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Three value-for-money second-hand European shotguns

In different price brackets from £425 up to £6000 plus, Mike George makes his choice

Lincoln Premier 28-bore

Target price £425

Lincoln Premier 28-bore

When Sporting Gun first reviewed this gun in 2004, we gave it high praise because it was a bargain-priced gun built on a proper 28-bore action.

Over the years we have seen 20-bores built on 12-bore actions, and rather more 28-bores and .410s built on 20-bore actions. As the barrel centre lines have to be at the same spacing as those of the major bore, the result is that the tubes are far too widely spaced, necessitating deep side ribs and unnecessarily thick metal around the chambers. This results in ugly guns, which may be overweight. When we gave the Lincoln a second look in 2006, the retail price was £795 for the multichoke version, and £725 for the fixed choke, at least £400 cheaper than its nearest rival.

Lincoln Premier 28 boreThe Lincoln Premier range is still made, but the 28-bore is now built on a 20-bore action. If you want it built on a 28- bore/.410 action, you have to spend around £1,700 on the Jubilee Prestige model.

Lincoln over-and-under shotguns are built in Italy, on typical Italian working principles: shallow actions with the barrels hinged on stub pins, and a low-mounted full-width bolt running along the action floor. The rest of the action is pretty simple with not a lot to go wrong.

More information: Lincoln importers are John Rothery Wholesale, who sell only through the retail trade. See the 2015 range at Bisley

Arrieta Crown 16-bore gun

Target price £2,000+

Arrieta Crown 16-bore round action


Sixteen-bore guns are not as popular as they once were in the UK, although they seem to be a bit more in vogue in mainland Europe. Critics in Britain may well say they fill a non-existent gap between 12 and 20-bores, but they, nevertheless, make a pleasant, lightweight game gun ideal for walked-up days.

A 16-bore side-by-side can also be very elegant – just like the Spanish built Arrieta Crown round action. It is a sidelock with a straight-hand stock and a splinter fore-end, very much in the English tradition, and the fixed chokes are 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 – another plus because many continental gunmakers do tend to over-choke their field shooting barrels. Price is another incentive to consider with this gun. I don’t know what you think an elegant, round-action sidelock game gun ought to cost, but under £5,000 for a new gun seems like a very reasonable deal. There are many used examples on the market – admittedly mainly 12-bores and not all round actions – for around the £2,000 mark.

Arrieta Crown 16-bore Technically, the guns owe much to the classic Holland & Holland design, with locks powered by large v-springs mounted ahead of the hammers and Southgate type ejectors. Other classic touches include the disc-set firing pins, and neatly engraved lock plates finished with colour hardening.

The straight-hand stock, a necessity as the gun has double triggers, and the fore-end are well figured. The stock is 15in, and drops are 11⁄2 and 21⁄2in at comb and heel respectively.

More information: Arrieta does not have an exclusive importer, but E.J.Churchill stocks them.

Krieghoff K20

Target price £6,000+

Krieghoff K20

The city of Ulm, on the banks of the Danube in the south of Germany, has three main claims to fame: it is the birthplace of Albert Einstein, it boasts the tallest church spire in the world, and – most important of all to us – it is the home of the famous Krieghoff shotgun.

Krieghoffs are best known as competition guns. Typified by the K80, which has been in continuous production since the late 1950s. However, there are field versions, too, and a 20-bore
in the shape of the K20, which has been made for the past 15 years.

Both the K80 and the K20 are unusual in that they have a bolting system unique to shotguns currently on the market, although not unique historically. The system of a sliding hood which runs forward when the gun is closed to trap the breech ends of the barrels, was used on the late lamented Remington 3200, and its predecessor, the Model 32, which came out in 1932.

Apart from its bolting system, the mechanism is relatively conventional for a shallow-actioned boxlock with barrels hinged on stub pins. However, all the parts are very finely made and finished, and there is a big choice of engraving patterns and themes.

Krieghoff K20Trigger pulls are notably crisp, and there are so many options, including woodwork quality, that, when buying new, you can pretty well design your own gun with any refinement you can think of – if your pockets are deep enough.

The gun illustrated is a Sporter, and it weighs 73⁄4lb, which is a bit overweight for field shooting and generally considered ideal for a 12-bore Sporter, but there are lighter models. On the second-hand market you do have to watch the specification because the gun may represent the original owner’s ideal, which might not be yours.

More information: From the UK importer, Alan Rhone, tel 01978 660001, or visit Krieghoff