The Inverness is the newest over-and-under being made by Connecticut Shotgun -one of the finest American gunmakers of all time. Since this double’s introduction in January, the Inverness has raised a lot questions. You can read some of them on this string over at the Shooting Sportsman’s board.
I wrote an article for the latest issue of Sporting Shot (pages 8-9) to clear up some of this confusion. The first draft of my piece went way back into the gun’s early history, but to streamline the article a lot of this back story was cut out. So here’s my first draft of the story so you can learn more about the origins of the Inverness:
Over the last couple months, shooters have been puzzled by a new double on the market. At the beginning of the year, the Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company (CMSC) introduced the Inverness Round Body Over/Under shotgun. But what started out as excitement generated for this great looking shotgun turned into confusion for people around the country.
The trouble began with an email. On January 16, 2012, Anthony Galazan, President of the Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company, sent out a message that greeted readers with “This Is An Advanced Announcement To All Our Loyal Customers!!” It went on to say “This is our most ambitious and exciting offer to date.”
The offer was for CSMC’s new Inverness Round Body Over/Under. Pictures showed a sleek, color-case hardened double with a single trigger, rose-and-scroll engraving, and a true Prince of Wales grip. At first glance, the gun looked like a McKay Brown, an $80,000 O/U. But the Inverness could be ordered for as little as $2,995—IF you ordered one right away.
The confusion came from the same source – CSMC –but two years earlier. In February 2010, B. Rizzini USA (a division of CSMC at the time) had released a round body over/under shotgun. The gun’s name? the Inverness. When CSMC’s January 2012 email went out, CSMC was still selling this B. Rizzini USA gun. One name, two guns, one company. Not good.
To sort this all out, let’s step all the way back to 1966. That’s when B. Rizzini started making O/Us in Italy. By 1990, these shotguns were being brought into the United States. In 2008 CSMC launched B. Rizzini USA and became the U.S. importers and distributors for B. Rizzini’s shotguns and rifles. The plan was for CSMC to sell some guns directly to customers while wholesaling others to dealers throughout the country.
In 2010, B. Rizzini USA introduced the Inverness round body over/unders. This gun was an existing B. Rizzini model, badged with a name owned by CSMC. The “Inverness” name was simply a way for CSMC to offer its own line of B. Rizzinis.
Now let’s jump forward a few years. CSMC and B. Rizzini end their joint venture; B. Rizzini USA comes to an end. CSMC decides to sell off the remaining Inverness-badged B. Rizzinis they have in stock. At the same time, they started developing a new O/U that they planned to make in their New Britain, CT, factory. This is when the new Inverness is born.
Like a lot of Italian O/Us, B. Rizzinis are made on a shallow, coil spring, triggerplate-style action with coil spring ejectors. Over the last 40+ years, this design has been tweaked and improved to the point where CSMC felt it was an excellent platform for the new gun they wanted to build: a reliable over/under that gave shooters the look and feel of a best-quality double at an affordable price.
“We’ve always been about giving folks good guns at affordable prices,” says Lou Frutuoso, CSMC’s Sales and Market Manager, “and when we wanted to make a new O/U, we looked at the Italian’s O/U-style action and realized it could be a great starting point for us.”
Drawing on the manufacturing skills they’ve refined from making RBLs and A-10s, CSMC created gave their new Inverness’s a list of upgraded features: A more sculpted, rounder action, a true Prince of Wales stock, bone-and-charcoal color case hardening, an extended top tang strap, steel-shot ready barrels, and a better-fitting, more durable forend. They also gave the shotgun a file-cut rib and fine rose-and-scroll engraving, along with more hand fitting and finer overall tolerances. After a prototype was built and tweaked, CSMC send out the January 16, 2012 email announcing their new gun.
Today the new CSMC Inverness is available in a single-triggered 20 gauge with either 28” or 30” barrels. For an additional charge, customers can add a leather covered pad, an extended trigger guard, and grades of walnut for the stock. Right now, delivery times for these guns are set for late 2012 and early 2013.
Firsts are something that the Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company is used. Their best-quality A.Galazan shotguns are the first world-class doubles to be made in the America and the A-10s are the first mass-produced sidelock Over/Unders ever made in this country. With the introduction of their new Inverness line, CSMC has achieved another first. This time, it’s the first affordable, high-quality O/U that 100% made in the USA.