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Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock

Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock

The Holland tested else where in these pages might be a little out of reach to most of us, but one can still buy an interesting gun without spending a king’s ransom – enter our little Ugartechea 16 bore, part of the David Nickerson line (a firm recently taken over by John Rothery Ltd.). Ugartechea, of course, are a Spanish firm, and one that I have made a couple of visits to. Their guns used to be well known in the UK - a reliable product at a fair price. What I discovered when I went to visit them in the Basque country though, was that they can make guns at all price points and levels of finish – from plain boxlocks to very finely engraved sidelocks. Ignacio Ugartechea is quite a character. In his office there is a .410 over and under he once made just to prove he could, he also has an exact copy of a Purdey 12, but, like most Spanish gunmakers, he uses two patterns for his production – the Anson and Deeley boxlock and the Holland & Holland sidelock – both equipped with classic Southgate pattern ejector work.

Test Bench

First impressions of the test Ugartechea, which has 28” barrels and a classic concave rib, are good. It has good proportions and sensible dimensions – a length of pull of 14 ¾”, drop at 1 ½” and 2 1/8” and a bit of cast for a right hander. The colour case hardened action is not flash, but will appeal to most. The engraving is neat if a little thin. Five pins are visible on the sidelock and a tumbler axle.

Bring the gun to face and shoulder, and one notes better than average balance. I have to say that it is rare for me not to like the way a sixteen handles. Like a twenty, the bore size makes it easy to create a good gun. This one, which weighs around the six pound mark - is not too lively. There is some weight between the hands, but not too much forwards. A well balanced gun will always feel lighter than a poorly balanced one.

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The barrels on the test gun have fixed chokes as do most Spanish side by sides; they measure up quite tight, I would guess - I didn’t have my gauge to hand - around ¾ and full. They might be regulated to most buyer’s requirements. Chambers are for 2 ¾” (70mm) cartridges and the gun has been proofed in Spain. The barrels of the gun have been put together competently and are nicely blacked. Forcing cones are a bit short, as they tend to be on most Spanish side by sides. This does not concern me on a game gun intended for lighter payloads (by which I mean anything up to an ounce). The tighter cone can keep pressures up on a cold day with felt wads.

The sighting rib on this gun is of the usual concave pattern as noted. My own preference is for a pigeon style rib (even on a game gun). But, the classic concave is my next choice. It offers a subliminal pointing aid without being too distracting. The action of the Ugartechea – which has been made from a forging – is essentially of classic Holland and Holland pattern with disc set strikers and Southgate style ejector work as noted.

The gun is engraved with simple scroll (a little bit plainer than AyA No. 2) and colour case hardened. There are disc set strikers, as noted, as one sees in an AyA, and a Purdey style ‘button’ topped sliding safety of classic pattern on the top strap. It is automatic in action as it should be on a game gun. The button is very practical, moreover - ideal for cold hands and/or wet days. It is much more positive than some designs.

The stock of the Ugartechea is businesslike. The wood is not spectacular, but the grain is flowing in the right place and the finish competent too. The shapes are pretty good as well. The straight-hand grip is quite svelte and seems well matched to this very traditional looking gun. The grip and comb are well formed. Length of Pull is about 14 3/4". Drop dimensions are 1 ½ and 2 1/8” – near the classic 1 ½” and 2” – and there is a bit of cast for a right-hander as one expects. All things considered it is a sensible stock with sensible 'shelf' dimensions.

Shooting Impressions

This gun shot well. I used my favourite one ounce Express loads (which I use for both competition and game shooting). The little Ugartechea did not feel especially refined, but, it had no great vices either. The felt recoil was average. I noticed a little vibration on firing (typical of less expensive Spanish side by sides). Trigger pulls were O.K., however. Pointing and handling qualities were good. One must bear in mind when considering this gun that the price point is £2,000 or less including VAT. An English sidelock side by side is going to cost at least twenty times that these days. It is remarkable what the Spanish can still make such guns for the money. Ugartecheas, moreover, are made with pride and integrity. You can rest assured that anything bearing the name will give years of good service. If you want to try a quality 16 without spending a fortune, this might be just the ticket.

My thanks to Lyalvale (Express) for supplying the 28 gram (1 ounce) cartridges used in this test.

PRICE (RRP): £2,000 inc. approx. (boxlock models from £1,500 inc.)

  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

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  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Ugartechea 16 Bore Sidelock - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Make: Ugartechea
  • Model: 16 bore (other bores available)
  • Action: Holland & Holland pattern sidelock ejector
  • Barrels: 28"
  • Chambers: 2 3/4" (70mm)
  • Rib: Concave
  • Chokes: Fixed

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