Lanber Field 20-bore shotgun.
Tens of thousands of Lanber Field and Sporter grade models have been sold in the UK since the seventies by the Spanish manufacturer, and will no doubt continue to do so for some time.
I for one certainly hope so.
Though I have to say the price of the 12-bore guns are starting to get a little bit above the budget market now and yet are also starting to show signs of poor finishing from time-to-time – as indeed are several of the better known marques in the shotgun world.
And for the industry to say that it is a sign of the times is, in my view, a very poor excuse in deed.
This year GMK have kindly given me amongst others a 20-bore Lanber Field grade to take with me on my Have-a-Go tour across the south of England at charity shoots and shows – in order to help more youngsters and Ladies get into the sport.
Having already shot one of these guns before, due to a lady friend owning one, I was quite looking forward to its delivery to be honest.
When picking up the gun it becomes immediately noticeable that the gun is very, very light – and actually feels like a well-made toy.
Putting it on the scales I was astonished to find that it weighed a mere 5½ pounds, giving me instant concern about recoil.
With that in mind I took it home to put it through its paces on some pigeons, crows and clays.
When getting home I immediately got an assortment of 20-bore cartridges and put them in the truck along with a bit of camo gear and set off for a few hours rough shooting.
Once again when getting the gun from the back of the truck the gun felt alarmingly light but I set off for a range of steep hills where the rabbit population was rife.
Loading the gun with 28g No 6 cartridges on the way, I kept close to a big hedge hoping an odd pigeon would be spooked and fly out in front of me and sure enough, with the usual clatter of wings through the trees a massive big fat pigeon shot out and up over the hedge away from me.
As I kept my entire focus on the pigeon?s head, the gun just seemed to be on the pigeon before I knew it and I pulled the trigger on instinct.
A mass of feathers flew back over the hedge towards me and away on the wind.
As I got through the hedge to recover the bird I could see that almost half the bird was blown away, so I checked the chokes in the gun to find that they were ½ and full and the bird was shot with full choke at 20 yds.
No wonder there was not much left!
When the adrenalin had died down I started to think about the recoil of the shot but I honestly couldn?t remember any.
A little later I was walking under some low trees, when I saw a rabbit at about 40yds, just about 3yds from the hedge.
I just stood bolt upright, brought the gun up to the underside of the rabbit and pulled the trigger.
One rabbit absolutely stone dead without a twitch.
On checking the barrel selector I saw that it was shot with the ½ choke.
This time I thought about the recoil straight away – and yes it was definitely there but not in the amounts I was expecting.
This has to be down to the quality cartridge and the large rubber butt pad on the stock.
Several more rabbits were had over the next few hours along with a couple of carrion crows that happened my way on the way back to the truck.
This little Lanber was definitely at home in the field that?s for certain. And carrying the rabbits back to the truck I was glad that the gun weighed a mere 5½lbs.
The next day I was due to go to Wylye Valley Shooting Ground so took the Lanber with me to see how it fared on the skeet layout and the famous Wylye high bank.
Before going out I changed the chokes to skeet and ½ and gave the gun a little lucky polish.
Several people asked me what I had to play with today and were quite surprised to hear that Lanber make a 20-bore over-under.
Everyone said how light it was, but quite pretty and well made for the money.
On the skeet I found the gun obviously very responsive, which must be controlled early on with the help of some dry mounting and swinging for muscle memory.
I also decided to opt for some 24g and 21g plastic waded cartridges to put through it.
I must say that when this little gun connects it really connects.
The breaks are first class on the skeet layout but you have to be smooth and well-timed or it will flit straight out in front or over the top.
Moving on to the high pheasant stand and the long crosser on the bank at 60yds I was a bit worried that the lightness of the gun would make it difficult to get accurate on such birds/clays. This could be very chippy.
After the first shot where I completely forgot myself due to talking to a customer I was on the driven birds and smoking.
What an awesome feeling, so easy to mount onto the backend of the target and slide it through and out in front with a surprisingly smooth trigger-pull for a budget gun.
At this time I let a couple of ladies use the gun, both of whom had 20-bore Beretta?s.
Needless to say they loved it but said they would need a while to get used to the weight, or rather lack of it, and its consequences.
On the high bank target I was apprehensive about the weight – as you really do need a bit of weight to swing smoothly on a long crosser.
The gun turned out to be quite stable on the long crossers and made the job a lot easier than I anticipated ? making the targets really enjoyable to shoot.
Even with the skeet choke it did the job well enough – as the belly of the clay was showing each time.
If you?re looking for a starter gun for your 12-year-old son, daughter or even the little wife, this gun has to be looked at very seriously.
It?s as at home on the clay ground with 21g and 24g cartridges as it is in the field with 24g and 28g cartridges.
If, however, the gun user is of slight build I would recommend the use of 24g loads at the most.
Would I personally buy one?
For my grandson in a few years time? definitely, it?s now on my list.
Alloy action with floral scrolling, steel cocking bars in floor and twin locking lugs on the action walls.
Auto safety and barrel selector.
Over-under 28-inch. Ejector. Internally chromed. 76mm chambers, 6mm ventilated Rib.
Length of pull:
Stock = 15inches inc. rubber butt pad.
5 supplied, SK, ¼, ½, ¾, Full. Steel proof.
Wood to metal fit:
Good for the budget.
Mainly plain with some dark graining but quite pleasant.
Lanber 20-bore Field shotgun