February 06, 2020
The Revenant over/under is a work of beauty paired with function. But what’s more, is this shotgun is leading the way in luxury firearms that can be more than just an aspiration to most sportsmen by creating iconic craftsmanship using 21st century technology. The Revenant incorporates some of the features that are typically only seen on handmade shotguns, into a production price point that is more affordable.
Modern Tech Paired with Craftsmanship
Every bit of the Revenant is made on computer-driven machines, and the only time human hands touch it is when it is assembled.
“I contribute much of our success to our passion to combine technology and art,” said President of Caesar Guerini Italy, Giorgio Guerini.
It was a secret for several years that the staid houses of James Purdey and Holland & Holland were using computers and computer-driven machining to rough out their guns. My late friend Michael McIntosh said it best: “What difference does it make if Michelangelo used a jackhammer to cut away the excess around David?” There’s no diminution of quality, only cost-saving to the customer.
“If we built this gun using 19th century techniques, it would cost many times our asking price,” said President of Caesar Guerini USA, Wes Lang.
When the Revenant was first unveiled, I was immediately drawn to the Boss-style, winged fore-end iron. Sculpted into the wood, it seamlessly projects from the action, giving a look of downright luxury to the gun. The engraving is by Bottega C. Giovanelli and their Director and Master Engraver, Dario Cortini. The deeply sculpted pattern executed on the round-body action includes maple leaves, and pheasant and quail in flight with gold accents. To add to the detail of the hunting-theme motif, Cortini designed the engraving with the leaves in the background darker than the leaves in the foreground to create a three-dimensional effect.
Built in 20-gauge on a properly scaled action, it’s a sleek-looking and handling shotgun. The graceful Prince-of-Wales grip makes the action flow rearward into the stock, and the Boss-style fore-end iron causes the eye to go toward the slim, checkered fore-end. The chambers are bored for 3” shells, but in shooting the Revenant at 50-plus skeet targets, I found the recoil from the 6-lb., 12-oz. 20 started to bite me a bit by about the last few rounds. Not as severe as from a 3½” 12-gauge shell, but noticeable. This is partially due to the wooden butt-plate endemic with all Caesar Guerini over/unders.
“We could up the price by doing a checkered butt (the wooden butt plate is in fact checkered), but today’s shooter may want his stock shortened or lengthened, or a recoil pad mounted, all of which involve cutting the stock at the butt,” said Lang. “By using a wooden plate, the buyer can leave it, or change the stock as he or she chooses without cutting off a $350 checkered butt.”
The tang-mounted safety is manual and must be applied by the shooter following loading. Due to the internal design, the trigger is nonselective, and in many ways sensible, as the little slide buried in the safety of most Italian shotguns is not usable at a flush. The Revenant shoots the bottom barrel first, directing the recoil straight back to help keep the barrels level for a consistent second shot from the top barrel.
The stock dimensions are made for American shooters, with the length of pull 14¾", drop at the comb of 1½", and 21⁄8" at the heel with a quarter-inch of cast off. Left-handed stocks and custom dimensions are available by special order. The fore-end is fully checkered, save for a diamond in the center surrounding a tear-drop silver inlay that secures the Anson-style rod that releases the fore-end.
The highly polished barrels are deeply blued, and have a solid “game-style” rib that provides an air of class. The test gun had 28" barrels, while 30" is the alternate choice. The Revenant comes with five flush-fitted choke tubes. All Revenants are proof-tested at the Italian government’s Proof House in Brescia to magnum or extra-pressure proof and steel shot. Upon arrival at the Proof House, the barrels are carefully measured at exactly 9" from the face of the breech. The entire gun is then clamped in a cradle that is encased in a safety hood with clear, protective windows, and the trigger is pulled remotely. Each barrel is subjected to at least two high-pressure proof loads that are loaded to be about one-third to one-half more pressure than the service pressure of that particular gauge or caliber. The service pressure is the maximum to which commercial ammunition can be safely loaded. Following firing, the barrels are again measured to check for expansion under the high-pressure loads, and if all is in order, stamped with the appropriate proof marks.
How Does It Shoot?
The Revenant is light between the hands and handles very much like a top-drawer bespoke side by side. In June, when I received the Revenant, there wasn’t any game to be shot, so clays had to fill the void. I shot a few just to get the feel of the gun and where it shot—low 7 on a skeet field is a dead straight-away, and you can quickly tell if a gun shoots straight or off toward Mars. It was right on with both barrels, and I used it in our Thursday evening skeet league. I shot 23/25, and was really pleased with the way it handled and shot.
The Revenant may be one of those shotguns you buy and put in the cabinent, or you could be like the late Larry Hagman, who took delivery of his new Holland & Holland Royal complete with engravings from the popular television show, Dallas, and proceeded to shoot ducks in the driving rain with his new gun. Take your choice!