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Zoli Columbus Gold

Zoli Columbus Gold

Zoli shotguns, manufactured since their beginnings in 1945, have been undergoing a bit of a renaissance, with a mix of traditional styling meeting the modern practice of CNC machining. You have a computer-designed and made shotgun to high-tolerances and quality and then the final stages are undertaken by gunsmiths to finish the Zoli.

Zoli take that Italian idea of flair and design and mould it into a very stylish series of over and under shotguns available in 12- or 20-gauge and in version guises of game, field and premium grade models.

I had the 12-gauge Columbus Gold model that is good for game as it is for field or sporting clay use, with a choice of 26- to 32-inch barrels with this model having 30- (29.5-) inch. The silver action is finished with fine scroll work with 80% coverage and accented gold game scenes, Zoli`s detachable trigger group for cleaning and strong Boss-type lock up.

Stock

What struck me first about the Columbus, which was designed as a walked-up game gun really, was how well the stock lead itself to all manner of shotgun disciplines, with a very natural hold and great handling. Game styling with a nice rounded forend for a generous hold, ample chequering that covers most of the surface area and underneath. Not fancy but reasonably cut and functional.
The stock section becomes very interesting, as its length of pull is pretty standard at 14.5-inches, with a small degree of cast but the pistol grip is very nice.

You have a pistol grip styling but with a long shallow rake to it that firstly, looks very nice and a bit different, but also holds the hand very naturally. There is minimal strain to the grip and it affords a more comfortable placement of the trigger finger.

Again, chequering with a roll over the top strap for the thumb to grip. I particularly like the thin walnut butt-plate arrangement that gives an air of sophistication. However, the wood quality of the walnut is a bit plain for this type of gun; nicely coloured, with some horizontal figuring and a rubbed oil finish but more select walnut would really set off the rest of the gun. Despite this, it’s a great handling stock design that puts the Zoli in a league of its own.

Action, trigger and safety

The action on this model is a silver finished steel alloy, lighter in weight yet still retaining maximum strength.

The use of EDM, i.e. spark erosion process ensure very fine tolerances that ensure perfect finish and fit of the action parts and barrels. The silvered finish is quite bright and has a lot of scroll engraving to the surface; it’s nicely done but a little thin for me, less is more in my eyes. There are gold accented game scenes to both sides and base with ducks to the left receiver side, rising partridge to the right and pheasant to the base.

The trigger guard is plain blued to complement the barrel’s finish, as is the top lever that has a small amount engraving. This sits a long way to the right, so plenty of bite in the locking lugs.

The safety is automatic as the action is opened and the barrels fire with an inertia system to the second barrel. The safety is quite long but well chequered and the barrel selectors are very good and positive with a clear single or double dot for top or bottom barrel selection. I like manual systems but this Zoli is very easy and quick to use, so no problems.

The trigger unit is separate and as such does not have the same stress to it if it was attached to the action and so can be adjusted with finesse. You also have the choice of dropping the trigger unit as one, via the single screw that is removed with the torque tool supplied and that allows instant cleaning or disabling of the gun. This Posi-Lock system allows a non-creep, light and constant trigger pull that will not chang even after sustained use.

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The hammers are precisely weighted and operated by coil springs with all the wearing parts made from hardened materials or Titanium Nitride for longer lasting and also stop corrosion. The firing pins themselves are guided by separate bushes, thus allowing concentric and positive ignition of the primer. There are also vent holes to this bush if a primer becomes pierced, allowing gases to escape safely. The trigger blade is quite wide and smooth and adjustable front and back, so a gloved hand can be accommodated if desired.

Barrels and chokes

Great attention to detail here. Available in 12g or 20-gauge, the Columbus barrel lengths are available in 26-, 28-, 30- or 32-inches. I had the 30 inch that actually measure 29.5-inches and are multi choked and very well struck off. You get the impression that Zoli have spent some time thinking how to get the best from the barrels. They are silver soldered together with great care and the two barrels are separated by a mid-section vented rib. It’s visually good and also aids cooling. The top rib is 10mm wide and has a matt engine turned surface with a single gold bead at the muzzle end.

