This 32in-barrelled behemoth is designated a ‘sporter’, although while putting it through its paces Mike Yardley thinks it could also suit high bird work, with slight modification
Well made, refined and comfortable to use, Mike Yardley is impressed by the Rizzini BR460.
Take a look at what Mike Yardely makes of the Guerini Forum 32in 20-bore, and which barrel length he prefers.
The Rizzini BR460 is a big beast that, superficially, looks quite like a Perazzi. And, like a Perazzi MX8, it has a shallow but substantial action and a quick, detachable triggerlock. The test gun has 32in, monobloc barrels (bored at 18.4in – quite tight), multichokes and a single selective trigger. It weighs a not insubstantial 8lb 10oz. Designated a sporter, this Rizzini might also be suitable for high bird work.
On first sight and handling, the BR460 gives an impression of solid quality. It is finished well with nicely figured, densely grained wood and fine chequering. Metal work is attractively presented, too, with good preparation and lustrous blacking. The action features little decoration, save for a bit of medium scroll work centrally on the action walls.
The Rizzini name is set in gold-filled letters and the model designation, BR460, similarly displayed on the otherwise plain belly. My preference would have been for the marque name alone in smaller letters on the action walls without the surrounding scroll (which is quite bold).
The gun has a well-laid and nicely machined 10mm parallel sight rib that is, again, most Perazzi like. There are ventilated joining ribs and a medium- sized white bead of good proportion; the combination of this and the rib give an excellent picture to the eye. The barrels are monobloc as noted and chambered for 2¾in cartridges, although other options are possible.
The stock shapes are ample – perhaps rather too ample – the Italian tradition being much influenced by the national experience of trap-shooting. The full pistol grip is large with a right-hand palm swell, the comb is similarly fullsome – wide with only slight taper forward. The fore-end, which I liked better than the butt, is of a hand-filling but comfortable round beaver-tail pattern. There are no finger grooves.
This big gun is comfortable and steady to mount. I found the grip too large and too tightly radiused for me. As I dry-mounted the gun, I was aware of the forward edge of the comb’s nose impacting the base of my thumb. This model can, however, be ordered with other stock patterns and to bespoke dimensions. Without much of a leap of imagination, I could see the BR460 substantially slimmed down with more classically shaped woodwork. All up weight could easily be reduced by this means, too.
As it is, as a demonstrator, dimensions are 15⅛in for length – quite long for a heavy gun with a single trigger. The drop measurements are 1½in at the front of the comb relative to the rib axis and 2¼in at the heel – a bit low for a shelf measurement. It caused me, even with a fuller than average stock comb, to lose the bead with normal cheek pressure. Manufacturers can’t go far wrong with a standard length of pull of 14⅞in and standard drop of 1⅜in and 2⅛in or 1½in and 2in. Many seem inclined, however, without correction, to make combs just a little too low.
One feature I particularly liked on the BR460 was the ease with which the trigger assembly could be removed. You merely push the safety forward beyond its normal off position acting against spring pressure (in the earlier model, the release mechanism worked in the opposite direction).
What of the trend for 32in ‘Long Toms’? Well, we might note that you can get the BR460 in 34in form, too (as well as 30in and 28in). My own opinion, after much experiment and trial in the field, is that both game and clay guns are getting too heavy and arguably too long in their barrels now. For most normal mortals, the right length for an over-and-under to be used for game shooting is 30in. Longer than that adds significant weight and requires more muscular effort to swing the gun effectively. Unless they are in expert and strong hands, very long barrels may lead to misses behind.
The BR460 is clearly inspired by the Perazzi MX8. It has Boss-style, mid-action bolting but usefully introduces replaceable wedges on the inside of the action walls to mate with draws on the side of the monobloc. This Rizzini’s locking to the rear is different: a bifurcated bolt engages with recesses low and to either side of the bottom chamber.
The BR460 has a skeletonised box for the triggerlock, much like a Perazzi, and there is a single, central cocking bar. A notable difference is that the hammers are powered by dual coil springs contained inside elongated, square, section boxes. In the unlikely event of a mainspring failure, coil springs continue to work, whereas V-springs fail. When you remove the trigger unit – which requires minimal effort – only a small part of the mainspring is visible. The test gun boasts a hardened action, which could prevent action face wear, a common issue on guns of this type.
I liked the Rizzini in spite of its weight. It is well made, feels refined and is comfortable to bring to the face and shoulder. While it feels a bit ponderous in its present form, the gun has serious potential. The specification did not stop me shooting 49 ex 50 on sporting clay birds (they were not especially testing). Recoil was modest with our usual 24gm and 28gm Lyalvale test loads. The 1,560 gramme barrels were lively (my experience of this type of 32in gun is that this is a good barrel weight). There is still development to be done on this solid and handsome behemoth. It is well priced compared to rivals and has the potential to be outstanding. The rather bulbous butt and oversize grip could be changed easily.
♦ RRP: £5,625
♦ ASI Ltd, Alliance House, Snape, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1SW.
♦ 01728 688555