I’ve seen a lot of Italian shotguns – from basic Berettas to top-of-the-line O/Us and side-by-sides by Bosis and F.lli Rizzini. But almost all of these have been post WW2 shotguns. For some reason, I’ve seen very few Italian shotguns from the first half of the 20th century or the 19th century.
That’s why this 19th century double barrel pinfire shotgun by Alfonso Izzo caught my eye. Not only is it an antique, but it looks like it’s in stunning original condition. Just look at the color on the action and the browning on the damascus barrels — that’s all original. So is the finish on the wood. And check out the engraving – it’s look very English to me. In its day, this shotgun must have been the finest the maker could produce. Today its retains that aura that quality always has.
The pinfire system was one of the first successful breechloading designs. It came into use around 1855 and lasted just a handful of years. Centerfire breechloaders came onto the market about 1865 and withing a few years they had killed off the pinfires.
This shotgun also uses a Jones-style underlever, first patented in 1859. The Jones underlever would go on to be one of the most successful actions ever created. Shotguns and rifles were built on it right into the 20th century.