With a previous hunting experience of several decades combined with the interest of probing the different calibers of both rifled and smooth barrels, we experienced the pleasure of using both the big ones with the 10/89 Mag, the middle ones with the different 12 with 89/76/70 mm case together with 16 and 20, both 70 and 76, and then the small ones with 24, 28, 32, 36 and his estrogenated brother 36/76, called all ' American .410 Mag. Among these we focused on 24, now obsolete, but in Gardone the cartridges are always found, used in quail with the dog, but even more we are passionate about 28 and .410 Mag. In the first of we already had an over / under built by Oderda di Ceva in 1970, but at the time their use was almost limited to hunting in the hut; we arrived at the second in about 1980 when the dispute between the two small charges was consolidating and the special rifles already offered a well-divided choice between valid elements at affordable prices and others of high class produced by famous and well-known houses. The products from Turkey had not yet arrived and the Gardone area could satisfy the range of requests of a clientele that was all in development.
A friend who is a connoisseur of weapons one day proposed us an elegant side-by-side by placing on the table this F.lli Piotti BSEE Piuma chambered precisely for the coveted .410 Mag. contained, but all burin, and the tortoiseshell made in very English tones maintains an undertone, or low profile, which to many may appear diminutive, but which is and remains a sign of great class and elegance.
The technical plant
The first moves on medium-small calibers saw several manufacturers mount 20 and even 28 barrels on 12 action frames, ensuring an aesthetic and also technical opprobrium due to the uneven appearance and the incongruous mass that ensued. Specific action frames were then created for the 20 and from there those often combined for 28 and .410 Mag. Taking a substantial step forward. But the specific action frame for each caliber is the prerogative of very few manufacturers that seek mechanical and aesthetic perfectionism: the F.lli Piotti is just one of them. His BSEE side-by-side shotguns were proposed from the very beginning, and we are talking about the early 60s in all calibers, so he used at the time and each cartridge, therefore each barrel section, had its corresponding proportionate in the receiver.
This Piotti side-by-side shotgun is a classic fine shotgun, at the time sold at not excessive prices, indeed we would say really affordable. The system sees the forged steel action frame then machined by the cutter and with the slotting machine to obtain the seats of the two tenons whose edges are sharp-edged and among which the integral crosspiece stands out. To observe the hinge with the correct streaks made by the cross placed perfectly in draft, the rotation pin of the barrels and the interlocking of their opening limiter; from the symmetrical openings of the same hinge you can hardly notice the two levers for arming the batteries while the drive teeth of the ejectors protrude: each piece is finished in a commendable way. The action face is completely flat and only the firing pin holes are visible.
The half-plane is obtained from the solid wood of each barrel and the two tubes are joined in demibloc, not integral: the group of tenons is in fact machined separately, then inserted between the barrels with a dovetail milling welded to silver alloy. Between the barrels and the tenons the seat of the shanks of the extractors is obtained: the automatic ejection mechanism is positioned in the rod. The battery is of the Anson & Deeley type served by two triggers: the system is not easy to set up, but in this shotgun the promptness, and the smoothness of the shot are masterful as well as the ejectors that project both cases to fair and equal distance. The sound of these mechanisms is, for the trained ear, a component of no secondary importance in the classification of the weapon.
The two-piece stock, made from very compact solid walnut and with pleasant dark veins, has classic shapes with an English grip on which the trigger guard extends with a pleasant line, an appropriate extension of the oval of the guard. A further note of refinement: the buttplate finished in wood, therefore not with a piece carried over, but with a work of minute knurling directly on the terminal part of the solid wood. The shaded rib could not be outdone, or rather to put it with the manufacturers of Herstal toilée obtained by pulling the file placed sideways by hand, crossing the marks and thus creating a matting effect of rare functionality and beauty. Equally appreciable is the class of the fine burin engravings and above all of the finish jaspee or tortoiseshell if you prefer, with suffused and muted tones that recall certain masterful English executions
We did not spend much to describe this very nice side-by-side: what we would like to see, especially from the images, is the choice of the details of the system together with the class of workmanship, what helps to define a weapon as "fine". What we cannot convey, but we tell it, is the sensation of pleasure that is perceived in every maneuver: from the actuation of the key to the opening of the barrels, with the right overall dimensions which, although reduced, allow a ready aiming. and to sign, to the clicks of the two triggers of rare fineness and to the equal precise work of the ejectors.
While waiting for the photo shoot, we still noticed a detail. Once all the oil was removed where it was necessary, we had the barrels in our hands, observing the extractors in their rest position: given a minimum push to the stems with the edge of a cartridge and kept the barrels vertical with the breech at the bottom, we found that with three strokes of the hand on the rods themselves, the two extractors gradually descended to the limit of their stroke. Today, unfortunately, these refinements say nothing or almost nothing to many: they give us a subtle pleasure that recalls the work of file and emery cloth specialists with manual skills and a glance who raise this work to a work of art.