With Orvis traditional break-open shotguns ranging in price from about $4,800 to $10,500, the new hard case necessitated a rugged design to follow the upland seasons worldwide, but more importantly could withstand the company’s policy of refunding your money on any product that isn’t 100 percent satisfactory — anytime for any reason.
Called the Secure Traveler’s Gun Case, it’s available from Orvis in one-gun and two-gun configurations priced at $398 (single) and ($549) double and suitable for over/unders sporting barrel lengths of up to 32 inches. Obviously, Orvis customers thought the case was a good idea as they voted with their dollars to send it up to the “The Best 5 Upland Products” in early September.
But the real winners here may actually be the manufacturer, Negrini of Italy, and its recently established American distributor, International Case Company in Victor, New York.
The Orvis relationship marks the latest win for International Case under the ownership and management of industry veteran, Steve Lamboy. He started the company in July 2012 and by January 2013 opened a warehouse, showroom and distribution center with some 2,000 Negrini cases in stock for shotguns, rifles, handguns, archery and gun-cleaning kits.
Negrini may not be a household name yet in the vein of Orvis, but shotgun cases from the 31-year-old manufacturer are probably already in your home. Negrini has been supplying their iconic, colorful Ultra-Light cases to the likes of Perazzi, Beretta, Blaser, Benelli, Holland & Holland, Winchester, Kolar, Kemen and Caesar Guerini under OEM agreements that emblazon the cases with the names and logos of the shotgun makers.
For Negrini, the establishment of International Case marked a turning point by retailing cases under its own brand.
Although unfamiliar to some of us, Negrini’s roots run deep in the shotgun industry — actually starting on the trap fields of Europe.
By the 1980s, Franco Negrini had parlayed his childhood talent as a hunter into a trap-shooting world champion. He toured extensively to compete in tournaments. It turns out he was also a brilliant engineer and inventor. After shotgun cases he owned kept breaking during travel, the 36-year-old took matters into his own hands and invented a thermal forming method for plastic that contained a high percentage of shock-resistant rubber. Next step, design and build the machines that would produce the thermoplastic cases. History would show that Mr. Negrini introduced the first ABS gun case on the market. His first customer? Perazzi.
Through the decades, the company has pioneered the combination of modern, high-tech polymer forming, old-world luxury hand finishing and stunning Italian design. Negrini Ultra-Light cases have constantly evolved. Now the management has passed to Mr. Negrini’s capable children who grew up in the business.
Under their stewardship, Negrini maintains its claims of making the lightest, IATA airline-certified gun cases with TSA-sanctioned locks and hinges. The strength-to-weight ratio is derived from latest high-rubber content and double-wall, multi-layer construction. Welded seams use both patented ultrasonic and liquid ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) bonding methods without glue. Negrini has also eliminated wood, which means zero moisture content that could compromise metal (guns) inside. Regardless of temperature, these Ultra-Light cases are also free of corrosives, according to Negrini. Covering the cushioning is luxurious upholstery of cotton and acrylic that is corrosive-free. The bonding of the fabric to the foam polyester on the cover is made by melting for a solvent free thermo-set rubber cement and natural resins. In short, materials exhibit zero out-gassing into the Ultra-Light cases.
Moving forward, Negrini’s innovative manufacturing has adapted to the flexibility of large and short production requirements capable of supplying different cases of multiple configurations within a typical 60-day turn-around. For example, Negrini’s LX line has a luxury finish internally and leather trim and handle. The PL models are a luxury finish internally with a full premium leather cover. And the super-luxury PPL cases feature hand-selected premium leather inside and out.
As Negrini’s factory undergoes constant modernization, more models of the Ultra-Light shotgun cases continue to arrive in the U.S.
The Transformer Ultra-Light holds any combination of two different shotguns: over/under, side by side, automatic or pump — and even a rifle. It’s available in two versions. The 1677 Combo case holds one each over under/side by side and one semi-auto or pump. The 1677 Transformer case holds any combination of two types of shotguns or take-down rifle by adding or subtracting a special accessory box to change the internal shape.
Negrini’s contemporary Ladies Line was introduced in mid-September. Thanks to designer Elisabetta Negrini, the company has managed to marry the fashion sensibility of Milan with the shotgun culture of the nearby Brescia Valley. Ms. Negrini was influenced by colleagues who worked at luxury brands such as Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton.
Mr. Lamboy explained that Negrini’s research showed women wanted their own line of upscale cases, distinct from the industry’s standard masculine renditions. Ms. Negrini executed against the opportunity. She created a set of cases to be sold individually or in a set with matching cartridge and cleaning accessories cases. Available in the latest colors with leather trim accents, the sets may also be special ordered in full leather versions as well as special cases for rifle and handgun.
Meanwhile, Negrini Ultra-Light Cases has been named sponsor and the official case of Team USA Shooting. Special lightweight air travel cases bearing the Team USA logo will be supplied to all Team USA Members and made available under license for sale to all shooters who wish to support Team USA Shooting. Proceeds from each sale go to help fund travel, training and all team shooting activities.
Mr. Lamboy is aggressively expanding the footprint of American distributors for Negrini Ultra-Light cases. In addition to Orvis, his current roster includes Cole Gunsmithing, Elite Firearms, Fieldsport, Covey and Nye, Pacific Sporting Arms, the JTH Agency and Robin Hollow.
Negrini Ultra-Light shotgun cases start at only $299.00.
The International Case/Negrini web site