Famars di Abbiatico & Salvinelli has constantly pushed
the envelope of traditional conservatism in gunmaking, re-defining,
lock, stock and barrel for strength, reliability and exceptional
performance. This continuing pursuit of perfection has created
a string of patents and, often, imitations. The goal of Famars
is to build a gun of exquisite beauty, balance and handling,
combined with great strength and reliability. This combination
creates a pride of ownership in a gun that can be passed on
in the hunting family for generations to come.
sage once wrote that “Life is simply too short to shoot an
ugly gun”, but what makes a gun beautiful? For one man it
is the rich-hued and well-seasoned walnut, oiled and chequered
to accentuate its warmth and colour. For another it is the engraving
- the artist’s creation of intricate scrolls or elaborate
game scenes, depicting the hunting life.
Then others find beauty in function and would give
up these ornamentations for a guarantee of reliability.
But there is one company that believes that every
gun they make should give equal consideration to the function and the form of
a gun, that every shotgun or rifle, no matter how ornately engraved, should definitely
be functional art!
1967 Mario Abbiatico and Remo Salvinelli began creating shotguns
and rifles with lavish engraving, the specialty for which the company
is still famous. But under the skin of this metal canvas is some
of the best gunmaking engineering in the world.
English Gunmakers made shotguns in a variety of grades or models
to suit both their client’s pockets and individual requirements.
You must agree that there would be little point in purchasing
the Keeper a pair of Best Sidelock Ejectors for vermin control,
starting the Young Master out, aged 12, with a similar pair.
A well-made boxlock, non-ejector in the correct gauge would be
appropriate for each.
After the decline of gun sales world-wide following the Second World War and
the increase in the production of budget guns from Spain, Italy and Belgium,
to discontinue their lesser grades and concentrate on their premium
To make a Best Gun today is a long, protracted and expensive process. The scarcity
of time-served craftsman and the ever-increasing cost of materials have, in many
cases, made the purchase of a London Best Gun anything but a pipe dream for the
majority of shooters.
Many London Gunmakers, faced with declining orders for their premium guns, have
realized this fact and have made the decision to re-introduce a more affordable
The first and, for me, the one that has set the high bar for the others to aspire
to, is E.J. Churchill. Their introduction of The Imperial Over and Under is really
setting a new standard in English gunmaking, both in quality and value for money.
Available in 12 or 20 bore with 30 inch barrels, magnum-proofed 3 inch chambers,
tapered solid game rib, choked to a customer’s requirements, The Imperial
is a side-plated, round-bodied action on a trigger-plate design. In the tradition
of English game guns, the top barrel fires first with, of course, auto ejectors.
The standard engraving is rose and scroll, with maker’s name, safety
and model in gold, and with other engraving options available. The Prince of
stock is hand- shaped and chequered from deluxe walnut.
I have to say the gun does exactly what it says on the tin! The round
action and slim lines place the moment of inertia right over the
hinge pin and between the hands. The result is an effortless, swift
but steady swing that is the first requirement of any game gun worthy
of the name. With little felt-recoil and impressive kills, I think
that the English opposition has a lot to do to match The Imperial
for quality and price.
The Imperial is completely built in the UK, outsourced for component
machining before complete stocking, engraving and finishing in
the E.J. Churchill workshops.
The entry level price is a smidgen under $40,000.00 at today’s exchange
rate, making The Imperial imperiously impressive.
For further details, visit their website www.ejchurchill.com or telephone 011-44-1494-539-202.