B Rizzini RB EL
ASI are best known for bringing in Spanish AyA side by sides into the UK, but they now have a new line of B.Rizzini over and unders from Italy as well. These are quality guns with prices from something over £3,000. Our test centres on a round bodied RB EL. It is an attractive, 30” barreled, 20 bore with tasteful decoration. Before I tell you about it, though, there is so much confusion about the name Rizzini, I want to try to dispel some of it.
The Rizzini family includes many gunmakers. There were three brothers, Emilio, Battista and Isodore who all owned (or own) guns factories. E. Rizzinis were once well known in the UK as cheaper guns. That concern has now been taken over by the Fausti sisters (who, however, now focus their production on the middle of the market). Our gun this month is by Battista Rizzini. His large firm has also gone for the middle market sector in recent years (and, like the Faustis, also aspires beyond it). Isadore Rizzini owns FAIR (Fabbrica Arms Issadore Rizzini). They make many of the Lincoln guns seen in the UK. This firm still makes budget and some better ones too. It does not quite end there. F.lli Rizzini are the uncles of the brothers just discussed. They are one of the most prestigious makers in Italy manufacturing best guns and rifles only. You might call them the Boss of Italy. Now you know!
It does all get rather confusing, especially, as Batista et al. make some very similar guns. Many of their over and unders are based on an action which combines Browning bolting with Beretta style hinging. I have called it the 'Gardonne Anson and Deeley'. And, like that famous English boxlock, it can be made in many grades. This is the key point and it is one which is often lost in translation. There is a great deal of difference between an old E.Rizzini workhorse, and the latest B.Rizzinis and Faustis (although they may share similar mechanisms).
Our test gun, for example, is much evolved on the aesthetic and finishing front. It has a good looking action body with pleasing shapes and proportion, and, particularly attractive engraving. It looks pretty. It feels refined. The wood has good figure. I much like the semi-pistol grip, and, the Boss-style forend. Wood to metal fit is good. In simple terms, the gun looks and feels the business. It hits the scales at 6 pounds 11oz, which is close to ideal for a modern 20 bore OU. It is primarily intended as a game gun but it would be fun to use clay shooting too.
The RB EL is well presented in all departments. My only real criticisms concerned the top lever – which did not always come back into line as it should – and a slight tendency to vibration through the stock when the gun was closed. The lever was something that might be rectified in a few moments by a gunsmith (though one should not really have to bother on a gun with an RRP of £5,479). The vibration is a product of a stock-bolt design which is more common in some guns than others.
The RB EL has well constructed mono-block barrels that are multi-choked, and bear Italian proof marks for 3” (76mm) shells. They are fitted with an excellent ‘solid’ rib not unlike that on a Boss. It has a subtle taper, it would be hard to improve on the design. Joining ribs are solid. The barrel weight and length are well suited to the gun. They point well; they are not too heavy to swing easily. The overall finish is good, internally and externally, they pass muster. I liked the engine turning to the sides of the monobloc. As for the action, the mechanical design is not radical but well proven. The usual coil springs power the hammers. The trigger is inertia operated and selective. The safety is quite large, positioned on the top strap in the usual place and is combined with a Beretta style barrel selector. The shape of the action body is a big improvement on previous guns of this type (save the side-plated Guerini that I also think especially attractive). The engraving and colour case hardening really look good too.
The stock is well proportioned as well. It is made from wood that shows much better than average figure. The semi-pistol grip is my favourite style. I also liked the tapered – English style – comb and the forend which is distinguished not only by being rounded, but by having an Anson button fastener at its front. Apart from being well shaped, chequered and finished, the stock has no butt-plate. This is a quality touch (I don’t like to see cross-grained wooden plates at the end of wooden stock), another is the extended tang of the trigger guard which is set into the grip. The measurements were good too with length of pull of a full 15” (although the drop at heel was a smidgeon low at 2 ¼” – 2 1/8” would be better).
I liked the way the RB EL shot as well as the way it looked. It was not too light. It pointed well with its longish barrels and a good rib. 30” is a perfect barrel length for a 20 bore. The modern 20 bore is a very different gun to the one of a generation or two back. It is (or should be) longer and heavier. It is, consequently, more controllable and may digest 12 bore payloads (my favourite 20 bore game load is 30 gram 5s, for clays I prefer 24 gram 7s). The test gun shot well, but, no better than some similar guns which are not quite so pricey. It was forgiving to shoot. Overall, my verdict would be ‘an elegant gun, well specified, but a bit pricey). ASI also offer a Classic model which is just over 3K (and that is about as little as these round body guns go). There are 28 bore versions available too (on the 20 bore action). I have tested a 30” round body Rizzini 28 previously and it was a stompingly good shooter.
Model: RB EL
Barrels: 30” multi-choke
Chambers: 3” (76mm)
Rib: solid – tapered
Weight 6lbs. 11oz.
The Round bar action
The Engraving and colour hardening
The 30” barrels
We don’t like