Guerini Forum II shotgun is based on the William Evans St James shotgun. It?s built on a similar chassis to the other guns but offers a significantly different specification to existing sideplated Guerini models as well as improved engraving and finish.
The selective single trigger and multi-chokes are to be expected but the new Forum also has an extended trigger tang, skeletonised, steel-capped full but relatively slim pistol grip and a Boss-style fore-end with forward, button-type fastener (in common with most London over-unders).
The sighting rib is solid and tapered and the gun weighs in at just 6½lb with 28in barrels.
There are 30in and 32in options. Initial handling impressions are very positive. It comes up well and seems refined – slightly better than its mass-produced siblings though it is hard to put into words precisely why.
Intriguingly, the new Forum feels as if its 28in tubes are longer, which may be a quirk of rib design. (Robert Churchill used his narrow, file-cut rib to create the illusion of length but, unlike this rib, his was not tapered.)
The balance is excellent with weight between the hands and enough mass in the barrels to make them feel controllable but not so much as to impede one?s swing. The new grip is especially good. (I would not, however, find it easy to call my preference ? subtle, fairly open-radiused, full pistol as seen here or the excellent semi-pistol design as used on some of the less expensive Guerini guns.)
The fore-end is first class, too, offering good purchase and a constant barrel-hand relationship whether one favours a mid or forward grip.
One gets the impression that this is not a mass-produced gun but one upon which a lot more hand-work than the average has been lavished. This is evident in the decoration.
The brushed-silver action has full coverage scroll engraving (fuller than on the previous Forum model) and panels on the sideplates with delicate game scenes (another addition).
The scroll coverage on the bottom of the action is exceptionally attractive. Although the game scenes are very well done, my preference would have been for scroll all over.
Guerini is trying to make the gun look different, one suspects, which is understandable when it offers several scroll-engraved models already.
I still prefer scroll on anything but a best gun (and Guerini can do it really well).
Like other Guerinis, there is little radical in the mechanical design of the Forum II. The barrels conform to the modern norm in being monobloc, multi-choked, 3in chambered and compatible with steel shot.
The action combines the usual trunnion hinging system of a Woodward or Beretta with the bolting of a Browning.
It is a well-proven arrangement, though, in my opinion, it works best in a 20-bore (as seen here).
In a 12-bore the slightly increased action height that this design requires can look chunky.
The trigger mechanism is inertia operated and selective. I have had the chance to use guns equipped with this for several seasons and none has skipped a beat.
Coil springs power the action. The trigger pulls are better than average for this action type ? which can be put down to the extra hand-work.
The jointing, too, is better than the norm. This is a stock-bolted gun, like most modern over-unders, but there is a notable absence of vibration on closing the gun. This may be partly attributed to careful jointing.
The Forum II was steadier to shoot than one might expect with 28in barrels. It did not feel machine-made.
Felt recoil was less than the average.
Second-shot recovery was good. Trigger pulls were crisp. The stock scored in all departments.
The standard measurements were excellent ? 14.3⁄4in for length, 1.3⁄8in and 2.1⁄8in for drop.
The grip was even in depth and efficient. The rounded fore-end was exactly what I would have specified.
The gun had an unusual quality: the stock seemed to suit a variety of users.
Dimensions matter but good form matters more. This is an attractive, well-put together gun at a price that is not unreasonable considering the quality of its finish and the state of the pound.
You would have to pay £10,000 or more for something fancier and I doubt that it would shoot or look any better.
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