Blasphemy or Genius, Here’s the New Semi-Auto From Piotti

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Shotgun aficionados have uttered the name “Fratelli Piotti” with a veneration reserved for the English best. The Italian gunmaker has given us among the most beautiful over/unders and side-by-sides ever to grace our planet since opening its doors in the late 1960s.

With new Piotti shotguns starting upwards of $35,000, the quality and workmanship even belie those stratospheric prices. Exhibition grade Turkish walnut, exquisite Bulino engraving and Swiss-watch precision are attributes of beauty and engineering that enthusiasts have come to expect from the hallowed house that produces approximately 75 guns per year.

But a semi-auto? Seriously?

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The forthcoming semi-auto shotgun from Fratelli Piotti.

Piotti is now transforming Benelli Legacy semi-autos into a Piotti-branded firearm. With an anticipated price of around $12,000, the new Piotti semi-auto will trail the intricate $20,000 Italian Cosmi auto-loader in price — making it a luxury two-gun segment. By comparison, the suggested retail price of a 12-gauge Benelli Legacy with AA-grade walnut is $1,799.

Our information is preliminary, but we understand the 12-gauge Piotti semi-auto will retain the proven Benelli Legacy action including the Inertia Drive, five-shell capacity and rotating locking head through a licensing agreement. We expect the Piotti to also weigh about 7½ pounds.

We believe Piotti will retain Benelli’s Crio cryogenically treated barrel and companion Crio screw-in chokes. The Piotti semi-auto should appear with 30-inch barrels and a vented, carbon-fiber rib like the Legacy.

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You can see that Piotti moved the safety to the top of the receiver. The forend cap shows an exquisite mandala engraving.

Piotti has moved the safety from the trigger guard to the top of the receiver, a change that lends a more classic look. Benelli’s angular trigger guard has been replaced with a traditional rounded version. Likewise, Piotti went from the original gold-plated trigger shoe to one that’s silver with the more pronounced curve you find on premium upland shotguns.

Extraordinary hand-rubbed Turkish walnut will follow Piotti’s aesthetics, although the grip has been changed from the Benelli pistol shape to a Prince of Wales — leading us to understand that the shotgun will be configured for wingshooting. The transition from the receiver to the barrel appears to flow more elegantly in the Piotti model, the tapered connection enhanced by a deeply sculpted forend with the slender dimensions of a field gun.

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The scalloped receiver on Piotti’s semi-auto.

One of the most visible modifications is the scalloped receiver on the Piotti. It’s really a stroke of genius as Piotti takes the semi-auto up-market. We’ve seen several versions of the gun. In one of them, the top part of the receiver that houses the bolt mechanism is case colored with gold pinstriping while the bottom is French grey adorned with flying ducks that appear between cloud-like flourishes, which also extend to the safety. In another version, the top half of the receiver is black as with the Legacy.

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Case coloring shown on the Piotti semi-auto receiver.

Piotti has transformed the forend cap into a work of art. The front of it features a mystical mandala while the circumference is ornamental. Black serrated rings serve a practical purpose.

If the $12,000 price holds true, we’re not sure Piotti can support its customary hand engraving and may instead turn to machines for adornment. If so, whether or not hand engraving is optional remains to be seen upon formal introduction.

Initial shipments of the Piotti semi-auto should arrive shortly at the company’s American importer, William Larkin Moore in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Irwin Greenstein is the Publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Useful resources:
The William Larkin Moore web site
The web site for Fratelli Piotti

Irwin Greenstein

Irwin Greenstein is Publisher of Shotgun Life. Please send your comments to letters@shotgunlife.com.

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