The Hatfield and CZ Bobwhite Side-by-Side Shotguns
By Chuck Hawks
Hatfield USA imports side-by-side shotguns. Huglu Arms in Turkey previously manufactured Hatfield brand guns. Huglu Arms has since signed an exclusive North American distribution agreement with CZ-USA, so presumably Huglu is no longer the Hatfield supplier, although Hatfield guns are still made in Turkey.
It is a discontinued, Huglu made, Hatfield brand gun that concerns us here. This gun appears to be very similar to the model that CZ-USA now calls the "Bobwhite." Note, however, that some of the particulars of the CZ Bobwhite differ from the Hatfield gun reviewed on the Product Review Page. (Note specifications below.)
The Hatfield/Huglu gun was built on a straightforward Anson & Deely action, although false side plates to simulate a sidelock gun were a Hatfield option. Decorative engraving was confined to the screw heads of the Hatfield gun, but there is hand engraving on the receiver of the CZ Bobwhite. The barrels are of the mono-block type with a high, solid rib on both guns.
Double or single triggers were available on the Hatfield at the buyer's option, as were straight hand or pistol grip stocks. The CZ Bobwhite is supplied with double triggers and a straight hand stock, while the similar CZ Ringneck comes with a pistol grip stock and single trigger. Hatfield generally seemed to get very nice wood for their guns, better than most Turkish guns and better than the wood on the CZ Bobwhite guns that we have seen. Visually, these Huglu boxlock guns make a good first impression.
The finish of the 28 gauge Hatfield/Huglu includes polished black barrels and case colors on the receiver. The wood finish is glossy and nicely shows off the Turkish walnut's figure, which includes attractive dark streaks. The hand checkering is done in a conventional point pattern at 20 lines per inch. The tasteful Schnable splinter forend is retained by a mechanical catch.
Our Hatfield test gun came with a selective single trigger. The trigger selector is incorporated with the tang safety and works quite well, which is by no means always the case. Plain extractors elevate the shells for removal by hand when the action is opened.
Unfortunately, the barrels' glossy black finish began to wear off before they were even removed from the cardboard shipping box. At that point Guns and Shooting Online's Rocky Hays, the owner of our test gun and an engraver and restorer of classic doubles, did a little investigating and discovered that the polished barrels were not blued, but painted. A little more investigative work revealed that the case colors on the receiver were achieved with a blowtorch!
Here are some specifications for our Hatfield/Huglu gun. (CZ Bobwhite in parenthesis where applicable.)
The stock has a great deal of cast off and twist, and the comb places the average shooter's eye too high. It is so light that it tends to be whippy. The short 25-1/2" barrels aggravate this problem; 28" barrels would definitely be an improvement. The Hatfield's excessive cast off amplifies the subjective effect of recoil against the face. The Hatfield is visually attractive and makes a great first impression, but the more familiar you become with this gun the less desirable it seems.
The Hatfield Gun Company is now importing a sidelock gun of markedly higher quality, which they call their "London Sidelock." These cost considerably more than the previous Huglu boxlock gun, but have got to be worth the higher price. Hatfield London Sidelocks come with automatic ejectors and a non-selective single trigger. Barrels are now rust blued and the frame is bone charcoal case colored. Check out the new Hatfield London Sidelock gun at www.hatfield-usa.com
Note: A full length review of a Hatfield/Huglu shotgun can be found on the Product Review Page.
Copyright 2007 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.