Easy Work: Vic Harker finds that the Rizzini RB Sporter is a delightfully easy gun to handle and to shoot
Model: RB Sporter
Bore size: 12
Barrel Length: 32in
Action: Coil spring boxlock
Chamber: 3” Magnum
Chokes: Hand detachable
Rib: 10mm parallel
Stock: Monte Carlo pistol grip
Weight: 8lb 5oz
Distributor: ASI (01728 688555)
Though I may have written many hundreds of gun tests, reviewing the Rizzini RB Sporter was for me something special. The gun is an excellent one, but most importantly it is imported from Italy by ASI. My career in the firearms industry began with GMK, followed by Winchester and then as European marketing manager for Browning, also in charge of product development for their European market.
Long before all of that, however, at every game fair I attended as a youngster, ASI’s stands always dominated Gunmakers’ Row and so somehow there was an aura around this company for me. This was possibly because at that time, side-by-side shotguns outsold over-and-unders and, as far as the gun trade was concerned, the AYA imported by ASI in its various guises was a market leader.
When I began shooting, the AYA boxlock was the natural choice as an entry-level gun but you could always aspire to a No2 sidelock or even a No1. My first gun was an AYA No3, but long after, when I was employed in the firearms industry, I never took the opportunity to make contact with ASI, perhaps because I was always working for their competitors.
Though their side-by-side guns still sell in considerable numbers, ASI are also in the over-and-under market and I called Edward King, their managing director, with regards to a shotgun for review. As a result, I have in front of me their latest venture into the over-and-under market, the Rizzini RB Sporter.
The Rizzini family can boast a number of gunmakers but the subject of this test is made by Baltista Rizzini, who founded his company in 1966. Designated RB (round bodied) Sporter, this 32-inch barrelled gun has an extraordinarily elegant appearance for a clay target firearm. There are, of course, other good-looking over-and-unders but I would suggest that the RB’s appearance goes further as its round body action influences every aspect of the gun.
The heading of the stock takes on the rounded contours of the action, which gracefully meld into a particularly well-shaped pistol grip. This is of generous proportions and combines a hand-filling palm swell, all of which provides a reassuring feeling of control.
The comb has a slim, tapered profile from the heel to the front and, together with the slim, rounded forend, the wood is a dark figured walnut. The forend wood is equally well shaped and also follows the lines of the action body, comfortably lying across the leading hand to be held with the fingers.
Unusual for a clay target gun, it incorporates an Anson rod fastening – a tailpiece would have been ideal but sadly was absent. The recoil pad is of the slim, flat-backed kind that thankfully doesn’t snag on your clothing.
The trigger plate action is non-detachable and the hammers are cocked by way of the forend iron in the conventional manner – a straightforward layout and easy to repair. The trigger, as befits a competition gun, was suitably crisp with the minimum of take up. Ejector work was again conventional, which functioned well with good primary extraction and positive ejection. The jointing of the barrels to the action is by way of a bolt coming forward under the breech face and locating in a single bite under the bottom barrel.
With a length of 81 centimetres including hand-detachable flush fitting chokes, extended options are available. Only a cursory glance revealed that Rizzini make good barrels as they always have. In Sporter specification, the rib is flat and tapers from 10 to 7 millimetres, and the top surface is beautifully machined – a blessed relief from something resembling the Forth Bridge and, like so many things, what can be seen but not noticed is best. As for chokes, I was spoiled for choice and so chose the flush-fitting ones first to see how they compared with the extended ones later.
An all-up weight of eight pounds and five ounces is not excessive for a 32-inch barrelled over-and-under of any kind and the RB as a Sporter gun will have to deal with targets at ranges, short as well as long. My personal choice of barrel length for a Sporter is around 30 inches, which was until I shot this Rizzini.
As it is a long gun, I began with some targets at distance. On some 30-yard crossing targets, results were satisfactory and with ½ and ¾ chokes they just disappeared with seemingly little effort from me. I moved onto some driven targets with similar results.
I was a little bemused that the Rizzini made things so easy – I had expected a little more hard work but this was not the case. Trigger pulls were excellent and I had broken a number of targets before I even noticed this, which is as it should be.
At Ian Coley’s Shooting Ground in Gloucestershire, which is where I had taken the gun, there is a stand that offers very long crossing birds from right to left. I always take a shot at these, whatever gun I am using, with varying success. By the time I reached this stand, I was feeling pretty confident but this is usually dashed by the time I have left. Until now, I had just been pointing and shooting with some good results but with my previous experience I refused to get my hopes up. This time, I just kept my head down and the targets kept breaking to the extent that I gathered a small group of onlookers. At this point I stopped – it’s always best when you’re ahead – but I pondered as to why things had gone so well. I thought I knew already, but I did some thinking at home.
This Sporter is not a fast-handling dream, but with the 81-centimetre barrels weighing 1.55 kilograms, it’s not to be expected. Nevertheless, point of balance is in the right place and so this gun moves quickly enough.
I have already mentioned that the stock combines an excellent configuration with a grip that provides a comfortable hold. Put all together, suffice it to say the Rizzini RB Sporter brings that all important quality of feel and balance, which in the right hands could win at any level of competition.