Rizzini returns with style
Rizzini isn’t the oldest Italian shotgun maker in the Trompia Valley but the family company has a tradition of marrying craftsmanship with technology to meet the demands of target shooters and hunters alike.
Steve Sayers from SJS Trading has taken on distribution of Rizzini in Australia, fulfilling an ambition that began when he first used one in the late 1990s.
“I’ve had a long association with the family, from when I first started shooting a Rizzini and I first visited the factory in 2000 and met Battista Rizzini, the patriarch of the business, and struck up a good relationship with his daughter Moira, who takes care of the day-to-day running of the company,” he said.
“She took me on my first tour of the valley in Gardone Val Trompia, which is the home of Italian shotgun manufacturing and I fell in love with the place.”
Battista Rizzini has a nickname in Italian that translates as ‘The Poet’.
His family has clung to the traditions of boutique shotgun manufacturing, but that does not mean they do not embrace technology and innovation.
“He’s always thinking and he’s innovative,” Steve said.
Four years ago, at another meeting in Italy, Steve was encouraged by the family to take on the brand in Australia but he held off while he was establishing his business and building a market for Bettinsoli shotguns.
“I’m now ready to represent the brand properly and do it justice,” he said.
“I’ve always had a fascination with Rizzini: it is a young shotgun company in Italian terms (est.1966), but I love the quality they produce, and that they control all parts of the manufacturing, including the wood.”
The next step was working out what shotguns would appeal to Australian buyers.
Rizzini produces entry-level shotguns with little embellishment and lower grade timber but for Steve, the selling point was never going to be price.
“For me, it is the boutique style and craftsmanship that represents a true Rizzini; they made their name with them, and they seemed the best fit for Australia,” he said.
“They are at a good price point but they still have hand engraving school Giovanelli do the engraving on a lot of their models and they offer a good range of round body guns, sub-gauge models and one of the best side-by-side shotguns produced in the valley.
“Because they do everything in house and there is a lot of hand fitting they are all a little unique from one gun to the next, they are not a mass producer.”
Early indications are of resurgence in interest in side-by-side and sub-gauge shotguns in Australia, even 16 gauge.
“Shotguns have always been my passion and Rizzini is willing to work with me to produce premium shotguns for a particular market, whether it is a solid top rib on a 20 gauge or hand filed cut top rib with specific engraving,” Steve said.
“Round body guns are appealing to everybody at the moment; they are just a great way to display engraving because it can flow and they have a lot of life about them.”