Ultimate Prestige – Arrizabalaga Shotguns
You can’t browse for Perdo Arrizabalaga rifles in standard rifle catalogs. Nor can you just pick one from the shelf of your local gun store. You have to order them directly from the manufacturer or one of their representatives in Spain, UK or USA. Also, you have to be willing to spend a significant amount of money to get your hands on one of these beauties.
Pedro Arrizabalaga company makes only one tier of firearm – the best one. These are the highest quality firearms, whose prices can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
Arrizabalaga offers four shotgun models: Special, English Scroll, Heavy Scroll and Round Action. They use 12, 16, 20, 28 and 36 (or .410) caliber ammunition. Barrel length and choke-bore are arranged with each buyer individually, like almost everything else about these rifles. This is why average delivery time ranges from nine to twelve months. Barrels are made from chromium-nickel steel and are always connected with a chopper-lump technique. That means barrels and lumps are forged as a single piece, each barrel being made to fit with the other one. Even the tiniest mistake in manufacturing can result in a very expensive piece of scrap metal.
Firing mechanism of these rifles is mounted on the side plates. This H&H mechanism is characteristic of the highest priced side-by-side and over-and-under shotguns. Its V leaf springs are very responsive, but expensive and difficult to manufacture. The expensive type of spring is very prone to cracking, unless done perfectly, and only the best gunsmiths can make a truly excellent spring. Pedro’s H&H mechanisms have an inbuilt interceptor latch, used for safe carrying of the rifle. If an impact or mechanism failure causes release of the hammer, the interceptor catches it before it reaches the firing pin. Interceptor does not prevent firing only when the trigger has been fully pulled, during normal firing of the rifle. H&H mechanisms on these rifles have seven pins and are considered to be very prestigious (more pins = more prestige).
These Spanish rifles have an additional luxury detail. They have a so-called self or assisted opening barrel breaking mechanism. That means that moving a Westley Richards lever that these rifles come with is very easy. It is enough to move the end of the lever with your thumb to the right and the lever is already in its final position, allowing for easy and soft barrel breaking.
Selective H&H ejectors safely remove the spent casings, although a rifle with integral double extractor can be ordered as well. They remove casings only partially, so the hunter can take them out personally and put them in a bag or a pocket. Forestock removal uses the pricy Purdey push rod. It is enough to push the front part of the lever towards the back and forestock can be easily removed.
The stock itself is made from carefully selected walnut, which is meticulously crafted, polished and oiled. Only the best quality wood is chosen from hundreds of blanks. Stock is usually done in the English style (no pistol grip) and is tailored for the shooter, like the finest suit. Every branch of the company (in Madrid, London and Scottsdale) has experts who take measurements of the intended marksman.
Shotgun models differ mainly on the type of engraving. Round Action has the most engraving, barrel and caliber options. All models can be ordered individually, or as a part of a paired set. They are made to look identical, and can only be told apart by golden numbers 1 and 2, located at the beginning of the sights rail. Rifles come with a single or double exquisite leather case lined with green cloth. The company emblem is worked into the leather.
These rifles are a truly excellent piece of gunsmithing, true works of art. Of course their price puts them out of reach of most ordinary hunters. That doesn’t mean we can’t admire them though.