Lu­ciano Bo­sis ham­mer gun

Much like fish­ing with split cane, Michael Yard­ley finds there is a pu­rity to shoot­ing with a ham­mer gun – es­pe­cially when it of­fers qual­ity like this at an at­tain­able price

The Field - - GUN REVIEW -

Close in­spec­tion re­veals only qual­ity… the wood, oil­ing and che­quer­ing are ex­cel­lent and wood-to-metal fit is ex­em­plary

THIS month’s test con­cerns a 12-bore, none­jec­tor, 6lb 12oz ham­mer gun with 27½in bar­rels. Noth­ing spe­cial, you might think, un­til you learn that the maker is Lu­ciano Bo­sis, one of Italy’s finest. His fam­ily at­te­lier in Travagliato, near Bres­cia, pro­duces some­thing not much over 20 be­spoke guns a year. An ex-per­azzi man (he worked there in the 1970s), Bo­sis is per­haps best known now for his Michelan­gelo side­lock over-and-un­ders but he has made a num­ber of side-by-sides, too (in­clud­ing 15 ham­mer guns). An An­son & Dee­ley boxlock has been a re­cent project and a ti­ta­nium over-and un­der.

Lu­ciano Bo­sis guns have a rep­u­ta­tion for very fine fin­ish. I have seen sev­eral pro­pri­etary, ma­chine-made over-and-un­ders his daugh­ter, Laura, has re­worked. She once rounded (and exquisitely colour case hard­ened) the ac­tion of a Rizzini at the sug­ges­tion of my pal, Paul Roberts; the round-ac­tion Rizzini went on to be­come a pop­u­lar and stan­dard model (now based on a ded­i­cated ac­tion). All the guns Laura Bo­sis fin­ished were trans­formed, prompt­ing the ques­tion: might the ul­ti­mate “us­ing gun” com­bine ma­chine man­u­fac­ture with ar­ti­san fin­ish?

The test gun, mean­while, is sec­ond­hand but in as-new con­di­tion and vir­tu­ally un­fired. It comes from the stock of Chap­man guns, which now im­ports Bo­sis into the UK (with Paul Roberts also im­port­ing the marque). It looks quite English, as many best Ital­ian guns do, with a won­der­fully pro­por­tioned, coin-fin­ished, side­lock ham­mer ac­tion dec­o­rated with Purdey-style rose and scroll (im­mac­u­lately ex­e­cuted by Ital­ian mas­ter Diego Bonzi). The gun has a richly fig­ured English straight-hand stock and a splin­ter fore-end. Ex­pertly struck-up and blacked bar­rels are fit­ted with a semisunken rib.

The bar­rels feel quite light, how­ever. I checked their wall thick­nesses be­cause of this and found that they were struck up to show a min­i­mum of about 26 thou with a mean of about 30. The bore di­men­sion was 18.4mm. The Bo­sis bal­anced about ¼in be­hind the hinge pin, so it felt lively. Chokes are fixed at half (right) and very full, 40 thou plus (left). The gun had prob­a­bly been made like this an­tic­i­pat­ing reg­u­la­tion.

Close in­spec­tion re­veals only qual­ity. The ac­tion, though splen­didly pre­sented, is quite sim­ple. It is a self cocker, non-ejec­tor, of clas­sic Birm­ing­ham form with one bar­rel finely fit­ted lump vis­i­ble through the bot­tom of the ac­tion near the knuckle (Lon­don ham­mer guns are usu­ally made so no lump is vis­i­ble and this is also the case with some Bo­sis ham­mer guns). The ac­tion bar is well filed up with par­tic­u­larly el­e­gant bolt­sers lead­ing to no-less-el­e­gant oval sculp­tured fences. The ac­tion is rounded to­wards the knuckle, fluted beads grace the bot­tom of the bar and the ham­mers are pleas­ingly shaped – far pret­tier than on some mod­ern ham­mer guns.

The only thing that I did not like about the gun – not­ing that 27½in bar­rels would not be my nor­mal pref­er­ence – was the straight grip, which I thought a lit­tle deep. The qual­ity of wood, oil­ing and che­quer­ing was ex­cel­lent. Wood-to-metal fit was ex­em­plary with the in-let­ting of locks into the stock near per­fect. Joint­ing of bar­rels to ac­tion was first class, too, though I noted a very slight har­monic on clos­ing.

Beauty of form apart, is a ham­mer gun a prac­ti­cal propo­si­tion in the field to­day? Well, the sim­ple an­swer is of course it is, they were used hap­pily for decades by some of our great­est driven shots. Ge­orge V stip­u­lated ham­mers as an aid to good shoot­ing, I have en­joyed shoot­ing ham­mer guns my­self for 40 years. Nev­er­the­less, there was a prej­u­dice against ham­mer guns on driven shoots that has re­cently abated. Ham­mer guns can be made with safeties, ejec­tors and even self­cock­ing, which may over­come any blimp­ish prej­u­dices. We tend to be a more tol­er­ant lot to­day and the sim­plic­ity and el­e­gance of the tra­di­tional ham­mer gun has its own at­trac­tion – like fish­ing with split cane. Q

The ac­tion is rounded to­wards the knuckle and ham­mers pleas­ingly shaped

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.