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Marocchi’s new A20

Marocchi’s new A20

I have to admit that I hadn’t really been aware of Marocchi’s range of O/U and semi-auto shotguns before I found myself in front of their stand at this year’s IWA, but having seen what they had to offer there, I felt it was time I took a closer look. So when I got back to the UK I called John Scoltock of JLS, who are the UK agents for CD Europe, Marocchi’s parent company, and he kindly agreed to lend me one of their new semi autos.

Marocchi’s latest line of S/A guns are the A12 and A20 which are produced in their newly-modernised Gardone factory. The new A-series guns reveal their Italian breeding in their styling, specifically offering a sleek receiver in a distinctive two-tone finish, smart ‘medallions’ emblazoned with the Marocchi logo on both sides of the receiver and the base of the pistol grip, and elegantly-proportioned woodwork, including a slender tulip-shaped fore-end. The quality of the wood is good too, exceptionally well-figured for a gun at this price, and nicely set off with a rich chestnut stain under what looks like a traditional oil finish.

The metalwork meanwhile shows an even gloss black finish everywhere but on the underside of the receiver, which is silver in colour and satin in texture. This is undoubtedly striking, and has the effect of making the receiver look even slimmer than it is, but it is a pity that the finish is spoilt by stamping, showing silver on black and vice versa.

Cosmetic quibbles aside, first impressions of the gun’s feel and handling are very positive. Unusually, the chequering on the pistol grip is pressed, whilst that on the fore-end is machine-cut, but both provide a grip that is at once positive and comfortable, and the shape and location of the panels complement the contours of the stock and fore-end.

A Lightweight Auto

I should mention at this point that the test gun is the A20. A real featherweight, fully loaded, with a round in the chamber and two in the magazine, this baby brother to the A12 weighs in at only a whisker over 6lb. This makes it a pleasure to carry and very fast into the shoulder, although it did take a bit of practice to stop myself swinging too quickly through the target.

Even after I’d got the hang of this I still found myself missing several targets for no apparent reason. Changing to a more open choke helped a bit – five tubes are supplied with the A20 and for some reason I had started with Full – but the real cause wasn’t apparent until I patterned the gun on paper at 35 yards, when it became clear that the centre of the pattern lay at the base of the bead rather than just above it as I had expected.

As I prefer not to cover the target with the bead, I got out the set of plastic stock shims that comes with the gun and removed the shim for left-hand cast - which I had fitted at the outset - replacing it with one that reduced the drop, so that my eye was now just above the rib rather than level with it. This raised the apparent point of impact and let me put the target on top of the bead, which produced a welcome increase in my hit rate, although I’d probably have done better still if I hadn’t now had to contend with a degree of opposite cast. Excuses, excuses!

In truth, notwithstanding the provision of a left hand stock shim, the A20 isn’t really a left-hander’s gun, since, unlike Benellis, which use an almost identical mechanism, the cross-bolt safety catch isn’t reversible and gets in the way of your trigger finger to the extent that it is possible inadvertently to reset it as you go to take the shot. This, it goes without saying, can be frustrating!

Uncomplicated Gas System

When you do shoot the A20, however, the recoil is well dampened by its gas system, good stock design and the soft rubber recoil pad fitted to the butt. The gas system itself is the simplest around, with two ports in the underside of the barrel leading into a gas collar fitted with one of two removable inserts – for heavy or light loads – and a piston arm that drives the bolt carrier rearwards to cycle the action, the bolt being returned to battery thereafter by a recoil spring mounted in the butt.

Thanks to the simplicity of the design, stripping the gun is easy, requiring only the removal of the knurled magazine end cap, a quick tug on the charging handle, and tapping out the trigger-group retaining pin. All the major sub assemblies can then be easily cleaned. Aside from the barrel, the only parts that required intensive cleaning were the gas inserts, although as these fitted nicely into the ultrasonic cleaner I use to clean my rifle brass, even they were hardly a chore to deal with.

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With the “heavy load” insert fitted, 2.5” cartridges, whether loaded with 28g or 32g of shot, wouldn’t eject, whereas 32g, 2.75” cartridges cycled flawlessly. Conversely, with the “light load” insert fitted, the 2.5” cartridges ejected without a hitch whilst the 2.75” hulls were blasted some 20 feet from the gun with their mouths squashed shut! Surprisingly, perhaps, the most comfortable cartridges to shoot were the 2.75”, 32g shells in “heavy load” mode, as these had just enough poke to keep the action happy but without working it too hard.

Loading, as is usual with semis, is into a tubular magazine via a gate in the bottom of the receiver. With the magazine full the bolt can then be drawn back and a third cartridge dropped into the breech, or, alternatively, you can press the magazine latch (located forward and left of the trigger guard) to release a cartridge onto the shell lifter, then pull back the bolt before letting it go forward to chamber the shell.

When the last round has been fired, the bolt is automatically held to the rear so the gun can be cleared or reloaded, a chromed bolt release being provided at the front right of the receiver.

The polished alloy trigger has comfortably rounded contours, and pulls are an unexceptional weight, at between 7.5 and 8lb. There is some creep, but this is only noticeable when you look for it. The length of pull is 14.5”, which should suit most people, although I felt I could have done with a quarter-inch less.

The aforementioned quibbles about the sight picture aside, the view down the gun is good, with the receiver offering a broad “U” into which is set a broad, grooved pre-rib that leads on to the rib proper. This is a 6mm parallel, ventilated affair, subtly cross-hatched to give a non-glare surface that nevertheless shows longitudinal grooves, leading to a 3mm red fibre-optic “bead”.

The rib and barrel are nicely finished, and the latter has a chromed bore, which makes it easy to clean. The barrels flare slightly at the end to accept the screw-in choke tubes, which are flush fitting and finished in black.


Overall, the quality of workmanship and materials is exceptional for a gun at this price, and the use of aluminium alloy for the receiver and magazine tube, along with a synthetic trigger guard, make for a delightfully light and handy gun. From a left-handed perspective I’d have liked to see a full set of l/h shims and a reversible safety catch, but otherwise my only reservations have to do with point-of-impact and the durability of the silver finish on the underside of the receiver – the former being something that is likely to vary from shooter to shooter, as a recent review of the A12 reported that gun as shooting high! In the final analysis, however, the A20, with its handsome woodwork, ease of use, interchangeable chokes, adjustable stock, and nimble handling remains undeniably attractive and offers proper Italian styling and build-quality at a price that represents remarkable value for money.

5 interchangeable chokes, choke key, 4 stock shims for drop and cast, two gas inserts, ABS case (optional), plus a comprehensive instruction book.

PRICE: £495

Black synthetic stock (no price difference)
Select wood (+ £142)
24” or 26” barrel
Techno model c/w adjustable stock + titanium-coated action (+ £184)
Barrel extensions 2” or 4” (£24)
A12 model 12g (£495)

  • Marocchi’s new A20 - image {image:count}

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  • Marocchi’s new A20 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Marocchi’s new A20 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge


  • Model: Marocchi A20
  • Action: Semi-automatic
  • Stock: Beech sporter
  • Weight: 6lb
  • Length: 48.5"
  • Barrel length: 27.5"
  • Chamber: 3”/76mm
  • Magazine capacity: 2 (or 5 on FAC)
  • Length-of-pull: 14.5"