By Gregg Elliott
The more I learn about Italian gunmaking, the more I’m surprised. At Caeser Guerini’s 2020 Writer & Dealer Event, held in February outside of Dallas, the surprises—including a few that had nothing to do with firearms—were numerous.
First, when my plane landed at the airport, it was a freakishly warm 82°. But before I had time to break a sweat, I was picked up by a straw-colored Suburban, in which I joined three other writers for the trip west.
“Do you think this heat will bring out the snakes?” I asked the driver.
“Probably not,” she said, sounding unconcerned.
Probably not?! I thought, feeling very concerned.
The next surprise was the host venue: Greystone Castle Sporting Club. The dream of a Texas businessman, Greystone crowns a top-hat-shaped hill and lords over thousands of mesquite-spotted acres.
After passing through Greystone’s gatehouse, we were greeted by guides, bird dogs and hunting trucks. Soon I was in the field with two other hunters and a pair of dogs—a Brittany that found the birds and an English cocker that made them flush. With plenty of hunting ahead of us and no snakes in sight, life was good.
That evening we enjoyed a dinner that included Greystone’s famous 7 Spiced Crispy Quail followed by a viewing of the Super Bowl.
Monday kicked off with a presentation on Guerini’s 2020 gun introductions. Guerini burst on the scene in 2001, and since then its shotguns have impressed hunters and shooters with their high-end features and mid-range prices. Wes Lang, president of Caeser Guerini USA, said that he’s always trying to provide customers with “the next level”—which for 2020 includes an impressive array of guns.
The new field models—the limited-edition Maxum Gold Field and a 28-gauge version of the Revenant—continue Guerini’s collaboration with Italian engravers Bottega Incisioni C. Giovanelli and offer the kind of features once reserved for shotguns costing many times more. To its line of million-round-capable Invictus target guns Guerini has added the Invictus II Sporting and the Invictus III Sporting Limited. Both are eye-catching with color-case hardened actions and gold details. The action on the Invictus III also features impressive carved scrollwork.
Guerini also has added the Invictus I M-SPEC 34" Specialist. This 12-gauge features a black action with carved details, and its ultra-lightweight 34" barrels make the gun quick-to-target.
Guerini’s Syren division is offering two new target guns this year: the Julia Sporting and the Elos N2 Elevate. The Julia combines women-friendly features like a modified forend and comfortable stock dimensions with a great-looking, sideplated action. The Elos N2 Elevate has the same for-women features plus an adjustable comb and the company’s Quick Release Rib system.
After a morning of talking guns and then lunch, we enjoyed an afternoon of pheasant shooting. As the birds flew high overheard, I worked my way through Guerini’s new offerings. My favorite was the Invictus III Sporting Limited—its great looks combined with just enough heft and the right feel to swing smoothly and knock down bird after bird.
The final surprise of the trip came the morning we left Greystone Castle: Two days after temperatures had been in the 80s, overnight lows were going to be in the 30s and there was a chance of snow. And snow is almost as improbable in that part of Texas as a medieval fortress.