Ke­men ‘Eder’ 12-bores

These over-and-un­ders are ex­cep­tion­ally light and at­trac­tively fin­ished, says Michael Yard­ley, with the added bonus of a be­spoke stock-mak­ing ser­vice pro­vided by the Bri­tish im­porter

The Field - - Country Estate -

This month’s test con­cerns a pair of light­weight Ke­men ti­ta­nium ‘Eder’ overand-un­ders sup­plied by Midlands Gun Ser­vices (MGS) of Shrews­bury. MGS is now the sole UK im­porter and sales point for the prod­ucts of the well-known Basque gun­maker. The Bri­tish firm, run by Kris­tian Reilly, also of­fers a spe­cial­ist re­stock­ing ser­vice and can pro­vide Uk-made or fin­ished stocks on Ke­mens if re­quired (it will be bring­ing in some guns with headed stock blanks to fa­cil­i­tate this).

The test guns, which have an RRP of £36,000 plus vat, hit the scales at 7lb 2oz (par­tic­u­larly light for 30in 12-bore over-an­dun­ders, which are rarely seen much un­der 7lb 8oz to­day). The guns have 15in semi-pis­tol stocks and monobloc bar­rels. Vis­ually, they are at­trac­tive with sil­ver fin­ished, flo­rate, tight rose-and-scroll en­graved ac­tions (one of many op­tions avail­able). The sight­ing rib is a good 8mm par­al­lel de­sign, join­ing ribs are solid and chokes are fixed at three-quar­ters and full, al­low­ing scope for reg­u­la­tion.

The level of fin­ish on the Eders – which means ‘sim­ple’ in Basque, ac­cord­ing to the im­porter – is good, as one would ex­pect at the sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal price. Black­ing is deep with good prepa­ra­tion in ev­i­dence. The stocks are well fig­ured with a tra­di­tional oil fin­ish and well-cut hand che­quer­ing.

Ke­mens usu­ally have pretty good stock shapes and tend to have well-bal­anced, lively bar­rels. The monobloc bar­rels here are not ex­cep­tion­ally light at 1550g. The pri­mary weight re­duc­tion is in the ti­ta­nium ac­tions, which lose about a pound on the over­all weight. Ke­mens are no­table, how­ever, for their light-for-length bar­rels, a qual­ity that has made them pop­u­lar with many top shots.

The test guns are built to the Mark ii Ke­men pat­tern, which looks sim­i­lar to the orig­i­nal but is sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent on close in­spec­tion. The box into which the trig­ger unit fits has been re­duced in width to its rear quite sig­nif­i­cantly, mean­ing less wood now needs to be cut from the stock at a po­ten­tially weak point. This is an im­por­tant improve­ment as ear­lier Ke­mens, though out­stand­ing guns, were prone to crack­ing through the grip some­times (espe­cially if one sub­jected them to stock bend­ing).

The stocks here are un­usual: not only semi-pis­tol, they have a palm swell. i like semi-pis­tol grips for game guns but a palm swell is an un­nec­es­sary ad­di­tion (their main ap­pli­ca­tion is for some clay dis­ci­plines). The combs pre­sented are quite sub­stan­tial and of un­usual pro­file. They might ben­e­fit from be­ing more rounded at the top to achieve ad­di­tional fa­cial sup­port (and there is enough wood there to al­low for such mod­i­fi­ca­tion). My pref­er­ence is for a semi-cir­cu­lar shape at the top of the comb in cross-sec­tion. in­stead, the sides here are re­lieved to­wards the top. it al­lowed my head to ‘rock’ when the guns were dry mounted.

The stocks as tested are quite low, too (aca­demic as you may or­der what you want) with just over 1½in for drop at the front of the comb and al­most 2¼in to the rear. Most con­ti­nen­tal and US guns tend to have more drop than our own, i sus­pect this is partly be­cause they do not share our ex­pe­ri­ence of shoot­ing driven game at range.

if i was or­der­ing a new Ke­men from MGS i would spec­ify a stock with a more English shape and less drop – some­thing that they are par­tic­u­larly qual­i­fied to pro­vide. Mean­time, a butt that is just a lit­tle too high is al­ways prefer­able to one that is too low. This is ex­actly what one may do with the MGS cus­tom-fit­ting ser­vice – all its guns are po­ten­tially be­spoke (and there is a pat­tern­ing range on site). At the mo­ment, it might be added, MGS has a spe­cial of­fer to get its new ven­ture off the ground. it is ad­ver­tis­ing a plain steel ac­tioned KM4 with a UK cus­tom­fit­ted ‘Grade ii’ wood stock for £10,000, in­clud­ing VAT. This ap­pears ex­cel­lent value for a be­spoke gun, all the more as the price is set to climb to £12,000 soon.

Shoot­ing them in­stinc­tively they re­ally came into their own and im­pressed on fast, close tar­gets, so might suit grouse and par­tridge

The monobloc bar­rels weigh 1550g with most weight re­duc­tion achieved throughthe use of ti­ta­nium for the ac­tions Right: the guns have at­trac­tive, sil­verfin­ished, flo­rate, tight rose-and-scrollen­grav­ing on the ac­tions

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