Looking for a clay-shooting gun that's a bit out of the ordinary? Then the Zoli Kronos might be the one for you.
The manufacturer’s name may not be as familiar to you as some. Antonio Zoli SpA are located in a modern factory in Italy’s most famous gun-making area, the Gardone Valley, just outside the city of Brescia. The modern day company was founded in 1945 but Zolis have been making guns here since the 14th century.
Always quality shotguns
Early on the company specialised in replicas of historic muzzle-loaders and manufacturing rifle-shotgun combos. They also double-barrelled and bolt-action rifles but quality shotguns have always been a focus.
Today the factory uses modern engineering and computer technology to produce fine guns – in conjunction with traditional craftmanship.
If you’re wondering why the name is unfamiliar it’s because these guns had a slightly erratic importing history, so were not as well known as they deserved to be. The importing issue is now solved however.
Sporter and trap gun
The Zoli Kronos shotgun comes in sporter and trap versions. You could use the sporter for skeet but it is on the heavy side for regular field shooting. It would be alright in a pigeon hide though. The trap version is suitable for trap disciplines and that’s all.
How it works
Look at it and you’ll think that this is a typical Italian-designed gun, with a compact, low-profile action and with the barrels hinged on stub pins.
Then look into the detail further.
The action itself is a strong, steel forging designed in the English Boss over-and-under tradition. Locking is with a two-pronged bolt which engages with bites in the rear end of the chambers aligned with the centre line of the bottom barrel. There is also a bottom lug below the rear of the chambers which engages with a recess in the action floor. This arrangement ensures a very secure and mechanically efficient lock-up, quite the equal to the systems provided by other top Italian manufacturers such as Beretta and Perazzi.
Ejectors are of the spring-loaded design and activated by rods running through the side-walls of the action.
A one-piece cocking lever is driven by a cam on the fore-end iron. The strikers run in sleeves to ensure a smooth forward movement, and the sleeves feature vent-holes to help get rid of any high-pressure gases that may escape should a primer become punctured at the moment of firing.
I was impressed that the designers have managed to keep the action slim when you consider that the gun has a drop-out trigger group.
A broad action can result in one of two issues: either thick wood at the head of the stock to accommodate the width, or thin and fragile wood with a normal-width stock featuring a broad action cut-out.
What about the drop-out trigger group?
It doesn’t just drop out with the simple movement of a button or catch. Removal requires the slackening of a grub screw with the T-headed Allen key supplied with the gun. Whilst this prevents the mechanism dropping out accidentally it’s not convenient either if you want to remove it quickly.
Mind you, you can remove the group easily for maintenance and cleaning and you can check it every few times you clean the gun. It also means for some shooters the replacement of a tired or broken mainspring could be a relatively simple DIY job. On most other guns such a procedure means the removal of the stock, and other work usually best left to gunsmiths.
The tumblers do not immediately rebound after firing, the firing pins being withdrawn from the fully-forward position by the locking bolt pressing the hammers back when the top lever is opened.
A recoil-driven inertia mechanism transfers the single trigger to the second barrel, and barrel selection is by a rocking switch in the safety thumbpiece, very similar in outward appearance to the mechanism used by Beretta.
The trigger is adjustable for reach, a small grub screw locking it in one of three positions.
The exterior of the action is finished in black, with all of the internal parts brightly polished.
And the barrels?
These are built on the usual monobloc principle, with the two tubes sleeved into a one-piece forging which contains the bites for the locking mechanism.
Material is chrome-moly steel. Thirty and 32-inch tubes are available on both the sporter and trap versions.
The sporter is a multichoke with five tubes provided, while trap versions have fixed chokes of full and 3/4.
The gun I tested was a sporter with ventilated top and side ribs, and a matted top rib tapering from 11mm at the breech to 10mm at the muzzle.
This was of a generally good quality, with well-figured, tightly-grained walnut treated to a semi-oil finish. The pistol grip on the sporter tested was quite deep and full, with a very slight palm swell.
Stock length on the sporter is 14.¾in, with drops of 1.½ and 2in at heel and toe respectively.
Some shooters may prefer a bit more drop at the heel but adjustments can be made. The standard sporter fore end is of a beavertail design, but not in a broad, trap-shooting style.
This comes in at around 8lb for the sporter and the trap is about 8½lb. Good weights for guns which may be used to fire over 100 cartridges in a day.
Well-made and finished