Honesberie Shooting Schools partnership with Rizzini means you’re not only able to try the range of guns over the mixture of stands at the shooting school; ranging from traditional sporting clay presentations to the specialist grouse butts and high tower for driven targets. You’ve got the possibility of a Rizzini factory visit with the team to customise your new gun.
When I was offered the chance to spend a couple days joining Honesberie and some of their clients at the factory I couldn’t turn it down. We flew out to Bergamo airport which was just over an hour from Stanstead; after the flight, a short 30 minute taxi ride saw us at our hotel. The agenda for the rest of the day was to meet the Rizzini family at the factory and collect the guns the group were looking to order; this way we could put them through their paces at a local shooting ground. Personally, I was interested in two from their competition range. The S2000 and the BR440, both in 32” sporting configurations. The two other clients had their eye on some guns for the upcoming game season; a BR550RB and a Roundbody EL.
Filippo the export manager for Rizzini greeted us at the of and we chatted over a coffee whilst looking through the selection of guns in their show room. With much excitement, we picked up our respective guns and readied ourselves for the Italy vs England sporting shoot up in the mountains. I shan’t dwell on it in but I believe England won this round 😉
The ground itself was lovely and had a great family run restaurant attached so we enjoyed some traditional local food and wine after shooting the guns and making sure of our choices. The novelty was though that even though it was midnight by the time we’d finished eating and chatting, there was still shooting going on under floodlight. It’s great to see how popular shooting is in the area, even on a Tuesday evening at midnight!
The next morning was when the real fun began. Filippo picked us up from the hotel and we went straight over to the world famous Bottega Incisioni C. Giovanelli engravers to see the masters at work. The craftmanship that comes from this company is exceptional and they all take real pride in their work; showing off what they’re working on as we walk past. It’s great to know what the action I chose will go through these craftsman’s hands and have the Giovanelli name engraved on the bottom. It adds the personal touch knowing that I’ve been on the same factory floor where my action will be worked on.
From here we visited the master stock maker, Essevierre. You know you’re in the presence of a professional when there are gold medal winning Olympic athletes there picking up their custom stocks; this was further re-enforced by the large number of signed photos adorning the walls from other Olympic athletes using their stocks. The measuring process was surprisingly quick; no-doubt due to decades of experience. We discussed every element including palm swells, stock styles and glove grips. In no time at all we had all the measurements taken and recorded ready for our stocks to be built.
If you’ve never had a gun fitted or a custom stock made before than you’re missing out. Having a custom stock built to your measurements is comparable to the cost of a normal day’s pheasant shooting. The benefit is a gun that reliably mounts to the same spot and puts your eye directly down the rib, consistently. This really will add clays to your card or birds to your bag. You wouldn’t drive a car without adjusting the seat and mirrors, the same should be thought for shotguns.
With our stock measurements in hand we headed back over to the Rizzini factory for lunch before touring the factory and choosing stock blanks.
The tour of the factory flowed as if we were a shotgun being built. We started off in the machining room where the raw blocks of metal and wood being to be shaped down through various processes so they start resembling the end product.
All the parts are machined out from solid sources. Here are images of a trigger blade, some ejectors and some top levers in various stages of their creation
As we moved through the factory the parts started looking more and more complete. The next room we entered was the finishing shop where all the components meet and are fitted together before being packaged up. There are racks of stocks, actions and barrels:
From here the guns are packaged and readied for shipping world wide.
After we’d seen the process it was time to go and choose some stock blanks! A process I hadn’t seen before but one that was fascinating. Whilst it might seem obvious to some I hadn’t thought about this decision having such an impact on the finished gun. After all, it’s just a choice of how pretty the stock will be? Wrong.
This is where having the expertise of Honesberie and Rizzini there helped to guide our decision making. For example, we looked for stocks that had the style of interesting grain we looked for in the rear end of the stock. Whilst bearing in mind the density of the wood and where that weight would sit on the finished gun. The next part to be sure of was that the grain would run lengthways around the grip area to ensure strength on this, the weakest part of any stock.
In order to get an idea of what the stock would look like when finished alcohol was sprayed on to the blank to highlight the grain but not damage the wood. The alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving no trace. Transparent cut outs were used to demonstrate the area of the wood that would form the stock.
I chose a grade 3/4 stock blank and am excited to see it take its final form! It seems to be slightly unique to the UK market but we prefer darker stocks and tighter patterns.
This was a fantastic trip to an area of Italy that really is home to many big historic names in gun manufacturing.
Beretta, Fausti, Caesar Guerrini and so on…
If you’re a horse racing enthusiast it’s like heading to Newmarket. You know that you share a common passion with so many of the people around you; you’re at the heart of the sport/industry.
When you buy Rizzini you are investing in some of the best craftsmanship in the world. The “original” Rizzini brand is registered worldwide and certifies the highest quality. Rizzini is 100% made in Italy.