Caesar Guerini's latest over-and-under competition gun aims to reduce wear on the jointing using ground-breaking design
Caesar Guerini is, in some ways, the new kid on the block as far as the shotgun mass market goes. However, it has made quite an impact and created a significant presence in a relatively short time.
It is the newest gunmaking company in the Gardone valley, situated above Brescia in northern Italy. It was founded in 2000 by Georgio Guerini, who had worked previously for Fabarm and was joined in this new venture by his brother, Antonio.
Mechanically, the Caesar Guerini guns share much with the Fabarm over-and-under design, though outwardly they look completely different. Guerini and Fabarm have always had this close connection and in 2011 they merged, though they are still marketed as separate companies.
Caesar Guerini has invested in state of the art design and manufacturing technology and this is evident in the guns it is now producing. the latest model, recently unveiled at the shot show in Las vegas, is the Invictus, a competition gun with inherent weight to make it as smooth shooting and handling as possible. It has a stylishly sculptured action. At its widest point it is around 45mm, which has a direct influence on its weight of 8lb 31⁄2oz.
There has been a great deal of development go into the Caesar Guerini Invictus — it’s much more than simply a wider, heavier version of existing models. Caesar Guerini has tried to address an age-old problem that all break action shotguns will suffer from at some point if you use them enough: wear in the jointing of the gun, leading to looseness.
A shotgun is built to contain an explosion. Every time a gun is fired the force of the cartridge tries to push the barrels forwards and the action backwards, thereby stretching the gun apart. Over a number of years and use the gun will become loose. By various means it can be tightened and re-jointed to make it tight again. some guns will remain tighter for longer than others.
There are several factors: the design and quality of the gun is probably the most important. But keeping a gun clean and greased or oiled on its jointing will help enormously. cartridges also play a part: the more powerful the cartridge; the more force is put through the gun, making it looser quicker.
Most over-and-unders hinge around a cross-pin in the front of the action frame with a hook under the barrels or short stub pins or trunnions set into the sidewalls of the action frame and connecting into hooks on the sides of the breechblock. Overall, the trunnion design is probably the most common design used in modern over-and-under guns.
Effectively, caesar Guerini has reversed this idea. It has put the hook inside the action frame where it hinges and mounted the pin or trunnion on either side of the breechblock. In principle this isn’t a new idea, but Caesar Guerini has taken it to a different level and made the trunnions flow back into the breechblock, making them very strong. They are also removable and there are several oversizes so that the gun may be re-jointed any number of times.
Though the hinge of the Caesar Guerini Invictus helps to keep the gun tight, it can’t do it on its own. And all shotguns will have a “draw” of some kind to back up and re-enforce the hinge. In a high-quality gun the draw may do more work than the hinge: that is why a Best gun will stay tighter longer. The quality of the actioning will have the draws very close at the point the gun is closed so that when fired the draws may contact each other and spread the force through the action and a far greater surface area.
With the Caesar Guerini Invictus, the draw is a huge block that bolts into the action floor and makes contact with “circles” in the side of the breechblock. In this context, circles are the slightly curved surfaces in the breechblock on either side behind the “convex trunnions”.
Behind this there is a full-width bolt in the floor of the action that engages with the bite or slot in the back of the breechblock. The bolt is what locks the barrel breech end into the action frame and allows the gun to open when worked back by pushing the top lever across.
The Caesar Guerini Invictus is a very well made and finished gun. The action frame is finished grey silver with a contemporary laser-engraving pattern. The action is attractively sculptured with side panel beads and fences. The furniture is also silver; only the barrels are black.
The trigger is adjustable and the manual safe has the selector button in its centre. The actual mechanics of the gun follow the usual Guerini style with coil hammer springs powering the hammers from behind. The hammer pivot in the bottom of the trigger-plate with sears above and the sear lifter-cum-selector block at the back running between the two hammer springs. It is an inertia re-set mechanism.
The barrels are 32in, the chamber length is 70mm and it carries magnum steel shot proof. The barrels are monoblock, with tapered top rib and ventilated side ribs. There is a white foresight and small silver midsight.
There are two flush-fit choke tubes in the gun. And in the nice- quality black ABS case, which comes with it, there is a choke tube case with a further eight extended choke tubes — that covers just about any combination you can think of. It’s the most comprehensive set of chokes I’ve ever seen with a gun.
The fore-end is released with an Anson-style push rod, always an elegant way for a fore-end on an over-and-under to come off. Inside the fore-end there is a replaceable block, making it possible to tighten the gun easily.
Woodwork is very good quality and the wood-to-metal fit is excellent. The chequer is laser cut in traditional patterns with points. A really nice touch is the drop points being laser cut into the chequer pattern.
The stock is broad with a deep pistol grip. To complement this, the fore-end is a slim beavertail with rounded nose. At both ends the woodwork is large but doesn’t over fill the hands, so it has a positive feel to it.
The stock has length of pull of 377mm, including a 20mm solid black recoil pad. The drops at comb and heel are 35mm and 55mm respectively.
The Caesar Guerini Invictus is a good idea and a different take on some standard design principles, but whether it’s the ultimate answer to tightening a gun, and whether it will radically extend the life of the gun remains to be seen. Only time will tell.