Ugartechea 40 shotgun review.
The 20-bore has undergone a great popular rediscovery, followed by the diminutive .410.
Now – and perhaps not before time – there is a growing opportunity to sample the fascinating world of the 28-bore.
In existence for 85 years, Ugartechea is a small, family-owned company, one that, aided perhaps by the importers, does seem to have the knack of understanding the UK market. It is a good-looking, nicely proportioned gun that would not look out of place on almost any gun rack.
Due to its dainty build, it is tempting to describe it as a little gun, but this is not really true as it has the length of larger-bore guns, with the advantage of slim lines and an all-up weight of a mere 6lb. The first real surprise is the handling, with the point of balance just at the front of the action bar.
Allied to the modest weight, it seems to come to life between the hands; it is fast and effortless to mount to the shoulder, very quick and pointable. For a reasonably-priced gun it actually has the handling of a much more expensive thoroughbred.
Modified Anson & Deeley
The action is the familiar and sturdy Anson & Deeley-type boxlock, produced in a slightly simplified form, with a one-piece trigger-plate/bottom action plate.
When smoke-blacked, the fit of the barrels to action is found to be correct and the fore-end knuckle joins up smoothly to the action body. Operation of the top-lever is strong and positive, and certainly ensures the gun is tightly and safely locked.
Nicely fitted wood
With a length of pull a shade over 14.3/4in to the middle of the butt, it qualifies as a man-sized gun, at the same time affording plenty of scope for alteration for those of a smaller frame. Drop measures 1.1/2in at the tip of the comb and slightly more than 2.1/2in at the heel; combined with a good degree of cast and extra toe-out, it promises to be a very comfortable gun.
The fore-end, as so often with Spanish guns, is a little more substantial than the traditional English or splinter-style fore-end, but nonetheless pleasingly shaped and well fitted.
It is also good to see the wood fitted only slightly proud of the metalwork, rather than the current fashion for a noticeable step between the two parts. Indicative of good attention to detail is the flush fit of the fore-end wood to the stale of the fore-end iron, and careful fitting of stockwood around the top strap.
The laser-cut chequering on the fore-end and hand of the stock is laid out in traditional patterns, the comb suitably slim and a tidy chequered pattern laid out on the butt. A lacquered finished, also found on more expensive guns, is a great improvement on the old glossy varnish, but can be a more susceptible to damage and not as easy to repair.
The stamped-on decoration around the action body is cleanly executed with extensive coverage, particularly on the bottom plate. Similarly, the matching patterns on the trigger-guard bow and top-lever are well done, with virtually no fade-out on curved areas.
A shotgun is nothing without good barrels and the tubes on this 28, which could be regarded as a little bit heavy, actually benefit the gun by providing a good balance to the long stock – and, of course, plenty of strength.
At 28in, they are not a conversion of a metric size, but one familiar to the UK market. Well struck-up, the barrels are glossily blacked, while the breech and muzzle ends are well polished, as are the bores.
Being an ejector gun it has split extractors, which are fitted very well, and this gun is chambered for 67mm (2.3/4in) cartridges.
Metric proofed in Spain, the bore proof size on both barrels is 13.9mm, equivalent to 0.574in, and chokes measure a nominal half-choke in the right-hand barrel, full on the left.
What’s on offer?
So what does this once-neglected small-bore gun have to offer?
On paper it falls exactly between the old 1.3/16oz loading of a 20-bore and the 5/16oz of the .410. Of course there are .410 loadings in the longer cartridges that equal and even exceed the smaller 28-bore loadings, but for sweet shooting, shot and powder loads should be matched to the bore and weight of the gun.
The trigger pulls are delightful and snap off cleanly without any drag, while the auto-safe operated crisply with a short travel.
As expected, shot patterns are tight, the full choke especially so, and both barrels shot nicely to the same point of aim.
Ejection of spent cartridges is very good and the ejectors time nicely together. It handled quickly and was lively on crossing clays.
So is this a boy’s or woman’s gun? Well yes, why not: light and easy to handle, with little felt recoil, it is ideal – a good introduction to shooting.
Importer: David Nickerson (Tathwell) Ltd, tel (01507) 610084
Ugartechea 40 shotgun review.