Arrieta No.2 shotgun: I’ve tested Arrietas before, but the model which caught my eye this time was the basic – but smart – No.2, of which it was also No.2 of a pair.
The No.2 model is clearly aiming at the same territory as the AyA of the same designation, and costs £3,100 including VAT for a single gun, and £6,850 for the pair, since twinned guns require a little more work.
The test gun has a near-classic specification, with a straight hand stock, splinter fore-end, double triggers and 30″ barrels equipped with a very neat, narrow and slightly tapered flat-topped rib, which the Shooting Company call the ‘flat file rib’.
Decoratively speaking the No.2 is attractive but restrained, with colour case hardening over scroll on the round bar action.
Technically, the main features are Holland & Holland pattern sidelocks with intercepting safety sears, Southgate ejectors and chopper lump barrels. There are disc-set strikers, white metal cocking indicators and a Purdey style button on the traditional top tang safety too.
Nothing revolutionary on the mechanical front, on the contrary it has all the best proven, most robust systems put together in one package, not unlike an AyA or, indeed, a Holland & Holland.
The round-bar does mark it out from the crowd though, AyA having introduced a similar model not so long ago.
First impressions are certainly positive. The form of the gun is excellent. It feels very good when it comes to face and shoulder, with sensible stock shapes and dimensions.
The quality of finish is good too; the blacking is competent, and the hand-cut chequering and oil finish on the wood are well applied in a traditional manner.
The only thing I am not quite sure about is the fairly open-pattern scroll engraving. It’s not bad, but it did not set my heart racing either (just as well these days). If such things are of great importance to you, there is always the Arrieta No.1 which is hand engraved.
What does really impress me about this gun, practically speaking, though, is the way it has been set up. Here there is
clear indication of development. There is a little right-hand cast on the stock and the nose of the comb is also very slightly offset right as is appropriate to this, but not always seen on mid market guns.
The stock, perhaps showing the West London influence, has a length of pull of 15.1/16″. There is a little extra to the bump of the heel and a classic 3/8″ extra to toe.
Save for perhaps adding a 1/16″ more at the bump (to bring it to 1/8″ extra relative to the length of pull) it is exactly how I would have set it up as a standard gun for the modern Mr Average, who tends to be a little taller than his predecessors.
Let’s move on to the barrels. These are chopper lump as noted, and chambered and proofed for 70mm shells. They are equipped with a most interesting, but subtle, rib which might be described as something of a combination of the good features of concave, Churchill and pigeon types.
The barrels are generally well presented. They are chrome lined, and equipped with fixed chokes of quarter and half. Forcing cones are slightly elongated, and the bores are more open than the average at 18.6 (.732) right and left. This again meets with my approval, as I find slightly more open-bored guns shoot smoother with less perceived recoil.
The barrel weight is good too – a very important consideration in a game gun – with enough mass to be steady, but not so much mass forward to impede a fast style of shooting with a fluent swing.
The Arietta was a really good gun to shoot – pointable, precise and with lower than average felt recoil. The gun has a traditional breech pin rather than a stock-bolt. I suspect this may be a factor in its refined shooting qualities; stock bolts can sometimes lead to vibration in side-by-sides with thinner grips.
The performance of the gun certainly belied its price. A little over £3,000 does not sound excessive for a bench-made gun these days. With both No.2 and No.1 models there is a £295 surcharge for small bores. A single trigger is also available for £500 extra.
Delivery time for special orders (and all guns can be made to measure) is “within six months.”
You would have to look hard to find a more practical gun than this. In Jonathan Irby’s words: “One of the best set up Spanish guns on the market – it’s a really good game shooting gun, at a highly competitive price.”