Our shotguns editor goes shop­ping for your ul­ti­mate up­land gun

Field and Stream - - CONTENTS - By Phil Bour­jaily

Our ex­pert picks your dream guns—six beau­ties we know you can af­ford. By Phil Bour­jaily

IN MY MIND, I sell off enough safe queens to raise five or six thou­sand dol­lars to buy a used English dou­ble or a high­grade Span­ish copy of one, like an Ar­ri­eta. Or I buy Amer­i­can and get an old Winch­ester Model 21. That’s the stuff my dreams are made of.

I’ve al­ways won­dered about your gun dreams, so last fall I took a poll on fiel­dand­ to ask how much you would spend on your ul­ti­mate up­land gun out of six cat­e­gories from “Un­der $1,000” to “The Farm.” More than a thou­sand of you re­sponded, and al­most half (48 per­cent) fell into one of two brack­ets: “$1,500–$2,000” and “$2,000–$3,000.” Here are the shotguns I would dream of in these ranges, three for each: a top choice, a run­nerup, and a used gun.

$1,500-$2,000 TOP CHOICE: Dick­in­son Plan­ta­tion Grade

Made by Akus, one of Tur­key’s top gun­mak­ers, the Plan­ta­tion Grade is a beau­ti­fully fin­ished small­bore dou­ble, dec­o­rated with bone-char­coal case­c­ol­ored side plates. It has a nicely fig­ured Turk­ish wal­nut stock with an oil fin­ish, and gen­er­ally looks as if it costs much more than it does. Akus guns have a good rep­u­ta­tion, es­pe­cially if you forgo the sin­gle trig­ger in fa­vor of the tra­di­tional dou­ble trig­gers. The Plan­ta­tion Grade goes for $1,999, but if you’d rather spend less and can live with­out the side plates, you can get the Es­tate grade for $1,699. Both are rated for steel shot. ca­

RUN­NER-UP: Rizzini BR110

An ex­cel­lent, no-frills Ital­ian o/u from B. Rizzini—one of the many in­ter­re­lated Rizzi­nis in Italy’s gun trade— this gun bears a strong fam­ily re­sem­blance to other Rizzi­nis and to Cae­sar Gueri­nis, all of which are based on eerily sim­i­lar de­signs. What sets the BR110 apart is what it does not have: a lot of fancy en­grav­ing, finely fig­ured wood, or a high price tag. At $1,999 in 12, 20, and 28, it’s a very good-look­ing shot­gun in an un­adorned, hard­hunt­ing kind of way.

USED: Brown­ing Su­per­posed

De­spite be­ing made in Bel­gium, the Su­per­posed is an Amer­i­can clas­sic. John Brown­ing was work­ing on its de­sign at the time of his death in 1926, and his son Val fin­ished it. You can nit­pick the Su­per­posed—it’s a bit heavy, the fore-end latch is too com­pli­cated, the ac­tion a lit­tle too tall— but it is far greater than the sum of those parts. It’s a beau­ti­fully crafted gun, and in the 1960s it be­came the as­pi­ra­tional shot­gun for U.S. shoot­ers. You can find a near pris­tine Su­per­posed Light­ning for $1,500–$2,000 with one catch: It has to be a 12gauge. Prices on small­bores run quite a lot higher.


TOP CHOICE: Brown­ing Ci­tori Su­perlight Feather

The Su­perlight Feather com­bines clas­sic good looks and a straight grip with the so­lu­tion to the orig­i­nal Ci­tori’s weight prob­lem: The re­ceiver is made of alu­minum al­loy, mak­ing this 12-gauge weigh the same as many 20s. The Ci­tori was born when ris­ing Bel­gian labor costs prompted Brown­ing to move its o/u pro­duc­tion to Ja­pan in the 1970s. The Miroku fac­tory has been turn­ing out about 130 a day ever since. Vis­it­ing Miroku and

see­ing the skill with which these guns are built made me even more of a Ci­tori fan. If you be­lieve, as many peo­ple do, that the bar­rels are the heart of a shot­gun, then you want a Miroku Brown­ing. This one goes for $2,390 in 12 gauge only, with 26-inch bar­rels. brown­

RUN­NER-UP: Beretta Sil­ver Pi­geon I

Berettas are made in a fac­tory with much higher tech than Brown­ings are, so this is a gun touched more by ro­bot hands than hu­man ones. That doesn’t mean it’s any less great of a bird gun. The good-look­ing Sil­ver Pi­geon 1 has a very low-pro­file ac­tion that makes it an in­tu­itive pointer. My reg­u­lar pheas­ant gun is a 12-gauge Sil­ver Pi­geon III, which is ex­actly this same gun with game scenes in place of scroll, and it is deadly. The 28 and .410 are built on a smaller frame, mak­ing them trim and wan­d­like. All gauges go for $2,350. beretta

USED: AyA 4/53

You can buy a whole lot of used shot­gun for $2,000–$3,000. My pick would be an AyA Model 4/53 from Spain. These guns are made the old­fash­ioned way, with chop­per lump bar­rels and disk-set strik­ers, and pat­terned af­ter West­ley Richards boxlocks based on the 1875 An­son and Dee­ley ac­tion. Shotguns don’t get much more tra­di­tional than that. A ton of hand­crafts­man­ship goes into them, even though a few CNC and laseren­grav­ing ma­chines have found their way into Span­ish fac­to­ries. You can find a 4/53 at the high end of this price range. Some of the newer mod­els are rated for steel shot, mean­ing non­toxic zones can’t stop this dream gun from be­com­ing ev­ery game­bird’s night­mare ev­ery­where.

Dick­in­son Plan­ta­tion Grade A small­bore dou­ble that costs less than its looks say. Rizzini BR110 This no-frills Ital­ian o/u is hand­some in an un­der­stated way. Brown­ing Ci­tori Su­perlight Feather A clas­sic-look­ing 12 that’s as light as a 20.

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