With a great feel and a finish that is a treat to behold, this is a top-class Sporter that can be adjusted to suit you, says Roger Glover
Caesar Guerini has made a further development in the Invictus range of guns. The Invictus system is designed to simply and easily refurbish the gun back to within factory production limits after it has been used for a while and started to wear around the hinge. This it does very well, with the Invictus block preventing a lot of wear having an impact in the first place by taking the load off the hinge during firing.
The new addition to the design package is part of the DTS — dynamic tuning system. In this case, the feature is a fore-end adjuster, giving the shooter the ability to self-adjust, with one tool, the tension between the fore-end iron and the knuckle.
People have different preferences as to how their gun feels and performs: some like a tight action that holds the barrels securely when open but taking a little more muscle to open and close; some like the barrels to move freely when opened. The system allows you to set the amount of tension you prefer, making a welcome difference to the handling while loading.
The Invictus III is based upon the same action frame as the Invictus I, but the overall specification and finish has the bar set higher. This gun has 30in barrels, along with Maxischoke Competition chokes; these are extended 21mm compared with the standard chokes, giving a choke length of 81mm. They are also available in smaller increments of choking than the standard Selectachokes, giving nine choke options throughout the range.
The Invictus III comes with one of the best C spanner-type choke wrenches I’ve seen; it also incorporates a thread cleaner for the barrels. Chambers are standard Sporter 70mm but with Guerini’s Duecon long forcing cones, reputedly easier on the shot column leaving the cartridge, and the Maxisbore taking care of the shot in the barrel, giving a better pattern.
The Ascent’s most striking visual feature adorns the action. Amid the hand engraving are 10 gold inlaid mythical creatures, extreme Italian styling that really wouldn’t work on any other gun yet is most befitting of this style of deep relief foliate engraving. All of this is accentuated by the blackened stippled background, giving a striking effect.
Sighting the gun is catered for with a ventilated and tapered rib that reduces from 10mm at the breech to 8mm at the muzzle. File cut very finely, it also has a centre groove to pull the eye to the mid-bead and white foresight bead. The barrel finish is second to none. A deep and luxurious black, there is not one finishing mark on it — a really high degree of polish.
The trigger-blade is adjustable fore and aft, giving a pull length from 14¾in to 15in. The trigger mechanism is part of Guerini’s DPS system that holds very tight tolerances on trigger, sear and hammer geometry, the components of which are hard-chromed for very low wear rates and lower friction in use. This produces a light, clean trigger-pull that doesn’t creep and releases exceptionally crisply, more akin to a rifle trigger in feel, yet entirely safe by design.
My only slight criticism is the safety catch button. It is finely chequered, so fine that I found it offered little grip and the shape of the catch on the thumb became far more critical to moving the catch. This fine chequering gives the catch a classy look, but I found it a bit awkward and hard to move because of it.
The test gun was presented to me with a left-handed stock; though Anglo-Italian did offer to swap to right-hand, I took it as offered to see what the left-hand stock was like.
I can shoot left-handed, albeit not well, but no worse than my right-handed shooting. I just need to mount the gun initially, not shoot from out of the shoulder. The left-hand stock is set up just as you would want with cast to suit, but with the adjustable comb you can dial in just where your cheek sits relative to the sightline and give yourself that custom fit.
- There is a generous palm swell which, along with the broad fore-end, offers plenty of stock to get hold of — a very robust grip in both hands.
- The wood grade on the stock is not exceptional but is certainly of a sufficiently high standard for a gun of this class.
- The chequer is of relatively fine pitch, but lacks nothing in terms of grip.
- The panel designs are quite reserved too; neat and sharp with drop points included on the cheeks of the stock.
- Oil finish is a must for any respectable gun and this has a beautifully smooth, perfectly filled, deep gloss finish.
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Handling-wise, the Invictus III proved difficult to mark down on any point — it feels so natural in every function. Admittedly, the top lever is still right-handed, but most left-handers I know seem to be OK with that setup. With a tweak on the adjustable comb to compensate for opposite cast, I tried the gun in my more usual right-handed form and again, it did everything asked with ease.
It is difficult to pin down what makes this gun work so well. The combination of design aspects just comes together in the right manner; everything works in conjunction with the other parts and there is no fighting between balance and fit. This is, without doubt, a well-thought-out, well-developed gun.
Need to know
Maker: Caesar Guerini, Italy
Model: Invictus 3 Ascent Sporter
Barrels: 30in, chrome lined, steel proof at point of order
Rib: Tapered 10-8mm with central groove
Trigger: 3lb ½oz
Length of pull: 14¾in to 15in
Weight: 8lb 4oz
Features: DTS fore-end adjustment, Maxischoke multichokes
The Invictus III is a top-class gun set in the mid-class market. The finish is a treat to behold, the standard of mechanical manufacture is very high and backed up by the Guerini over-pressure proof test. The decor is a fresh take on details for a shotgun and I have never seen anything like these inlays on a production gun. As far off the end of the scale of tradition as it is, it grows on you and in no way looks out of place. A daring move that has paid off.
Action/barrels: High production standards are maintained throughout this gun and this shows in use 19/20
Trigger and safety: The DPS trigger gives the gun a much lighter pull, safety and selector function is smooth and sweet 19/20
Stock: The styling of this gun follows the line of the Invictus range and benefits from the multiway adjustable comb. Strong proportions throughout means a stable platform. A good standard of wood with a superb finish 18/20
Handling: Plenty of weight carries it well through a good swing, yet it remains quite fast to pick up a bird or change direction. The adjustable fore-end does mean that you can modify the tension on the knuckle and the characteristics of how the open gun behaves 19/20
Value: Caesar Guerini has combined several new ideas to produce a gun that feels and handles like it was one initial design, not a reworked one. Credit to it for that 19/20
This is, without doubt, a well-thought-out, well-developed gun