100 Rounds of Sporting Clays With the Revolutionary Guerini Impact

By naming its shotgun the Impact, Caesar Guerini is engaging in a lively game of word play. The Impact is a wake-up call to an industry that all too often substitutes innovation with attractive engraving and well-figured wood. The Impact also hands shooters a fully adjustable point of impact – essentially a cutting-edge target shredder for under $5,000.

 

We shot 100 rounds of sporting clays with a Summit-grade Impact at the invitation-only Bray’s Island Outdoor and Shooting Exposition, held this year April 16th through the 18th, in Sheldon, South Carolina. For the uninitiated, Bray’s Island Plantation is restricted to the 325 property owners and their guests who enjoy sporting clays, upland and waterfowl shooting, skeet, trap, equestrian programs, golf, fishing, tennis on a 5,500-acre gated community.

Guerini exhibited with other blue-ribbon shotgun manufacturers including Griffin & Howe, Holland & Holland, Connecticut Shotgun, FAMARS di Abbiatico & Salvinelli, and Charles Boswell Gunmaker.

Brays-Island
The Caesar Guerini station at Bray’s Island.

Guerini had also reserved one of the 12 stations on the exquisite sporting clays course to evaluate their shotguns. The presentations were a couple of high crossers over water, but Guerini added an easy lollipop to satisfy shooters breezing by.

Although I did shoot a few of those demonstration targets with the Impact, later in the day I was able to monopolize the gun for about an hour – right under the wire before the course closed. This provided the occasion to shoot a fast 100 rounds with it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to tinker with all of the gun’s built-in adjustments. Still, the Impact left a lasting impression – a shock of the new. I will say that during my brief stint with it, the Impact powdered targets like a champ.

The Impact began life on the drawing board as a shotgun optimized for hassle-free fine tuning. But the breakthroughs don’t stop there.

Guerini’s Impact, with its high, ventilated rib and Monte Carlo stock, reinforces a new school of thought that advocates an upright stance for sporting clays, 5-Stand and FITASC. These disciplines have customarily been played from a forward-leaning, low-gun position. The Impact, by contrast, integrates elements from a trap gun – a sport where the norm is heads-up and premounted.

The Impact is another milestone in this emerging trend toward high-ribbed sporting shotguns intended to accelerate target acquisition. It’s eyes-forward, full-on the target versus hunting for the bird from the narrow, vertical periphery of your eyeball sockets as you hunker down on the stock.

Summit_Impact_profileLarge
The Caesar Guerini Summit Impact.

The Guerini Impact follows on the heels of an earlier high-ribbed shotgun for sporting clays, 5-Stand and FITASC – the K-80 Pro Sporter from Krieghoff.

The K-80 Pro Sporter had been introduced at the 2008 National Sporting Clays Association Nationals. By staging the K-80 Pro Sporter launch at the premier sporting-clays event, Krieghoff was clearly upending the shotgun world by migrating key trap-shooting components such as the high rib and Monte Carlo stock into a historically low-gun sport. Plus, with a starting price of around $10,700, Krieghoff made it a reasonably priced alternative to the standard K-80.

Most importantly, the K-80 Pro Sporter largely introduced the sporting clays community to the variable point of impact by combining the adjustable rib and comb into a non-traditional sporting gun.

We had evaluated the K-80 Pro Sporter and previously reported the shotgun fulfilled its mission as a target-crushing maw that was effortless to shoot – providing you appreciated high-rib sporting shotguns.

Enter the Guerini Impact. Made in Brescia, Italy, the shotgun is available in two configurations and a variety of barrel lengths. The over/under has barrel lengths of 30, 32 and 34 inches. The trap Unsingle is made in 32 and 34 inches. Guerini offers a combo set for $7,145. Guerini also makes a 20-gauge Impact with 32-inch barrels. It has an MSRP of $4,995 –the same price as the 12 gauge.

Summit_Impact_popup2
Bottom view of the Caesar Guerini Summit Impact.

I shot the over/under with 32-inch barrels. The blued receiver of the Summit grade with its unassuming scroll gave the impression that this boxlock was all business.

The Impact inherits Guerini’s Dynamic Tuning System, or D.T.S., originally found on its trap guns. D.T.S. refers to the wide range of personalized settings in the rib and stock. Guerini has integrated the Impact’s adjustable trigger into the D.T.S. as well.

The rib on the over/under will accommodate a point of impact ranging from 5% low to 90% high. The Unsingle rib varies from 50/50 to 120% high.

A simple screw raises and lowers the rib on the over/under barrels with a small wrench also used on the adjustable comb. At first glance, the rib appears to be lifted from the Guerini trap guns, but it’s 40 percent lower.

Optional D.T.S. Barrel Balancers allow a pair of 1.6-ounce weights to be added anywhere along the barrel literally in seconds.

On the other end of the Impact, the multi-axis D.T.S. comb allows for precise calibration of offset, cast, comb height, and comb drop. It has a memory function that lets you return the comb to a preferred position.

Summit_Impact_popupLG
The receiver on the Summit Impact looks all business – destroying clay birds.

Stocks on the Impact feature a palm swell and are pre-drilled for the optional D.T.S. Kinetic Balancer. As the name implies, the D.T.S. Kinetic Balancer combines coil springs and weights. It performs double duty by letting you fine-tune the balance while decreasing recoil.

