|Featured this year is Triwood™ which is a technique for adding ink-drawn patterns to medium grade walnut so that it looks like it started out life as a $2,500 stick of Turkish walnut. It can be finished with either a high gloss or satin finish, but it is a barn-burner for sure. It is on their new 20 gauge Nobile Grade III side-by-side (with a wood butt plate) and Axis over/unders (rubber recoil pad), which have futuristic profiles not unlike the Browning Cynergy models. The Axis AL is a lightweight model (Titanium receiver). All feature Tribore® and Triwood® and long (82 mm) "hyperbolic profile" internal screw-in chokes. |
FABARM's new high-end side-by-sides are all 12 gauge. The Beta Grade IV, Beta, Beta Lux Paradox are all boxlocks, some with highly finished false sideplates, English or pistol grips, various choke tube choices and showy Triwood®. No prices were available at the show, but FABARM shotguns were always moderately priced, but with the Euro/USD rate of change, anything is possible.
Fiocchi includes in their Game & Target Multi Sport (Dove Loads) a 1 ounce load for 16 gauge with a velocity of 1,165 fps and is available in nos. 7-1/2, 8 and 9 shot sizes. No. 9 shot is hard to find in factory loaded ammunition. This is a "promotional" load, sometimes bargain priced as a loss leader, but Fiocchi goes out of their way to say that they "use the same manufacturing standards for both premium and promotional loads." Finding factory-loaded no. 9 shot is no easy task, but getting it at a good price makes it special.
Kimber- not well known for shotguns, has introduced a highly finished seven-pin, hand-detachable sidelock 20 gauge Holland & Holland look-alike with Grade 4 Turkish walnut that was an absolute show-stopper. The Valier Grade II has all the bells and whistles, ranging from engine-turning on the internal lockwork, slender 26 or 28" fixed choke (IC/M) barrels to a 14-3/4" LOP checkered butt which is cataloged as "cast-neutral", but appears to the eye to have some cast-off. Kimber says these guns have "30 coats of oil", which also appears to be the case. Beautiful Turkish wood with a lot of depth and color. The Valier Grade II is bargain-priced at $4,480.
Marlin is not the first name that comes to mind when you think of shotguns, but for 2005 Marlin has brought back two beauties that are going to turn your head. Elsie is the first. Yep, the L.C. Smith nameplate is back on a 12 and 20 gauge side-by-side and, would you believe, an over/under, too! The new 20 side-by-side is a boxlock with a false sideplate, built for Marlin by a well-known Italian maker. It has 26" barrels with IC-M-F chokes, solid rib, 3" chambers, single trigger, nice wood-to-metal fit and a rubber recoil pad. The wood checkering has a beautifully executed fleur de lis pattern on both side-by-side and over/under models. The 20 gauge Elsie, which will be on everyone's must-have list this year, has a catalog weight of six pounds and a MSRP of $1,884. The stock dimensions are pretty standard and the samples at the show had a nice bit of cast-off.
Also new for 2005, Marlin is reintroducing their Lever Action Shotgun as an updated version of the model made in the 1920's. The Model 410 has a 22" cylinder bore barrel and a four-shot (five with some brands) tubular magazine for 2-1/2" (only) shells, including rifled slugs.
The LOP is 13-3/4" to a rubber pad and comes equipped with a green fibre-optic front sight. Looks like a fun gun, although there is going to be a whole new learning curve when shooting doubles! MSRP is $614.
Merkel has a line in their catalog that says all you need to know about their guns . . . these fine guns seduce through elegance and finesse. And so they do. These guys are having so much fun with their Luxury Wood concept, their small frame 28 gauge and a 16 gauge gun built on a 20 gauge frame, that Euro/USD exchange business has to be a downer. A sign of the times is that the 2004 MSRP of $4,195 on both the Model 280 Petite Frame and the Model 1620 appears uncertain for 2005. Probably up 5%-6%. Fitted cases, included with gun purchases in recent years, have become a casualty in 2005. Fitted cases are an extra cost accessory for 2005.
Remington's Spartan™ Gunworks -working with Russia's premier gun maker is offering a low-cost line of side-by-side, over/under, single shot, rifle/shotgun combination and hammer model cowboy action shotguns. The basic Spartan SPR210 side-by-side is available in 12 and 20 gauge with C-IC-M-F chokes tubes, 28 gauge with fixed IC/M and .410 bore with fixed IM/F. All have single selective triggers, automatic ejectors, chrome-lined bores, auto safety, ventilated rib and rubber pad. A similar SPR220 is offered in 12 and 20 gauge with double triggers.
A 16 gauge is included in their over/under SPR310 line with a MSRP of $517 with single selective trigger, auto ejectors, C-IC-M-F choke tubes, 28" ventilated ribbed barrels and a cataloged weight of 7-1/4 pounds. Note that Spartan™ choke tubes are not interchangeable with Rem© Chokes.
SKB - with a long history in side-by-sides dating back to the early Ithaca years in the 1960's - - has dropped them from their 2005 lineup of shotguns. SKB continues to offer their line of over/under sport and target guns in three trim lines.
Weatherby - this year Weatherby teamed up with Fausti Stefano - one of Italy's finest gunmakers to produce a side-by-side shotgun with classic English styling and made with the latest in production technology. The Weatherby Athena D'Italia model is available in 12, 20 and 28 gauge with straight English grip, splinter forend, double triggers and screw-in IC-M-F chokes on the 12 and 20 gauge and fixed IC/M on the 28 gauge. The false sideplates are fully engraved, screwheads nicely aligned and the checkering and wood-to-metal fit perfectly executed. The LOP on these guns is 14" to the front trigger and 13-5/8" to the rear trigger. MSRP on 12's and 20's is $2,840 and 28 gauge is $2,976.