Bernadelli 112 Extra
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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
Just over 12 months ago, John Webster of the Norgas Cartridge Company took the decision to bring the Bernardelli name back to these shores.
And although it’s always been their side-by-sides that Bernardelli have always been famous for, the initial shotguns to carry the name have been the maker’s excellent range of semiautos. That is until now, as John is bringing a small selection of the Italian company’s stylish doublebarrelled smoothbores into the UK.
Producing a range of side-by-sides to suit every type of shooting, the 112 Extra, as tested, is overtly conceived for the European-style of hunting, lightweight, short barrelled and fast-handling, each and every trait required for a walked-up, snap-shot, instant response companion.
Complete with a Negrini case, the Bernardelli’s 112 Extra personifies a genuine, no frills 12-bore. That said, the Extra sent for test was fitted with very attractive walnut, from the concealed, checkered buttplate, nicely figured grain game stock and narrow Splinter-style forend, the semi-lacquered finish looks excellent whilst lifting out the wood’s characteristics. Nicely checkered, for extended periods of shooting, whilst the slender forend is more than in keeping, you’ll very quickly fit either a hand guard or, as I do, wear a pair of purpose design shooting gloves such as the GripSwell that I prefer.
The first clue as to the Extra’s character comes in the form of the barrels. Monobloc and neatly swaged into 3-inch chambers and strong ejectors and are separated by a 9-6mm concaved rib, the gloss black tubes are a mere 25½-inches in length, the small brass bead sat over ½ and ¼ choked muzzles. In turn the tubes join flawlessly into a neat, time-proven boxlock action, the colour case hardened finish only broken by the Bernardelli signature, type and country of origin. One point I approve of given my dislike of the auto versions, is the broad, manual safety sitting to the rear of the short top tang, a stubby, slightly angled top-lever taking care of opening the gun. The other useful addition is the barrel order selector, a neat checkered surface protrusion located just to the front of the single trigger blade allowing the shooter to switch between barrels and hence restrictions in an instant.
One unusual fitment that will be deleted for following UK models is the sling swivels. Now you might well ask why a side-by-side needs them, and so I’ll enlighten you. Over in mainland Europe, especially Italy and France, the shooters aren’t bound up with tweeds, pegs, gun slips and formality. Instead they wear some hardy clothing, a cartridge belt and the gun broken and slung over their shoulder along with a selection of dogs. Nearly all walked-up, the gun comes into play when quarry is more or less imminent, the remainder of the time it’s always conveniently to hand not in a slip where they can’t get at it or over the arm so reducing movement.
Physically, the Extra weighs in at just 6lbs 4oz and has an overall length of just 42¾-inches with a slightly short length of pull measuring 14 3/8-inches and an average weight over both barrels of 7lbs 3oz. Drops at comb and heel are once again speed related at 1½- and 2½-inches, the entire physicality of the Extra designed to promote swiftness of mounting and getting off that all important first shot accurately. Add in the easy radius and slender dimensions of the grip and the Extra soon emphasises as to just how the Europeans, especially the Italians like their hunting guns to feel and handle.
Loading up with 28g Clever Mirage T2 felt wad clay load, since John Webster is a major stockist of these Italian cartridges, the Extra soon made it clear that it was never conceived or intended as a clay breaker, the Arrow Laser Shot confirming just how high to aim the Extra placed its shot patterns. Way too light to be used over sustained shooting unless far lighter 21g loads were being used, felt recoil makes its presence known. Add in the high shooting nature and you quickly realise that it’s fast moving, close in quarry that is the Extra’s true metier.
Sticking with the Clever competition load given their punchy nature, whilst the Extra made its dislike of clays abundantly clear, a couple of evenings around Huntroyde’s hedgerows allowed this Bernardelli to shine. Lighteningfast startled bunnies fell easily to a single shot, the gun up and on target in fractions of a second. Similarly crows, magpies and branch-hopping squirrels, all of them falling prey to the Extra’s deft handling. Balancing perfectly beneath the hinges and snapping together with perfect assurity, even though I elected not to fit a sling, the Extra is light and comfortable to carry over long distances yet deft enough to immediately react when the times comes.
At £1700, Bernardelli’s 112 Extra offers the game shooter looking for an affordable side-by-side the ideal choice. Significantly less than many other similar Italian offerings and even some Turkish examples, this hunting 12-bore stands out not only because of its price but also due to its appearance. The colour case hardened action and excellent hard working walnut means it’s the visual simplicity that bestow the Extra with no frills, pure hunting tool elegance.
Built by one of Italy’s most respected side-by-side manufacturers, this is one of those shotguns that feels right the moment you hold it. The fact its not an all-rounder is actually immaterial, but as a dedicated, primarily walkedup shotgun from a part of the world that still regards this type of ‘wing shooting’ as the purest form of hunting then the Extra is the perfect definition of how this style of shotgun should be.
Personally, I enjoyed shooting with the Extra even though it took slightly longer than usual to come to terms with how the gun shot. Equally, I quite like the sling swivels to a degree that if the Extra were mine I’d fit a sling and carry it how it was intended to be. Main reason being, a short barrelled Italian side-by-side with a nice leather sling flies in the face of the stuffiness of English game shooting and I’m all for stirring the pot on the occasional basis. And given that a good day’s rough shooting is increasing in popularity due to many a shooter tightening their purse strings, the arrival of Bernardelli’s 112 Extra probably couldn’t have been better timed.
PRICE: SRP £1700
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