Shooting the William Powell Sovereign.

Here’s the gun under discussion:

I like Jonny Carter — it’s nice to see a youngin getting into the gun thing, and he is quite knowledgeable about shotguns.  More to the point, he loves shotguns and it shows in every video he puts out.  (Sadly, he is of the over/under persuasion, rather than a devotee of the proper side-by-side experience, but nobody’s perfect.)

About the gun itself:  unlike their other guns of the past, the Sovereign is made in Italy’s F. Rizzini factory — but for those who think that this is somehow a Bad Thing, let me point out that a typical handmade Rizzini side-by-side of similar specs can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $nosebleed.  So a Sovereign costing about $6,000 off-the-shelf is not a bad deal in terms of the cost : quality curve, the difference being that they are production-line guns as opposed to handmade.

Another point:  Brit shotgunners are not allowed to shoot lead shot, and as bismuth and such are too expensive, they’ve been forced into using steel shot — and for the older generations of shotguns not proofed for steel, this means eventual destruction of the barrels.  (Mr. Free Market gloomily foretells the demise of the British-made premium shotgun, for this reason.)  Which is why the Sovereign’s claim of “shooting into the future” should resonate, and rightly so.

If I had the $$$, I’d get one in a heartbeat.


  1. Incredible shotgun, great looks for a classic and if I were a bit younger, like 20 years younger when I did a lot of shooting shotguns I would have loved to own one of those, made to measure for sure ~ bespoke. I also like the way the Brits wear the nice traditional tweed shooting driven birds, I have a few friends who have had that experience. I have done done about six pheasant tower shoots here in the states and there is nothing that compares with watching a real high flying long shot connect dropping the bird and a dog running out to pick it up. The US experience is nothing like the traditional Brit but it was great fun for me.

    My shotgun for for the last 20 years has been a 20ga Beretta o/u with 30″ barrel shooting lead shot and it works well for me, lots of fine times shooting quail and pheasant over my Brittany. I used a 12 ga Beretta but I gave that to my son years ago and after thousands of rounds it is still a strong gun. Today were I to have a chance to shoot with the Brits I would love to use an exquisite side by side like the one shown here, probably miss a lot of birds, and it would be a most wonderful experience.

  2. Years ago I had a co-worker give me a stack of periodicals dedicated to fine shotguns and wingshooting. Beautifully made guns by Purdey and the like, and nothing below 5 figures, which for me at the time might have been millions. I would drool over the engraving and beautiful wood, as well as the craftsmanship it took to make it. I had a special spot for Purdey and those makers because I was interested in history, especially Empire history, and every self-respecting sahib went into the velt/bush/jungle with a double rifle or shotgun from one of those makers.

    Now there doesn’t seem to be much left of the Bulldog spirit, at least amongst those who would keep this fine tradition growing. I was especially sickened when the Royal Ginger got rid of his matched sets because his mewling little fiance kept his testicles firmly in her purse.

  3. Nice shotgun!!

    your posts on shotguns have me pining for the skeet fields. I guess I’ll have to keep scouring the shelves for more shotgun shells to be prepared for when the weather breaks.


  4. One of the greatest goals of anti gun activists in this country is to outlaw lead in ammunition.

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