& Harris - Gun
Reviews - Archive -
sporter - 05 March 2002
This month's gun
for the new gun test is something of a newcomer.
It is called the
Monza and is imported and sold by Avalon Guns of Street in Somerset.
The main driving force behind this project is Kevin Gill, the well
known and very accomplished trap shooter. Kevin is working closely
with Avalon to provide the expert knowledge as to what the shooters
want. Mostly that comes down to value for money, and they certainly
seem to have come up with a gun that provides that.
The Monza, as the name suggests owes its heritage to Italy, and is
made by a gunmaker called Salvinelli, who are based in the Gardone
valley above Brescia.
At first glance the
gun appears very similar to others that come from that area; such as
Perazzi and Gamba. But on closer inspection there are many features
that do set this gun apart from the rest of the crowd.
similarity is the locking system, often referred to as the Boss
style locking system.
Basically the gun is locked up when close by a horizontally
positioned bolt that protrudes the action face on either side. The
bolt engages with bites that are positioned roughly level with the
centre of the under barrel.
This gives a very
strong lock up that ensures a long working life. The barrel lumps
also come down when closed and are supported by the walls of the
The barrels hinge
on stub pins so giving a very low profile that is favoured by the
The top lever hold over is by a small pin in the top of the action
face. When the barrels close down onto the action face, the pin is
pushed back and releases a peg in the top lever spindle, so allowing
the gun to close.
The action frame
itself is very well shaped, with nice flowing lines that give the
gun a quality look and match up nicely with the lines of the barrel
The frame itself is
finished a deep gloss black with lines engraved around the borders
and a rosette on the stub pins. The name Monza is inlayed in gold on
the side of the frame and compliments the makers name-armi
Salvinelli- inlayed on the top of the barrel tube at the breech end.
The gold plated trigger blade also adds to the overall effect.
Unlike some of the
other guns of its style, the Monza does not have a drop out trigger
group. The trigger plate is permanent. On balance I prefer this
arrangement. There are a few reasons for this;
Firstly there is no
real practical use for a drop out trigger group. If the gun needs
repair then the stock can be removed fairly quickly to gain access
to the mechanism.
importantly, having a permanent trigger plate allows the stock to be
thicker at the head and so inherently stronger.
Also the gun is
usually lighter because of the small but significant reduction in
steel used in the action frame.
The mechanism of
the Monza certainly appears to be strong and well built. The hammers
and sear arms look particularly rugged. The hammers pivot at the
front bottom of the trigger plate, with the sears suspended from
above to engage with bents in the top of the hammers. The sears to
bent relationship is very neat and results in crisp, clean trigger
pulls. The firing of the second barrel is changed over to by
large strong coil springs that power from the back of the action
frame. On this gun the mechanism is selective though the gun can
come with non-selective trigger. The selector button is in the
middle of the safe and pivot from side to side to engage whichever
barrel is required.
When the gun is
opened there is a rod that comes back to totally disengage the sear
lifter and so make the gun completely safe until the gun has been
reloaded and closed.
The gun is cocked
by a plate in the floor of the action that is pushed back by a cam
in the forend as the gun is opened. Cams or dogs under the front of
the hammers then transfer lift to them, in order that they engage
with the sears. The safe button is large and feels very positive as
it travels. It is not auto safe, as would be expected on a
The barrels are
made on the monobloc system, with the tubes being silver soldered
into the block for maximum strength. The barrel tubes are not
chromed, though the chamber does appear to be. Which is wear can
become evident if the gun is not cleaned properly.
Ejectors are big to
give good support to the cartridge rim when throwing out the spent
cases. They appear very powerful, being directly powered by large
coil springs fro underneath. The ejectors are tripped by rods that
travel through the sidewalls of the action. The rods are directly
connected to the hammers and move backwards and forwards with them
as the gun fires and is recocked.
The top rib is
tapered from 11 mm at the breech down to 8mm at the muzzle. It is
file cut to minimise glare and ventilated to disperse heat. The side
ribs are also ventilated, which has the two benefits of reducing
weight and allowing the gun to cool quicker still.
The black on the
barrels is a deep gloss to compliment the action.
Chokes in this gun
are multi, though you can have fixed chokes should you prefer.
At this point
perhaps I should underline that the Monza is a gun that can be
bought off the peg, or if you prefer there are a host of options
that can be chosen through to create a truly custom gun, tailored to
your exact requirements.
The stock and
forend are well matched for colour and the wood is of very good
quality. In fact the gun is supposed to have grade 5 wood, and this
one certainly seems to have it. The wood to metal fit is very good
as would be expected. There is a very fine chequer pattern on both
the stock and forend, which is well executed and affords good grip.
The pistol grip is
very full, but fills the hand well and is very comfortable;
important when shooting those big competitions so as not to fatigue.
The forend shape is Schnabel and again feels very comfortable and
allows the gun to point with ease.
Drop at comb and
heel are 38mm and 50 mm respectively, with a slight right hand cast
at heel of 2mm with approximately 4mm at the toe.
Weight is 8lb, not
heavy for a gun of this type, and of course with a gun of this
quality the balance makes it feel a whole lot lighter than that.
The gun comes with
a set of 5 chokes and a nicely finished ABS travelling case.
In my opinion this
gun has a good future and will probably carve itself a significant
niche in the market. Italy is the most exciting place in the world
for gunmaking, and anything of good quality coming from there needs
to be taken seriously. And priced from £2550 you have to take this
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