Rizzini RBEM combo - test and review
- Credit: Archant
The Rizzini RBEM combo comes with two sets of barrels, offering a 20-bore and a 28-bore in one gun. Mike Yardley puts it to the test
We like: The looks and engraving; The good action and stock shapes; The quality to price ratio
We don’t like: The ventilated sighting rib as much as a solid one on a game gun.
Makem - Rizzini
Model - RBEM
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Action - trigger-plate
Bore - 20 bore with extra 28 bore barrels
Barrels - 30”
Chokes - Multi (both sets)
Weight - 6lbs 9oz.
RRP - £4,050 (single gun £2,850)
This test gun is an attractive Rizzini Round Bar RBEM 20-bore over-and-under, made all the more interesting because it comes with a set of 28-bore barrels with fore-end.
This combo will set you back £4,050, while a standard gun with a single set of barrels is £2,850. There is also a 28-bore/.410 combo on offer. The test gun immediately appeals as a practical game gun that might do double service teaching a young shooter, or be used by a keen shot who wants to master the terrific 28 but wants to keep the option of using more widely available (and far less expensive) 20-bore cartridges.
This Rizzini shows some of the qualities that have allowed the now well-established marque to carve out a niche in a highly competitive market. The gun is elegant, well finished and well priced. The full coverage engraving is tasteful, and quite deep. It is mechanically applied to a good standard by the sort of high-tech process that Rizzini have made it their business to master.
Mechanically, the basic design of the gun is not radical but most will see that as a plus too. There is a lot to be said for tried and tested.
As the gun is brought up to the cheek and shoulder – indeed, even handling it – you are aware of a handy gun with really pleasing, smooth shapes. The semi-pistol grip and rounded fore-end feel great and offer plenty of purchase and control. The 30” multi-choked barrels (both sets) make it pointable and increase control.
The Rizzini weighs in at 6lb 9oz with either set of barrels – a good weight for this sort of gun. It’s not too light, nor too heavy. The point of balance, unusually, is very close to the hinging point, which is great. Chambers are 3” and there is a single selective trigger. The Rizzini has a narrow 6mm ventilated sighting rib, although some of the firm’s guns have ‘solid’ top ribs (a sensible feature on a game gun, and one which prevents denting).
The Rizzini comes to the face and shoulder well, as is often the case with 20-bores, but it seems particularly well proportioned.
I have to admit bias, by the way: I’m a 20-bore boy these days. I use them for most of my game shooting, and increasingly use them for informal clays too. My scores with a 20 are 5-10% down on my results with a 12 but who cares if fun is the main object? 20s bring a smile to your face.
For normal game shooting, I think there is no disadvantage at all to the 20 – only in competition where rangy birds have become the norm. The issue is not ballistics either, so much as the mass of the gun.
The stock on the RB is particularly good too. It is made from well-figured wood and measures 14¾” for length with an extra 1/8” and 3/8” to heel and toe respectively.
The grip shape is truly splendid – I think Rizzini have got a nearly ideal grip on their 20s now. The comb is well shaped and the fore-end is exemplary. High praise indeed in this department.
Drop measurements are 13/8” at the front of the comb and 2¼” at the heel – which is a little low – my only critical comment.
The butt and fore-end are competently oil finished and the laser chequering is well done and laid out in traditional panels.
The barrels are built on the now ubiquitous monobloc system. They are chambered for 3” (76mm) cartridges. Both tubes are marked 15.9mm by the Italian proof authorities, which is standard for a modern 20. Internal and external finish is good. The forcing cones are of average length and the bores chrome-plated. The sides of the monobloc are engine turned.
The action of the RB is the usual Italian fare. It’s a trigger-plate design with stud pin hinging and coil springs used to power the hammers. Lock up is based on the Browning with a wide-slot bite cut into the rear lump under the chamber mouth.
The single trigger mechanism is recoil operated. There is a good sized selector combined with the thumb safety. The function of safety and selector are positive and the trigger blade is nicely shaped too.
The ejector mechanism is also good. Trips and retainers are in the monobloc. There are no working parts in the fore-end at all – it’s all done with cocking rods in the floor of the action, the latter having little extensions that operate the diagonal trips dovetailed in the monobloc – very simple and robust. These actions rarely go wrong.
I shot the RB on both Skeet and Sporting targets as is my normal test procedure. There were no unpleasant surprises (and I don’t expect them with Rizzinis). I especially liked the stock shapes. A rounded fore-end and a semi-pistol grip are the way to go in a game gun in my opinion. The gun shot well with either set of barrels. I spent two years only using a 28 for game, now I have reverted to 20s, but, I really don’t think it makes much difference if one is disciplined about range. I don’t like to shoot game birds much beyond 40 yards. Realistically, though, it would be fair to say the 28 usually takes a little extra effort to master. It needs a bit more muscular control. Ballistically, the 28 is brilliant – one of the best bore sizes of all.
In conclusion, the handling, looks, and price are all pleasing here. Would I go for a two barrel set? Probably not, I couldn’t justify another £1,000 plus (but some could). And, although guns are available off the shelf, I think I would wait the 4-5 extra months to have one made for me. For a potentially bespoke gun this is a comparative bargain. It would do well on classic driven days, walking up, in a hide, or, for recreational clays. It’s a happy gun.
My thanks to Lyalvale (Express) for the cartridges used in this test.