Caesar Guerini Invictus IX Sporting 12-bore
With its beautiful wood, bold and brilliant engraving and crisp shooting, this gun is a guaranteed future classic, says Jonny Carter
Caesar Guerini Invictus IX Sporting
Overall Rating: 98%
Manufacturer: Caesar Guerini
Price as reviewed: £13,400
When I first saw a picture of the Caesar Guerini Invictus IX, I must admit I was worried. No gunmaker has been brave enough to make a production gun with deep relief style engraving since the Beretta Gold Pigeon II, one of the few ‘Marmite guns’ that Beretta ever produced, so this was a bold move. In my hands, however, it is a world apart from the photos. A still image does not give the depth of the engraving the justice that it deserves.
In depth – Caesar Guerini Invictus IX
This is a 12-bore over-and-under, fitted with 32in chrome-lined, multichoke barrels, that weighs in at a ‘modern’ 8lb 3oz (30in barrels are available). The barrels feature a 10mm to 8mm tapered rib, which has a front and mid bead and a small line cut the full length of the rib. As a sight picture, this little tram line really adds to the perceived accuracy you have when shooting this gun. (Read our tips on the best tweed shooting coats.)
The stock feels great with its full pistol grip and simple, sensible chequering patterns. The wood on this one is beautiful, with plenty of figure and a hand-rubbed oil finish, capped off with a black rubber recoil pad. The dimensions are intelligent, with a length of pull at 14 ¾in, drops of 1½in and 2¼in with a good dash of cast. The cherry on top of all these great features is the long trigger tang that runs down the pistol grip.
The fore-end on the Caesar Guerini Invictus IX is that full rounded style, of which I am a big fan, and is fitted with an extended Boss-style fore-end iron, of which I am an even bigger fan. Inside the fore-end iron is a great mechanism which, by the turning of a small screw, alters the effort required to open or close the barrels to the action.
The Invictus range has been out for some years now and was designed as an ultra- hard-wearing upgrade from the standard Caesar Guerini offering. This was done by adding replaceable hinge pins to the barrels and by the development of the Invictus block, both of which make rejoining the barrels to the action much easier than in other guns. The whole design, however, is engineered to have as large a bearing surface as possible, and as strong a locking system as the size of the action allows, so you will be unlikely to be wearing this gun out and needing to replace any of these easily changeable parts any time soon.
The triggers are fully adjustable back and forth but also in take-up and over-travel, which is a wonderful feature.
The more I look at the engraving, the more I love it. The sideplated action features a bold pattern which, although started by a laser, is treated to many hours of handwork to finish to a satisfactory standard. The motif is unlike any other production gun, with an array of fantastic beasts and mythical creatures connected together by a background scroll. Every time you look back at this gun, you see something new, and that is the mark of great engraving.
Need to know
- Manufacturer: Caesar Guerini
- Model: Caesar Guerini Invictus IX Sporting
- Calibre: 12-bore
- Barrel: 32in
- Chamber: 3in
- Chokes: Multichoke (eight extended)
- Rib: 10mm to 8mm tapered
- Grip: Pistol
- Weight 8lb 3oz
- Importer Anglo Italian Arms, 01564 742477
In the short time that I had this gun, I took it out to shoot three times. Not because it was hard to analyse, but because it was such a joy to use. The specs are very much my cup of tea. A weight of 8lb 3oz is heavy by game gun standards, but 6ft 7in is tall by normal human standards, so the weight isn’t that much of a bother to a larger gentleman. A lot of that weight is placed in the centre of the gun, given that there is all that extra metal in the action and fore-end. This gives the gun a planted feel on longer crossers, but where the weight isn’t sitting in the extremities, the gun accelerated just fine on some tight-in driven grouse style targets. (Read more on long crossers.)
This gun is Caesar Guerini’s new flagship model and retails at £13,400, so it does need to shoot as well as it looks, and it does. The first 30 shots resulted in zero misses — and I am a legendarily average Shot. Given this early success, I decided to stretch its (and my) legs on some bigger targets, and still it stuck in there.
It always gets silly, and eventually I had set up a 70-yard looper on full spring — not too silly, but a target that needed a serious gap. I missed the first two, but the third disappeared under the full force of a light modified choke and a Hull Sporting 100 fibre wad cartridge, as did the next six — result.
There is a very short list of guns that make me feel this way, that both look a million dollars — or just alternative enough to tickle some demented part of my psyche — and shoot like a dream. I can’t wait to get one back in my hands. I am extremely glad that it lived up to the price point in every way, and I’d happily say this model is a guaranteed future classic.
If you’re the sort of person who wants a gun with which to take on driven birds and to shoot clays with too, this could be just the thing for you. It’s a gun to last a lifetime.
The Invictus looks a million dollars and shoots like a dream