes that the Rizzini Exmoor RB has serious potential.
For another outstanding Rizzini gun at a reasonable price, read Michael Yardley’s review of the Rizzini BR550RB side-by-side.
RIZZINI EXMOOR RB 32IN 12-BORE
The test gun this month is intended for high-bird work and has been imported and developed by ASI of Snape. It’s unashamedly a big gun and weighs in at 8lb – quite a lot to heft for a day in the field but no heavier than many 32in Perazzis, Mirokus and similar that are brought into use now to bring down the rocketeers. I might say it also looks more refined, more like a game gun than many of the clay-busting machines to which some now resort for serious high-bird work.
Edward King of ASI notes: “The concept behind the project is to provide a dedicated ‘high-bird’ gun for shooters who regularly shoot long-range birds and use ‘heavy’ loads of 34g and 36g.”
The Rizzini Exmoor RB may be a big beast but it is still a handsome one. The action is coin finished and its rounded bar profusely engraved with acanthus scroll (applied, expertly, by a laser process). Aesthetically, the combination of rounded action bar and deep scroll works well. The attractive, rather sumptuous appearance of the gun belies its £3,000 price point (it looks as if it might cost considerably more).
The overall standard of presentation seems especially good; as well as the eye-catching engraving, the figure of the wood, the oiled stock finish and the laser-applied chequering all exceed expectations. Blacking is excellent. The general form and shapes of the gun impress as well (with a couple of qualifications regarding
What of the rest of the Exmoor’s specification? The trigger is single and selective with a gold-plated blade. The chokes are fixed – three-quarters and full – and the rib is both solid and tapered (8mm to 6mm). The wood on the Rizzini Exmoor RB test gun was not only well figured but well coloured and created a pleasant contrast with the action.
There were no nasty surprises when the Rizzini Exmoor RB was mounted. Balance, unexpectedly, was near the hinge pin, which is unusual in a Long Tom. Consequently, the long tubes feel willing. The gun seems surprisingly pointable and lively in spite of its weight.
My only significant criticism of the Rizzini Exmoor RB is that I thought the form of the stock a bit bulky, reminiscent of an Italian trap gun more than a traditional field gun. ASI notes the stock has been adapted from a sporter design. One might be tempted to taper the comb down a bit – the pattern of a Belgian-made Browning B25 would be my inspiration or a Purdey pigeon gun. I would also lose the palm swell and reduce the size of the grip; again, my models for perfection would be Browning or Purdey. Standard shelf measurements were good here, however. The length of pull was 15in and drop measurements were 1½in and 2in – no issues here at all.
The stock alterations suggested above would save a bit of weight. Striking up the barrels to lighten them might also be considered (though I would wait to assess the affect of stock modification first). The barrel making itself is of good quality. The joining of tubes to monobloc is competent – no visible gaps – the blacking is excellent, as noted, and internally the barrels pass full muster. The tubes are struck up well externally, too, and there is no tromboning at the muzzles as is often seen on multi-choke guns to accommodate their interchangeable chokes and maintain wall thickness (unnecessary, of course, in a fixed-choke gun).
The solid sighting rib is especially good, a near ideal pattern for an over-and-under game gun (I liked the full-length joining ribs, too). The forcing cones are not too acute and run about 30mm. The plain, small-but-not-too-small metal bead at the muzzles was just right. Barrels bear Italian proof marks for 2¾in (70mm) cartridges, both marked up at 18.5mm (.728in), which is an ideal bore diameter if felt wadded cartridges are to be used, although I would prefer wider bores if the primary application is clay-shooting with plastic wadded cartridges.
RIZZINI EXMOOR RB: TECHNICAL DATA
The action of the Exmoor is not radical although the action shapes are particularly good. There has been some development of these rounded bars in recent years to add strength (originally square-barred guns were filed down to create the form, now they are built on a dedicated action). CNC machining ensures precise, consistent engineering. There are twin cocking bars and reliable helical springs power the hammers. The single, selective trigger mechanism is recoil activated. Trunnion hinging is employed, as in most Rizzinis. There are the usual stud pins mounted in the action walls near the knuckle upon which the bifurcated lump barrels pivot. The action locks up by means of a wide Browning-style bolt engaging a slot bite underneath the bottom chamber mouth. This arrangement is well proven and employed by half-a-dozen Gardonne makers. Trigger pulls on the test gun were surprisingly good, breaking at around 3lb, the automatic safety catch and combined barrel selector (on the top tang) was a practical size and positive in action. Barrel to action jointing was good, too.
RIZZINI EXMOOR RB: SHOOTING IMPRESSIONS
Although the butt shapes could be improved, the Rizzini Exmoor RB has real potential. You could buy one, give it to an English stocker, spend £500 and have something outstanding for £3,500. Throw a bit more into the pot for custom barrel work and it could be a near ideal gun for high-bird work. Testing it on clays, few escaped. I was especially struck by the pointing characteristics and lively feel of the barrels. The balance was excellent (though my normal preference is forward balance in a long gun). The rib was first class. Felt recoil was higher than anticipated but not unpleasant. For the money, I think you would have to go a long way to find a better, more elegant gun than the Exmoor. It could be the basis for something outstanding with just a little extra effort.
RIZZINI EXMOOR RB 32IN 12-BORE
♦ Price: £3,000
♦ ASI, Alliance House, Snape, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1SW
♦ 01728 688555