Change can be good and this well-executed combination shotgun offers you two bore options in one package, says Roger Glover
Combination guns do add a bit of diversity to your gun cabinet. You don’t always want to use your 12-bore and, at the opposite end of the scale, the .410 may not be up to the job. Sometimes it is nice to sit in between the two extremes and even better if you can pick and choose your preferred bore.
Rizzini RB EM 20/28 – an excellent combination of guns
This is the set-up on offer with this Rizzini, a decent 20-bore, complemented by a set of 28-bore barrels and matched fore-end for when you want to back off the loads and challenge yourself. It makes an excellent combination of guns, without the cost of buying two and with the advantages of one.
There is little difference in the way the two handle, the 20-bore feeling a tad more inclined to carry through with a swing, whereas the 28-bore is a shade lighter at the muzzle and is more inclined to be a quick-pointing snap shooter of a gun — just what you want in thick, confined cover or a small window of opportunity.
Need to know
- Maker: B. Rizzini, Italy
- Model: RB EM 20/28 combination
- Bore: 20/76 and 28/870
- Barrels: 30in multichoked
- Rib: 6mm file-cut ventilated
- Length of pull: 14 5/8 in
- Weight: 20-bore- 6lb 7oz
- 28-bore: 6lb 3oz
- Features: Interchangeable barrels, foliate engraving, multichokes, SST
- Price: £4,400
Respected round-body action
As a package, this gun gives you the respected Rizzini round-body action. Always that bit more elegant than a straight boxlock, these actions are well-proven and robust without being heavy — with this gun based on the 20-bore-sized action, it is that much lighter than the 12-bore version. The two sets of barrels have different profiles yet come close within the weight of each other. Because of these differences there is a dedicated fore-end to each set, with the timber matching them and the stock.
As many experienced shots will know, quite a number of manufacturers engrave the name Rizzini on the actions of their guns…
This Rizzini Artemis 20-bore shotgun is an example of everything the Italians are doing right these days.
Barrels and action
- This action has proved reliable for many years and, while simply constructed, it is made with great precision.
- A combination of cast and machined components come together to make the lock work function smoothly and efficiently.
- The hammers are driven by coil springs, the inertia block and sear controlled by torsion springs and the safety catch indexed by a wire spring.
- The 20-bore barrels are chambered at 76mm and are steel shot-proofed, making them fully non-toxic compatible for any cartridge.
- The 28-bores are chambered at 70mm and not for steel, but that matters little with no commercial steel ammunition available, yet that may change.
- Both sets of barrels are 30in with solid side ribs and vented 6mm ribs as standard — though solid ribs are available to order — and finished with a neat brass bead.
- Multichokes are a feature of both barrel sets; 70mm tubes in the 20-bore, and 45mm tubes in the 28, all are flush fitting. The two sets come in separate boxes in a range from cylinder through to full choke, each bore having a dedicated key.
- The ejectors are set by the cocking rods, then tripped by lugs in the action mouth, so there are no moving parts in the fore-end iron. They run in lovely broad dovetails with plenty of bearing area and little likelihood of significant wear.
- Good firm springs ensure reliable ejection, even with paper cases.
- At this price you are not going to see exhibition-grade timber, but the RB EM has been given a grade that suits: good strong grain structure through the hand and with lovely light and dark waves of colour throughout.
- It is always better to start off with a longer stock that can be shortened rather than a short one that won’t extend well. At 145/8in this will fit a lot of people straight out of the case but has sufficient material to be shortened quite easily.
- The wooden butt-plate is attractive and elegant, but I know I’d be concerned about damaging it all too easily. I might consider changing it to a hard plastic butt-plate, or a very thin recoil pad, but that would no doubt detract from the overall classy look.
- I usually like a pistol grip more in the Sporter fashion of a decent handful with palm swell, yet this gun is so sleek that, even with my hand around the grip and my thumb touching the first joint of my index finger, there is nothing that would make you hold it with anything but confidence.
- The fore-end is quite deep, but that is something of a relative term as both sets of barrels are small bores; the fore-end sits well and, with its chequering, affords a stable left hand to direct proceedings.
- The fore-ends are very well matched indeed and each is specific to that barrel only. Both are push-button release and no discernible difference was detected between the fit of the two to the action.
- The gun is provided with a smart and luxurious case with the action, chokes and accessories in one half and the barrels separated by a drop-down divider in the other half.
The attention to detail across the entire gun is excellent. I couldn’t find a single fault or shortcoming anywhere. It really stands as a reflection of Rizzini’s efforts towards quality.
Barrels and action
A well-executed blend of bores offering great flexibility in use on a known ad reliable action. Very attractive finish. 19/20
Trigger and safety
The barrel selector/automatic safety catch works well, though is a little easier to release than engage. The broad-bladed trigger has a slight roll off to its feeling, bu tbreaks cleanly at just under 4lb 17/20
A great piece of timber with wonderful figure; elegant inlay in the fore-end and excellent chequring. Lovely proportions to the stock with a very high sheen to the finish. 18/20
The balance of the gun in both set-ups is wonderful, the 20/bore giving that bit more momentum to the swing. The 28-bore is lightning quick to react to your every input, which might take a bit of getting used to but would pay dividents in the right circumstances. 20/20
Whether you look at this as a gun wtih two barrels, “a gun and a half” or as two guns with very similar lhandling, it is great value 19/20