Caesar Guerini’s Invictus is a shotgun for the ages as John McDougall discovered
Caesar Guerini is based in Brescia, the home of shotgunning in Italy and are principal owners of Fabarm, also in the Brescia region, with parent company Caesar Guerini fast becoming widely accepted in the highly competitive US market in both hunting and the clay target sports. Available for several years in Australia and having recently changed distributors, Caesar Guerini shotguns are increasingly finding favour with shooters and hunters who see their sporting arms as practical works of art.
The Invictus model is no exception and the one on review is touted to be good for in excess of one million rounds being put through it. The gun features a unique action jointing design that’s easy to upgrade and certain to impress those who seek such a firearm with just as much focus on performance, whether in the field or on the clay target range.
The Invictus 1 Sporter will make many shooters think seriously about owning one of these fine boxlock shotguns and with style and performance for less than $10,000, the Caesar Guerini Invictus has achieved significant success in European competition since 2013.
Measuring 810mm (32”) these are impeccably blued in a lustrous deep finish that’s absolutely faultless. They’re fitted with a Trap barrel front sight featuring a white bead and brass mid sight to facilitate perfect alignment with correct gun mounting. With over-bored barrels at 0.732” and 125mm forcing cones, the Invictus 1 Sporter was supplied with eight 82mm Maxus choke tubes from Skeet through to Full Choke, each one having a knurled collar and identification cited twice, one about the bottom of the collar in full and another abbreviated on the collar for ease of identification.
The barrels are perfectly chrome lined and when assembled to the action and stock the gun was sensational and felt and balanced as good as it looked. Unlike other shotguns the barrels weren’t just inletted into the monobloc to accept the trunnions in the receiver, as Caesar Guerini have designed a wonderfully clever Invictus cam which can be replaced at any time, simple but effective for ensuring longevity of the gun.
I don’t doubt claims the Invictus models with their camming system of jointing could possibly last beyond the one million shots they reckon could be fired. Such innovation is sheer brilliance and if the gun does require tightening at some stage during its life, the Invictus cams are easily replaced without the need to make major adjustments to the monobloc.
When putting the barrel set to the receiver it was obvious the tolerances were fine as the barrels had to be perfectly aligned. There was no sloppiness in the monobloc and the gun snapped closed. There are two sizeable lumps to the rear of the barrel set monobloc and these are complemented by the Invictus block fitted to the floor of the receiver, ensuring a superb bearing surface to support the rearward lumps (the Invictus block is replaceable should re-jointing ever be needed).
Large trapezoid bites cut into the rearward lumps also ensure the Invictus will wear gently over those ‘one million rounds’, jewel polishing about the monobloc appreciated for retaining fine lubricants with the heavy-duty ejectors perfectly timed to throw empty shells well clear of the chamber for swift reloading.
This is striking, purposely made wider than most guns with the finish and engraving so elegant. Being a grade one gun in the Invictus bracket it’s anything but basic with the better grade models looking even better – all for an increase in price above the starting model.
Faultless flourishing scrolls about the receiver and other engraving is just enough without being over the top for the grade one option, the finish a matte silver nitride which makes the gun pleasing to the eye. The receiver sideplates are removable and could easily be replaced with custom engraved plates if desired.
Inside the receiver floor is the Invictus block, coloured gold and attached to the receiver floor by two screws and added to the two rearward lumps and trapezoid bites to lock the gun tightly and securely. I’ve not seen a more dedicated action for claimed longevity in a boxlock shotgun so yes, the Invictus name is appropriate for the inherent feel from this Caesar Guerini model.
I felt the triggerguard could have been marginally larger to accommodate those who prefer to shoot with gloves but otherwise its shape is acceptable for most. An adjustable triggerfoot is ideal for shooters with longer or shorter fingers and for a gun in its price range such attention to detail is well appreciated (the adjustment tool is supplied). Trigger pulls were firm and released at a relaxed 4lb for each barrel.
Stock and fore-end
Supplied with walnut timber featuring beautiful grain structure and hand-finished with stock oil, the Caesar Guerini Invictus Grade 1 is a stunning sporting arm to look at. Chequering on the fore-end and pistol grip is generous, hand-cut to perfection and contained by a single-line border. I enjoyed the forward release catch on the fore-end rather than a traditional lever latch on the underside and the fact it’s adjustable for wear is even better (a special tool for this is supplied).
Inletting of a metal teardrop on the underside of the fore-end is a novel touch though I’d have been happy with plain wood. This is where the aesthetics of the gun come into play, one of the distinguishing features of Caesar Guerini in the design of all of their firearms. The Trap style of the fore-end for a Sporter could easily be replaced with a tulip or Schnabel format as I believe this is an option but all’s well and the fore-end is extremely secure to grip.
The stock is excellent and it was nice to see an adjustable comb piece supplied as standard as no two shooters are the same. This Dynamic Tuning System of adjustable stock comb is well appreciated as with a production gun the manufacturer has to cater to all shapes and sizes. An adjustable comb piece allows for this and being provided with the gun from the factory can mean a saving of $450 to $650. The stock measured a 387mm length-of-pull, allowing the shooter the option of having it shortened by a gunsmith if necessary.
I was pleased to see a recoil pad fitted as this gun is proofed for high performance steel shot loadings (at 1320 Bar) and with Remington Nitro Steel travelling at up to 1700fps, it’s comforting to know if these loads are used for waterfowling then all will be well on your shoulder. The stock comes with a spanner for its removal along with the tool kit for fore-end, comb piece and triggerfoot adjustments.
In the field
Shooting the Caesar Guerini was an absolute pleasure. The 32” barrels took some getting used to but when targets were hit with the Maxus chokes they were absolutely destroyed. I found the barrels a little difficult moving on close marks but that was more my problem, whereas long-range steady shots were a delight as target after target disappeared in a puff of smoke.
I highly recommend this gun for the discerning shooter and it only enhances the reputation of other Caesar Guerini firearms I’ve reviewed previously. The Invictus 1 though, with its innovative jointing system and numerous other features, will surely attract a great deal of attention from Australian hunters and competition clay target shooters – a superb gun with one million shots not beyond expectation.
Maker: Caesar Guerini, Brescia, Italy.
Overall length: 1255mm (49⅜”)
Overall weight: 3.87kg (8lb 9oz)
Barrel length: 810mm (32”)
Barrel weight: 1.51kg (3lb 5oz)
Chamber and bore sizes: 70mm (2¾”), 0.732” for both barrels
Proofing: 1320 Bar (suited to high performance steel shot loads)
Forcing cones: 127mm (5”)
Chokes: Skeet (0.728”), Cylinder (0.733”), Improved Cylinder (0.723”), Light Modified (0.719”), Modified (0.713”), Improved Modified (0.708”), Light Full (0.704”), Full (0.700”)
Trigger pulls: Both barrels 1.81kg (4lb)
Warranty: Five years plus additional Pit Stop program (four free services between years 4-8)
Recommended retail price: $9500