Finding a good side-by-side double hammer gun locally is a tall order, and most are black powder pieces that are fairly old. Some years back, Pedersoli of Italy came up with a modern-made, side-by-side 12ga shotgun, sporting external hammers and proofed for all today’s nitro ammo. In the July 2014 edition I briefly wrote about this unusual fowling piece, but at the time Magnum could not test it. Now, years later, I was finally able to hunt with one.
Pedersoli offers various firearms intended for Cowboy Action competitors and target shooters, as well as hunters who are more traditionally inclined, especially the black powder enthusiasts. The La Bohémienne exhibits the same spirit, being a ‘modern classic’. According to Pedersoli, their intention was to satisfy a specific public request: to incorporate a new design with a well tried-and-tested old-school mechanical platform, giving their customers a quality, collectable ‘retro’ piece, with which they can also hunt, using freely available modern smokeless ammo.
The La Bohémienne can chamber magnum cartridges and has flush-fitting interchangeable chokes designed to give optimum performance at the appropriate ranges. It can fire the most powerful loads and also steel shot – with the proviso that for steel shot, you use only Improved Cylinder (IC) or Cylinder (C) chokes. In addition to these two, they provide modified, improved modified and full chokes, along with a choke tool. For my test I used IC and C.
The 28-inch barrels have 3-inch chambers and are matt-brown finished to enhance the antique appearance. Beautiful walnut is used; on this particular gun, it appears as if two slightly different pieces of walnut were used for the butt-stock and fore-end, but this does not detract from its overall appeal. Pedersoli opted for a rounded Prince of Wales type pistol-grip in keeping with the style of many early hammer guns. The pistol-grip and fore-end are finely chequered. The fore-end is wide and ends in a slight schnabel.
The colour case-hardened action with side-plates is adorned with quality, hand-finished engraving. This gun has extractors, not ejectors. The hammers are rebounding hence lack half-cock notches. To de-cock a cocked hammer, hold the hammer back, pull the trigger and slowly lower the hammer while releasing the trigger. The hammers cannot go far enough forward to hit the ﬁring pins unless the triggers are held fully back. To be doubly safe, simply break open the gun before lowering the hammers.
The gun has a sliding tang-safety (as on hammerless doubles) which can be set on ‘safe’ with the hammers cocked. It is not an automatic safety, i.e. opening the gun does not reset it on ‘safe’ – it must be manually reset. I prefer this system for hunting. The front trigger is set slightly lighter than the rear, which took me a while to get used to, and even after 500 shots, I still occasionally pulled the second shot off target due to the heavier back trigger. Practice will remedy this.
Read the full article in the September 2019 issue of Magnum