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Batista Rizzini

Mike Yardley takes a look at a 20 bore O/U gun from Batista Rizzini

ASI of Snape in Suffolk are well known as the importers of AyA guns. A long established family firm, they played a large role in developing the AyA side by side gun for British conditions. ASI have had interests in other brands as well, and recently they announced their wholesale agency for B. Rizzini guns (which are also imported by my friend Paul Roberts in London for sale in his shop).
ASI, meantime, are a major player in the UK gun trade and their involvement with Batista Rizzini is significant news. It is, perhaps, indication that over and unders have become accepted by their client base. Batista Rizzini undoubtedly makes good guns at a wide range of price points (though with the decline of the pound these tend to be rising).


The Rizzinis

The Rizzinis, meantime, are a clan of Italian gunmakers. Here’s what you need to know about them;
Years ago in the UK we used to see E (Emilio) Rizzini guns imported by Sportsmarketing. They were good cheap guns, a step or two up from a Baikal.
E Rizzini is now incorporated into Fausti who, like B.Rizzini, now focus attention on better quality production. Isadore Rizzini is the proprietor of FAIR (the Arms Factory of Isadore Rizzini if you translate the Italian); they made, and make, Lincoln over and underguns – good value sporting tools at fair prices. Batista Rizzini – and they are all brothers by the way – became well known in the UK because of the MacNab range of guns (which were, in the main, made in Batista’s factory).  B.Rizzinis had, however, been sold by Paul Roberts for sometime, who, interestingly, did much work to anglicise the guns and continues to import them to this day.


Rizzini RB EL

Back to the test gun. The gun which ASI have decided to launch their new Rizzini range with is the smart RB EL, which I presume stands for round body Extra Lusso (Extra Luxe). It is a pretty gun weighing 6lbs. 11oz. with 30” barrels and especially attractive, understated, decoration – colour case hardening over first class scroll which is exactly to my taste. The wood is excellent too, and it has deluxe features such as an extended trigger guard and a solid, tapered, sighting rib (one of my favourite patterns for game shooting). I also like the semi pistol grip and round, London-style, forend.
This is a different quality of gun to some that have borne one Rizzini name or other over the years, although it is mechanically similar - being built on an over and under design widely used in Gardonne to this day, which combines trunnion hinging with bifurcated lumps, Browning style bolting and monobloc barrels. It gives an impression of elegance and some quality (though I don’t, frankly, think it quite justifies its 5 ½ K price). This distinct type of modern Brescian gun looks best and handles best in 20bore in my opinion. The action suits the bore size (as it does a 28). The 12 bores of similar type always look and feel a bit heavy to me (because of the Browning style bolt, they tend to be a bit high in the action wall). The round bar action is a definite improvement on the square bar version of the gun (which is still predominant). The engraving and colour case hardened finish will appeal to traditional sportsmen. The engine turning to the sides of the monobloc is always nice to see. The sighting rib was especially well presented.
I liked the half-pistol grip (my favourite style for a single-trigger game gun), and, the Boss-style forend. The comb was well shaped too and the shelf measurements of the stock were sensible with a length of pull of 15” (allowing for easy modification to extend – by a pad – or shorten by cutting). The wood to metal fit was competent. My only negative comment concerned a certain harmonic that was evident on closing the gun and is sometimes apparent in guns constructed using a stock-bolt rather than a breech-pin that connects the stock to the action by means of a vertical screw between top and bottom tang/trigger plate.
This Rizzini has multi-choked barrels which bear Italian proof marks for 3” (76mm) shells. They are well presented and the joins to the monobloc were good. As noted, I especially liked the rib which has a slight taper. The joining ribs are solid too as one expects on a game gun. With regard to the action, there is no much to say, we have seen it in one form or abother so many times. Mechanically it is not innovative, but the design which uses coil springs thoughout is well known for its reliability. The single trigger mechanism is recoil-activated by a bob-weight. The selector mechanism is well proven too and improved by the selector control itself (attached to the thumb-piece of the safety) because it is of a good size – big enough to be used easily on a cold day, but no so big as to spoil the looks of the gun.


Good wood

I liked the half-pistol grip (my favourite style for a single-trigger game gun), and, the Boss-style forend. The comb was well shaped too and the shelf measurements of the stock were sensible with a length of pull of 15” (allowing for easy modification to extend – by a pad – or shorten by cutting). The wood to metal fit was competent. My only negative comment concerned a certain harmonic that was evident on closing the gun and is sometimes apparent in guns constructed using a stock-bolt rather than a breech-pin that connects the stock to the action by means of a vertical screw between top and bottom tang/trigger plate.
The Rizzini’s stock will please not just for its good shapes but for its wood and sensible measurements. The grip, forend and comb could not be much improved upon. I liked the fact that there was no butt plate – another quality touch, as was the Anson style forend fastener. The chequering and oil finish passed muster well. My only comment was the stock was a little low for Mr Average with 2 ¼” drop at heel combined with a relatively thin comb (which effectively lowers the comb).


Shooting Impressions

This a style of gun which I like – a relatively long barrelled 20 bore which is not too light. I shoot 32” 20 bores myself which are a little heavier than this one, but, generally, I like longer 20 bore over and unders of mid-weight – very different guns from the old, light, short-barrelled, 20 bores of old. The newer style guns point well, control recoil effectively and may use 12 bore payloads without discomfort (I routinely shoot 30 gram cartridges in mine when game shooting). The RB EL certainly shot well. It also looked well with its elegant engraving and good stock and action shapes.
There were a couple of details which could have been improved. The top lever was a little sticky and it did not want to come back into position without a little encouragement. A small thing - and one which would have been sorted in minutes by a gunsmith - but, at the price it should not have needed attention. Nevertheless, I liked this elegant gun. The scroll and colour case hardening look really good. The handling was excellent.  A ‘Classic’ model is available, moreover, which is less embellished and significantly less expensive. There is a 28bore version on the same action too. I have shot a 28bore 30” round body previously and it was something really special to use.

Technical Specifications
Make Batista Rizzini ‘B.Rizzini’
Model Round Body
Bore 20
Barrels 30” with multichokes
Chambers 3” (76mm)
Rib Solid
Weight 6lbs. 11oz. approx
RRP £5,479 (with plainer model just over £3,000)

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

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