Mark Stone gets to grips with the new, no frills Redolfi EOS One and discovers a remarkably capable 12-bore…
Brought into the UK by Malmo Guns, who kindly made the test gun available, the truly astonishing aspects of the Redolfi range of shotguns is their price and quality.
Normally, to buy a 12- bore at anything approaching less than a thousand pounds, most buyers will be looking at Turkish-built or pre-owned. And whilst there’s nothing at all wrong with Turkish built, the problem with second-hand is you don’t know what sort of life they’ve had. Likewise, at less than a grand, Italian built is a pure fantasy – that is until you get yourself acquainted with Redolfi.
Just short of 12-months ago we took a look at the EOS Sport, which at the time was Redolfi’s entry level 12-bore, and there wasn’t anything wrong with it. It would seem, however, that the factory had other ideas, the end result being what’s described as a no-frills version, the EOS One supposedly as stripped back as it gets. The irony is, the One is the one, an all-round smoothbore that is incredibly stylish, the action finish as eye-catching as any you’ll come across. And when you’ve seen one for yourself, like the rest of Malmo’s range of Redolfi shotguns, it comes as no surprise that sales are strong.
Looks the part
Complete with a basic case, the One is that new breed of shotgun, the all-rounder. Suited for game and clays, the outward appearance of the gun looks equally at home irrespective of where you and it might be. Semi-oil finished walnut forms the game-style stock, the deep, soft rubber recoil pad doing an excellent job of keeping more powerful loads in check.
Complete with neatly cut chequering that replicates itself on the forend, the evenly radiused grip should suit most hand sizes, even with the small palm swell. An extra small, teardrop shaped chequered insert just to the rear of the stock head adding that influence of style almost unique to the Italians. Does it serve a purpose? Yes, it does, it grips the ball or side of the thumb when pushing open the top lever. The forend itself is kept securely in place by an extended Anson type latch, the length and curvature of this piece of essential furniture ideal for those times when rapid leading hand movement is required. Closer inspection reveals it’s actually of the Schnabel design but fortuitously there’s only the slightest hint of the infamous lip.
Based, as many of this type of Italian shotguns are, on the overunder mechanical boxlock action, it’s the time proven and ultimately reliable design. Following Redolfi’s usual design, moustaches extend from the fences with light foliate engraving, whilst singleton snipe and ducks sit to the rear of each side and on the action base.
Where the difference comes is that all the action surfaces have been treated with chemical case hardening, the resultant blues, browns, coppers and silvers coming together to produce a genuinely attractive finish. And apart from the gold inlayed EOS script along the base, the finish has been allowed to bleed over the artwork, effectively giving the birds and scrollwork a most appealing ghost-like quality.
To add contrast, the trigger guard, top strap and top lever are finished in a more conventional semi-matte black and the trigger blade gold plate. There’s also the auto safe, a feature that I, personally, could do well without, that allows the shooter to select barrel order. Personally, I’d have it adjusted to a manual version, all that’s usually required being the removal of a small pin. But that’s just me!
Gloss black, with a neat low stanchion elevated game rib, the 30-inch barrels are swaged into three-inch monobloc chambers. An almost imperceptibly vented mid-rib join the tubes together until they reach the muzzle, a small silvered bead sitting just above the flushfit multi chokes, a set of five are supplied with the gun.
Dimensionally, the One is of a size that should fit virtually everyone. It weighs 8lbs 4oz with an overall length of 47 1/8-inches. Length of pull to the fixed trigger is 14¾-inches with a slightly heavy 7lbs 1oz break. That said, it only takes a few shots to become accustomed to the pressure required, whilst the overall sensation is crisp and predictable. Maybe something Redolfi need to work on, like all brand new shotguns, after a few hundred rounds have been sent down the barrels, the trigger will ease, as will the gun’s slight stiffness of opening.
