Exclusive: Forthcoming Zoli VCS Combines High-Rib Sporter With Traditional Shotgun

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Zoli is continuing its blistering momentum this year with a new high-rib shotgun that actually combines two models in one.

The shotgun is yet another example of Zoli’s advanced engineering that seems to have found extra traction this year in the US market, exemplified by Zoli’s own record-breaking sales of the revolutionary Bilanx since its formal introduction in January.

 

Zoli is building on the popularity of the Bilanx with an adaptation called the Zoli Bilanx VCS – for Versatile Clays System. It was on display at the US Open held May 17 – 22 at M&M Sporting Clays in Pennsville, NJ.

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Steve Lamboy with the new Zoli Bilanx VCS.

The Zoli Bilanx VCS has yet to be officially announced. However, the shotgun is scheduled to ship in August, with orders currently being accepted, explained Stephen Lamboy, General Manager of Zoli North America.

A quick glance at the Zoli Bilanx VCS would grab your attention even in the recent wave of high-rib sporting shotguns. A close inspection, though, reveals that the Bilanx VCS is not only handsome but could be a game changer in this fast-growing segment that is driven by innovation and value.

Rather than purchase individual shotguns optimized for skeet, trap and sporting clays, the new Bilanx VCS is a modular high-rib sporter designed to excel in all the clays-shooting disciplines.

High-ribbed sporters are over/unders that have combined the specialized technology of trap guns such as towering adjustable ribs, combs and triggers with the handling characteristics of a shotgun designed for sporting clays, skeet and 5-stand. While the ribs may not be as tall as modern trap guns, high-rib sporters are designed to facilitate a traditional trap-shooting, heads-up stance for the other clays sports. The high-rib sporting shotgun movement is being lead by tier-one manufacturers. Notable examples include the Krieghoff K-80 Pro Sporter, Blaser’s F3 SuperSport and the Caesar Guerini Impact.

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Zoli’s Bilanx VCS on display at the US Open.

The advantages to high-rib sporting shotguns over traditional clays guns are improved sight picture, lower felt recoil and reduced fatigue. For sporting clays shooters, high-rib sporters can represent an enormous leap in performance – if you are able to adapt your shooting habits to the heads-up technique.

Not all shooters can make the switch successfully, or they find breaking old habits difficult. The risk in switching from the traditional low flat rib to buying a gun that only allows high rib shooting is obvious. If a shooter is unable to make the transition, they ended up buying a gun that sits in the gun safe. Zoli has eliminated this risk with the new Z Bilanx VCS. With the VCS, ribs and stock combs are modular and interchangeable, enabling the shooter to set the gun up for high or low ribs and rebalance the gun in minutes.

The Zoli Bilanx VCS has dramatically reworked the value proposition of high-rib sporters in favor of shotgun enthusiasts. With the development of the Bilanx VCS, Zoli essentially delivers both a traditional clays gun and a high-rib sporter in a single shotgun for a starting price of $5,995.

Zoli begins with the basic Bilanx (in Latin, Bilanx means “twin balance”).

 

Rib
The tall, adjustable rib easily mounts to the standard rib on the Zoli Bilanx VCS.

While many shotgun makers tout balance as a defining characteristic, Zoli upped the ante by actually incorporating a variable weight system that resides in the pistol grip of the shotgun. For obvious reasons it’s called the Between Hands Balancer or BHB. The BHB is complemented by magnetic barrel weights covered by the forend. Zoli says that the Bilanx’s center of gravity can be set directly on the hinge pins or moved fore and aft to add or remove gun speed and power.

The Bilanx incorporates many of the standard features found in Z Guns such as the detachable mechanical trigger, extremely accurate barrel regulation and legendary durability. Ashleigh Hafley won the 2009 Grand Slam of Sporting Clays plus more than 100 wins and 300 podium finishes in three years straight shooting a Zoli – shooting more than 95,000 rounds without a single service to her gun.

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Brad Kidd, George Digweed and Mike Wilgus (left to right) raising their trophies at the 2011 English Sporting Clays Championship.

More recently, Zoli shooter Brad Kidd took the runner-ups spot at the 2011 World English Sporting Clays Championship held on April 28 –May 1 at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Kidd had finished the Main event on 191/200, one bird shy of Great Britain’s legendary George Digweed, to enter the Super Final with the top six finishers. Whether or not Mr. Kidd migrates to a Bilanx VCS to continue his winning ways remains to be seen.

For the Bilanx VCS, Zoli has engineered two high-tech, ultra-light, adjustable high ribs that mount atop the original flat-shooting rib of the Bilanx. The modular ribs are easily fastened to the original with three German claw mounts that are fully calibrated for changing the point of impact. They are EDM machined from high strength alloy and have a 11mm x 7mm taper.

Likewise, the Bilanx VCS is equipped with two adjustable combs – one size for the high ribs and the other for the traditional rib. Both are fully adjustable for cast and drop and can be changed out in minutes.

Stock
One of two adjustable combs that comes standard with the Zoli Bilanx VCS.

Bilanx VCS owners will have a choice of two high, adjustable modular ribs: ½ inch or 7/8 inches, which work for sporting and double trap. They can also add the new unsingle trap barrel with adjustable high rib for American trap, or they can remove the adjustable rib and shoot low rib by adding the low comb to the stock.

Mr. Lamboy called the Bilanx VCS “the Ferrari of competition shotguns. The Bilanx VCS provides a solid high performance shotgun platform that can be easily set up to compete at the top level of any clays discipline.”

The Bilanx VCS will be available in all Zoli grades including the Z-Sport, Z-Extra, Z-Ambassador and Super Luxus, with either 30-inch or 32-inch barrels. Unsingle trap barrels will be available in 32 and 34”. Custom stocks are available.

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 Zoli North American web site
Irwin Greenstein

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

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