Rizzini’s RB EM

The Rizzini RB EM 16-bore is well worth look­ing at if you want some­thing a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent

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Full test of this round-bod­ied beauty on page 66

Rizzini is a gun­maker steadily mak­ing in­roads into the Bri­tish gun­trade. It has some very at­trac­tive mod­els at good value-for-money prices. This is my favourite in the range: the RB EM.

The RB EM is a round bod­ied boxlock gun with a bold scroll en­grav­ing pat­tern that re­minds me of the tra­di­tional Hol­land Royal pat­tern. The en­grav­ing is sim­i­lar to a broad acan­thus scroll, and cov­ers the action fully. The fur­ni­ture, top lever, safe thumb­piece, trig­ger guard and fore-end iron are all fin­ished black and con­trast the coin fin­ished brushed sil­ver of the action frame.

The gun can be or­dered as a spe­cial with colour hard­en­ing if pre­ferred. In fact this gun is stan­dard spec­i­fi­ca­tion – apart from longer bar­rels, but can be or­dered with a num­ber of cus­tomi­sa­tion op­tions if re­quired. As can all Rizzini guns.

RB EM his­tory

The RB EM was first in­tro­duced in 2014 and won that year’s award for “best new gun” in the Shoot­ing In­dus­try Awards. The 12 and 20-bore have al­ways been the two favourite, but as with many other Rizzini mod­els, the RB EM is also avail­able in 16-bore.

16-bore resur­gence

There seems to be a bit of resur­gence for 16-bore guns, par­tic­u­larly O/U guns. I am not sure why, but for some there are good rea­sons. Of course some peo­ple sim­ply want some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and like the chal­lenge of a smaller bore. As far as O/U 16-bores go, there are very few in the mass mar­ket and fewer still on a scaled action. I have seen some made on 12-bore ac­tions. The ob­vi­ous snag here is too much weight. They have been made on 20-bore ac­tions as well; at least I know of one maker that tried this with­out last­ing suc­cess.

It sounds sim­ple to make a scaled action, but it’s eas­ier said than done. And there is a great deal of in­vest­ment needed to see the project through. So the maker needs to have faith the de­mand will jus­tify the ex­pense: Rizzini has that faith.

Al­though 16-bore Bri­tish built guns ex­ist, they are not par­tic­u­larly com­mon. With 12-bore be­ing by far the most pop­u­lar bore fol­lowed by 20-bores, al­though to a much lesser ex­tent as the at­ti­tude to­wards 20-bores has changed enor­mously dur­ing my time in the trade. His­tor­i­cally in Bri­tain the 20-bores were seen as a lady or boys’ gun, or pos­si­bly the more ma­ture gen­tle­man! I think that changed dur­ing the 80s as O/U guns be­came in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar against side-by-sides and peo­ple found that the 20-bore of­fered a much lighter gun to carry, com­bined with a sim­i­lar killing power of a 12-bore – you just need to be a lit­tle more ac­cu­rate.

Euro­pean favourite

The 16-bore has al­ways been more pop­u­lar on the con­ti­nent, par­tic­u­larly in Ger­many and Aus­tria. You could call it in­dus­trial evo­lu­tion in a way, but on the con­ti­nent most shoot­ing is walked-up and usu­ally over much steeper ter­rain than we have in the UK – so a smaller bore that is in­her­ently lighter makes sense. In line with this – al­though they of­ten come in the box with a mod­ern

O/U – sling swivels are not things that add any­thing to the look of a shot­gun. But they are very prac­ti­cal and make sense when climb­ing up steep hills with a gun.

The gen­eral feel­ing in the UK used to be that 16-bores, while lighter than 12-bores, were not so com­fort­able to shoot as

the load was too near to a 12-bore, so more re­coil was felt. Though in re­cent times that ar­gu­ment has started to run out of steam as many 20-bore shoot­ers shoot 28gram loads as their pref­er­ence; and heav­ier loads are avail­able as well. Con­versely, 12-bore loads for clay shoot­ing were dropped down from 32gram to 28gram some years ago. And for game shoot­ing, 28gram is a more pop­u­lar load than it used to be. So from this point of view, it doesn’t make sense to have a 16-bore – you’ve got it cov­ered with ei­ther 12 or 20. But of course it’s nice to have some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and not to fol­low the rest of the flock.

