The Regals represent a significant step in the evolution of the Rizzini range, says Michael Yardley, offering good shooting qualities as well as value for money
The Regals, a new stable of over-and-under guns by Rizzini, are a significant step in the evolution of the range. Michael Yardley finds the Grand Rizzini Grand Regal 20-bore gets his vote.
For more from Rizzini, read our review of the Rizzini Exmoor RB 32in 12-bore – a big beast developed for long-range birds.
GRAND RIZZINI GRAND REGAL 20-BORE
The test gun is the top model of a new range of rounded action over-and-under guns made by Rizzini and developed and imported into the UK by ASI of Snape, which also brings in AyA guns from Spain. Our spotlight falls on the Rizzini Grand Regal. The other guns in the stable are the Regal Extra (also available for comparison in this test), the Regal Deluxe and the Regal. All are single-trigger, side-plated guns on rounded action bars (decoration and grade of wood differs).
First impressions of the Grand Regal are of a handsome shotgun with outstanding wood and full coverage, deep-scroll engraving. It is, to use the vernacular, ‘fully loaded’. There is an extended fore-end iron (complementing a Boss-style fore-end), a steel fore-end tip surrounding an Anson rod fastener, barrel wings (as seen on best over-and-unders), an extended trigger guard tang and a steel end-cap to its full but not acutely angled pistol grip. The sighting rib is solid – always the preference on a game gun. The specification also includes an inertia-operated single, selective trigger, auto safe, 3in (76mm) chambers, multi-chokes and steel shot proof.
The gun, which weighs 6lb 14oz – near my own ideal for a 30in 20-bore (and similar to a best London 28in 12-bore side-by-side). It comes to the shoulder well with a distinctly forward balance (about 1½in in front of the hinge pin). There is plenty of purchase from the round and quite full Boss fore-end, a favoured pattern with many. The pistol grip, which fills the hand well, seems a little more swollen to its bottom than the norm with good ergonomic effect. I do not think this was intentional, however, just the way this hand-finished stock came out (the other Regal we had for comparison had a slimmer grip of more even width).
Getting grip shapes right is critical. This type of Gardonne 20-bore, combining trunnion hinging and bifurcated barrel lumps to the front with Browning-type bolting to the rear, provides a near ideal starting point for stocking. The design places top and bottom straps in an almost perfect relationship. It seems to work especially well in 20-bores, too. I prefer this arrangement from a stocking point of view to guns that use Boss-style bolting or conical bolt heads mid action (though they may result in a lower action profile, the consequence of such designs is that top and bottom straps are brought closer together and the resulting grip may lack depth at its top, failing to anchor the hand).
The Regals represent a significant evolution on the Rizzinis of old. Many in the gun trade will remember when Rizzinis (E Rizzinis rather than today’s B Rizzinis) were budget guns. Now they are vastly improved both by design refinement and modern CNC manufacture. But how did the test gun come about? I asked Edward King of ASI, who has played a significant role in the development:
“Rizzini and ASI have been working hard over the years to design a range of game guns that suits the requirements and tastes of the UK market, and with the Grand Regal we now feel that we have a gun that hits a level of elegance and sophistication that will be a challenge to exceed. The Boss-style long fore-end iron and the steel fore-end tip and grip cap are all details that lift the gun out of the ‘ordinary’ category and place it fairly and squarely in the category of premium gun, but at a price point that remains competitive and not beyond reach.”
There is an unusually wide range of bore options for the new guns, too – 12-, 16-, 20-, 28-bore and .410 – with a choice of barrel lengths between 26in and 32in (34in for the competition models). There is also on offer a full made-to-measure stock option, if required.
The design of the Rizzini is familiar and well proven, but it is much refined here. The gun is built around a round bar triggerplate – the bottom strap and bottom plate being a single piece of metal separate to the main forged and CNC-machined action body. Sears hang from the top strap. Coil springs drive the strikers and the ejector work.
Historically, I believe Paul Roberts may be credited with the idea of rounding the Rizzini action. He asked Laura Bosis to file one up a decade or more ago and the result was so pretty that it became a production item on a redesigned, strengthened, action bar.
The engraving on the Grand Regal is worthy of mention. It is similar to that developed on the old Rizzini RBEM model and is laid out, cut by laser on an unhardened action and then hand finished in the studio of Cesare Giovanelli. Some industrially produced guns engrave over a hardened action but the result tends to look thinner.
The test gun shot well. I am generally a fan of 30in, 20-bore over-and-unders. This one broke clay targets efficiently and without vice using Express 21g and 25g shells. By any standard, it was impressive – well conceived, properly sorted and attractive. Its stablemate, the Regal Extra (which dispenses with an extended fore-end iron and barrel ‘wings’ and loses 7oz in the process), though less expensive and boasting fewer ‘bells and whistles’, shot even better. Its balance was not as far forward and it was more intuitive to use. The test gun took a little more conscious muscular effort to push through but was marginally better, more stable, on some difficult mid-range quartering presentations. Both guns are well conceived, well presented and soundly engineered. They offer good value for money and fine shooting qualities. Italian, machine-made gun-making has taken great strides in the past generation; 30in, 20-bore over-and-unders with solid ribs get my vote.
RIZZINI GRAND REGAL 20-BORE
♦ RRP: £9,500
♦ ASI LTD, Alliance House, Snape, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1SW.
♦ 01728 688555