Guerini Semi-Auto Roman MMIII
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- Last updated: 14/12/2016
Over in mainland Europe, Caesar Guerini’s semi-autos have been available for quite a while, and just like their over-unders, Guerini have quickly developed their inertia or kinetic driven single-barrelled guns into a distinctive range of semi-autos.
The test gun is more or less the mid-range model, yet when you open the case of the Roman MMIII you’re immediately struck by the quality of the walnut and the fact that here’s a semi-auto complete with an elegant ‘Prince of Wales’ stock. Nicely grained with a semi-oiled finish, the woodwork is refined, fits well whilst the rounded pistol-grip adds visual and graceful refinement as does the long, slender fore end and distinct panels of chequering.
Matte black anodised top and bottom with dovetails for scope mounts, the MMIII grade aluminium receiver benefits from silvered etched scroll engraving that blends into scenes of rolling hillsides and lakes, gold inlaid ducks and pheasants taking flight into the distance. Creativity aside, the bolt release is located to the front of the left-hand side of the receiver, the bolt-lock at the front of the sunburst effect black trigger-guard with the familiar cross-bolt safety at the rear.
Echoing the inlays, a narrow hatched gold plated trigger blade sits inside the ovoid guard whilst the polished, silvered surface of the shell lifter almost shouts from its shrouded confines. Nothing especially unique, but a facility overlooked by many, by pushing down on the shell lifter a small lever located at the mouth of the two shot magazine tube allows the extra rounds to be easily unloaded, pushing this discreet extension sideways, allowing each cartridge to exit and jump effortlessly into the palm of your hand.
The bolt itself is machined from a solid billet and uses single-claw extraction from the 3” chamber with a deep extended détente to eject the empties.
The 28” barrel is gloss black, well struck and crowned with a 5 – 7mm vented tapering rib with an extended, interchangeable high visibility bead and a set of five flush-fit multi-chokes.
Locating onto the front of the magazine, when assembled the barrel ring sits between a doughnut shaped metal washer and a short, stiff spring located within the mag cap. Together, these regulate the amount of energy required to cycle the Roman dependant on the load, the Guerini’s equivalent of a gas regulating valve. A word of warning, don’t over tighten the mag cap or it’ll lock itself in situ.
Weights and Measures
Shooting the Roman soon became a most interesting technical experience. Guerini’s dimensions ensure the gun should comfortably fit most shooters, the 7lbs 2oz weight balancing directly beneath the mouth of the 3” chamber whilst drops at comb and heel of 1 5/16th and 2 1/8th allied to a length and weight of pull of 14½” and 6lbs 4oz respectively make for a full-sized, flat shooting semi of good, adult sized proportions.
Looking exactly where I do and delivering its charge of lead with what at first seemed an overwhelming punch, a less than impressive round of Bond & Bywater’s summer’s evening birds was the initial result. Why this should be so was answered after each of the flush-fit multi-chokes had been tried along with a selection of ammo and varying shot sizes. The end result was somewhat unusual, the Roman performing its best when fitted with ½ choke and firing 28g Express Supremes or Hull Sovereign but only when filled with 6½ size shot whilst showing complete contempt for all 24g loads or smaller.
The main reason for this is would seem to be down to the fact that unlike their double-barrelled siblings, none of Guerini’s semi-autos are back-bored nor are the forcing cones particularly extended. Another potential reason could be shot cup seal along the barrel’s inner bore.
The second point is situated around the Roman’s inertia system. With what you might refer to as the bulk of the gun’s mechanism wrapped around the magazine tube, the Roman tends to bounce the majority of the kinetic energy generated by the discharge around and then rearwards as the action cycle is completed .
From the user’s perspective this also means that with no part of the mechanism located any further back than the receiver, the percentage of recoil that finds its way into the stock is travelling parallel to an imaginary line drawn along the length of the centre of the gun, the end result being that little if any recoil is actually felt.
Get a Grip
Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that the energy distribution point sits firmly within your leading hand you can adapt your shooting accordingly by taking a firmer hold of the fore-end and pulling it a little more into the shoulder. From there on in ninety percent plus scores resulted, the Roman picking targets off with ease even at entertainingly extended distances, fifty yards plus with ½ choke not the slightest problem, the central mass promoting quick yet precise movement as the Roman pivots around its own central axis. Similarly, whilst the Roman makes no particular claims to be one of the fastest cycling semis, it would seem to be up there with the best.
Given the Roman’s preference for punchy loads and taking into account the fact that Italian hunters would add a sight to hunt wild boar, a few rounds of lead slug were also fed down the barrel through Cylinder choke, giving the Roman some real stopping power. Taken as a whole, whilst the Roman eventually acquitted itself more than admirably as a clay breaker, its true metier is that of a hunting shotgun, a distinctive and stylish wildfowling companion or for any outing where heavy loads will be used.
View of the Senate
Whilst Guerini’s Roman MMIII won’t suit everyone by virtue of the fact it’s a slightly lively inertia, its well worth taking a close look at one. At £1,175 it’s not badly priced, looks good and is extremely efficient once you’ve got used to its little foibles. Equally, you could save a few quid and opt for the more basic black actioned MMI or add a couple of hundred and go for the top end Gladius, a shotgun worthy of a Milan catwalk.
All in all a good, functional yet stylish 12 bore with bags of entertainment value thrown in for free. My only other recommendations being to make sure you take some time to match your chosen load to the most appropriate choke. Apart from that, enjoy.
PRICE: £1,175 srp (as tested)
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