By Bruce Buck
The Rizzini BR460 clays over/under represents an all-new upscale gun for the company. In the September/October 2017 issue I reviewed Rizzini’s price-leading BR110 field O/U, at the time less than $2,000. The BR460 is at the other end of Rizzini’s scale and sells for $7,045 in the plain model and $9,385 for our upscale review gun, the BR460 EL. The difference between the BR460 and the BR460 EL is engraving and wood quality. The mechanics are identical.
The 460 comes in Skeet, Sporting and Trap/Double Trap models—all 12-gauges. Our test gun is in the Sporting configuration. The first thing you notice about the action is that it is built for the long haul. Rizzini describes it as a “Boss-style frame,” indicating that it uses sidelugs as fixed braces between the receiver and monoblock. Perazzis are set up the same way. Most O/Us employ fixed lugs on the bottom of the monoblock to engage the bottom of the receiver, not sidelugs. I can’t say that one system is stronger than the other, but Rizzini goes one step further and makes the sidelugs replaceable should they wear loose. This is a plus and will extend the longevity of the gun. The hinge trunnion stubs are also replaceable. Main locking is by a two-pronged locking lug situated low in the receiver. The lug points are spring loaded and tapered, to allow unchanging lockup pressure. If sufficiently worn, the locking lug can be replaced. In all, the 460’s lockup appears to be sturdy and easily rebuilt, if required.
The trigger on the 460 is removable like that on the Perazzi MX8. Just push the safety forward and pull the trigger assembly down and out. This is supposed to make the trigger easier to repair but, to be frank, simply removing the stock provides just about the same access. The trigger uses carefully encased coil springs. Coils die a tiny bit with each firing but generally do not snap suddenly the way leaf springs do.
The trigger is inertial in operation versus mechanical. That means that the recoil from the first shell is required to set the sear to fire the second shell. If the first shell fails or is weak, the second sear will not set and you’ll get only the one shot.
The trigger safety works in the usual way and on our gun was nice and crisp. The safety is manual, which is proper for a competition gun. The barrel selector is a lateral toggle at the rear of the trigger guard. It is easy to use but requires a more intentional movement than the Beretta-style lateral toggle built into the safety.
Trigger pulls were both in the 4½-pound area and as crisp as you could wish, with almost no take-up or creep. You expect good triggers for this price, and you get them. That said, the trigger was not adjustable to adapt to hand size and finger length.
The engraved silver receiver deserves a comment. The engraving is 100 percent coverage in a vine-leaf pattern over a deep-black background. It was done by Botegga Giovanelli, Italy’s most popular independent engraver. My guess is that it is a combination of five-axis-laser cutting and hand chasing. It is extremely attractive and fits the gun perfectly.
The barrels on our 460 Sporting gun were 30″, but 28″ and 32″ are offered. On the outside, the bluing and solder jointing was flawless. The side ribs go all the way back to the monoblock and, except for the front 5″, are vented. The top rib is also vented and is not elevated. It is flush with the receiver at the rear, about ¼” high in the middle and .2″ high in the front. Width is .43″ at the rear tapering to .25″ at the muzzle. In all it would be described as a low-set target rib. There is the usual white Bradley bead-on-a-block up front and small steel center bead to help premounted shooters set up. A ½” raised rib is available on special order.
Inside the barrels are 3″ chambers and long 5″ forcing cones opening up into slightly oversize .735″ bores. The interiors of the bores are chromed, making them rust proof and a little easier to wipe clean.
Five steel chokes come with the gun. Full chokes are standard. Our gun came with extra-cost extended chokes, which were 3½” long—¾” of which extended from the muzzle. The extensions were knurled for easy finger tightening and color coded. Chokes were Cylinder (-.001″), Improved Cylinder (.008″), Modified (.017″), Improved Modified (.028″) and Full (.039″). These are all within a few thousandths of the nominal choke dimensions. The chokes ran from a .755″ diameter at the rear to the maximum choke constriction about ¾” from the front, and then they maintained a shot-stabilizing parallel. That .020″ is a pretty good drop from bore to choke for the shot to jump without distortion, but it does safely account for any possible production variance. The last thing you want is for the rear of the choke to be smaller than the bore.
The chokes come in a nice plastic box, which also contains the solid-steel choke wrench that engages internal lip notches in the chokes. It is nothing new, but it is well done and serviceable.
Fancy wood is one of the things you pay for in the upscale EL model, and our gun definitely delivered. In addition to the attractive stock grain, the forend had grain that matched. That is rarer than you might think. Wood finish was stated as being hand-rubbed oil. Unlike on many Italian guns, the oil fully filled the wood grain and the finish was smooth with an appropriate dull luster. The inside of the forend and adjustable cheekpiece were also properly finished. Nicely done for sure. Wood-to-metal fit was just proud enough to allow a refinishing or two down the road. Checkering is a fine 28 lines per inch. The forend is fully checkered, providing a grip no matter where you hold it. The pistol grip is large and vertical, as is often seen on competition guns. On the plus side it provides a good handhold. On the downside it encourages a low right elbow, a disadvantage to those who prefer to shoot elbows up.
As mentioned, our stock came with an adjustable cheekpiece. In its lowest position the stock measurements were: 19⁄16″ drop at comb, 2½” drop at heel and 147⁄8″ length of pull. The cheekpiece is fully adjustable for height, angle and cast, so it should be able to fit most shooters. Because the rubber recoil pad is only ½” thick, replacement can easily lengthen the stock but not shorten it.
The BR460 EL comes wrapped in flannel in an upscale Negrini leather-and-PVC takedown case. The plastic box housing the five chokes and choke wrench also holds the cheekpiece-adjustment key. Our sample did not include a wrench to remove the stock, perhaps because of the removable trigger. The six-language manual is slightly more than basic but not much. What does go all the way is the warranty. It is lifetime to the original owner, exclusive of normal wear and tear. Well done, Rizzini USA.
Shooting the gun was interesting, to be sure. At 8½ pounds it was heavy and felt it. The balance point was on the hinge, but the weight seemed to be at both ends. Some guns feel heavy when held vertically but lighten up when held horizontally in the pre-shooting position. This is because of the weight being central. Not so with this gun. Its heaviness never left it, due to the weight on the ends. That’s not a bad thing, just a characteristic. Heavy guns can be smooth shooters, and this certainly was. It was particularly comfortable on long shots, but short quick shots required correct pre-shot gun position. Recoil seemed a little less than with my usual 7¾-pound FN O/U. The 460 happily digested all the factory 3-dram 11⁄8-oz loads I fed it.
Comments on the looks of the gun were universally approving. The fancy wood and lavish-but-tasteful engraving justify the extra charge for the EL model. The obvious strength and durability of the gun speak for themselves whether you select the basic 460 or upgraded EL. The only problem with the EL is that you might spend more time looking at the gun than the target.
For more information, contact Rizzini USA.