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
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.
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.
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.