By Gregg Elliott
I don’t hunt fancy places, and where I chase grouse and woodcock, amenities like electric lights and indoor plumbing are luxuries. So this past February when I traveled to Alabama’s Pursell Farms to help celebrate the introduction of Caesar Guerini’s Revenant over/under, the world I peeked into was eye-opening.
Pursell Farms calls itself an “outdoor leisure resort.” It offers everything from horseback riding and all-terrain-vehicle tours to golf and yoga. It also has an Orvis Shooting Grounds with sporting clays, fly-fishing and bird hunting; a “rejuvenating spa” and the amenities to host “storybook weddings.” A single theme runs through all this: LUXURY (yes, in all caps).
Like a Woodward side-by-side from the ’30s, Pursell Farms is an example of how nice things can be when people focus on quality and pay attention to detail. The farm is on 3,500 acres, and the grounds I saw were as manicured as a hipster’s beard. For our Continental-style shoot, the pheasants flew strong and the Chessies, Labs and Brittanys retrieved downed birds with grace.
Similar excellence was evident in the over/unders on display from Caesar Guerini. I’ve spent a chunk of my life obsessing over how some O/Us and side-by-sides earn the right to be called “best guns.” While Guerinis aren’t at that level, the new Revenant over/under (see “Raising the Revenant,” p. 62) is almost there. It astonished me.
The Revenant is mostly machine made, and it costs around a tenth as much as a new best gun from a prestigious London firm. This makes the Revenant a great deal and a double-barreled blast over the heads of the top gunmakers across the UK and Europe. It will be interesting to see how the Revenant is received in the US—and where Guerini gunmaking goes from here.