OK, so you have $3,500 to spend on a new, break-open sporting gun. Now real quick, what are the first shotguns that come to mind?
The Browning Cynergy Classic Sporting. Beretta’s SV10 Prevail or 687 Silver Pigeon II. The Caesar Guerini Summit Sporting. We’ve even seen a number of new Zoli Kronos Sporting models hovering in cyberspace for about the $3,500. And the Baserri Mari Elite should soon be hitting the dealers’ shelves in larger quantities.
Then there’s the B. Rizzini BR320.
The Rizzini BR320 evokes that cinematic cliché where the bespectacled librarian removes her glasses and unpins her hair to reveal the bombshell lurking beneath the drab wardrobe. She’s always been there, but you simply never noticed before until there’s a twist in the plot.
The BR320 is one of those guns people find out about from owners looking to pass along a good thing. In online shotgun forums, information about the BR320 often follows queries such as “Any feedback would be appreciated…”
And the responses would include…
“They are very good guns. They are the same quality as the CG Summit sporting.”
“It’s not quite an [Perazzi] MX-8, but it suits my needs ….
“This is a B. Rizzini and is considered the best of all the production Rizzini’s. There is one that builds only custom guns, but they are in a different league. It’s a BR320.”
From an engineering perspective, the BR320 is pretty unremarkable. It’s your basic boxlock with automatic ejectors and the usual complement of screw-in chokes. The stand-out innovation on the shotgun is a distinctive safety system that prevents it from firing unless the action is fully closed.
But where the BR320 truly shines is in the execution. We recently shot 100 rounds of sporting clays with the BR320 and realized that, with a suggested retail price of $3,478, the shotgun is a hidden gem for shooters in search of a distinctive alternative.
We spoke with Chris Batha who is a writer, instructor, guide and shotgun dealer. He sells the B. Rizzini shotguns and confided that, of the hundreds he has sold, “I never once had one come back with a problem.”
He said that his significant other owns a BR320 in 20 gauge. The shotgun is now about nine years old, a veteran of 14 countries, fired thousands and thousands of rounds and it “always goes bang. It’s a great gun for the money.”
The BR320 sits toward the low end of the B. Rizzini lineup of Italian target shotguns. The Vertex shotgun is its entry level model at $2,475. Next up is the BR320. The S2000 jumps in price to $4,613. And the premium shotgun in the target models is the S790EL costing $7,885.
Stand it next to the other $3,500 candidates from different manufacturers and you’ll notice a few distinctions. The wood quality on the BR320 appears to be richer – the hue of burnt sienna – with surprisingly impressive figuring. Combined with the case-color-hardened receiver and the filigree top release lever, you’d probably believe the shotgun costs about a $1,000 more than its full retail price. Closer scrutiny of the BR320 may even reveal a superior wood-to-metal fit and crisp checkering that overall contributed to the gun’s stately quality of a time-honored steakhouse.
Our 12-gauge BR320 arrived with 32-inch barrels that were chrome lined and equipped with forcing cones. It’s chambered for 3-inch shells.
It had vented ribs. The palm swell on the pistol grip stock, coupled with the Prince of Wales forend, contributed to the fluid swing of the BR320 – to the extent that the dynamics belied the 8.2-pound weight. The entire package, in fact, felt quite stable in blasting fast, crossing targets.
The trigger on the BR320 conveyed a confident pull – crisp and smooth – at 4¼ pounds. The drawback to the trigger, however, was that it could not be adjusted for travel like other shotguns in its class.
A pleasant surprise about the BR320 was the relatively low felt recoil with Rio 1⅛ ounce target loads. Generally, the BR320 was filled with pleasant surprises such as the unexpected mild recoil. It was one of those shotguns that would easily be taken for granted over time until perhaps you shot a different manufacturer’s shotgun for around the same price. In short, the BR320 was a shotgun that befriended you.
Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company became the exclusive U.S. importer in early 2008 under the banner of B. Rizzini USA. Shotguns by B. Rizzini have been quite popular in Europe for the past 20 years, and they have always managed to find a presence on this side of the Atlantic.
So if you find yourself in the market for $3,500 sporting gun, you owe it to yourself to include the BR320 into the mix.
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