The Rizzini Grand Regal was the star of the 2019 British Shooting Show, with its deep engraving and lustrous dark walnut, but will it perform handsomely in the field?
Recently a friend of mine said that for him a gun was all about the wood and engraving. He liked his guns to look pretty and he is what he calls a ‘timber tart’. He’s a very good shot, so this philosophy has served him well over the years. For me, a lesser shot, it’s all about the handling. If the gun handles well, then I feel more confident and shoot better. The new Rizzini Grand Regal satisfies both those criteria because it’s not only aesthetically pleasing but it handles beautifully too.
As part of Rizzini’s Regal family, the Grand uses a round body (RB) action and takes this luxury game gun one step beyond the Regal De Luxe by offering ‘Boss-like’ extended fore-end iron as well as an extended trigger tang and hand engraved metal cap by Bottega C Giovanelli on the pistol grip. The profuse acanthus leaf engraving on the main body of the action is done by laser and then finished by hand.
The impression of deeper engraving is gained by the dark shading. It also has grade 4 walnut, rich in colour and figuring, making it an incredibly handsome gun.
Handling the Rizzini Grand Regal
I tested the 20-bore version, which handled extremely well. It’s true to say that shooting mainly with a 12-bore means that the smaller calibre would naturally feel more nimble. But I shoot a lot of 20-bore test guns by other manufacturers and even by those standards the Grand handles beautifully.
Having the point of balance just in front of the hinge pin meant some of the weight of the gun came back into the shooter’s hands. This can make the front end of the gun feel light, resulting in the barrels feeling unsteady on aim, but on the Grand the 30in barrels with multichokes were rock steady.
The gun felt svelte and lively in my hands. At 6lb 15oz, it’s roughly middle of the range for 20-bore game guns. Some of the Rizzini Regal shotguns I’ve tested before have been lighter than this, so the handling characteristics came from the stock dynamics rather than the weight. However, these delightful handling qualities were combined with the ‘heft’ of a well-made gun.
The Grand felt well put together. Its barrels closed nicely. Used cartridges were ejected smartly and the safety and barrel selector on the top strap moved nicely. The trigger pull felt smooth with a crisp and predictable let-off point. All these little cues tell you that this is a well-engineered gun.
Many gunsmiths tell me that Rizzinis are well made, so much so that one even said guns like the Grand were an “heirloom piece”. In other words, they would expect the gun to be handed down and last a couple of generations.
Although the gun has sideplates, the Grand is a tried and tested boxlock action. The hammers pivot at the bottom front of the plate and are powered by captive mainsprings, which rebound slightly to prevent the firing pins dragging on a spent cartridge and preventing a clean ejection. In my experience these sort of mechanisms rarely go wrong.
The solid game rib on the barrels tapered nicely and there is a 3in chamber, meaning the gun can accommodate magnum cartridges should you fancy a spot of high pheasant shooting. You could also use the Grand for wildfowling because it’s proofed for steel shot, although I think you would be mad to take such a handsome and expensive gun on the marsh. At least being able to use steel shot future-proofs the gun should a blanket ban on lead come into force.
The Regal costs £9,500 and for this notable price customers can have the stocks built to their dimensions, choose between fixed or multichoke, choose the length of barrel and have a colour case hardened action, if they so wish. As such, you could argue that for a custom built gun it’s not unreasonable.
I tried the Rizzini Regal Grand at Ian Coley with Eley Hi-Flyer cartridges in No. 6 shot with a 28g load. At full and improved modified, the choke cylinders were tighter than I was used to.
This combined with the cartridges, which were a little slower than usual meant it took a while for me to get on target. However, once I had got used to the gun and the cartridges, the clays disappeared in a puff of dust, which was very gratifying.
The stock had a length of pull of 15in, which was ideal for me. However, this is of no consequence if you are buying one, because it will be fitted to you.
Recoil was exceptionally well managed and the Regal was one of those guns that just felt right to me. It fitted well, the handling was fantastic and the mechanical parts all moved with refinement.
I took the gun to a driven stand because I imagine that’s the type of shooting this gun was designed for. The 30in barrels swung easily through the target in a controlled way, which is just what you want.
I’ve heard Perazzis being described as Ferraris because of their fast handling. If I were to choose a metaphor for the Rizzini Regal Grand, I would say that it handled like a Jaguar sports car: it had grace and pace and was refined and controlled in the way it shot. You will probably think that I’m rather uncritical about this gun, but the truth is that there’s nothing not to like about it and you would be hard-pressed to find a better custom shotgun for the money.
The Rizzini Regal Grand has the looks, the great handling and is very comfortable to shoot; you would struggle to find anything bad about this gun. At nearly £10,000 the price tag is steep, putting it up there with other great Italian makers like Perazzi on their entry-level guns.
This is stiff competition and for some the legendary name of Perazzi will carry the day. However, I think Rizzini are giving makers like Perazzi a run for their money. After all, for that price you get a game gun that is prettier than a lot of Perazzis. At the end of the day as a buyer you will have to decide whether you prefer pretty guns, like the Grand, or a plainer gun for the same price that handles just as well, but has slightly more prestigious name. I know which one my ‘timber tart’ friend would go for.
Scores on the doors
- Build Quality 23/25
- Handling 25/25
- Styling 24/25
- Value for money 24/25
- Total 96/100
- Price: from £9,500
- Weight: 6lb 15oz
- Barrel: 30in
- Length of pull: 15-in
- Drop: 1 ½ in (comb)
- 2 ¼ in (heel)
- Rib: solid game rib
- Available in 12, 16, 20 (tested), 28-bore as well .410
- Grade 4 walnut
- Barrel lengths 28, 30, 32, 34in
- Fixed or multi-chokes
- Single selective trigger, or double on request
- Imported by ASI
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better custom shotgun for the money