Caesar Guerini Tempio Sporter Twenty Gauge O/U Shotgun
Our last visit with a Caesar Guerini (www.gueriniusa.com) 20 gauge vertical double was three years ago, when we had the opportunity to spend some time with a CG Magnus 20 gauge. We described the action as Guerini's variation of the Italian Brescia style action, with the monoblock barrels set lower in the action than the by now technically obsolete Browning Superposed and Citori designs. These are boxlock guns (many Guerini models, including the Magnus, come with false sideplates) with replaceable trunnions substituting for a Browning style hinge pin and tandem Superposed type lumps on the bottom of the lower barrel are engaged by a locking bolt that keeps the gun closed. Because of its under-bolt design the breech face is clean to ease loading and unloading.
We went on to say that the CG guns have selective ejectors and a selective single trigger. The action incorporates dual internal safeties: an interceptor notch on the sear and an independent inertia block. And there is, of course, a conventional manual top-tang safety slider that also serves as the barrel selector switch. The standard Tempio is similar in specifications:
We gushed about the CG Maxus in general, but I didn't have much use for the wood buttplate. The same is the case with the standard issue with the Tempio, presented as a field gun. While personal tastes are just that, we sought a gun that was both pleasant to carry and pleasant to shoot. That's a matter of personal taste, but to that end I requested that this Tempio be fitted with a CG Sporter stock. I also wanted a bit more substantial recoil pad than standard issue, so CG was happy to install a Pachmayr SC100 Decelerator .80 inch thick Sporting Clay pad. This black leather faced pad has a hard heel insert for snag free mounting that Pachmayr calls their “Speed Mount Heel.” The way a gun comes up is paramount for flushing game.
What we ended up with is the beautiful receiver of the Tempio coupled with essentially the stock from a Summit Sporting 20 gauge. While the Tempio lacks the wider rib and the Duocone forcing cones of the Summit Sporting, it also gives us a bit lighter weight package with 28 inch barrels and a 3 inch chamber. With a pair of CG extended chokes installed, the Tempio Sporter is 6-1/2 pounds on the nose, according to the Lyman electronic trigger gauge. So, yes, we do gain a couple of ounces from the standard Tempio, but the more comfortable sporter stock with a palm swell makes it worth it.
Common to most CG shotguns, this Tempio has an essentially self-adjusting Anson fore-end, replaceable trunnions, rebounding hammers, barrels bored from 42 CrMo4 chrome moly solid bar stock and an oversize conical locking lug. The CG barrels are hard-chrome lined.
There are big differences between this CG Tempio and wonderfully adequate stackbarrels. Let's start with the bluing. Many O/U shotguns have matte or semi-gloss type bluing. Beretta, in particular, has had many models that don't look like bluing. Well, it is bluing, but looks dull due to the rough “bead-blasted” surface. It is another way of saying “unpolished.” The CG bluing positively glows by comparison. It has that dark, rich sheen that just does not happen with bead-blasted or semi-polished barrel groups.
The same goes with the CG wood. It has clear, distinct mineral streaks to give it character. The finish positively glows, which is what you get from thirty-plus coats of hand-rubbed oil. Many, many shotguns today have thick, epoxy coated furniture or finishes designated as satin or oil finishes that have open pores and are not fully finished. It is, of course, far cheaper to slather on a couple coats of spray-on epoxy, rather than this type of complete finish. All to often you end up with something that looks cheap when new and then chintzy as it wears. This is part of what makes so many economy O/U models forgettable.
The engraving is another area that is quickly noticed. The CG has full coverage engraving. I'm not certain exactly what process CG uses, but it looks far better than cheap, roll-stamped engraving. It is one of the things I appreciate about the Tempio receiver.
Triggers are a bit of a pain, according to most manufacturers. Yet, like air-conditioning, once you experience crisp, light triggers you don't want to go back. Too many shotguns today have triggers that are as heavy, or actually heavier than the complete guns themselves, or have a horribly long initial take up. The Tempio triggers are excellent, just as I've found on other tested CG's. The lower barrel breaks at right at four pounds, the upper barrel very closely matched at just an ounce or two heavier.
I understand that Caesar Guerini's focus has been largely in the competition clays guns and they have done very well in that segment. I can't shake the feeling that they have ignored the upland hunting market a bit, though and really don't know what they have. When it comes to O/U shotguns, I happily confess to having an aversion to the entry-level attempts. The momentary appeal of a low price is invariably overcome one or more of poor finishes, crummy triggers, weak ejection, bad barrel regulation, cheap wood and non-existent customer service departments.
Guerini USA is one of few companies that offers O/U models that instill pride of ownership, three free annual services by their factory gunsmiths and a lifetime guarantee. It is great when shotguns look better at every glance and satisfy more every time you use them. The CG Tempio hits the mark with their Tempio Sporter in a big way. When you finally use shotguns that are built right, they really stand out.
Note: Full reviews of the Caesar Guerini Tempio and Magnum shotguns can be found on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2010 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.