Gamba Daytona shotgun
In spite of Gamba’s history of international competition success, the marque remains relatively little known in the UK – which is a pity, because engineering standards are very high, and the guns handle and shoot well, too.
Gambas are not cheap, but they are made to be very strong and long-lasting, and can be built with extra features to the order of individual customers. This gun is a multichoke, but fixed-choke and trap versions are also available. On the American market there is a double rifle version of the Gamba, in calibres including the mighty .458 Winchester Magnum dangerous-game load. That is a measure of the gun’s strength.
Who makes it?
Renato Gamba, Societa Armi Bresciane, in Italy’s Gardone Valley gun making area outside Brescia. Like most gunmakers in the area, Gamba has a long history, and the family first came to the area in the first half of the 18th Century after being involved in ironworking elsewhere in Italy. The company also makes shotguns, rifles and revolvers.
How adaptable is it?
We do not believe anyone would spend this amount of money on a specialist tool, then expect it to be a master of all forms of shooting. Most buyers will acquire it for what it is – a sporter pure and simple. Although very well balanced, it is a bit heavy for field shooting.
How does it work?
The body of the low-profile action is precision machined from a block of hot-forged steel. The barrels hinge on stub pins, and are locked in the firing position by a Perazzi-style bolt aligned with the top of the lower barrel and locating against twin projections at the rear of the barrel monobloc. The makers say this layout places the barrels in an optimum position for straight-line recoil, reducing muzzle flip and enhancing the shooter’s recoil recovery for speedy second-shot placement. It also makes the jointing extremely well able to absorb recoil forces.
In standard form the gun comes with a black or satin silver action frame, with a minimum of engraving. More elaborate versions are available.
The drop-out trigger mechanism is released by pressing a simple button towards the rear of the action frame.
In this action, hammers are hinged at the bottom, with coil main springs retained within steel housings. With this form of construction, should a spring break it is highly likely to continue to function until it can be replaced, although it will obviously deliver slightly lighter strikes.
The hammers are contoured to give a precise 90 degree strike on the firing pin heads, thus eliminating the friction and wear which can be caused by an angled strike. After firing, the hammers rebound and the firing pins retract, to allow clearance and stop the pins dragging over the primer heads when the gun is opened. Transfer to the second barrel is by a recoil-driven inertia mechanism.
Barrel selection is by a small button located in the back of the trigger blade, rather than being built into the safety thumbpiece. An adjustable trigger is available as an optional extra. Trigger pulls are crisp, and set at about 4lb.
Quality is the keynote within the mechanism, with all parts well finished to precise dimensions and brightly polished, while the exterior of the trigger group is finished with the small circle pattern known as engine turning, which looks decorative and forms an oil-retaining surface.
- The barrel set, built on the familiar monobloc system, is of ni-cro-mo steel – that is, an alloy steel containing nickel, chromium and molybdenum. This doesn’t make it “stainless”, but it does give it great strength and a degree of corrosion resistance.
- To further aid corrosion resistance, the tubes are internally chromium plated, and deeply blacked on the outside.
- The tubes are chambered to take cartridges up to 70mm (23/4 in), and five choke tubes, together with a very good key, are supplied with the gun. These are long (70mm) tubes, with a very gradual taper which should throw very good patterns.
- The ventilated top rib tapers from 10.5mm at the breech to 8mm at the muzzle, and has an anti-glare matted finish. Side ribs are ventilated.
- Spring-loaded ejectors are fitted into the barrel monobloc, and trip when the barrels are fully open. They are retained by small discs which drop into slots.
- Barrels of 30 and 32 in are available.
- Woodwork, which fits the metal well, is generally of well-figured walnut with a varnished finish and a good match between stock and fore-end.
- A slim, Schnabel-type fore-end is fitted. Stock length at the centre is 14.7/8in, and the butt pad with its rounded heel is comfortable to mount.
- Drops at comb and heel are 1.3/8 and 2.3/8in, and the cast at heel on a right-hander is 3/16in.
- Custom woodwork is available.
The 30in version weighs 8lb 2oz, and the 32 is a little heavier.
What the tester thought
Sporting Gun tested the Daytona in December 2003. The gun scored 8 out of 10 for build quality and styling, and 7 out of 10 for handling and value for money. Mechanical quality and strength were particularly praised, as was the trigger mechanism and the gun’s balance: “A nice looking gun that’s well built and nicely balanced for the job intended for it,” was the comment.
From around £2,500, depending on specification – but that’s a special deal.
Guns by Perazzi and Kemen should be considered, along with the Beretta DT10.
There is no official importer at the moment, but the former importers, West Country Guns, still hold quite a large number on their stocks. Call them on 01984-623829.
Look at www.renatogamba.it or
Gamba Daytona shotgun