BERNARDELLI SIDE-BY-SIDE SHOTGUNS
The name Bernardelli is synonymous with side-by-side shotguns. There is common DNA between the two. Whenever connoisseurs of fine shotguns think of side-by-side shotguns, they immediately think of “Bernardelli”. The history of our company is known the world over. We have been famous for our fine shotguns in general and our side-by-sides in particular for over 2 centuries. Bernardelli guns are still manufactured following the high standards of old-time side-by-side craftsmanship. We do use modern machines and tools and we do follow stringent quality metrics, but the design and mechanism are still traditional and unique (picture 1). We do not cut any corners unlike other makers of “newer”, mass-produced side-by-side shotguns.
Almost all Bernardelli doubles come with Anson & Deeley (picture 2)mechanisms whose distinctive feature is a short, compact action with the trigger group positioned very close to the hinge pin. What is the advantage? The weight of the mechanism is closer to the center of the gun. The closer the weight to the center, the better the balance. It goes without saying that the balance depends also on barrel length and stock weight but, under the same conditions, an Anson & Deeley side by side will always be better balanced than any another as it keeps the weight between the hands.
Only a gun maker or a very expert connoisseur can truly appreciate how difficult it is to machine the action (picture 3) from solid blocks of steel without welding and without eliminating parts that are difficult to machine, but essential to the strength of the product.
The action, trigger guard and forend iron (picture 4) come from billets of Nickel Chrome Molybdenum steel. After machining the components undergo heat treatment to strengthen the core and harden the surface for generations of durability.
An Anson & Deeley type action is definitely more expensive to build than an over and under action. Other makers use Anson & Deeley mechanisms, but they replace machined parts with casting or MIM - even those subject to a lot of stress - to reduce costs. To the contrary, Bernardelli side by side shotguns come with parts machined from solid billets of steel (picture 4) thus enhancing mechanical strength, acquiring better surface finish and tighter tolerances which translates into perfect fit, finish and function.
Hammer and firing pins feature V-springs (picture 4) that generate a faster and more consistent hammer movement. Coil springs loose strength when stretched and have less power by design. V-springs work faster and more consistently. The position of the selector in all Bernardelli shotguns with single selective triggers (picture 5) is like a signature feature and comes with functional as well as aesthetic benefits.
The barrels in our side-by-side shotguns start from Chrome Molybdenum steel bars drilled into tubes. The Bernardelli barrel system is not a traditional monobloc system. Therefore, the tube diameters are not excessively large and allow the frame sizes to be appropriate to the gauge. The bottom of the barrels features a welded on lug (picture 6) with the function of allowing a perfect fit between action and barrels. Lugs are machined after barrel-welding operations are completed. Wire cutting (picture 7) creates the geometry of the lug area -which controls the coupling of barrels and action. This is an expensive technique that allows us to achieve a level of finish and tolerance down to nearly a hundredth of a millimeter. As a result the guns look beautiful, solid and have the fit of a fine mechanism (picture 8).
Our side-by-side shotguns come with plenty of options:
- - Barrel length
- - Extractors or ejectors
- - Double triggers (picture 9) or single selective trigger (picture 10)
- - Straight (picture 11) or Pistol (picture 12) grip stocks
- - Long, short, beavertail forearms (picture 13)
- - • Special, non standard execution on request (immagini 14-15)
Some Bernardelli side-by-side models are completely hand engraved while others are engraved using more modern layout techniques without ever compromising quality.
The line also includes Holland&Holland (picture 16) type shotguns and hammer guns entirely custom engraved. When it comes to shotguns with non-exposed hammers, the H&H mechanism represents a very significant evolution. The mechanism is no longer inside the frame, but on the side locks hence the name "sidelock”.
The same is true for exposed hammer guns (picture 17) ) where the mechanism is on the side locks.
It takes very skilled craftsmen to build H&H guns from the preparation of the components to the execution and fitting. It is a system dedicated to high-end firearms. While the engraving of Anson & Deeley guns employs modern technologies, Holland & Holland-type guns and exposed hammer guns are still completely hand engraved and signed by the masters (picture 18). They are true works of art and “best guns” in every sense of the term.