The decoration of firearms is a matter of taste ? what appeals to one buyer may not attract another. Nowadays, with the aid of modern technology, decoration is the norm, ranging from the delicate to the full-blown ?medallion man? treatment. But there have always been guns made to appeal to the shooter who finds beauty simply in the lines and form of the shotgun and is not swayed by extensive decoration. The Rizzini Classic 28-bore is one such gun.
A selection of models
Actually, the Round Body Classic is one of a selection of Rizzini over-and-under game guns available in the UK in 12-, 16- and 20-bore, in addition to this small-frame 28-bore. The EL model sports fine engraving and a coin finish ? a pale steel colour rather than a shiny effect. The S2000 is similar, but with a less rounded action body. It is fitted with sideplates and there is a .410 in the range. Barrel lengths are 28in and 30in. The 32in option costs more, as does a solid, rather than a ventilated, top rib.
What you see is what you get
Of all of them, this Classic, with its cloudy blue colour case hardening and simple gold inlaid name with the legend Round Body Classic underneath the action was, to me, the most attractive. It is a case of ?what you see is what you get?. Nothing to detract from the lines of the gun and quality of finish. The 30in barrels and optional solid top rib only enhance the appearance, and while I have always felt the rounded grip ? variously called a Prince of Wales grip or, for us commoners, a bag grip ? looks a bit clumsy on a side-by-side, it suits an over-and-under such as this. Even the plain black trigger and guard look right; anything else would be at odds with the overall style.
The stock is delightful, using typical Italian honey-coloured walnut, with an abundance of fiddleback and dark veining. The shape of the wood on the gun really is pleasing, from the rounded fore-end, with its Anson-type push-button release, to the slim-comb stock of the gun, exhibiting a good amount of cast and lots of toe out.
The chequering patterns are a bit more on the exotic side. This is no surprise, as they are the same as the more expensive EL model. A factory oil finish and matched wooden butt-plate complement the rest of the stock work. My only slight grumble is the use of cruciform-headed screws to secure the butt-plate; they are the industry norm, but this little gun is such a delight that traditional slot-headed screws would have looked better.
Fast and pointable
As for handling, it really does fall into the magic wand category. Light, at less than 6lb, fast and pointable, it comes up on to target exceptionally well. With the 30in barrels, the point of balance is about an inch in front of the action knuckle.
The effect is to make it feel stable and smooth when swinging, which is quite an achievement in such a light gun. Also, even with my slightly dominant left eye, the stock cast proved sufficient so that each time I used it (both eyes open) the shot struck exactly where I was looking, and that?s pretty good for an off-the-shelf gun.
The Classic is unashamedly a multi-choke gun, with five long, flush-fitting chokes supplied as standard. Rizzini seems especially proud of this product; not only does it have the usual notch marking, but it also bears the company name, trademark, abbreviation for the degree of choke in additon to an asterisk marking that matches the number of notches. It is almost a case of ?if a thing?s worth doing, it?s worth overdoing?, except that when it is a matter relating to fi rearms it is no fault.
The chokes supplied with this dinky 28-bore were full, improved modified, modified, improved cylinder and cylinder. For those of us who still use the old system of choke designation, for improved modified and modified, read three-quarter and half-choke respectively. Together with the choke tubes is a sturdy key with threaded end for cleaning out the barrel threads when they get gummed up. Included in the lockable ABS carrying case is a spray can of gun oil, so there is no excuse for stuck chokes.
The test day was bright with a hint of frost and a keen wind, but the temptation to take the long way round to the testing field proved irresistible with the little Rizzini so light it was almost unnoticed over the arm. Though the game season was over, I was optimistic that something shootable might come my way. But in the event, only a couple of magpies showed themselves and they kept well out of range.
Still, a few clays and some time on the pattern plate made up a little for that disappointment because the Rizzini did everything so well. With my favourite 16-gramme loads any 28-bore is sweet to shoot and this Classic was no exception.
The ejection of fired cases was clean and well timed and the auto-safety operation short and positive without being at all heavy. Trigger pulls, in whichever order they were set, felt consistent and crisp, so that squeezing the trigger seemed little more than an extension of the thought process.
At first, with those comparatively light loaded cartridges, I was a little concerned about the recoil-only changeover between barrels incorporated into the now familiar modified trigger-plate lockwork. However, any doubts as to the lack of a mechanical changeover proved unfounded ? this 28-bore never missed a beat.