Re­li­a­bil­ity and longevity

Me­chan­i­cally the Rizzini is quite sim­ple, which is al­ways good for re­li­a­bil­ity and longevity. The de­sign of the mech­a­nism is the same as the 12 and 20-bore, al­beit the safe spring is slightly dif­fer­ent. The action frame it­self is made in one piece rather than an action body and a sep­a­rate trig­ger plate that is pegged and pinned (screwed) to it.

These ham­mers are pow­ered by cap­tive main­springs that cause them to re­bound slightly, so pre­vent­ing striker drag when

“It’s nice to have some­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ent and not to fol­low the rest of the flock”

the gun is opened af­ter fir­ing. The sears are sus­pended above the ham­mers in the strap un­der the top lever. The sear lifter/ se­lec­tor block is spring-loaded to sit in the trig­ger and go for­ward to con­nect un­der the tail of the sear. A but­ton can be moved from side to side in the safe to se­lect which bar­rel fires first.

The safe it­self is auto re­turn from “fire” when the top lever is pushed across. Re­coil from the first shot throws the se­lec­tor block back to dis­con­nect it from the first sear, let­ting the sear drop down be­hind the ham­mer. It then springs for­ward again to pick up the sec­ond sear and so fire the sec­ond bar­rel. Both strik­ers are spring-loaded. The bot­tom of each ham­mer is con­nected to a cock­ing bar that runs along the floor of the action frame. When fired this goes for­ward with the ham­mer. Out to the side of each cock­ing bar is a wing that con­nects to the ejec­tor trip that is dove­tailed into the mono-block of the bar­rel. Go­ing for­ward the ejec­tor trip is pushed up to en­gage with a notch in the end of the ex­trac­tor. As the gun is opened, the ejec­tor trip makes con­tact with a point in the side of the action, and is moved back to dis­en­gage with the ex­trac­tor at the point of the gun be­ing fully opened. This re­leases the spring-loaded ex­trac­tor, which jumps back and ejects the fired case. Each side of the fir­ing mech­a­nism is in­de­pen­dent, so only the fired case is ejected; in other words se­lec­tive ejec­tion.

As the gun is opened a cam in the bot­tom of the fore-end iron pushes on the end of the cock­ing bar, push­ing the ham­mer back and re-cock­ing the gun. The stock and fore-end are very nicely fin­ished and a clas­sic shape. The fore-end has a clas­sic round nose, but can be sup­plied with a Schn­abel shape. I think the rounded nose of the foreend com­pli­ments the gun as a whole

bet­ter than the Schn­abel. The fore-end is re­leased from the gun by a but­ton pro­trud­ing from the nose end. This is ef­fec­tively what would be called an An­son push round sys­tem; com­monly seen on side-by-side guns. But again it gives the gun an el­e­gant look along the lines of a Bri­tish built O/U gun.

El­e­gant look

The stock has a rounded pis­tol grip, which is very well pro­por­tioned and flows nicely into the body of the stock. This rounded pis­tol grip shape along with the round body of the action gives the gun a very el­e­gant look and goes a long way to ex­plain the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of these guns. The wood is well fig­ured and has a gloss oil fin­ish. The gun han­dles very well with the weight some­where be­tween the two poles of 12 and 20-bore at ap­prox­i­mately 7lb 3oz, de­pend­ing on spec; bar­rel length etc. Speak­ing of bar­rels, these ones are 32inch, giv­ing the gun a unique feel – very pos­i­tive and easy to point. The top rib is a ven­ti­lated 6mm with cross­hatched mat­ting to re­duce re­flec­tion when sight­ing. The cham­bers are 70mm to ac­cept a wide range of car­tridges and there is quite a range of 16-bore car­tridges out there. The ac­cepted “stan­dard” load, if there is one for 16-bore, is 13 to 16oz or ap­prox­i­mately 26gram. But you can eas­ily find 25, 28 and 30gram loads as well. Though shot may be limited from five to seven in most cases.

The action is sim­ple and well made, which bodes well for the gun’s longevity. The coin fin­ished action frame is stun­ning

And now for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent, the RB EM in 16-bore

The RB EM comes with five multi-chokes as stan­dard For more great gun tests, sim­ply scan this QR code with your smart­phone.

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