You have helped me out several time with a prior gun purchase and I need your wisdom once more.
You reviewed the Woodlander from Caesar Guerini. I have heard from two dealers that they aren’t going to stock the straight grip anymore because it feels “odd” and several people said that it doesn’t fit correctly. You felt the gun: anything feel wrong to you? Seems like everyone loves the POW grip and the Schnabel. I would love to see the gun with English stock and a trip field forend like the one on the old Sig LL Bean gun. Add double triggers and ohlala.
DH in Oregon
What a dealer stocks is, of course, up to that dealer. He tries to order what his customers will buy. An English stock on a single trigger O/U has always been a matter of personal choice. I’ve got two Superposed Superlight O/Us with English stocks and like them quite a bit. I also like the traditional round knob look. It’s just personal preference. As to the stock not fitting correctly because it doesn’t have a pistol grip, again, that’s personal choice.
Since we are on personal choice, I happen to loathe Schnable forends. I think they look ungainly and, even worse, are dysfunctional. The lip dings my left hand forefinger because I have long arms and run my left hand well forward. The lip is also thin, thus fragile, and is more prone to damage in the field. On the brighter side, it takes very little effort to grind off that Schnable lip. Once you do that and refinish properly, the forend will be pretty good looking.
If Guerini doesn’t have the gun you want, contact the folks at Rizzini USA. B.Rizzini made the LL Bean gun. You may be able to get them to set you up with an English stock, double triggers and a small, sensible, aesthetic forend without that Hapsburg lip. That LL Bean Rizzini in 20 gauge with 28″ bbls was one sweet gun. I don’t believe it is a current item any more. It was one of the few screw choked O/Us that has dynamics which approach those of the older fixed choke guns like the 20 gauge round knob/long tang Belgian Browning O/Us of the ’60s.
Or you could look around in the used gun market. Some time ago, on http://www.GunsAmerica.com I ran across a Fabrique Nationale Superposed Superlight in 12 gauge, 27-1/2″ bbls choked 1/4 + 3/4, solid top rib, small field forend, swan neck stock (sort of English with a slight belly) and double triggers. It was built for the European market. It’s about as close to the ideal wild pheasant gun as I’m ever going to come. I’ve never seen the same configuration in a 20, but perhaps some were made.
One other point, gun preferences can be surprisingly regional. I’m always surprised at how one type of gun can be so popular/unpopular in my area of New England and yet be considered exactly the opposite in another part of the country. I’m sure that part of this is due to the difference in the birds hunted from region to region, but much of it has to do with local personal tastes and preferences.
Don’t let what other people want affect what you want. Take your time and get exactly what pleases you. Both the Guerini and B. Rizzini are good guns and will last you a lifetime, so get it right even if you have to wait a while for the features you want. If you buy a gun that is merely “almost” right, it will be a constant nagging irritation. If you get it just the way you want it, it will be a joy for a very long time.
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)