Rizzini EM 12-bore shotgun: he guns have 30in barrels and round-bodied actions. The latter are colour case-hardened and scroll engraved.
First impressions are good. The guns are not flashy but they do have neat lines and a competent finish. The traditional colour case-hardening, well-figured walnut and excellent stock shapes are all positives.
The engraving is a little thin but it is in good taste and well executed (by some mechanical process).
On the handling front, these Rizzinis – a true pair – feel significantly better than average when brought to face and shoulder. The guns are pointable but steady. They weight 7lb 3oz, which is near ideal for a modern 12-bore over-under game gun with longer barrels.
Grip, comb and fore-end all felt comfortable.
The refined stock shapes will suit the tastes of the British market well; there is not the evidence of the trap-shooting experience that sometimes has had excessive influence on the form of Italian sporting and field guns.
The test Rizzinis are not the normal factory output and have various custom features as specified by Paul Roberts. As a consequence, the test guns have interesting features which distinguish them from the mass-produced pack.
First, there’s the round-bodied actions. This was a project that Paul encouraged initially. He persuaded Bosis, whose guns he also imports, to file up one of the old-style Rizzini actions to give it more attractive lines. The experiment worked: a rounded action bar has now become a standard feature on Rizzini’s more upmarket products.
The modification definitely improves the looks of the basic gun and works especially well in small bores too.
The test guns have semi-pistol grip stocks. This grip is probably the most efficient on the market today, ergonomically speaking, and a near-perfect design for a single-trigger game gun in my opinion. Many pistol grips are not especially efficient – they do not allow you to hold the gun as well as you might. Often, they are too tightly radiused or, as bad, not even in depth, allowing the hand to slip forward in recoil.
This excellent grip suffers neither deficiency and looks elegant as well.
The sighting ribs on the Rizzinis are solid. A solid rib is much better suited to a game-gun than a ventilated type because it is less prone to denting in the field.
Paul also pays a supplement to Battista Rizzini for upgraded walnut and silver ovals. This is sound commercially as well as aesthetically.
Finally, Paul adds two more stylistic touches to his package – long trigger-guard tangs, which look more elegant, and gold serial numbers inlaid on the elongated tangs.
I was surprised by the truly excellent shooting qualities of these guns. Even with stocks ½in too long for me and a bit low (there was nearly 2½in of drop at heel), they mashed every clay target in sight.
Skeet range, sporting stands, high tower – we got through the first box of cartridges without a miss. A tremendously difficult dropping 50yd crosser finally got me!
They shot brilliantly, much better than I expected and better than any Rizzini I have yet tested with the exception of the round-bar 30in 28-bore (which was equally good).
I think these guns represent really good value, considering the thought and work that’s gone into them.
Off-the-shelf guns can be altered by Roberts’ on-site craftsmen (included in the price).
A pair ordered to bespoke specification will take 4 to 6 months to complete. An airline case is included, but leather cases are an option.
The guns come in 20-bore and 28-bore at a small supplement.
The barrels of the Rizzinis are built on the monobloc system. If you imagine a sleeved English gun, the concept is very similar.
Monobloc manufacture, good enough for Beretta and Perazzi, is more economic and extremely strong when well done (as it is in this case).
The Rizzinis have 76mm (3in) chambers and bear Italian proof marks. The bores are marked at 18.4mm and 18.4mm on the No.1 gun and 18.5mm (top) and 18.4mm on the No.2.
The chrome-lined barrels of the test guns were well presented and very well blacked. The tubes were acceptably straight, the chambers cleanly machined and the forcing cones were longer than the average (and better for it).
Multi-chokes were fitted. The action design of the test guns is employed by a number of manufacturers in Italy (and notably those connected to the Rizzini clan, which include FAIR, Fausti, and B Rizzini).
Stud pins at the knuckle of the action engage semi-circular recesses at the front of the monobloc – the bifurcated lumps as noted. This is a clever arrangement developed by Woodward originally and adopted most famously by Beretta.
It allows for a lower profile gun than in those designs that have a full-width hinge-pin, which necessitates a lump or lumps beneath the barrels. The action employs coil springs throughout. There is a recoil activated single-trigger and a barrel selector-safety of Beretta style on the top strap.
All machining is very neat and Rizzini guns have proved to be extremely reliable in all forms.
£6,000 a pair
J. Roberts & Son
22 Wyvil Road
020 7622 1131,