Marocchi A12 semi-auto shotgun
Hot on the heels of their highly recommended Zero 3 over & under Marocchi are now offering a top quality semi-auto. Mark Stone tests the A12
As regular readers will probably remember, I was more than impressed when I tested Marocchi’s Zero3 O/U, a 12-bore that belied its asking price with levels of design and handling that transcended shotguns costing two or three times more. So when UK importers JLS asked if I’d like to try one of Marocchi’s new A12 semi-autos it was a case of how quickly can you deliver it? All I can say is that I wasn’t disappointed.
In keeping with all of Marocchi’s guns, the first thing that hits you even before you assemble the A12 is its style and looks - an overwhelming hallmark of every Marocchi I’ve seen. What this Italian manufacturer has achieved is one of the most distinctive looks to be found anywhere, a look of purity that marks them out a classic whilst allowing them to keep the costs down. Not for them the application of low quality engraving, instead a purity and clarity of line the equal of any international design house.
Light or Heavy?
The first thing you have to do before you put the A12 together is to decide which of the two piston valves you need to fit, as each is set up for certain cartridge types. For 28 to 36 gram shells, it’s the ‘Light Load’ piston that’s required. For 38 to 44 grams or very soft cushioning; the ‘Heavy Load’ is the one to choose. Given that most UK shooters rarely venture above 36 grams, this choice will probably only be made once. Assembly is simple, with nothing to line up apart from the barrel guide, the forend and end cap seamlessly following on behind.
Starting at the business end, the gloss black 28” barrel is crowned with an 8mm vented rib and red plastic bead. Four multi-chokes and fitting key comes as standard, with the restrictions being indicated by a series of notches around their rims. The bore diameter measures 0.720” three inches back from the muzzle and 0.716” six inches in from the 3” chamber.
The lustrous shine of the barrel continues rearwards into the top and sides of the aluminium receiver, with only the white Marocchi A12 name and bolt release button interrupting the minimalism. The base of the action shows the now familiar satin- finished silver. Only the shell lifter, magazine cut-off and deep curved trigger blade introducing any brightness, although the thick, deep set matt black trigger guard and rear-mounted, cross-bolt safety catch offset this concession to mass produced traditionalism.
In respect of the furniture, Marocchi’s attention to discreet elegance once again comes to the fore. Well figured with graining that, if the owner so desired, could be further enhanced by the application of oil, the trap-style forend’s curvature and broad panels of checkering will suit most hand sizes and grip styles, whilst the semi pistol grip stock displays two neat sections of comfortable, machine-cut checkering along with a vented recoil pad.
Length and Cast
The length of pull is 14 5/8”, drop at comb 1½” whilst the drop at heel works out at 2½”. More or less guaranteed to suit most average shooters, but minor alterations can be carried out with the inclusive set of shims, one of which is also designed to add a left hand cast. Requiring nothing more than a crosshead screwdriver and a box spanner, owners should have no problem in carrying out this process themselves. If I had to criticise the woodwork it is that a sling swivel is fitted as standard. Leave the one on the mag cap by all means, but please let the buyer decide if they want one on the butt.
With a bang on weight of 7lbs, a 28” barrel and a Skeet choke as part of the set of four, it seemed only sensible to start off on the close-in birds this restriction was meant for. Ten of Coniston SG’s targets later, two distinct A12 characteristics had rapidly come to light, namely that this gun swings quickly, too quickly at times, since I’d dropped three birds out in front. Equally, for a European single barrel shotgun, it shot unexpectedly high. Not to the degree of American semis, but high enough to require a noticeable degree of muzzle alteration and sight picture modification.
The remedy of slowing the swing, combined with the mental increase in time the clays seemed to be allowed, showed the A12 to be an extremely relaxed gun to use. Likewise, using Express Supremes, I decided to leave the ‘Light Load’ piston in place, the Marocchi more than able to soak up the solid, precise recoil these competition loads generate. Balanced as centrally as any semi-auto I’ve used and with a well rounded trap-style forend, so designed to provide an even grip irrespective of hand position combined with a trigger that has absolutely zero creep, the A12’s feel is that of a shotgun you simply want to shoot and shoot again.
The Sporting Master
Moving onto a few rounds of Sporting, the A12 performed admirably well, ½ choke allowing the gun to tackle the longest birds with ease, ably demonstrating the Marocchi’s all round abilities as a clay or game gun. With game or in particular wildfowling in mind, this gun offers a useful feature. Standard barrel length options are 24, 26 and 28”, but you can also get two and four inch extension tubes.
Popular in Europe, these tubes replace the multi-choke in the muzzle but are themselves threaded to allow the choke to be refitted. This means that within minutes you could convert our tester into a Full choke 32” semi, ideal for taking on flighting ducks, long range geese, or the large variety of vermin that populate most game shoots.
Easy to assemble, light to handle, rapid to mount and get on target and stylish to look at! Once the user has adapted to how the A12 balances and shoots, this Marocchi is more than likely to become a constant companion, no matter what the shooting situation. Similarly, for those seeking a lighter weight 12 bore, such as juniors, women or beginners, who find a full sized O/U something of a handful, I couldn’t think of a semi-auto better suited than the budget beating A12. On sheer price and looks alone, this neat semi is a winner from the moment you take it out of its box. At just £441, I can’t even complain about the lack of a case.
For those who wish to upgrade their A12, the synthetic stock option cost the exact same as the standard gun whilst the limited edition high grade woodwork adds a further £141 to the purchase price. Barrel extensions are a further £24 whilst the Techno adjustable stock is an extra £124. For the 20-bore version, could I suggest you contact JLS.
Having now tested the Zero 3 and the A12 all I can say is that once Marocchi’s new Boss action ‘100’ hits these shores there’s a significant chance it’ll be a serious piece of kit. One thing I will say though is that irrespective of other manufacturers’ offerings, its already going to have its work cut out when compared to the Marocchi’s we’ve already looked at.
|Calibre||12-bore, 3” chamber|
|Capacity||2+1 (Sect 2)|
|Barrel||28” (as tested)|
|Multi-choke||Y (four included)|
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates