Quirky but pleasing to the eye, this 20-bore is about so much more than looks - thanks to a unique visibility concept, discovers Matt Hunt
As an elite piece of equipment, why is it that the shotgun hasn’t seen the advancements in technology that rifles have? Radical changes in design have been few and most never gain traction. Changes in aesthetics and materials and tweaking are constant, but these are more to do with sales than making you shoot straighter. Have gunmakers really arrived at that Concorde moment where practical improvements have peaked and nothing can get better? The gun I have the pleasure of reviewing this month – John Jeffries Perugini & Visini Elite HVR – is from a maker whose sole mission is to make you shoot better, straighter, further, higher and more consistently. John Jeffries Custom Shotguns is focused on improving accuracy, while the practical mechanical aspects of gun production and design have been entrusted to partners such as Perazzi, Armi Salvinelli and Perugini & Visini.
Reviewing the review the 20-bore Elite HVR
With the partridge season upon us, I was delighted to review the 20-bore Elite HVR (high-vision rib). Made by Perugini & Visini, the gun is based on a trigger-plate system with sideplates and detachable trigger unit. The barrels are traditional monobloc in construction with a spring ejector. The action uses the tried-and-tested bifurcated lump lock-up similar to that used by Perazzi.
The appearance of the gun is quirky yet pleasing. The stock shape does not conform to standard measurements and has the addition of an adjustable comb. The radius of the grip is acute and long with a noticeable palm swell. The fore- end is slim and tapers sharply to the barrel, finished with a tulip end.
The finish is exceptional, with a beautiful walnut stock and fore- end and an action that has been lightly engraved by hand in a border style. Then there are the barrels, a whopping 33½in with vented mid rib and HVR. It can be supplied with fixed or Teague multichoke system. Chamber length can also be specified.
I was struck by how well the gun balanced when I picked it up. I had assumed that the additional weight of the long barrels and adjustable stock system would add considerable weight and heft. The overall weight melted away and the gun felt alive and exceptionally pointable. These characteristics have been achieved by constantly refining the overall design; as weight was added to the stock, it was taken from the barrels.
As with any gun, how it fits you is the most important aspect. So prior to shooting the gun, the man himself, John Jeffries and I spent an hour setting it up by dry mounting and using the pattern plate. The attention to this detailed gun-fit was staggering. All new guns are supplied with bespoke stock measurements. John has total access to the factory and oversees this process at the point of stocking to ensure a perfect fit on delivery.
The concept of gun balance and fit are hardly new and groundbreaking, but these aspects are the foundation on which John’s guns are made.
The real magic and unique aspect of John’s guns are the ribs. Essentially, the concept is to improve visibility of the target with a high head position over the barrel. This is achieved by raising the comb of the stock — it has been around for centuries, used with great success by trap shooters and high pheasant enthusiasts. The compromise with setting up guns in this way is when shooting a variety of different target angles, rather than only targets going away or overhead.
To counteract this, John has designed the HVR, which raises at the muzzle to meet the eye, thus avoiding a converging angle with the eye. The effect is exceptional vision around and above the barrels, yet shot patterns are placed at point of aim. This gun really could take your shooting up a notch.
NEED TO KNOW
- Manufacturer Perugini & Visini
- Model John Jeffries Elite HVR
- Calibre 20-bore
- Barrel 33½in
- Chamber 89mm
- Chokes Teague choked
- Rib HVR
- Grip Pistol
- Weight 3.4kg
- Importer John Jeffries, 07711 456524
- Price £25,000
When shooting the gun at basic targets, the Elite HVR concept and sight picture was initially alien to me. On mounting the gun, I expected it to shoot high like a trap gun. Natural instinct takes over and, for the first time in my shooting career, I missed targets underneath.
As the test progressed, and with John’s help, I grew more confident with the gun raised. That was when the advantage of the Elite HVR took effect. The connection with barrel and target was greatly improved. I found myself taking a more accurate reference from the end of the barrel, rather as with a rifle or pistol.
As we progressed to more challenging targets, the gun started to feel accurate and measured, assisted greatly by the pointability of its long barrels.
When a target was missed you had a very clear understanding of where the pattern went, thus allowing for fine adjustments to be made and success to be achieved with the next shot.
Overall the shooting experience was good. However, these guns require a totally different approach in the way you shoot them.
Initially, I felt my shooting did not improve but after going through a case of cartridges, assistance from John and that all-important ingredient, confidence, improvements were made.
- Action and barrels 18/20 Very well weighted and profiled
- Handling 19/20 Exceptional given the length
- Trigger 19/20 As crisp as they come
- Stock 17/20 Exceptional, grip took some getting used to
- Value 16/20 Your improvement justifies the cost
- Overall score 89/100 A revelation; my shooting improved
This gun really could take your shooting up a notch