Mr. Haussmann will largely replicate the program he instituted at Blaser USA, where he introduced the German maker of excellent long guns to Americans. During that 4½-year tenure, Mr. Haussmann’s team distinguished the quality and innovation of Blaser premium firearms in a highly successful sales campaign.
Although the Blaser F3 shotgun is more expensive than Zoli’s Boss-action Z-Guns, each manufacturer rejects business-as-usual to forge individual design philosophies that advance the state of innovation for break-open shotguns.
In the U.S., Mr. Haussmann elevated the competition profile of the Blaser F3 as factory sponsored shooters garnered top wins. By comparison, the Z-Gun’s trophy case is already overstocked with victories from international clays tournaments, helping Mr. Haussmann leverage his experience by marketing the durability and precision of Zolis as winners circle regulars.
The joint venture, announced April 22, 2013, puts the world on notice that Zoli Italy is really serious this time about contributing ample resources toward U.S. expansion. As with Blaser USA, Mr. Haussmann is establishing the first Zoli American headquarters in greater San Antonio, Texas.
Mr. Haussmann will direct all business activities related to importation, distribution, sales and service for Zoli firearms. Previously, Zoli relied on Cole Gunsmithing of Harpswell, Maine with a newer facility in Naples, Florida, to import and service Zolis.
Rich Cole, owner of Cole Gunsmithing, observed “Norbert is a guy who has a tremendous amount of experience. He brings a lot to the table in terms of committing the necessary marketing resources to Zoli. It’s a good business move for everyone to move forward in this way.”
He elaborated that Cole Gunsmithing is primarily service — not an optimal position for Cole or Zoli as they collaborated on “helping Zoli get a foothold in the U.S."
With Cole’s new facility in Naples, its growing service contract with Beretta and recent award of an authorized Perazzi dealership “these are more along the lines of what we’re all about."
The formation of Zoli International sends a clear message to current and prospective American Zoli shotgun owners that the family-run manufacturer intends to become a reckoning force in its niche of sporting, game and trap guns priced at $4,000 to $8,000.
“We are now wearing the Zoli hat and I believe our role will bring newfound confidence to the customers,"explained Mr. Haussmann.
Zoli insider Steven Lamboy elaborated that the joint venture between Zoli and Mr. Haussmann was necessary to raise the bar for Zoli in the U.S. Mr. Lamboy, who is now President of Negrini International Case Co., was the face of Zoli in the U.S. when he served as General Manager of Zoli North America from his offices in Canandaigua, New York. “The change I think is extremely good,"he said. “Norbert brings a tremendous amount of knowledge, history and experience through his years with Krieghoff and Blaser to the new Zoli partnership.”
Mr. Haussmann’s decades of expertise in gun design should also figure in product development, noted Mr. Lamboy.
“There are some additional products coming in place,"Mr. Haussmann said. “The base portfolio is fantastic and we’re building on that.”
From Mr. Haussman’s perspective, Zoli shotguns have always presented enthusiasts with exceptional value.
“Zoli has the feel for the customer that exceeds the value of the guns,"he explained. “I really have in my hands what I expect. I didn’t overpay and feel under-delivered. For Zoli, engineering world-class guns has been about working from the inside out, rather than just exterior appearances.”
The company’s over/unders are already prized for extraordinary barrel regulation, which dictate accuracy and patterning. Zoli’s durability is attributed in part to the Boss action which assigns a large area of the forged-steel interior walls to lugs that stabilize the barrels when they pivot on the hinge pins. Zoli has supplemented the traditional Boss action with wider shoulders for greater rigidity when the gun is closed. The three-inch monoblock’s original raw steel ingot is shaped using Electric Discharge Machining, which enhances metallurgical hardness around the breech face when opening and closing the shotgun. The components are precision fit to reduce wear and wobble. When it comes to reliability, Zoli shotguns profit from the factory’s rich history with dangerous-game double rifles that feature zero tolerance for failure.
Zoli’s triggers are designed to endure grueling competitions. The polished lock work is coated with anti-rust and anti-friction applications. The leaf spring is theoretically more reliable than a coil spring. And the trigger group is detachable — an option you’d be hard pressed to find on comparably priced shotguns.
“We chose to establish the guns in competition, because that’s the acid test for durability, balance and to prove your mettle in the market,"explained Mr. Lamboy.
With the 2010 introduction of the Z-Sport Bilanx, Zoli upgraded its bread-and-butter Z-Sport clays gun with a safer trigger and ingenious balancing system.
The hand-detachable mechanical trigger system is titanium nitride treated. It’s designed to prevent doubling. When the trigger mechanism in the Z-Supersport shifts from one barrel to another, it is never in contact with more than one sear – dramatically reducing the odds of dangerous doubling, which can occur when both barrels fire simultaneously as a result of the tolerances coming out of adjustment. The trigger also automatically sets up the second shot even if the first round fails.
Zoli engineered perhaps the best approach to personalized performance with its Between Hands Balancing (BHB) system. Sporting shotguns equipped with weight-balancing systems tend to reside either around the forend or within the stock. Adjustments put shooters in a game of see-saw as they tinker to find the optimum equipoise. The quandary is compounded by the location of the rear weights inside the stock, necessitating removal of the recoil pad or worse the entire stock.
By contrast, Zoil’s BHB centers the weights in the pistol grip. The BHB provides ballast between the hands — the most desirable configuration for ideal balance. In effect, the BHB acts more like a sailboat keel than ballast.
Overall, the BHB system is comprised of two weight components. The quick-detachable, modular grip cap mechanism fits into the buttstock grip, accommodating six threaded steel disk weights adding up to three ounces. The forend weight system has the capacity to add up to 20 individual four-gram weights easily installed onto the side ribs underneath the forend.
"Coupled with the best barrels in the industry and our new service centers, the Z Gun will be a major factor in the competition and game shotgun market,"said Mr. Haussmann.
For starters, expect Zoli to tailor its world guns for Americans with higher grade walnut and more alluring engravings. In conjunction, Mr. Haussmann intends to expand and restructure the dealer network.
Under his leadership, Zoli will drive the agenda of providing “affordable and quality guns,"Mr. Haussmann said.
Irwin Greenstein is the Publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at email@example.com.
32496 US Highway 281 N
Building 8, Suite A
Bulverde, Texas 78163
Phone: (830) 438-7088
The Zoli web site