Italian sidelock…wait…circa 1931?

Modern Italian sidelocks side-by-side shotguns are common guns. Nice doubles from makers like Rizzini, Piotti, Bosis, Bertuzzi, Beretta and SIACE are easy to find

Manufattura Gardonese Sidelock 12ga, 2 3/4" Chambers
Manufattura Gardonese Sidelock 12ga, 2 3/4

Older Italian sidelocks are another game, though. While I’ve seen some nice SxSs from the ’50s–mainly Franchi’s and Berettas– I’ve seen very few pre-WW2 Italian sidelocks. I don’t know why.

That’s why this double barrel shotgun caught my eye. Hallowell & Co has it in their inventory right now. It’s a 12 gauge by Manufattura Gardonese. I think that name means it was manufactured in Gardone Val Trompia, a town in the northern Italian province of Brescia.

Like the rest of Europe, Italy had a fair number of arms manufacturers in the 1920s and 1930s. Some of them must have turned out shotguns. If they did, I don’t know where their guns went. For whatever reason, you just don’t see them on the American market.

Manufattura Gardonese Sidelock Double Barrel side-buy-side 12ga shotgun
Manufattura Gardonese Sidelock Double Barrel side-buy-side 12ga shotgun

This gun looks like a solid, medium-grade gun. It looks like it has a push-in hinge pin, very common on Italian, Spanish, and other Euro guns. It looks like a non-ejector built on a Holland-style action. The reinforced action looks Belgian to me. I wonder if it was sourced from the Liege area? The engraving is nice. It reminds me of the work you see on 1950s-era Beretta SO-3s.

Manufattura Gardonese Sidelock 12ga, 2 3/4" Chambers
Manufattura Gardonese Sidelock 12ga, 2 3/4

Brescia is home to a number of modern Italian gunmakers, including Beretta, Piotti, Abbiatico & Salvinelli and Perugini & Visini. I wonder if the people who made this gun. Who knows? Perhaps the hands that made this old sidelock belonged to one the current Italian gunmakers grandfathers.

Pics by Hallowell & Co.

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10 thoughts on “Italian sidelock…wait…circa 1931?

  1. Hello, have a nice 2010 !

    “Nice doubles from makers like Rizzini, Piotti, Bosis, Bertuzzi, Beretta and SIACE”
    It is a pitty to put all these high class gunmakers together with Siace !
    Are you 101% sure that “Manufattura Gardonese” is sidelock ? Is very seldom to see sidelock with screw just in the middle of lock…

    Greetings from Greece.

  2. Hi from Australia,
    Hello friends in shotgunning,
    I’ve found a mystery sidelock extractor gun (six pin?) with 30″ heavy barrels in pretty good condition. it has this information on the barrels…
    “Fabbrica Nationale Armi” (National Arms Factory)
    “Acciaio Speciale” translated (Special Steel)
    “Cromo Molibdenio” (Chrome Molybdenum steel)
    It has the feel and heft of a quality gun and is tight. It needs a refurb on the stock and a decent recoil pad. It is sparsely engraved with blued/black sidelock action. Only a little surface rust on the barrels.
    Any ideas what it is?
    Cheers from Down under
    Paul

  3. I should also mention that it was made in Brescia Italy and this is stamped on the barrel.

  4. I have a DB shot gun guage 12 with 27.5 inch Barrel weighing about 6 ponnds marked Armi Nationale Gardonese and Accasio on both barrels.Ist part hammered with stars indicating full and half chokes of barrels.I need to know the year of manufacture .Thanks

  5. Hi there,

    Just read over some old posts by Paul Miller from Australia. Paul Miller said:
    May 3, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    “I’ve found a mystery sidelock extractor gun (six pin?) with 30″ heavy barrels in pretty good condition. it has this information on the barrels…
    “Fabbrica Nationale Armi” (National Arms Factory)
    “Acciaio Speciale” translated (Special Steel)
    “Cromo Molibdenio” (Chrome Molybdenum steel)
    It has the feel and heft of a quality gun and is tight. It needs a refurb on the stock and a decent recoil pad. It is sparsely engraved with blued/black sidelock action. Only a little surface rust on the barrels.
    Any ideas what it is?
    Cheers from Down under
    Paul

    I was just wondering if anyone has any further info, as I believe I have the exact same firearm, and am also struggling to find out much about it? If anyone could shed any further light, or if Paul is still around and has found out anything further, could he please contact me.
    Kind regards,
    James

  6. James-

    Sorry, but I don’t know. I know there used to be a Fabbrica Nazionale d’Armi di Brescia – National Firearms Factory of Brescia. This factory made military weapons and some sporting guns. It must have come from there.

    Do you have any pics?

    Thanks

    Gregg

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