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Verney-Carron V12N

Verney-Carron V12N

One or two of you may remember I tried out a Verney-Carron over & under a while back when the brand was imported by the now retired David Nickerson. Whilst I quite liked it, it wasn’t especially to English tastes. However, now handled by Garlands, the first of this new batch of French smoothbores to cross our shores is the V12N semi–auto, a model bought up by French hunters just as quickly as the St. Etienne factory can produce them.

No Frills

Like numerous other semis the V12N arrives in a cardboard box; the French obviously seeing no need for anything more lasting. What you do get is a very attractive gun and a basic set of three, flush-fit, multi-chokes plus fitting key. Where the V12N differs is that whichever barrel you initially opt for, Verney-Carron also offer additional ‘Chokinox’ chokes that are in effect extensions that add up to two inches of length along with tighter or more open restrictions. This is in accordance with the French hunter’s propensity to use the V12N for wildfowling, shooting driven boar with slug and anything else that falls within range.

Our Gallic cousins’ aside, the first impression is of an extremely slim shotgun of traditional design. The sporter stock and tapering forend are held in place by an oversized mag cap and are oil finished with precise panels of chequering. Whilst the gently angled pistol grip, minimum cast and thick honeycombed recoil pad should ensure most shooters will find the V12N comfortable. 

Two-tone Action

One of the first to employ Ergal (hi-strength, aluminium alloy), Verney-Carron have milled the black receiver, to give a two-tone gloss and matt effect, which is attractive. Along the top are dovetails to facilitate the mounting of an optical sight and on the sides the maker’s name, Sagittaire logo and V12N nomenclature are the only forms of decoration.

By contrast the bolt, its release button (below the ejection port) and trigger blade are all finished in a buffed satin. Typically the safety is a cross-bolt at the rear of the trigger guard. Interestingly with no detent button, all that’s required to lock the bolt back out of battery is to pull it rearwards as far as possible just as if the last round had just been fired.

Best In The Business

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Fitted with a 27”, black anodised, steel proofed barrel, the quality of the tube is beyond question. Verney-Carron like all of the barrels manufactured in St Etienne are internationally regarded as the best you can buy. Topped off with a cross-cut, 7mm vented rib, small brass bead and a slight flare towards the muzzles accommodates the chokes. Chambered for 3” Magnum as standard to facilitate the use of big banger loads, which the French seem passionate about. A fact emphasised by the fitment of a self-regulating stainless steel and aluminium, all metal seal valve that is effortless to remove and clean, something the French aren’t quite as adoring of. On reflection this traditional gas/piston mechanism puts me in mind of the old Remington 1100 and 11-87 guns.

Le Chasse

Out and about around Rishton SG’s various sporting stands, the V12N soon proved why our continental counterparts are so keen on this 12-bore. Overall dimensions are some of the best you’ll encounter on a semi-auto; drops at comb and heel measuring 1 ½” and 2 ½” with a 14 ¾” length of pull, the only negative measurement being the rather stiff 6lbs average trigger pull. Weight wise, the V12N tips the scales at 7lbs 2oz with a balance point directly beneath the chamber, the mass distribution placing the gun squarely between the hands whilst bestowing it with smooth and controlled handling characteristics.

Flat shooting by nature, the gun mounted, swung and discharged its 28-gram load of Express Supreme 8’s with flowing accuracy, no more than ¼ choke required for even the most distant targets. What was a true revelation was the V12N’s reaction during firing, the sensation being one of the softest I’ve encountered. Plain and simple in design, the only hint of the gun’s ability to soak up recoil is the extended spring that runs over the magazine tube and underneath the slide.

Add to this the fact Verney-Carron have got the measurements absolutely right and you have a shotgun that’s astoundingly soft to use! This also applies even with 50-gram loads and slugs; the V12N’s cyclic rate and overall efficiency was truly impressive. The only negative I could find was the need to push the second and third rounds firmly into the magazine until they clicked. If not the next cartridge had a habit of jumping the shell stops and lodging below the bolt. Looking at the slotted shell lifter it appears that they are aware of this problem as you can shove a slim tool up there to push it back.

Rates Of Pay

Once you’ve handled and shot a V12N you’ll fully appreciate the quality of build, level of performance and just how soft it shoots. The main problem that faces this gun is the asking price of £1,170! Due to the poor exchange rate of the Euro, a figure that sees it knocking on the door of two well known Italian makes that for many are the be all and end all. All I would say is that if the chance to try a V12N for yourself arises, do so and I’ll guarantee you’ll consider the investment worthwhile.

The V12N is an attractive, no nonsense and no frills, gas-operated semi-auto of the old school that should provide its owner with years of trouble free, multi-role service. Its also proof positive that you don’t have to load a gun with numerous gizmos (that can be done without) to make it user-friendly.

We Reckon:
• Stylish and well made
• An honest, no frills semi-auto that works well
• Price and little know make could be a stumbling block

PRICE: £1,170 srp

  • Verney-Carron V12N - image {image:count}

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  • Verney-Carron V12N - image {image:count}

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  • Verney-Carron V12N - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Verney-Carron V12N - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Verney-Carron V12N - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Verney-Carron V12N - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Verney-Carron V12N - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Name: Verney – Carron V12N
  • Calibre: 12-bore
  • Capacity: 3
  • Barrel: 27”
  • Action: Self-regulating gas/piston
  • Stock: Walnut Sporter
  • Weight: 7lbs 2oz
  • Chokes: Flush-fit multi
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