WILLIAM EVANS CONNAUGHT
Another gun to totally eradicate my preconceptions when tested, the Connaught and its bigger brother the Premium Connaught are sidelock side-by-side shotguns I can recommended totally without reservation. Based on the 216 model gun by Spanish gunmaker Grulla the Connaught is a true sidelock shotgun with double triggers well worthy of wearing the William Evans name. It remains among the best guns I have ever tested in terms of shooting pleasure, a not inconsiderable feat for any gun let alone one coming in at such a low price.
The Premium model has been around for a couple of years now and is more expensive at around £11,500, especially when one considers the possible options list, however it is no less successful than its cheaper sibling. You may select your own stock blank when order the Premium version of the gun, and thoughtful touches such as a rounded edge to the trigger guard abound, giving the gun a real feeling of quality.
Shooting the gun is an absolute joy, with superbly neutral balance and very satisfying trigger pulls. Recoil is very well controlled indeed. This is a gun carefully designed with the British game shooting market in mind, and the care and attention the Connaught has received in development is clear to see when shooting. The 20 bore Premium I tested most recently was an absolute hoot and would be my number one pick for a new side-by-side.