Lincoln Premier 28-bore.
The 28-bore is not everybody’s cup of tea; and for good reason. Fact is most affordable 28-bores are built on 20-bore actions to save on production costs, and the result is a gun much bulkier and heavier than it need be.
Such guns also look a trifle odd, with very thick metal in the chamber walls, and a very wide gap to be filled by the side ribs between the barrels as they taper towards the muzzles.
This is because the bore centres have to be kept in the same position as on the 20-bore on which the gun is based, in order for the strikers to make contact with the cartridge primers.
Yet the 28-bore has a lot going for it in practical terms. It packs a lot more clout than a .410, and is therefore excellent for young beginners, or anyone who wants a really lightweight gun to carry in the field.
In short, it’s a ‘real’ gun rather than something in some quarters is treated as something only fit for shooting rats in the farmyard.
Weight of the gun is 6lb 2oz, which is a touch on the heavy side for a 28-bore, but in many ways the weight can be considered an advantage because it helps to soak up recoil – and shoulder and cheek bruising are among the reasons which make some shooters opt for a small-bore shotgun in the first place.
This gun is built on a shallow action so everything looks, and feels, in proportion.
This, as far as we know, is a unique feature of a gun in this price range.
Ammunition can sometimes be a bit hard to find, but Lyalvale Express provide 14, 19 and 21 gramme loads in 6 and 7 shot, and 19 and 21 gramme shells with size 9 shot for American skeet.
That should cover most requirements, and there are, of course, other sources including a relatively new range of game shells from Eley.
Who makes it?
Lincoln shotguns are made to the specifications of Nickersons (Tathwell) Limited, a Lincolnshire company which was first established in 1976.
Their over-under shotguns are made in Italy, and their side-by-sides in Spain.
The company also markets range of air weapons, shooting accessories and country clothing, and runs a very successful game farm.
How adaptable is it?
Within the obvious limits of the 28-bore cartridge, this gun could be used for almost anything but wildfowling and very high driven birds.
A youngster could use it to learn the rudiments of all the clay disciplines, as well as mastering the skills of field shooting.
How does it work?
The boxlock action is the same width and length as that used on the Lincoln 20bore,but much shallower. Like many Italian actions, sears are suspended from the top strap, while the hammers are hinged from the trigger plate.
The hammers have a second sear notch to the rear of the first, to prevent an accidental discharge should the gun be dropped or suffer a hard knock.
The hammers rebound after striking the firing pins, allowing the pins to retract before the gun opens.
The sears are lifted by a single, selective trigger, which engages the second barrel with the aid of a recoil-driven inertia mechanism. Barrel selection is made by a rocking switch in the safety thumbpiece. Mainsprings are coils, running on guide rods.
On firing, the gun’s cocking levers engage with trips for the spring-loaded ejectors, which operate when the gun reaches the fully-open position.
Lock-up is achieved by a full-width bolt running along the action floor, which engages with a slot in the barrel monobloc.
Lumps on the base of the monobloc help secure the lock-up by dropping into slots in the action floor when the gun is fully closed.
The barrels hinge on stub pins on either side of the forward end of the action.
The bright-plated steel outside of the action is finished engraving, which contrasts nicely with the black of the trigger guard, safety, top lever and fore end iron. The engraving has also had an upgrade in recent times.
– Choice in lengths from 28 inches upwards
– Constructed on the monobloc principle, with semi-circular cut outs in the monobloc forming the jointing by engaging with the action’s stub pins.
– Chambers are 2.3/4in and the gun is proofed for magnum shells. These are extremely rare, and why anyone should wish to shoot 24 or 28 grammes of shot through a light 28-bore we cannot think – a 12-bore would be much better suited to the task.
– However, for masochists, in terms of recoil the opportunity is there, although we think most people will wish to observe a 21 gramme limit, in 2.1/2in cases.
– The ventilated top rib is 6mm wide, and solid side ribs are fitted.
– Five multichoke tubes are supplied with multichoke versions, and fixed chokes are available.
– The barrel set is a bit heavy because it has been built to withstand magnum proof.
– You don’t get top-grade, figured walnut on a gun in this price class.
– However, the wood on this gun is far from plain, and there is a good colour match between stock and fore end.
– The fore end is of a slim, Schnabel type, and both stock and fore-end have a varnish finish.
– Stock length is 14.5/8 in at the centre, and a gunsmith could easily cut it back to suit a youngster.
– The drops at comb and heel are 1.3/8 in and 2.1/4 in respectively, which are a good compromise for most shooters.
– Chequering is machine-cut but well executed, and a thin plastic buttplate is fitted.
– Woodwork is now oil-finished.
The gun weighs 6lb 2 oz.
What the tester thought
Sporting Gun tested the gun in April 2004. It scored seven out of 10 for build quality, six for handling, five for styling, and eight for value for money.
The finish, and the fact the gun is pointable and affordable, drew praise, but the weight was thought to be slightly excessive and the tested suggested a lighter barrel set would cure the problem. The gun’s unique position in the market was admired.
With its unique market position and price, the gun is difficult to contrast with anything.
Browning, Miroku and Beretta all make 28-bores, but Beretta’s Silver Pigeon 28-bore field model, to quote just one example, has a recommended retail price of over £1,200 and is built on a 20-bore action frame.
From the importers, Nickerson of Tathwell, Bolingbroke Road, Fairfield Industrial Estate, Louth, Lincs LN22 0WA. Tel: 01507-610084.
Lincoln Premier 28-bore shotgun
£795 multichoke £725 fixed choke