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- Last updated: 25/08/2017
The second of the new Brixia shotguns being imported by John Webster at Norgas, the Master 20g, is equally at home around the layouts as it is on a game shoot. Classed as the entry level model, Brixia’s Master is a classic example of the phrase ‘more is less’ and it’s the simplicity of the lines and lack of ornamentation that gives the Master an understated elegance few others have been able to achieve.
Also available as a 12-bore, the Master 20g on test is testament to the continuing trend for many shooters to reduce their bore size, especially for game shooting.
The benefits are that with the right cartridges loaded, a 20’s hitting power isn’t at times that much less than a 12 and over the period of a day’s walked-up or a stroll around the boundaries, the physical attributes of the smaller gauge soon make themselves known. Also, to shoot as well with a 20 as you’d do with a 12 gives the shooter a warm and rosy internal glow.
Initially, the sling swivels seen on the test gun won’t be fitted to the UK specification models once minor alterations have been made. That said, especially if you want to go hunting continental style, you’ll need them to be left where they are. Slings aside, all Brixia Masters look the same, the only changes being bore and scale.
As always, the Master arrives in the usual plastic travelling case, along with a set of flush-fit choke tubes and key. Good quality dark, semi-oiled finished walnut forms the nicely sized game style stock, complete with a solid rubber butt pad and Anson latched, London-style forend. The small panels of chequering are neat and well executed, whilst the forend’s narrow finger grooves provide the shooter with a secure hold, even when the gun is moving rapidly between targets.
The Master on test was fitted with the 30-inch monobloc, magnum chambered barrels complete with a low stanchion 7mm top rib and small bead and solid midrib, the layout most definitely game gun orientated. However, barrel length choice is quite remarkable, the buyer having a choice ranging from 24-inches to 32-inches, one of the most comprehensive selections I’ve ever encountered, the shorter tubes perfect should snipe shooting be your thing.
But what will impress you is the action. Based as with most shotguns of this type around the familiar Italian boxlock design, this inertia driven lockwork lives within a genuinely impressive frame. A bright satin finish with a sweeping black line along the side, the decoration (such as it is) is formed by the words Brixia and Master, with the Brixia symbol on the base of the action. A plain broad guard protects the trigger, the barrel order selector located to the rear of the blade. Similarly, the top tang, the smooth top-lever situated just in front of the large, thumb sized manual safety.
For a 20g, the Master isn’t the lightest you’ll ever encounter but it’s still not bad at 7lbs 2oz and with the 30-inch barrels the overall length is a handy and manoeuvrable 47¼-inches. Length of pull is a good average of 14 1/8-inches with a release weight of 5lbs 1oz and a balance point a ½-inch forward of the hinges. The Master mounts well and swings with ease, whilst being able to change direction in an instant. If I had any type of issue, it was that initially the Brixia shot slightly high, my own preference being for flat-shooting shotguns. However, minor physical adjustments made, off we went, ¾ and ¼ chokes in situ and a couple of boxes of 24g Fiocchi TTOne fibrewads as the ammo of choice.
Shot around the Rixton & Astley Shooting Club, part of importer John Webster’s Norgas shooting business, the Master very quickly proved its worth and abilities especially on fast, close targets, a quick dose of 7½s more than enough to shatter John’s strategically thrown mini and midi targets. The transfer of the inertia lockwork makes engaging a pair of fast birds an extremely easy task, as does the speed at which the Master moves.
Designed and built as a budget or starter shotgun, in 20g guise the Master more than fits the bill, all of £855 of your hard-earned pounds is all it takes to install a Brixia Master 20g in your cabinet, irrespective of barrel length. Not surprisingly, the 12-bores will cost ever so slightly more but not by much, whilst 28g and 410 are also rumoured.
But if you’re looking for an affordable 20g, either for yourself or a member of your family and don’t’ want to spend a fortune, Brixia’s Master could well be the shotgun for you. Equally, the Master now means that you don’t have to go down the Turkish route, although there’s nothing wrong with the vast majority of them. The Master also means that you now have a viable option from the big Italian names, many of whom are now producing cheaper shotguns that cost twice as much as Brixia’s Master, yet aren’t worth a fraction of the asking price. Take a look at a Master for yourself and I guarantee you’ll come to the exact same conclusion.
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