Arietta Crown 16-bore shotgun.
Arietta is one of the best gunmakers in Spain and – like the other two leading names, AYA and Garbi – the guys there concentrate almost entirely on crafting well made and very reliable side-by-side game guns.
The model we are looking at here is the roundactioned Crown.
Conventionally, most sidelocks sport beads and lines carved and cut into the action frame around the fences and lock plates where they meet with the frame.
With a round-actioned gun these lines and beads are smoothed away so when the gun is closed there are no sharply defined edges to it.
Instead the shape is smooth and flowing, a feature that’s mainly cosmetic but which does produce a certain feel when the gun is in your hands.
The gun we’ve tested is a 16-bore with 28in barrels and 2.3/4in chambers. Chokes are 1/4 (right barrel) and 1/2 with the tubes being married by a traditional style concave game rib, the whole lot being finished in a lovely deep black gloss.
The mechanics of the action follow a traditional pattern that bears a close resemblance to the Holland & Holland design with locks being powered by large vee springs sitting in front of the hammers.
This format is known as a bar-action sidelock and is the format followed by the world’s makers of best shotguns. Strikers are disc set.
The cocking levers on the Crown lie alongside the mainsprings housed in the action frame and fulfill a dual role – cocking the gun as it opens and tripping the Southgate ejector work (located inside the fore-end) at the same time.
This is a very efficient design, to say the least, and all internal parts are finished and polished to a very high standard.
Those readers who are captivated by ornamentation will be pleased to hear that the action frame and lockplates are covered with a full pattern of bold scroll work.
The frame is finished with colour hardening and the furniture (top lever, trigger guard and fore-end iron) are all blacked.
Very pretty the whole thing is too.
The woodwork sports a good figure and it’s finished with a gloss look.
The stock has a straight hand grip and a traditional chequered pattern has been applied to both bits of woodwork.
The weight of the gun is approximately 6.1/2lb and the drop at comb and heel are approximately 1.1/2in and 2.1/4in respectively. Length of pull is around 15in.
I have to say this gun balances extremely well and that’s because, being a sidelock, there is a good feel of weight between the hand allowing the gun to point quickly and precisely.
Not interested in a 16-bore?
Don’t worry – the Crown is also built in 12, 20, 28 and .410 versions with some bores being made with 30in barrels and the option of single non-selective trigger and a pistol grip stock.
Want a consecutively numbered pair building? No problem! Just talk to the importers about your requirements.
This gun is extremely well built and represents great value for money.
Sixteen bores fell out of favour a long time ago but it’s nice to see them coming back into fashion – they kill cleanly and handle nicely. This one proves both points extremely well.
This is a pretty gun – at the right price.
Arietta Crown 16-bore shotgun
Build quality: 9
Value for money: 9
Telephone GMK on 01489 579999.