Kemen Suprema Titanium shotgun review.
This test concerns a Kemen Suprema titanium-actioned over-under, the firm?s best gun.
I had first heard about these special Kemens when partridge-shooting in Spain the season before last.
The King of Spain shoots a trio of them, and Andy Castle, an old friend who has shot with the king on a number of occasions, had enthused about his titanium guns.
Andy is a crack shot and former Beretta Super Sporting Champion.
He runs West London Sporting Targets, which is down the road from the West London Shooting Grounds; he is also the estate manager of Aberuchill Castle in Perthshire, which he looks after for Vladimir Lisin, a hugely successful Russian entrepreneur with a passion for shooting.
To truncate a long story, Andy has a most interesting life and has always had the happy knack of falling on his feet in all the many years I?ve known him.
Recently, he was presented with a specially engraved Suprema to use on the estate.
It has 32in barrels, weighs only 7.1⁄2lb and is engraved with images of Aberuchill on its sideplates. The editor of The Field also shot with a pair of these guns in Spain and noted they were something ?very special indeed?.
I did not need much more persuading to arrange a visit to West London to see Andy and put his very special Kemen through its paces.
The Mark II KM4 over-under ? which in standard steel-action form costs from £8,000 ? has already been rated very highly by me in these pages.
With 32in barrels weighing around 1570g, it is one of the best sporting guns available for serious driven shooting or clay-busting regardless of price.
The Titanium Supremas start from around £40,000.
The test gun, however, would cost substantially more because of its special engraving.
The price difference of £30,000 or more for a titanium action body, sideplates, upgraded wood and extra finish (the mechanics of the Suprema remain similar to the standard KM4) is huge.
Can it be justified?
First impressions are of a big gun with a quite broadly proportioned stock.
The fixed-choke barrels are long, as noted, but lighter than even the Kemen average at 1550g.
They are also notable for their wide ? 18.7mm ? bores. The comb and acutely angled grip are full but comfortable; there is a large Boss-style rounded fore-end.
Though this is a big beast, it is not an especially heavy one; it hits the scales at 7.1⁄2lb, about 1⁄2lb less than steel-actioned Kemens.
Indeed, it feels right from the first moment you lift it. The gun has life. There is sufficient weight between the hands and the dry-handling dynamics are excellent.
Not only does the Suprema feel exceptionally pointable, it seems to move without effort when the slightest impetus is given to it. It mounts both easily and precisely.
And, somehow, the Titanium Suprema 32 feels steady, too (the paradox may be explained by its mid-weight ? enough not to be whippy ? and the purchase offered by its stock shapes). This is a most unusual and desirable combination.
Kemen Suprema Titanium technical data
The construction, apart from the titanium action body, presents few real surprises. It is a Perazzi-style gun with a detachable trigger lock, Boss-style bolting and monobloc barrels.
A few small details of finish could have been improved upon ? the chequering to the safety catch was less than perfect and the lettering to the sideplates could have been better ? but the gun is well put together nevertheless.
I was especially impressed with the barrel construction. Both tubes were perfectly straight, a rarity these days, and both were choked tight half.
The mechanical work is excellent, too. Kemens have Woodward-style trunnion hinging and Boss bolting. There are Boss draws and wedges on the inner action/monobloc walls.
Primary bolting is also Boss-like with radiused projections either side of the bottom chamber engaging slots on the lower action face.
These are locked by a bolt which rests over their top as the gun is closed. V-springs power the hammers.
A small, flat bar to the rear of the trigger guard is pushed sideways to release the trigger unit itself.
Kemen Suprema Titanium shooting impressions
This was an extraordinary gun, the best-shooting over-under we have yet tested. Effortless to swing and precise, it held the line of birds easily.
Felt recoil was low. The trigger pulls were exceptionally crisp. It broke target after target without a glitch.
The light barrels played a part, their 18.7mm bores and tight half chokes would be near my own ideal.
The weight distribution seemed perfect. The titanium action helps reduce overall weight, making a big, long gun more user friendly.
I had my pigeon and competition gun with me on the test day, my 32in Beretta 303.
The Kemen equalled it.
That is a my greatest compliment for I have spent years trying to find a better-shooting gun than that Beretta.
Is the Kemen worth £40,000 plus? Probably not. Nevertheless, If I had the money I would buy one.
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