Fancy an Animo Express, anybody?
No, it’s not a new, exotic coffee from Starbucks, or even a turbocharged Noah’s Ark, but a gun which should be familiar to you under another name. It’s a Lanber.
More than 30 years ago the gun was briefly imported from Spain under the aforementioned ghastly name, and for a time it was also known in the UK as the Eibargun.
Then along came Gunmark (the former name of Beretta importers GMK), who had the good sense to give it the name its makers intended.
To describe GMK’s acquisition of the importing rights for the brand as a success story is a huge understatement.
Between 1977 and 1997 they sold over 20,000 guns to British shooters, and it is still a top seller.
The reasons for this success are simple. It is, and always has been, affordable by most beginners. It is tough and reliable, well designed, and it points and shoots nicely. It is widely available through the extensive Beretta dealership network, and if things do go wrong it is easily repaired with readily available spares.
With all those guns sold in the UK there are a lot of them around on the second-hand racks, and some of them might be a bit long in the tooth. Those looking for a real ‘cheapie’ might do well to avoid pre-1982 guns, although the few failings they had should have been put right by previous owners.
The first multichoke sporter came out in 1983, and the very few Deluxe Skeet and Trap models date back to 1984/5. The sporter with woodwork designed by sporting champion Barry Simpson came out in 1987. Current models are the Field Deluxe, the Sporting Deluxe, and the Gold Deluxe. All are multichokes.
Simple, low-profile action with barrels hinged on stub pins.
Hammers, driven by coil springs on guide rods, are hinged from the bottom of the action, while sears hang from the top strap.
All guns have single, selective triggers, with the barrel selector incorporated in the safety thumb catch.
Barrels are built on the monobloc principle, and early multichoke guns had a visible flare towards the muzzle.
Woodwork has varied a bit dimensionally over the years, but late-model guns generally have 14.1/4in stocks, with drops at comb and heel of 1.1/2in and 2.3/8in respectively. Early woodwork was varnished, but it is now oil-finished.
Proven design over more than 30 years.
Availability of spares
Beware of very old guns – they may have fired countless thousands of cartridges.
WHAT TO PAY?
Recommended retail prices for new guns are £660 for the Field Deluxe, £735 for the Sporting Deluxe and £795 for the Gold Deluxe, but most dealers undercut these prices.
For second-hand guns, a very long importing history means that condition is absolutely everything. You should get a good example for around £400.