CZ Ringneck 16 Gauge Side by Side Shotgun
Affordable side-by-sides of reasonable quality have been hard to come for many years. Of the dozens I've owned over the years, the good but a bit clunky Browning BSS was solid, with the pigeon grade Winchester Model 23XTR perhaps the most satisfying. Requiring more hand-fitting and costly barrel regulation as opposed to the more common pumps and semi-autos, it is not hard to understand why they are far more expensive to make. When a side-by-side is fired, the barrels essentially want to pull themselves apart. Perhaps this is why devoted doubles fans tend to settle only for "Best Quality" side by sides.
When I heard that CZ was working with Huglo to introduce a 16 gauge double, my interest was immediately piqued. I've always enjoyed 16 gauges; a 16 gauge does very nice things for the width, lines, and handling of a side-by-side shotgun. After shouldering an early example of the 16 gauge Ringneck at the CZ booth at the 2006 SHOT show, I was surprised. It fit me extremely well, the bluing was better than I anticipated, the wood was better than I anticipated, the hand-engraving was better than I anticipated, and the chemical case-hardening finish looked more attractive than I had anticipated. I was surprised, quite pleasantly so. It has taken from then until now to get my hands on a 16 gauge Ringneck for testing, this being written the first of September.
The 28 inch barreled, 16 gauge Ringneck is presented with fixed IC / MOD choked barrels, and extractors--not ejectors. My selection was the beavertail fore end / pistol grip buttstock version. The pistol grip is the "Prince of Wales" type, as you'll see on Browning A-5 "round knob" semi-autos. This gun is single, selectable trigger equipped. There is tasteful hand engraving on the receiver, not overstated or gaudy. Built on a "true 16 gauge frame" this box-lock double is well balanced, and evenly proportioned. The rubber butt plate has a hard plastic sporting clays genre "no snag" top to it; a thoughtful touch.
There is one issue with my test gun that I don't care for: the trigger pull is just too darn heavy, breaking at over eight pounds. The trigger is heavier than the gun. With snap caps in place and safety off you can jiggle the gun wildly up and down hanging only from the trigger, with no "click." I'm advised that CZ is working on a tune-up in that department right now.
I found the recoil to be pleasant enough with the 1 1/16 oz. loads I fired. CZ-USA already been selling these Ringnecks like hotcakes; well exceeding current production capacities. There aren't many affordable side-by-side out there with sound basic construction and good fit and finish, much less in 16 gauge.
This is no skeet or clays gun, as you might imagine. It is a durable upland machine for use on flushing game, a role that it is quite well equipped to fill.
Copyright 2006, 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.