I’m sure there are people who put their armoury together in a comprehensively rational manner. But I am not one of them; factors intervene. Opportunities and budgets expand and reduce. And then there are the outbreaks of spontaneous enthusiasm. In short, there are ways in which a gun cabinet is a kind of autobiography, not to mention a repository of treasured shooting memories.
There are few things better than a good day out with a shotgun, whether decoying, roost shooting, walking-up or standing on a peg. I enjoy the odd round of clays, too, although for me it’s always a substitute for a trip into the field.
My 12-gauge holdings fall into two groups: comprise pragmatic pump-action, semi-auto and suppressed guns; and classic boxlock and sidelock side-by-sides (English and Spanish) in the middle, however, is my first pick: an Italian 20g O/U. B. Rizzini RB Classic To me, a 12g O/U always feels BIG, whereas a 20g feels RIGHT, especially if it has long barrels. The Rizzini RB classic has all the other features I like too: solid sighting and mid ribs; a straight London-style forend and a rounded pistol grip, cut from a well-figured walnut blank and very tidily chequered; an elegant round action, sparsely engraved and beautifully colour-case-hardened; well-shaped triggers with a crisp break; and an understated top lever that is no bigger than it needs to be.
Buying new was too much of a luxury, so I kept my eye out and finally saw a nearly new gun at a very reasonable price at Stephen & Son. It didn’t have the 32-inch barrels I really wanted, but scored so highly on price and condition that I couldn’t let it pass. Stephane Dupille at S&S then did a lovely job of adjusting the gun to fit me, giving it just the right amount of cast, drop and pitch.
I love shooting it, and it often repays my affection. Earlier this year therefore I couldn’t have been happier then my host cam e over to say a generous word after a testing wild pheasant drive and was surprised to find id brought my birds down with a 20g. the little Rizzini now wears that compliment like a medal around its neck.
As featured in June’s Gun Mart magazine