Caesar Guerini Magnus Lightweight in 28 bore
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- Last updated: 13/12/2016
This month we are looking at one of an exciting new range of Guerini guns that are being brought into this country by Guerini UK, a company that is a partnership between Kevin Gill and Mike Mansfield. Kevin is one of our best know trap shots with no less than two Olympics to his credit, Mike is a successful businessman who brings his commercial experience to the new enterprise.
I intend to test several Guerinis in the months to come. Without giving too much away, I shall note that I have been impressed with the quality and value that they seem to offer. I have chosen to start with this little lightweight model for no other reason than it came to hand first. It is not quite typical of the range with regard to its spec (and is available only to order), but it appealed to me as a small bore, it being no secret that I also have a soft spot for 28s! This Guerini, moreover, has just the qualities of fit and finish that have allowed this marque to quickly carve a place for itself within a very competitive market place.
On The Bench
Our test piece is a 28" barrelled, over and under, in 28 bore with 70mm (2 3/4") chambers (no one has yet come up with a 3" 28 as far as I know) and a single selective trigger. It hits the scales at something just over five pounds - so it is really light. It might also be noted that you can get similar lightweight, alloy-action Guerinis in 12, 20 and .410; the range of guns they offer is very large - nearly all their models are available in a wide range of bore sizes and barrel lengths. This is a dedicated game gun, but it might also be used by a youngster or lady for clay shooting. First impressions are of an elegant little gun with pleasing lines and very good quality finish. It handles like a little wand, in fact. On first mounting it, it feels incredibly light.
The sighting rib is narrow and ventilated. The joining ribs are solid, however. The stock is of semi-pistol pattern - more on that anon, suffice to say the shapes are excellent. The thing that really impressed me initially was the elegant coin finished, action with side-plates. Everything about this little gun seems to have been well thought through. The engraving is not only attractive - but the fit and finish of the side-plates to action body and into the wood of the stock is first class. Guerini, in their other steel-actioned models, offer all sorts of finish options - all seem to be in exceptionally good taste. In this case, the gunmetal grey action compliments the nicely finished (and figured) wood well. These are the sort ofdetails that distinguish the Guerini from the average ‘euro-gun’.
The Guerini comes to the shoulder well and, as is often the case with 28 bores, it seems especially well proportioned. I have to admit some bias. I like the small bores; I use them for a lot of my game shooting these days. I also enjoy using them for clay-busting. O.K., my results with a 28 (or 20) are usually about 10% down on those with an equivalent 12 bore, but who cares? The great thing about these little guns is that they are so much fun. In truth, this is a little bit lighter than my ideal, but just because it is so dinky, it brought a smile to my face and everyone else who shot it. It would be just the ticket for walking up small birds in difficult conditions. I could have done with one in the heather earlier in the year.
There is not that much innovative in the Guerini's mechanical design. The cleverness is achieving such good quality at such a comparatively modest cost (the RRP of the lightweight model is £1,595). This is, of course, accomplished, by CNC and similar technology (and it is notable that Guerini have just made a very considerable investment in an ultra-high tech factory - something that seems to have appealed to Italian makers more than any others). The barrels are built on the monobloc system, of course. They are chambered for 2 3/4" (70mm) cartridges. Both tubes are marked 13.9mm by the Italian Proof Authorities, which is standard for a 28.
Internal and external finish of the barrels is very good. The chokes are nicely machined (5 come with this gun - competition guns come with 8 as standard). The forcing cones are of average length and the barrelbores chromed. The action of the test gun is of typical Italian pattern, with a split hinge pin and coil springs used to power the tumblers. The single trigger mechanism is of the inertia type, and a selector is placed on top of the conventional thumb operated top strap safety. I thought the selector well shaped and positive in action. Trigger pulls on this gun are pretty good too. The trigger blade is gold plated but inoffensive. Action furniture - trigger guard, safety cum barrel-selector, and top-lever are finished in the same grey as the main action body and side-plates. It all looks very elegant. Full marks for styling.
Mechanically, there are no great surprises, apart from the alloy action body. The Guerini has bifurcated lumps and stud pins in the manner of a Beretta or Rizzini. These, allows for a lower action profile than in those guns that use a full width pin of the Browning and Merkel style. The bolting system, however, owes more to Browning than Beretta, in that there is a full width bolt coming out of the bottom of the action face and engaging bites beneath the bottom chamber mouth. It is a well proven system. The only disadvantage is that by placing the bolt and bites beneath the bottom chamber mouth the gun is made a little deeper in profile than might otherwise be the case with a split hinge pin design. In the case of 28 or 20 bore this is of no consequence. Even in their 12s Guerini have managed to makes their action look compact and elegant.
The stock on the Guerini is made from walnut which shows good figure. It measures 14 5/8" from the middle of the trigger to the middle of the contrasting wood butt plate. Measurements to heel and toe are 1/8" and 3/8" extra respectively. There is a pleasant and well shaped semi-pistol grip. I liked the form of it a lot, like the current B.Rizzini pattern, it is near perfect in form and size. It has that great quality of being fairly even in depth. The grip is also sufficiently large to achieve good purchase without being so big as to be ungainly. The gun has a well shaped and tapered comb too. Drop measurements are 1 3/8" at the front of the comb and 2 1/8" or so at heel. There is slight right-handed cast. The forend is a well proportioned and shaped in schnabel style with a button release at the front. Both butt and forend are oil finished, or at least appear to be.
I shot the gun at our usual test venue, the Braintree Shooting Ground. It was one of several Guerinis that I shot with Kevin Gill the same day. What struck me about this gun was the very fast handling - frankly a bit too quick for me. But, I was impressed with how well the gun controlled recoil thanks to its excellent stock design. After I slowed my pace a bit – there is a tendency to accelerate in front of some birds or shoot above them with a very light gun – I broke birds in good style with 21 gram loads.
The Magnus lightweight is an interesting, attractive and well-made little gun. It might be used by anyone wanting something that might be carried all day with ease. In the context of clay instruction, it might suit some younger Guns too (where weight can be a very significant issue). I could also imagine it being used on smaller pigeon days where its lack of weight and reduced ammunition burden might be a real boon. I also shot a 32", steel-actioned, Guerini 28 bore by way of comparison. This was quite a contrast. The Long-Tom shot really well (and will be the subject of a future test), but I still came away thoroughly impressed with the lightweight Guerini. We are going to hear a lot more of this firm.
My thanks to Kevin Gill and theBraintree Shooting Ground.