Vic Harker scrutinises the unconventionally designed Rizzini RB – but how does its shooting fare?
Model: RB Premium Sporter
Bore size: 12
Chambers: 3in Magnum
Barrel Length: 32in
Action: Coil spring boxlock
Chokes: Hand detachable
Rib: 10mm parallel
Total Weight: 7lb 12oz
Stock: Monte Carlo pistol grip
Suggested retail: £2,730
UK Distributor: ASI
With the popularity of Sporting targets in the UK, the Sporter gun now almost certainly outsells Trap and Skeet models by a considerable margin. The half-dozen or so of the most successful makers of the over-and-under all have their own take on what constitutes the most suitable specifications.
They are, however, somewhat constrained by the type of action they create for their other guns as an entirely separate production for the Sporter would be too expensive a project for most makers, if not all. It is, therefore, to some degree a matter of chance as to whether the action they produce for their Trap and Skeet lines is suited to Sporters. This then begs the question, what should constitute the modern Sporter?
In an age when the clay target gun gets ever-more elaborate, I’ve been looking at and shooting the Rizzini Premium Sporter. It is a gun almost devoid of bolt-on extras but is none the worse for that.
The Rizzini is a handsome firearm, its rounded body polished silver with hand-engraved bolsters featuring a pattern of acanthus leaves, emphasising its already sleek lines. The lock-work is entirely conventional, with side-by-side hammers, cocked by way of the forend iron that engages with rods on the floor of the action when the gun is opened.
The overhead sears suspended from the top strap engage with the hammers and the single selective trigger mechanism is ready to fire when the manual safety catch and barrel selector located on the top strap are pushed forward. Similar arrangements can be seen on many over-and-unders, most particularly the Browning, where the inventor devised the system for his over-and-under of 1925.
Rizzini’s shaping of the firearm’s exterior lines gives this type of action an unusually rounded and elegant appearance that is not normally seen on what’s often dismissed as just another deep action over-and-under.
If the action is unusually handsome foran over-and-under gun of this type, the design of the Rizzini’s stock only serves to enhance it. The configuration, in contrast to many other modern Sporter models on the market, is designed so that it can be comfortably brought to the shoulder from the classic gun-down position, beginning with the stock being positioned just above the hip.
The Rizzini’s grip is a classic semi-pistol configuration that incorporates an unobtrusive but undeniably well-positioned palm swell. Complementing this is the forend wood with an elegant slim beavertail shape that combines with the stocks pistol grip to provide a perfect hands-in-line hold.
This arrangement deserves special mention at a time when so many firearm manufacturers are producing Sporters that incorporate woodwork with absolutely no relevance to the needs of the Sporting clay target shooter.
The Rizzini’s 81-centimetre barrels measure 18.4 millimetres and incorporate back-boring and extended forcing cones for
well-distributed patterns and low recoil. A set of colour-coded extended choke tubes is optional.
The rib, as with the rest of the gun’s specifications, is entirely conventional, as it tapers from ten millimetres at the breech face to seven millimetres at the barrels’ muzzle ends. Meanwhile, the all-up weight of the barrel assembly with the flush-fitting chokes in situ is 1.533 kilograms.
The old adage ‘if it feels right, it will shoot equally well’ is certainly the case with this Rizzini. While the modern Sporter comes in many guises with some approximating the weight of a Trap gun, such a firearm is not for me. In contrast, I would happily use this Rizzini as a game gun, which is certainly not to say that its 7lb 12oz is too lightweight for clays.
I made a point of shooting the Rizzini more than I would usually for this gun test, in part because I enjoyed doing so, but also to see how it stood up to a lot of use. My conclusion was very well due to the fact that the importer, ASI, has the knowledge and the expertise to correctly specify a firearm for its intended purpose. In terms of weight, balance and mechanical function, this Rizzini is no exception.
I have already mentioned that the modern Sporter gun is getting ever-more elaborate, incorporating high or ramped ribs with every kind of stock configuration. The Rizzini RB – standing for round-bodied – is an exercise in going back to the basics. Its strongest suit is its handling characteristic and with relatively light 32-inch barrels, it incorporates speed of swing combined with just the right amount of stability.
While this is very easy to describe, it is far harder to attain – yet Rizzini have done so, and at a relatively modest price. This extends to every aspect of the firearm including the stock configuration. This is due to a basic understanding of what’s required of a Sporter gun. In the Rizzini RB Premium, we have simplicity combined with know-how, and unfettered by complication and weight.