CZ 16 gauge Ringneck Side by Side


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 Huglu to introduce a 16 ga. 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" (I have no idea what that means, specifically) 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 is: with snap caps in place and safety off you can jiggle the gun wildly up and down hanging only from the trigger-- and 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 tested with. 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 ga., which really does nice things for the lines and handling qualities of a side-by-side. 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 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.




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