Lanber Field 20 o/u
By: Mark Stone
Mark Stone tries out Lanber newest shotgun – the Field 20 - and discovers what could possibly be the perfect 20 bore for a day’s walked up shooting.
For reasons best known to others, Lanber’s range of shotguns has always to a degree been looked upon as some form of poor relation in the world of Spanish built smoothbores.
Agreed, unlike some of the more illustrious makers, Lanber has nearly always preferred to carve out a niche for itself as a manufacturer of affordable, no nonsense shotguns that places ability over aesthetics. That said there’s never been anything wrong with how a Lanber looks, the general appearance and ornamentation everything the average shooter would look for.
Where the new Field 20 differs is that this is the first 20 bore Lanber have produced that is genuinely scaled down to the gauge barrels and receiver. For the shooter this means the gun looks perfectly in proportion whilst allowing Lanber to build an over – under game gun that’s an absolute joy to use. Every handling characteristic of the Field 20 is a true revelation especially when you consider this new Lanber will set you back a mere £930.
As you’d probably expect the Field 20 package is simplistic in the extreme, a cardboard box containing the gun and two flush-fit multi-chokes. That said it’s all you actually need, anything other in the way of accessories being superfluous when it comes to a game gun, along with the fact that there are no other grade options. So the Field 20 as tested is the one and only option!
What you will find is a neat, modern, Europeans style game gun designed to be all things to all shooters. Walnut with a durable polyurethane type finish, the game style stock is long and elegant with a soft beige rubber recoil pad and small spacer.
A wide, opened radiused grip decorated with large and small panels of chequering and no hint of a palm-swell meaning that apart from the right-hand cast, the Field 20 is as near ambidextrous as it gets. Likewise the slim Schnabel forend, matching panels of chequering covering both sides of the slim extension, a deep latch keeping it secured to the rest of the gun.
Starting with the barrels, the gloss black 28” tubes are swaged into 3” monobloc chambers that hinge on short trunions, a vented mid-rib separating them over their entire length. Echoing the mid- rib, a low vented 5mm top-rib is finished off with a small brass bead that in turn sits over the multi-choked muzzles that flare ever so slightly to accommodate the tubes. The new alloy inertia powered receiver has a brushed satin finish with three small panels of scroll work and light bordering that also continues on the gloss black trigger-guard and top-lever – this being the only decoration.
Internally, and a feature you rarely find on lower priced shotguns, a pair of disc-set strikers allow for ease of maintenance whilst a short locking bar protrudes from below to ensure the Field 20 has a secure lock-up when closed and ready to fire. The gold–plated trigger-blade is well sized and as you’d expect on a game gun, non- adjustable whilst the neat top-lever and large lozenge shaped automatic safety-catch and barrel selector occupy the majority of the top-tang. All neatly executed, everything is exactly where it needs to be and as functional as it is attractive.
As soon as you pick up the Field 20 you’re instantly aware of the fact it weighs next to nothing in shotgun terms, the gun’s 6lbs 2oz mass a physical surprise. Overall the gun measures 451?2” and balances perfectly beneath the hinges whilst the Lanber’s scaled down action has had no affect whatsoever on the sensibly proportioned stock. With a length of pull measuring 14 15/16”, a sensibly weighted trigger that breaks at a consistent 8lbs on both barrels, these slightly heavier pulls ideal on a shotgun designed for general game shooting. With drops at comb and heel of 1 7/16” and 2 7/16”, what at heart is a diminutive shotgun still embodies full sized dimensions where it matters.
Hooked up to the Arrow Laser Shot the Field 20 displayed what was for me a perfectly flat attitude, although some game shooters do prefer their shotguns to shoot slightly high. A personal preference on any gun that I would carry for rough shooting along with a general clay breaker, providing your mount allows your eye to see nothing more than the bead; flat shooting guns mean where you look, so does the gun.
With only two chokes supplied it was a case of Full in the top and Half in the bottom although once again my own preference would have been to open them up by at least one point per choke. That said, it seemed to make little difference to the Field 20’s overall performance, a mixed diet of Eley CT20 and VIP Game making relatively short work of fifty sporting targets. Where you have to be on your guard with the Field 20 is in the gun’s ability to chase after and actually beat the bird to where the two will theoretically coincide; slow movements and an even slower swing the initial key to becoming accustomed to the Field 20’s physical enthusiasm.
The design of the grip and overall balance means the moment the Lanber needs to move it remains what I call fluid, the gun’s handling and inane ability to interpret guidance constantly malleable between the hands, an unexpected change of direction quickly translated into a successful shot. Don’t for one moment though think the light weight has a trade off, the Field 20’s ability to dial out all but the mildest recoil is impressive, Lanber having got the stock angles and dimensions exactly right.
So featherweight is the gun that it will seem (at first) to run away with you, the distribution of the overall mass ensuring that the shooter has to input the minimum of effort for the gun to start swinging. This in turn means the Field 20 is ideally suited to snap-shooting, the stock almost leaping to the shoulder whilst the muzzles rise and arc round on the desired direction. Emphasising this was an evening stroll looking for rabbits, pigeon and crows, the Lanber’s presence over my arm almost negligible until it was required to leap into life and dispatch a hastily departing or quickly climbing target.
Rough and ready
Shooting grouse or partridge over dogs still remains one of the most rewarding forms of game shooting, as is the camaraderie of a day’s rough shooting. However, an early season day on a moor even with an average 12 bore can soon become something of a test of character, the shotgun seemingly doubling in weight as each tussock dodging step is taken. And this is where Lanber’s Field 20 truly shines, a gun that weighs only slightly more than your flask and sandwiches, yet has the ability to deliver the results when and where it matters.
|Name||Lanber Field 20|
|Action||Boxlock over – under|
|Chokes||Flush – fit multi|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates