Lanber Field Hunter
Mark Stone tries out an entry level 12-bore in the form of Lanber’s Field Hunter and finds a robust and no nonsense gun that beats most others of this ilk hands down
When I started shooting many years ago, the range of budget 12-bores was seriously lacking especially if you wanted to buy new. One make that was available and offered value for money coupled with some serious if basic build quality was the Lanber. Manufactured in the Basque region of Spain by Comlanber, ‘Com’ standing for Commercial, many of these over – under box locks were bought for lads who went on to use them for years on end, a trait I can see happening once again if the new Field Hunter is anything to go by.
Forget the oodles of trimmings proffered by the competition, what you get with the Field Hunter is exactly what you need! Whether its driven pheasants, walked – up, or some late night bunny bumping or vermin control, this gun is more than up to the task. Delivered in a green plastic travelling case, on opening the lid you’re greeted with action, barrels, a small case containing a set of chokes and key plus a small red velveteen wallet containing the five – year guarantee.
The first things to greet you are the rather garish looking gold partridge and ducks inlayed into the side and base of the satin-finished action. In my opinion, the Field Hunter’s receiver would look better either blank or with light border engraving. Decorations aside, the 3” chambered gloss black monoblock barrels lock solidly into position courtesy of a full – width locking bolt that engages in the slot beneath the bottom barrel. Whilst the strong ejectors are operated by rods that run through the bottom of the action, driven by a cam in the forend, the trigger mechanism re-cocks as the gun is opened.
Furniture-wise the rather light coloured (for a game gun) semi-oiled sporter stock and Schnable forend are nicely figured and come with neat, well formed, laser-cut chequering whilst wood to metal fit is excellent. Even as a brand new gun, the Lanber went together with ease, opened and closed without the usual, from-the-box need to force things a few times, whilst the automatic safety and barrel selector combination was both firm and precise.
What rather set the Field Hunter out as having had some thought applied was in the semi – pistol grip. Noticeably shallow in curvature with a well rounded nose to the comb, the dimensions allow the gun to remain relatively fluid in movement. Often a badly designed grip can tend to lock the hand into position, something I and many others find restricting on an all purpose game gun.
A Saturday morning’s casual shooting around Coniston SG’s Skeet and ESP layouts soon revealed one overwhelming trait of the Lanber Field Hunter. It proved itself to be one of the flattest shooting over & unders I’ve encountered for many a year. Offering as it does a required sight picture slightly more akin to a side-by-side.
Similarly, I found the Lanber tended to require slightly tighter choking for clays, ¾ and ½ instead of the more usual ½ and ¼. However, once adjustments had been made the Field Hunter shot as well as any, the 7-5mm vented top – rib and brass bead are typically game orientated. With the centrally-biased 7lbs 8oz weight and 28” barrels all combining to emphasize this Lanber’s true live quarry vocation. From the moment you pick up and mount the gun, it offers an air of purpose, that you will want to use and get to know.
Where the Field Hunter excelled was in the gun down position, with the gun consistently showing its ability to place its 28-gram charge of Express Supreme or World Cup lead on the money every time. Quick handling, if used as intended, the slightly weighty 6lb 8oz trigger became negligible, whilst the stock drop dimensions of 1 ½” and 2 3/8” at comb and heel allowed for accurate shooting even if the mount wasn’t as precise as it should be.
Interestingly, with a pull length of 14 ½” combined with the solid rubber recoil pad, the owner should find the Field Hunter comfortable to use whatever the clothing worn. If the Lanber has a negative it’s that the recoil can be felt fractionally more than expected although not to a degree that should concern.
Old fashioned values
Compared to the sub - £1,000 Italian and Eastern European offerings, the Lanber doesn’t visually appeal, as many modern buyers are seduced by the glitter and numerous goodies contained within the oppositions’ package. Remember though whilst others bedazzle, Lanber are confident enough in their shotgun to still produce a tried and tested boxlock design that’ll still be going when the rest have fallen by the wayside.
If further proof were needed the Lanber is one of the few shotguns you rarely see second – hand, as most owners are loath to part with them. OK, personally I’d do away with the rather cheap looking gold inlays but that’s just me. Apart from that I’d be more than happy to walk onto any game shoot with this Lanber over my arm.
At the end of the day, the Field Hunter will knock birds out of the sky with the same degree of alacrity as a shotgun costing four or five times more. It may not look as expensive or as decorative, but do remember, you shouldn’t be looking at the gun when you’re bagging pheasants.
• When it comes to budget shotguns, the Lanber’s the daddy
• A 12 – bore game gun that’ll perform each and every task
• Built to outlast its first, second and probably third owner
|Name||Lanber Field Hunter|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates