Rizzini RB EL 20-Bore shotgun review.
This month?s test gun is a round-bodied, 30in-barrelled, Rizzini RB EL 20-bore, over-under.
It is Italian-made (in Brescia) and imported by ASI of Snape which is well known for bringing AyA Spanish guns into this country.
B Rizzini is a new line for ASI, but both firms have an established reputation.
There are, it might be noted, a number of Rizzini gunmakers in Northern Italy. B (for Battista) is the biggest and best known.
Combining huge investment in hi-tech machinery with traditional handwork, it has been a major part of the Italian gunmaking renaissance.
So, do we have a new Italian ?logical alternative?? Let?s put the Rizzini under the magnifying glass.
First impressions are generally good, the round-bar action is elegantly shaped, the profuse scroll engraving is tasteful and the colour-case hardening looks good.
The stock design is evolved; the semi-pistol grip shape is stylish and ergonomically efficient.
I also liked the tapered comb, the absence of a butt plate and the rounded, Boss-style, fore-end with Anson button at the front.
The shape of the trigger, which is blacked, not gold-plated (hurrah), is pleasing to the eye and functionally efficient – the blade is well curved and neither too broad nor thin.
The safety, positioned conventionally on the top strap, is combined with a barrel selector, which is not too large or small either. This gun is well proportioned in all departments.
The RB EL also has a solid top rib, which is usually a plus on a game-gun, and the engine turning to the sides of the barrel monobloc is the sort of touch one expects on a de luxe model.
I might make a similar comment concerning the extended trigger guard tang, which runs up the inside on the grip and has fixing screws with a little engraving around them.
My only aesthetic criticism in what is otherwise a very well-conceived gun, concerns the engraving to fore-end iron and trigger guard which was competent but a bit sparse.
Being picky, I also noted the wood-to-metal fit was not quite perfect between the action body and the bottom of the stock?s head on one side.
This may be particular to this gun and might easily be remedied. The wood itself was spectacularly figured and it was well finished with traditional oil and neat chequering with well-shaped diamonds and nicely cut borders.
The overall visual impression of the RB EL is significantly above the average (mind you, it should be as one is paying well over £5,000).
It is not flashy but is refined and will conform, I suspect, to the taste of many British sportsmen. I am always surprised that more foreign gun makers do not adopt this subdued but stylish decoration.
Mounting the gun dispels few of the positives. It is a little muzzle heavy but feels both controllable and pointable. The purchase provided by grip and fore-end is excellent and the stock is a good length (15in length of pull).
My only negative observation is that I thought it a little low in the comb – the drop at heel is 2¼in but it feels lower because of the well-tapered comb.
We are familiar with this action type at The Field (I adopt the royal ?we? because both the Editor and I have a special interest in Italian guns and their development).
This gun is built around what might be described as the new Gardone Anson and Deeley.
It combines stud-pin hinging and Browning-style bolting. From an aesthetic perspective, there is little doubt that the round bar improves the look of what was a fairly pedestrian sort of gun.
How this came about may be of interest. Paul Roberts, the London gun maker who has been bringing Rizzini guns into the UK for some years, worked with Battista Rizzini on improving the look of his guns.
This led to many small changes but, most significantly, Paul asked Battista if he could take a Rizzini action to Laura Bosis for refilling.
Laura has a wonderful eye and produces bench-made guns under the family name.
One product of this was a new round shape for the old square-bar Gardone action. We are all richer for it and Battista Rizzini adopted the pattern for more general manufacture.
The RB EL shot naturally and did not demand much effort to swing. Its 6lb 11oz weight seemed about right – I do not like 20-bores that are too light.
It controlled recoil well and shot to where one was looking. It qualified as a ?forgiving gun? – you could make a slight error in mount or target assessment and still break the bird.
The first trigger pull was good, there was a little creep in the second. I also noticed a slight harmonic on closing the gun (but not on firing).
Ejection was positive (not a given in a 20-bore over-under). I am judging it by a stringent standard.
It is not cheap but is elegant, well-designed and well finished.
ASI offers a less expensive Classic model as well as a dedicated action 28-bore in standard and de luxe grades. Why long barreled 20-bores work so well is a subject I am still researching.
Classic model £3,318
28-bore standard £3,772
28-bore de luxe £5,931
UK SALES: 01728 688555