F.lli Rizzini’s New Over/Under

F.lli Rizzini’s New Over/Under

Courtesy F.lli Rizzini

When a gunmaker with a worldwide reputation for crafting side-by-sides reestablishes itself as a maker of over/unders, collectors and competitors take notice. Such is the case with Italian gunmaker Fratelli Rizzini, whose foray into O/Us has caused a buzz. Since 1971 the family concern’s unique selling proposition has been building “best” side-by-sides, but a dozen years ago the now-deceased founder, Guido Rizzini, proposed a new O/U. High demand for the firm’s handmade side-by-side has slowed development of the over/under . . . until now.

On a recent visit to the F.lli Rizzini shop, in Magno, Val Trompia, I was shown a prototype O/U barreled action by the affable Stefano Rizzini, son of the founder. “The story of our company was always characterized by a constant search for new mechanical and constructive solutions,” Rizzini said. “My father realized that continuous innovation was the only way to find his identity as a gunmaker and to compete with his famous peers, whose patents are frequently over a hundred years old. With this in mind, he developed his ejector system, the single trigger and his famous sidelock. These mechanisms weren’t exercises for the sake of creativity; they were robust and simple, allowing Rizzini to overcome the shortcomings of existing designs—in particular, less-than-stellar reliability.”

The cocking system has been improved to minimize the energy required to open the gun. Instead of direct contact between the forend and pushrod, a U-shaped device rotates around the same pins around which the barrels rotate, connecting the two. The new sidelocks eliminate problems associated with older O/Us. For example, the strikers operate at the ideal 90° angle, a bridle integral with the lockplate guarantees absolute stability, and a repositioning of the mainspring allows for an elegant shape of the sideplate similar to that of a bar-action lock. Parts can be replaced easily in the event that they should wear out.

In the new lock the possibility of a violent jar leading to an accidental discharge has been eliminated. The interceptor rotates in a plane perpendicular to the one in which the sear rotates. A simultaneous movement of the interceptor and sear is therefore impossible. The main innovation is that the interceptor is engaged when the hammer is armed. Only pulling the trigger will cause the gun to fire. The interceptor functions as a second, required, sear.

All of the components of the new ejector are positioned between the barrels in direct contact with the extractor; the levers that act upon them are therefore short and robust. Having eliminated all mechanical parts from the forend, malfunctions due to eventual misalignment of the mechanism have been eliminated.

The new Rizzini O/U perfectly illustrates Guido’s philosophy of constant innovation. It’s also an expression of “sprezzatura,” an Italian word with no exact English equivalent but meaning something akin to “a beautiful simplicity achieved without apparent effort but actually attained by costly, concentrated and unremitting labor.” Little wonder then that gun connoisseurs are queuing up to place their orders.

At press time no price had been established for the O/U. The firm builds only about 25 guns a year.

For more information on F.lli Rizzini guns, contact William Larkin Moore & Sons, 480-951-8913; williamlarkinmoore.com. —Douglas Tate


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Douglas Tate

Doug Tate is an Editor at Large for Shooting Sportsman and is the author of British Gun Engraving (Safari Press, 2000).

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