Leaving the chokes as per factory, namely Full and ½, with a couple of boxes of the new 28g Cheddite Sporting to hand, Malmo being the UK importers of this increasingly popular brand, a selection of sporting targets had been laid on. Initial impressions were that the One would shoot flat, the vaporisation of the first couple of pair’s confirmation of the fact. They also established that with a balance point two inches in front of the hinges, the One required the leading hand to set things in motion, although the gun in itself mounted quickly and effortlessly.
By and large the lasting sensation of the One is that of a 12-bore that will be able to make a good account of itself, no matter what the shooter asks of it. At least for me it looked where I did, with the Cheddites in the chambers it made outstandingly short work of even the longest targets and all the while looked good, handled well and swung smoothly. What more do you need?
Now for the One’s real trick, all this Redolfi will set you back is a meagre £749. You’ll struggle to buy a decent used over-under for that price, let alone a new Italian 12-bore. Malmo’s initial thoughts were that the Redolfi and especially the new One would appeal to those new to the sport of shooting and in all likelihood on a limited budget. The knockon effect was something they hadn’t anticipated and that was established shooters saw past the diminutive price tag and instead saw a genuinely capable, worth every penny, shotgun that nobody had told it couldn’t or shouldn’t shoot as well as it does.
When you walk away from a sporting layout with a shotgun you’ve never shot before and with only five misses on your card, you know someone got it right. The only other thing I’d like to see and shoot with is the 28” barrelled version when it eventually makes its way over here. So, if you’re ever heading up the M6, drop off at Malmo and try a One for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be impressed.
With thanks to Malmo Guns for the provision of the EOS One, the 28g Cheddite Sporting cartridges and their clay layout.
Mark Stone takes a look at a new name on the market, the Redolfi EOS Sport, a 12g with Italian artisan heritage…
Part and parcel of Italian gunmaking, whilst certain of the established names have gone on to build global empires, numerous small artisan makers have enjoyed almost anonymous success.
Manufacturing shotguns that have a ready and waiting band of loyal customers, their ability to sell all they make combined with smaller production numbers means there are makers in existence that even today nobody outside of Italy has actually heard of. Well here’s one that you will soon hear a lot about, the name of Arturo Redolfi and the company he founded in 1922 is more than likely to make itself known to a growing number of UK shooters.
Imported into the country by Malmo Guns near Lancaster, the association came about purely by chance. Already the importer of Cheddite cartridges, it was an impromptu visit to an Italian trade fair that saw Bryan Prest and the Redolfi family do the deal, Malmo’s racks now resplendent with more or less the entire Redolfi range. Similarly, given the price of these shotguns it comes as no surprise than the staff at Malmo are having difficulties keeping the shelves stocked, numerous shooters adding a Redolfi game or clay gun to their ticket.
Main reason for this is that certain Italian makers have wised up to the fact that the reason most shooters opt for a Turkish-built shotgun is because of the price. However, given the option, these potential owners of Turkish weaponry would more than likely prefer to buy Italian if the price was right. Well here’s a head’s up, if there’s one thing I can say from the off about Redolfi, the prices are most definitely right, and right by a good chunk of change.
The 12g on test is the EOS Sport over-under which, as the name suggests, is Redolfi’s all-round clay breaker. Arriving in its own travelling case complete with a full set of extended choke tubes, the first aspect of the EOS Sport you notice is the quality and fit of the straight grained, lacquer finished walnut. Of a standard you’d expect to find on more expensive shotguns, the full-sized sporter style stock, complete with soft rubber recoil pad, the curvature and checkering on the grip along with the nicely contoured palm swell are well proportioned and properly presented.
Likewise, the Anson-latch forend, the checkering of the same well-defined quality as that of the grip, the rounded London-style adding visual elegance and modernity to the EOS’s looks. Similarly, the profile of this, my preferred forend style offers a secure hold for the leading hand whilst allowing the shooter to adjust their grip and therefore gun direction and attitude dependant on target.
