The Caesar Guerini over-and-under is one of the few new guns in recent years that has achieved a significant market share in the UK. This is no small achievement and is entirely due to good design, high standards of manufacturing, and quality of finish. I’ve been looking at the Invictus Impact 1, a Sporter model.
The Invictus designation indicates it incorporates replaceable jointing in the form of an abutment face or block, as Guerini describes it, that engages with the barrels’ rear lumps, a key area of wear in an under-bolted gun. That’s not all: forward barrel lumps that pivot behind the knuckles on opening and closing the gun incorporate replaceable bearing surfaces, which is ingenious and far less expensive than the usual methods of rejointing a gun. The makers clearly understand that strength and longevity is a quality shooters look for and appreciate.
Caesar Guerini has gained a reputation for outstanding good looks and the Impact is no exception. Deeply-etched double fences and bold side panels with elaborately machined bolsters that overrun the bottom plate provide the action body with definition and character. A silver nitride finish protects a handsome border engraving of acanthus leaves and emphasises the gun’s overall appearance of restrained elegance. Further attention to detail includes an adjustable trigger blade of excellent shape and a beautifully executed safety button incorporating a barrel selector positioned on the top strap.
The stock configuration combines similar elegance and, as with the rest of the gun, its shapes and proportions are to the highest standards. The full pistol grip together with an adjustable trigger blade combines a secure hold with a feeling of control and the shape of the comb, which is adjustable for height and cast to the same high standard.
Gun fit, the single most important ingredient for success in any form of shotgun shooting, is provided by an adjustable stock for height and cast, easy to understand and to use, which again demonstrates that Caesar Guerini has its priorities right when it comes to the serious target shooter. Every detail down to the recoil pad, which is of excellent quality and shape, has clearly been given careful consideration. The forend wood is to a slim beavertail shape, providing the ideal hold for a Sporter, or any type of gun, and is fitted with Guerini’s now signature Anson rod fastening.
Conventionally bored at 18.6mm, the barrels are impeccably finished and incorporate no less than 10 hand-detachable chokes, ranging in constriction from Cylinder to Full choke, which enables the shooter to choose just about any combination he needs. This is yet another example of Caesar Guerini going the extra mile with the Impact to ensure it is the most complete package for the target shooter, and at a relatively modest cost.
It seems no modern Sporter is complete without some kind of ramped adjustable rib, and the Guerini Impact is no exception. The Impact’s rib is relatively unobtrusive and thankfully easy to adjust to achieve the desired point-of-impact by way of an Allen key at the front. Equally important, it provides a head-up position without overdoing it to the extent that you have to adjust your whole stance to accommodate it. In part, this is due to the modest amount of drop-at-heel, 50mm, which is quite enough for most people. At the pattern plate, the Guerini’s easily adjustable stock and rib made it a simple task to achieve a 70/30 per cent pellet distribution, which I consider suitable for Sporting clays.
At North Oxfordshire Shooting School on Sporting clays, I shot with confidence knowing that the gun was pointing exactly where I was looking. At 3.76kg, by modern standards this Guerini is in the middleweight class and I would describe its handling characteristics as suitably steady. This is fortuitous for the all-round shooter because, with adjustments to the stock, the Impact also makes an excellent Trap gun. On Ian Coley’s excellent DTL layout, I missed a single target from 30 shots and the Impact behaved impeccably. The stock can easily be adapted to a gun-up role and handling is smooth and comfortable and recoil is negligible. Is there such a thing as an all-purpose clay target gun? I thought not until I met up with this Guerini.