Gun test – Lin­coln’s 20-bore Ju­bilee Pres­tige scores very highly in Mike’s book

Mike's pen­chant for 20-bores deep­ens as he tests this Lin­coln Pres­tige – a stylish gun that's ideal for walked-up or driven shoot­ing

Sporting Shooter - - The Marketplace - WITH MIKE YARD­LEY

This month’s test gun is a Lin­coln Ju­bilee Pres­tige in 30" 20-bore form. As the name sug­gests, it’s a deluxe model. It car­ries em­bel­lished side plates, up­graded wood and is one of an ex­ten­sive range of Lin­colns man­u­fac­tured by Fab­brica Armi Isi­doro Rizzini (FAIR) for John Roth­ery of Water­looville, Hamp­shire. The Roth­ery cat­a­logue lists no less than eight Lin­coln mod­els – ev­ery­thing from plain Jane grade to the Pres­tige (and there is a cam­ou­flaged 3½" cham­bered gun for the wild­fowlers, too). The guns are avail­able in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent bore sizes and built on four dif­fer­ent ac­tion bod­ies: 20, as tested here, plus 12, 16, and 28/.410.

This Pres­tige caught my eye in the shop of Neville Chap­man at Marks Tay in Essex. It has pleas­ant dec­o­ra­tion and ex­cel­lent stock shapes. The spec­i­fi­ca­tion in­cludes multi-chokes, a vented sight­ing rib, and a sin­gle se­lec­tive trig­ger. I par­tic­u­larly liked the semi-pis­tol grip – a near ideal shape when put into the hand. The RRP is £1,898, but Neville has it up at a rea­son­able £1,750 – not a king’s ran­som for such a well-spec­i­fied new gun.

I have a par­tic­u­lar soft spot for ma­chine-made, 20-bore, 30" over-and-un­ders like this for game shoot­ing. They han­dle like vastly more ex­pen­sive 12-bore side-by­side best 28" guns. They weigh about the same – this one hits the scales at around the 6½lb mark – and have the ad­van­tage of ‘pointabil­ity’. Thirty-inch 20and 28-bores es­pe­cially suit the ac­tion type used here, which might be best de­scribed as a Gar­donne An­son & Dee­ley. Half a dozen or more mak­ers in Gar­donne, some of them Rizzi­nis, use it. The well-proven pat­tern com­bines Beretta-style hing­ing with a Brown­ing-like bolt­ing ar­range­ment. It is par­tic­u­larly well pro­por­tioned in 20bore (but a lit­tle tall when ap­plied to a 12). Er­gonom­i­cally, the de­sign and pro­por­tions of the ac­tion in 20-bore al­lows for near-ideal spac­ing of the top and bot­tom tangs, thus form­ing the ideal ba­sis for a good, even grip.

The Pres­tige’s neat ac­tion is colour case hard­ened (though, this may have been achieved chem­i­cally rather than by the tra­di­tional bone meal method) and looks most at­trac­tive with its taste­ful game scene en­grav­ing. The wood has a nice fig­ure, too. Blu­ing is deep and lus­trous. Wood-to-metal fit is ex­cel­lent. The gun looks quite dainty, but busi­nesslike. It is pri­mar­ily in­tended as a game gun but would also suit any­one with the need for a lighter than av­er­age gun. It would, for ex­am­ple, be ideal for ladies (pro­vided the comb was raised or built up a bit).

The gun has the style and char­ac­ter of an Ital­ian over-an­dun­der with a few re­fine­ments that make it stand out from the Euro pack. I have watched this style of gun grad­u­ally im­prove over the years. CNC means the me­chan­ics and fit of parts are bet­ter than they were pre­vi­ously. Lasers have im­proved dec­o­ra­tion and che­quer­ing. But the things that re­ally make this gun, and sim­i­lar ones (which tend to be more ex­pen­sive), are the 30" bar­rels and the func­tion­ally ef­fi­cient stock shapes.

The bar­rels of the Pres­tige are built on the monobloc sys­tem, as with most mod­ern over-and-un­ders (and there is noth­ing wrong with that). Both the in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal fin­ish of the bar­rels is good. The forc­ing cones are fairly short and the chambers and bores are chromed. The bar­rels have multi-chokes, solid join­ing ribs and a neat, nar­row (6mm) sight­ing rib. The lat­ter, as men­tioned, is ven­ti­lated on the test gun and is equipped with a tra­di­tional brass bead (just what you want on a game gun be­cause it’s tough).

The ac­tion of the test gun is of very fa­mil­iar pat­tern, as dis­cussed. It has split stud-type hinge pins. Coil springs are used to power the tum­blers. The sin­gle trig­ger mech­a­nism is of the in­er­tia type, and

a se­lec­tor is placed on top of the con­ven­tional thumb-op­er­ated top strap safety (which is au­to­matic). Trig­ger pulls on this gun were pretty good, again bet­ter than on some guns in this price cat­e­gory. I also liked the shape of the trig­ger, and the matt gold plat­ing was in­of­fen­sive, though my pref­er­ence is plain steel.

The ac­tion of the Pres­tige looks fine, though in my opin­ion, the com­bi­na­tion of colour case hard­en­ing and medium scroll would look even bet­ter. I am not re­ally a fan of game scenes and gold un­less they are out­stand­ing. That said, the Pres­tige scores fairly high in the aes­thet­ics depart­ment and ticks all me­chan­i­cal boxes.

The ded­i­cated ac­tion has a hing­ing sys­tem much like a Beretta or Per­azzi (with studs at knuckle, sit­ting in cor­re­spond­ing re­cesses in bi­fur­cated lumps). The bolt­ing sys­tem, how­ever, in­volves a full-width bolt com­ing out of the bot­tom of the ac­tion face and en­gag­ing bites be­neath the bot­tom cham­ber mouth.

The well-pro­por­tioned stock on the Pres­tige is made from walnut that shows rea­son­able fig­ure. Apart from the ex­cel­lent half-pis­tol grip, there is a nicely shaped, thin-ish comb well suited to a game gun. The length of pull is 14½" and the drop was ideal, with an in­dus­try stan­dard 13/8" at the front of the comb and 21/8" to the rear. If the gun was bought by a woman, the stock might be bent up or a piece of wood could be added to the comb. (The dis­tance from the un­der­side of the cheek­bone to the cen­tre of the eye or­bit is smaller on women and young­sters; they usu­ally need a sig­nif­i­cantly higher comb to get the eye prop­erly in line with the rib.)

The schn­abel fore-end is a rea­son­able shape, though it might be im­proved in my opin­ion by dis­pens­ing with the lip and go­ing for an ‘Amer­i­can’ rounded de­sign. The re­lease catch at the front (the front part of a pro­ject­ing rod) was a bit thin for easy use. It could do with a cap to make it more func­tional, but that is re­ally the only crit­i­cism I have. Gen­er­ally, the gun scores highly at its price point.

Fit and fin­ish are good, the de­sign is fun­da­men­tally sound, and the spec­i­fi­ca­tion (bar­rel length, stock con­fig­u­ra­tion and di­men­sions) could not be eas­ily im­proved upon.

£1,898RRP

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