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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