Tried and tested
When it comes to the metalwork, Redolfi has based the EOS around the tried and tested Italian design. Measuring 30 11/16 inches or 30 inches without the extended chokes fitted, the gloss black barrels, complete with vented mid-rib and a tapering 5-9mm vented top rib swage into three inch chambers. These in turn locate into a steel, mechanical boxlock action, the style of which is renowned for its strength and reliability. Externally, detailed scroll work decorates the base of the action, forend irons and broad trigger guard whilst inlaid gold flying clays form the bulk of the ornamentation, deep moustaches curving from the fences and along the underneath of the chambers. Now whilst gold clays aren’t to everyone’s taste, mine included, by the time you take a look at the price ticket, you tend to overlook the ornamentation.
Straight out the box
Before shooting this Redolfi, it’s well worth looking at the physical aspects of the gun. Weighing in at quite a substantial 8lbs 9oz with an overall choke inclusive length of 47¾ inches, drops at comb and heel are a precise 17/16 inches and 23/8 inches with a length of pull measuring 1411/16 inches. One area that could possible benefit from a little attention is the trigger; whilst it’s crisp and predictable the average breaking weight of 7lbs is a tad heavy by most clay gun standards. It will lighten up with some minor attention but it’s something I’d prefer to see the factory resolve, since the attention to the gun’s detailing is excellent.
Unsurprisingly Malmo requested that I test the EOS Sport using 28g Cheddite Trap Oro shells filled with 8½ shot. A good all-rounder, or so I was informed. I choked the gun with Cyl and Improved Cylinder. The first sensation is that whilst the EOS errs towards slightly heavy for a sporter, with a balance point about one inch in front of the hinges, sensible stock dimensions and as the Arrow Laser Shot confirmed, a good flat pointable attitude, the gun was an almost perfect fit.
Feeling in the hands like a trap gun, the mount and sight picture adding to the sensation, by the finish of the third stand of Bond & Bywater’s evening shoot, I was but two birds away, the lost targets definitely my own fault, the final score one that I’d expect from a gun I’m used to shooting. The gun mounts easily, the stock an excellent fit whether shooting gun mounted or gun down, whilst the weight ensures that even when using top-end Italian loads, the perceived recoil isn’t actually worth mentioning. In turn this highlights that, whilst from the shooter’s point of view the gun is the right size, it also confirms that Redolfi have got their angles and drops bang on.
The benefit of a sporter that weighs and feels like the EOS Sport is that it slows you down. Its not that the gun is heavy to shoot with, it’s that it actively discourages the shooter from snatching at their targets. Movement is more measured; the thought process more relaxed whilst to ensure you’re setup correctly for opposing clays, the EOS makes you stand correctly to make certain you’re upper body is suitably balanced for the variation of balance and deviation of swing. Don’t believe me? Go try a 12g that doesn’t fit you then give an EOS Sport a try, the difference is instantaneous.
Now for the good bit – Redolfi’s EOS Sport, as tested, will set you back £795. No, you haven’t misread anything, a genuine, all-out, full-blown Italian competition 12g for less than £800… just! And if the mood so takes you, add £100 and you can have the same EOS Sport but this time with an adjustable comb stock, once again all in for less than a grand.
With the Redolfi EOS Sport, it’s a gun that you will grow with and learn how to use and apply the gun’s abilities. But to shoot with a budget 12g as well as I did from the very first stand says something about how well sorted this Redolfi is. If further proof were needed, one of my squad members had just posted a seriously good score at the recent Classic, an event that attracts the cream of sporting shooters. I walked back to my car six points clear of one of the UK’s top shooters, so giving Malmo Guns a quick bell could well be a good ideaIf Malmo’s sales of the EOS Sport are any method of gauging the gun’s popularity, it could well be a case of get your order in bright and early. After you’ve shot with one you’ll understand as to why. Most competition 12 bore of around this price or of this generic grade are in most instances passable, will perform adequately, generate a decent score providing the shooter is prepared to put the work in and provide an ideal grounding before moving onto a better shotgun.