The seven-pin sidelock action is in essence a copy of the Holland, as noted. The leaf-spring locks are not quick-detachable. They are equipped with intercepting safety sears. As with most AyAs, there are disc-set strikers, which allow for easy replacement of the firing pins and their return springs, and there is also a replaceable hinge-pin. The ejector work is of the reliable Southgate (Holland) type, which works on an over-centre principle with a cam and V-spring for each extractor.
Both barrels are marked up at 15.8mm. I favour a wider bore (16mm or slightly above). A significant number of manufacturers are moving towards larger bores in 12s, but this trend does not appear to have affected the 20s yet (nor the even smaller gauges, where the effects are most noticeable). The forcing cones on the test gun are quite short. I prefer something longer that smooths out the passage of the shot and wad down the barrel.
I shot the test gun with George Juer of West London’s Gun Room. I was not that enamoured by its shooting qualities but George really liked it and shot it well, too. The same day, I was also able to use a new, square-bar AyA No 2 20-bore of very similar dimension and weight to the test gun. That was a real little corker; it was a delight to use and smashed all manner of simulated driven birds quite effortlessly.
There was a little more vibration when shooting the round-bar version. I suspect that most people will prefer its looks, however. Both guns are well presented and made with integrity. But if I were to choose one or the other in 20-bore my vote would go with the square-bodied gun – function trumps form.
Meanwhile, one must admire AyA for continuing to produce good guns at prices that don’t make one wince; they are not cheap any more, but made-to-order models can still offer value.
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