The whole finish has a superbly deep polished blue/ black that really sparkles and looks seriously good. The barrel lumps are the mono bloc type but Zoli use a super strong split locking bolt system to lock the barrels into the action frame.

Due to the locking bolts accessing the barrels at the midsection of the barrels, you get a very good, even and secure pressure to the barrel closure. A lower lug also engages in to the action frame at this position and the axis pins forming very tight tolerances between the two. You therefore have a very strong and long-lasting, tight action, designed to shoot a lot of rounds before it becomes loose.

The chambering is 3-inch and the fleur de lis steel shot proofed with the correct choke fitted, up to modified, so good for all game species and situations.

In the field

½ choke was used at 30-yards on the pattern boards. What you notice most about the Zoli, is the superb grip and great handling that is the equal of many a handfitted gun. The recoil seems less abrupt, even with the wooden butt plate and more straight back than up in your face. The triggers were smooth and both the ejectors well-timed and brisk.

High Pheasant Extreme A 70mm black case, fibre wadded load giving greater range and hitting power than standard cartridges. The 32-gram load with No. 5 shot on the pattern boards with the ½ choke gave a total of 181 pellets. 123 pellets were evenly spread in the outer 30-inch circle and I had 58 No. 5 shot pellets within the inner 15-inch sector.

Really nice coverage overall on the boards, with no holes that even a partridge could not get through; great performance and low recoil too.

Hull Special Pigeon has 32-grams of No. 6 shot in this test load, which is a pretty standard Pigeon loading, providing enough of the right shot size to make quick kills. The Zoli shot a total of 261 pellets on the 30-inch board, distributed with 101 pellets to the inner 15-inches and 160 pellets to the outer regions. Great density of shot to the pattern, with again lovely spread of shot and no holes for a fast Pigeon to sneak through.

Gamebore Clear Pigeon This load has 30-grams no 6 shot in a 70mm case. They had more of a snap to them for some reason but shot lovely patterns at 30-yards. 203 pellets in total, with 144 pellets in the outer sectors and 59 pellets in the inner portions. Slightly top end biased but still very evenly patterned.

Eley Grand Prix Another 32-gram load with No. 6 shot size in a 67mm case. This old stalwart was a bit more spread out, with 196 pellets in total with 75 pellets in the inner sector and the remaining 121 pellets around the rest of the board. Wider apart but still no holes and a good all-round cartridge.

Conclusion

You have a lot of choice when it comes to this type of gun and it’s hard to break into that arena, amongst the established Beretta, Browning and Blaser brands. The Zoli, as with Caesar Guerini and other makers, offer their own styling and are equal in quality and so beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

So far, as performance goes, the Zoli Columbus handles remarkably well and your eye is instantly flat looking down that wide 10mm rib. I love the grip and the patterns thrown again were very good with an assortment of cartridges used.

  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

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  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

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  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

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  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

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  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Zoli Columbus Gold - image {image:count}

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gun
features

  • Model: Zoli Columbus Gold
  • Calibre: 12-gauge
  • Barrel: 30-inches (26-, 28- and 32-inch available)
  • Chokes: Multi choke 5 supplied.
  • Top rib width: 10mm
  • Weight: 6lbs 12oz
  • Chamber: 3-inch, 76mm
  • Type: Over and Under
  • Action: Posi Lok with detachable trigger unit
  • Stock: Walnut, Oil finished
  • Length of pull: 14.5-inches
  • Recoil Pad: Walnut, chequered
  • Length: 47-inches
  • Price: £3322.00
  • Contact: Edgar Brothers www.edgarbrothers.com

2 Comments

  • I need 32" berrel zoli columbus gold.I am from India aspiring trap shooter.

    Default profile image
    G.Pholen Sharma
    22 Mar 2021 at 05:47 AM
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    How to Give a Hand Job
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