With modern dimensions, 2 3/4″ chambers, and reliable single triggers, twenty-gauge Browning Superlights are fantastic O/U shotguns for grouse and woodcock. Here’s your chance to get a deal on one: This one is online at Gunrunner Online auction, and sale ends this Saturday, 12/14 @ 19:50:00.
Browning Superposed “Superlight”, 20 ga. Over/Under shotgun. Serial #62939V70, mfg. Belgium. Grade One. Excellent condition. The super light version with small frame, short barrels and straight grip stock. 97% blue with some marks on barrels and some light receiver edge wear. Blue receiver with border scroll work. Has been hunted with, but nicely cared for. 26 1/2″ barrels have bright bores. Tight action. 2 3/4″ chambers.
Straight grip stock has nice checkering and only a few marks – nicely figured with plastic Browning marked buttplate. Ejectors. Single blue selective trigger. Very light and dainty! Hard one to find! Perfect for this winter’s bird hunting! Includes brown Browning hard case in excellent condition with keys. Great little gun!
Even though the British invented the low-profile over-under shotgun (Boss & Co,. 1909), it was the Italians made them affordable enough for a mass market. Beretta started down this path in 1935 when they started selling their SO-series sidelock O/Us.
They followed this effort up in 1949 with a more affordable boxlock version – the ASEs. Later the company introduced their BL-line of boxlock O/Us, and made their lightweight, low profile design available to much wider audience. The BLs came in grades from the BL-1 to the BL-5, and they were the kind of shotguns that introduced thousands of shooters to the benefits and quality of Italian O/Us.
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.
UPDATE: It turns it out this Beretta has 26 3/4″ barrels. It’s still nice gun, though.
I’ve written before about Beretta’s fabulous AS series of over/under shotguns. Handling wise, they’re up there with some of the most expensive O/Us in the world. For the money, they’re one of the best O/Us you can buy.
Most of the ones you see today have pistol grips and single triggers. They’re nice guns, but not perfect (not in my mind, anyway). This one is perfect, though. It’s a 20 gauge with a straight grip, 28″ barrels and double triggers. That’s the holy grail of Beretta’s AS-series shotguns. On top of all this, the price is pretty fair, too. Considering the quality, $5100 is more than fair.
Beretta started making their AS series in 1949 and the company offered them into the 1960s (and maybe later). They came in three models (ASE, ASEL, and ASEELL), the biggest difference being the amount of hand engraving and quality of the wood. They lockup like Beretta SO-series shotguns and ASs made after 1960 or so have Boehler Antinit steel barrels. Basically they’re top quality doubles at low end prices.
I’m always amazed by the doubles people have squirreled. Judging by the condition of this 16 gauge over/under, this F.W. Heym has been hiding under some bed, or in some back closet, most its life.
F.W. Heym was a German gunmaker founded by Friedrich Wilhelm Heym in July 1865. This shotgun was sold through the Sloan’s Sporting Goods back in the roaring ’20s. Sloan’s used to be a big player in the fine firearms world. They had a store in NYC and Ridgefield, CT, and back when this o/u was bought, it was probably just another one of the fine doubles on the shop’s racks.
The shotgun itself is a mid-grade boxlock ejector with sideplates. The scrollwork is very well done, even though there isn’t all that much of it. I think the single trigger is original. The gun locks up on the Kersten-style system and I bet it closes with a bold KERCHUNK! Judging by the serial number, I think it was made around 1924.
A few things I love about this gun:
-The wood. It looks like real French walnut.
-The horn inlays on the stock.
-Its 28″ barrels.
-All its original condition. Not many shotguns make it past their 80th birthday that way. Fortunately, this one has.
Over and Under double barrel shotguns don’t seem innovative to us. But back in the 1920s, shotguns with stacked barrels were still a new idea to most shooter. This old add from Boss shows how they sold these new-fangled things.
I like the “Vertical Gun” description, as well as the claims of “Perfect and quicker alignment, better balance, less recoil.” I’m not sure these claims are true (less recoil definitely isn’t), but that’s salesmanship for you.