The Impact I used had the embedded D.T.S. Kinetic Balancer. It contributed to the gun’s negligible recoil. Just as importantly, the D.T.S. Kinetic Balancer gave the Impact tremendous poise and stability. I would hazard to say that the gun would be vaguely muzzle-heavy without it. Guerini cites a maximum weight of about nine pounds on the Impact (depending on options and wood), which sounded right for the model I shot. With a gun this heavy, balance is crucial for smooth handling and greater consistency. I would definitely recommend the D.T.S. Kinetic Balancer for $145.

Guerini’s D.T.S. engineering, when applied to the trigger, gives shooters two pull weight options, plus adjustable take-up, travel and length of pull.

Impact 12-gauge

Drop at comb*

1.6"

Drop at Monte Carlo*

1.8"

Drop at heel

2.25"

Length of pull

14.9"

Cast at heel

.19"

Cast at toe

.31"

Pitch

Offset at comb

.05"

*Adjustable comb in down position.           Source: Caesar Guerini.

As with other Guerini shotguns, the Impact is shipped with an arsenal of MAXIS extended chokes, hand-rubbed oil wood, forcing cones – all packaged in one of the most aesthetically compelling shotguns for under $10,000.

Still, your first impression of the Impact is formed by the weight of the gun; it takes you by surprise after shooting other Guerini over/unders that tip the scale at about 7¼ pounds.

When you step into a station, though, you begin to comprehend how the nine pounds translates into benefits that over time could really improve your shooting.

The most obvious is that a heavy gun keeps you swinging toward the target. Beyond that rule of thumb, the Impact reveals other feats of engineering that inevitably contribute to a heavy gun.

For instance, one of the first targets I shot with the Impact was a fast rabbit, both as a single and a true pair. Targets that are thrown under the barrels, such as rabbits, are easily obscured by the typical sporting gun. Try shooting them from an upright stance with a high rib, though, and suddenly the rabbit becomes the size of a dinner plate: the clarity of the sight picture is incredible!

Once you’re completely locked onto the target, that underlying anxiety associated with conventional sporting guns vanishes. The Impact imparts a growing sense of confidence and control. The Impact acts as a gag on “the voice” that Gil & Vicki Ash refer to – the negative stream of consciousness that can spook even the easiest of targets.

Also, a word about the trigger. It felt completely integrated into the character of the gun. No creep, no wobble, the weight of the trigger pull worked in concert with your sight picture; just as your eyes were free to view the whole target, the crisp, smooth trigger could efficiently execute on that vastly improved picture. The Impact provides a stress-free experience for the recreational shooter.

After that rabbit station, I arrive at a better understanding of the gun. I estimated that it was set to shoot at about 60/40 and that the trigger pull fell between 3½ and four pounds.

It was time to move on to the other stations.

For quartering away birds, I use the intercept method for minimal gun movement. Rather than track the bird from the vicinity of the trap machine, I’ll hold the gun closer to the break point in a semi-premount (as taught by Bobby Fowler, Jr.), where the recoil pad is against the shoulder and the stock is dropped slightly from the face until the target is called. The Impact worked like a charm on these presentations. Shooters who like to hold further back and track the bird may be surprised at how the improved sight picture enables minimal gun movement with superior results. The pointability of the Impact proved exceptional – thanks in part to the rounded, well-contoured forend.

As we made our way through the Bray’s Island course, I realized that the enhanced target acquisition and a comfortable shooting posture of the Impact let the instinctive shooter in you really shine. That became particularly evident in true pairs, where the second target often appeared as if it were waiting for me.

Likewise, I felt like I was shooting teals from an easy chair with the Impact. At the risk of hyperbole, smashing a teal at its apex seemed as effortless as pointing the remote on my TV.

As we shot the last few stations of our 100 rounds, a trapper drove up in a cart to remind us that the course was about to close. Since we were leaving Bray’s Island the following morning, these were the quick impressions I was able to form about the Impact.

Maxum_Impact_popup3
Casear Guerini will also offer a higher grade Maxum Impact.

Currently, there’s a backlog on Impact orders – making it unlikely that your local Guerini dealer has a demo for you to try.

We asked our friend, Jack Bart of Bart’s Sports World, an authorized Guerini dealer, when he expects Impacts to start arriving. He said models with 30-inch barrels should hit dealers in mid-to-late September. The 32-inch models are likely to follow in November, he said.

Jack acknowledged that demo guns are scarce, but explained that since Bart’s Sports World is in Glenn Burnie, Maryland, about 90 minutes from Guerini’s headquarters in Cambridge, Maryland, he recently was allocated a Summit Impact he could keep overnight to show a customer.

Guerini recently added a higher grade Maxum Impact. Its coin-finished side plates are embellished with full Gothic scroll. It starts at $7,550, and Jack expects to take delivery of the Maxums in late September.

Ultimately, if you are fascinated by the next generation of sporting guns, the Impact merits your consideration.

Deborah McKown is the Editor of Shotgun Life. You can reach her at  letters@shotgunlife.com.

Useful resources:

The Caesar Guerini web site

Bart’s Sports World web site

Deborah K. McKown

Deborah McKown is the Editor of Shotgun Life. Please send your comments and questions to letters@shotgunlife.com.

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