This boldly decorated 20-bore prompted much comment during testing. Michael Yardley commends its makers for producing a stylishly ornate modern game gun
Following intense first impressions, Michael Yardley commends the Guerini Revenant as a bold, innovative piece of gun-making.
For more from Guerini, Michael Yardley is impressed by the Guerini Invictus High Pheasant.
First impressions of the Guerini Revenant are intense. It is a boldly decorated, 32in 20-bore with a rounded-action bar with gold inlaid and profusely engraved sideplates. The gun is 3in chambered, fleur-de-lys proof steel shot friendly and multichoked (five Guerini ‘Selectachokes’ come with it). It has a single-selective, recoil-activated trigger and a narrow, tapered, solid sighting rib. The fore-end iron and trigger guard are extended. The Revenant – which is only available as a 20-bore at the moment – also boasts a Boss-style rounded fore-end with Anson release button and an open radius pistol grip. It weighs in at 7lb.
This is an extra-finish gun evidently designed to be noticed. For traditionalists, the decoration might be too much. It is, however, extremely well done (by laser primarily with hand finishing) and reminiscent of some of the contemporary masterpieces made by Austrian über-gunmaker Peter Hofer. I suspect this is where the inspiration came from. Dark grey and gold is one of Hofer’s main house styles. I have seen his magnificent guns at exhibitions, their price always in six figures. The Guerini featured here, expensive by the firm’s standards, comes in at a significant £9,775. More pedestrian side-plated Guerinis (and Guerini has made something of a specialty of the configuration) begin at £2,850 (the Magnus model).
Guerini, based in Marcheno, has made its name with well-priced but attractive guns taking full advantage of the CNC and laser manufacturing revolution. The company began as a gunmaker around the turn of the millennium. Georgio and Antonio Guerini are nephews of Battista Rizzini, for whom they used to work. Their guns, though very much their own stylistically, do show familial heritage with other guns of Gardonne (most notably Fabarm, which they now own). Guerini has innovated. Not just in its design flair and methods of manufacture but also in a competitive pricing policy and, mechanically, in the recent Invictus model. It has been in existence for only 20 years but has taken sales from the big names in a tough market place. With the acquisition of Fabarm, it is now the second largest shotgun manufacturer in Italy. Its guns are imported into the UK by Anglo Italian Arms, the creation of businessman Mike Mansfield and Olympian Kevin Gill (established in 2005).
Before moving on to other aesthetic and technical details, the name of the Revenant is worth a moment’s speculation. It means ‘back from the dead’. Unless something has been lost in translation, it seems an odd choice, all the more so as I do not remember a similar model ever being made by the firm. Perhaps, like the engraving, it is another means of increasing the dramatic effect of the new gun. Guerini likes exciting names (other current models include the Impact and Invictus).
The form of the new gun is elegant and slim. It is a true game gun. It feels comfortable when mounted with a good comb profile. It is a little heavy forward (a quality some prefer in a 32). The proportions are pleasing, however. Not just the action form but the woodwork, too. The rounded, Boss-style fore-end could not be much improved and the open radius, near Prince of Wales style grip was excellent as well. The Guerini and Browning action design allows for the grip to be made a little deeper at its neck, improving purchase. The gun has a grip that is not too big aesthetically but that may still be held firmly and thus with confidence. It fills the hand well and does not cause the wrist to cock when holding muzzles high in the ready (I am also a fan of the fuller Guerini pistol grip and its semi-pistol: the company clearly has a designer with a profound grasp of stock design). Shelf dimensions of the test gun are sensible: just under 15in for length (with a straight cut wooden butt-plate); 1⅜in and 2¼in for drop (perhaps a whisker low).
This Revenant is made on the older-style Guerini action that combines Browning-style bolting to the rear with bifurcated lumps in the monobloc and stud pin hinging to the front, à la Beretta, Perazzi or Woodward. There is a Fabarm-style central cocking rod. Hammers are driven by coil springs. Fabarm-like ejector work is carried in the monobloc. There is other modern Brescian influence evident, all well proven. In this extra-finish Guerini there is an extension of the fore-end iron and an effort has been made to skeletonise this internally to compensate for any extra weight. This is nicely executed. Impressive technical virtuosity is also displayed in the production of the rounded action bar and tightly fitted sideplates and woodwork. Metal-to-metal and wood-to-metal fit are impeccable, standing as an impressive example of 21st-century, computer-aided, gun making.
I shoot 32in Guerini 20-bores routinely so must, therefore, declare a certain bias. My guns are, however, a little heavier than the Revenant (they average 7lb 3oz to the test Revenant’s 7lb). The test was made more interesting because Mike Mansfield of Guerini UK brought with him a 30in Revenant (plus an Invictus V 32in 12-bore high bird gun with fixed chokes, which we will be reviewing shortly). The balance of the 32in test gun was a little forward, as noted. I thought its overall weight near ideal for this type of gun (though I might be tempted to add an ounce of lead in the butt). Pointability was enhanced by the excellent 7mm-5mm solid rib and good stock shapes. The Revenant was pleasing and precise to shoot (I preferred it, by a small margin, to its 30in, 6lb 4oz, stablemate, which was not quite as steady). Trigger pulls were crisp. Felt recoil was comfortable. General handling was excellent. The Revenant’s elegant bling prompted much comment, too. This is a bold, innovative piece of gun-making. Guerini should be congratulated.
♦ RRP: £9,775
♦ Anglo Italian Arms, Unit 10 Birchy Cross Business Centre, Broad Lane, Tamworth, Warwickshire B94 5DN.
♦ 01564 742477