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Lanber Sporter: why it’s recommended by shooting coaches as a first gun

A Lanber Sporter is thought by many to be an ideal first gun. Here's why.

Lanber shooting

Lanber Sporter

Manufacturer: Lanber

Price as reviewed: £295

Background to the Lanber Sporter

2nd hand Lanber Sporter shotgun

Lanber Sporter

Back in 1977 Beretta importers, Gunmark (now known as GMK), were looking for a reasonably-priced over-and-under to complement their range, and hit on the Lanber Sporter. It wasn’t exactly new to the UK – previous importers had brought it in under the names of Eibargun and – if you would believe it – Animo Express. Gunmark used its proper name, Lanber Sporter, and to describe the venture as a success would be an understatement.

2nd hand Lanber Sporter shotgun

By 1997 they had sold 20,000, and the Lanber Sporter is still as popular as ever. All of this means there are plenty of examples on the second-hand market. (Read what’s the best first gun?)

(You might also like to read, how old should you be to go shooting?)

Looking at a second-hand Lanber Sporter

With an importing history going back more than 40 years some of them will be distinctly the worse for wear, but a surprisingly large number are in very good condition, which says much for the soundness of the basic design.

In fact, design changes over the period have been subtle as well as few and far between.

Lanber Sporter action

Lanber Sporters have low-profile actions. Hammers are driven by coil springs on guide rods

What to avoid

If you are looking for something super-cheap, then avoid pre-1982 guns.


The first multichoke sporter came out in 1983, and the very few Deluxe Skeet and Trap models date back to 1984/5. In 1987 the woodwork on the Sporter was re-designed by Sporting champion Barry Simpson, who worked for Gunmark at the time, and after that date the guns just got better and better.

2nd hand Lanber Sporter shotgun

Look out for the Lanber Sporter Field Deluxe, the 20-bore Field, and the Sporting Deluxe.

We’ve looked at some second-hand and found prices starting at £295.

Tech specs

2nd hand Lanber Sporter shotgun

  •  Low-profile action with barrels hinged on stub pins.
  • Hammers are driven by coil springs on guide rods, are hinged from the bottom of the action, while sears hinge from the top strap.
  • All guns have single, selective triggers, with the barrel selector incorporated in the safety thumbpiece. (Read more on shotgun safety.)
  • Woodwork is either varnished or oil finished, depending on the age.
  • Most relatively recent guns have 14.1/4in stocks, with drops at comb and heel of 1.1/2in and 2.3/8in respectively.
  • Newer guns have 76mm (3in) chambers and magnum proof, and there’s a choice of 28 or 30in barrels.Left-handed woodwork is available on request.

What is good about this gun?

No real weak points have emerged in over 40 years. It’s also recommended by many shooting coaches as an ideal first gun and there are plenty of the market.

2nd hand Lanber Sporter shotgun

On the downside, an older gun may have fired thousands of cartridges. (Read what to look for when buying a gun.)

This review was first published in 2011 and has been updated. 


Recommended by many shooting coaches as an ideal first gun