The 29in barrels are chopper lump and bear London 2007 proof marks for 23⁄4in (70mm) cartridges. Forcing cones are of medium length. The internal bore dimension is 15.9in in both barrels – a little tighter than average. My preference would be to have them even more open (a wider bore reduces felt recoil). Chokes are tight at half and three-quarters.
Round bar actions have rebounding hammers and side clips. They are elegantly proportioned and particularly interesting because they are hammer ejectors (they are not, however, self-cocking).
Workmanship is excellent. My only quibble concerns the size of the hammers and their proximity to the top lever when the gun is opened. Ideally, the hammer spurs need to be a little bigger for easy cocking and the shape and position of the top lever might need slight modification for perfect ergonomics. There is no safety catch. The locks are of the rebounding type.
The guns, which weigh 6lb, moved quite quickly. I liked the 29in barrels, and a comb that was not too thick but provided facial support. Trigger pulls were crisp. I also liked the concave ribs, the traditional metal front bead and the longer than average fore-ends. Recoil was slightly above average, however, and I noted a slight vibration on firing (often a feature of bar-action hammerguns). The quality of finish really is excellent – well up to the standard that I have come to expect of Paul Roberts and his team.
The guns are stylish and well priced. If I were to order a similar pair, I would opt for 30in 28-bores weighing 63⁄4lb or so or 28in 12-bores around the 61⁄2lb mark. Obtaining good-quality, partially completed guns from the Continent and having them finished here makes sense; one can end up with a pair of best-quality guns at much reduced cost. The Italians are magicians with metal and modern machinery but no one can finish a gun like a traditional London maker.
J Roberts and Son
Price from £55,000, pair
Tel 020 7622 1131
Email J Roberts and Son.