Vic Harker tests the new Zoli Z Sport HR11 and finds that, although it performs very nicely on Sporting targets, it was spectacular on the Trap range!

There’s a new elegant over-and-under from Italy, designed along classic lines and at a much lower price than the market leaders!

The low-profile action is an unmistakable crib of the Perazzi design and Zoli could not have done better than to copy it, the result being easy access to the lockwork and, most importantly, superb trigger pulls.

The action

The trigger mechanism is detachable and so far as the lock-work and mechanical function is concerned it is to a similar design as other trigger groups of this kind. I am, however, obliged to point out the actual removal of the trigger group is not as easy to execute as some others, and I would recommend it is best left to a knowledgeable gunsmith. The coil-spring layout provides short, crisp pulls without a hint of take-up. As to the appearance of the action body, it is very close to the best examples of this type of gun, but is lighter by 85g. The finish is an excellent deep black and incorporates a gold Z for Zoli on the side panels.

The stock

This Zoli is stocked to a very high standard in terms of configuration, as is the fit and finish. The timber employed is not particularly outstanding as to the figuring, but the oil finish has been applied thoroughly which does show off the grain to its best advantage. Most importantly, stock configuration is excellent. A deep, hand filling pistol grip provides an excellent hold.

That said, this gun was billed as a Sporter, but the Monte Carlo comb adjustable for height and cast was, in terms of both configuration and dimensions, clearly best suited to Trap shooting. As to the fore-end, it is suitable for both Trap shooting and Sporting.

The barrels

The jointing of the barrels to the action is also similar to the Perazzi school of shotgun design. Pivoting on studs at the front of the action body, a bifurcated or split bolt moves forward through the breech face and locates with substantial bites on surfaces machined from the barrels’ monobloc. In the case of other over-and-unders, most particularly the Perazzi, the barrels’ monobloc also locates with further bearing surfaces integral to the walls of the action body. In the case of the Zoli, however, the makers have forgone this arrangement, no doubt considering further bearing surfaces are not required.

As to other important features of the barrel assembly, the raised top rib is most noticeable. Adjustment to the further elevation of this device can be achieved with a very small and delicate key, easily lost in the circumstances. As the gun and I could break targets without further tinkering, I left well alone.

Shooting impressions

Having described this Zoli in some detail, what I’ve not made clear is for what role this gun is intended. Designated by its manufacturers as the Zoli Sport, I would assume that the purpose of the gun is for Sporting. However, in terms of its 8lb 7oz weight, yes there are sporters of this weight, but for most people this is not ideal. As to the stock in terms of configuration and dimensions, it is to a Trap gun specification. As I have already emphasised, in this role the Z Sport is outstanding, due in part to an action that in terms of layout and geometry mirrors other guns twice its asking price.

This is not all, as I’ve already mentioned, the Zoli Z Sport incorporates a stock design that includes not only an adjustable comb but a sophisticated one. On that basis, my first shots with the Z Sport were on Trap targets. From the first shot, it was clear the Zoli Z Sport is a truly excellent Trap gun and very much part of the reason for this is its balance, much of which is between the hands. The result is that the gun moves quickly onto the target, but is always under control. This, I am sure, is not news to most of my readers, and indeed it’s not to me, but the Zoli’s excellent handling reminded me of the importance of these characteristics.

As to the matter of the Zoli Z Sport as a gun for Sporting targets, although I view the gun as most suitable for Trap, I felt an obligation to try it on a Sporting layout. To accommodate this experiment, I lowered the comb by 5mm, drop at heel is fixed at 52mm which was fine for me.

As to the Sporter’s overall weight of 8lb 8oz, I would not consider that to be ideal, and as for the barrel weight of 1.55kg (3lb 6½ oz), this is also in my view on the heavy side for a Sporter. That said, the Zoli and I got along well enough on a variety of targets.

So then, is the Zoli Sport a good choice for Sporting clay targets? Well enough, I would say – but as a Trap gun, it’s outstanding.

Make/Model: Antonio Zoli Z Sport HR11

Bore size: 12ga (18.5mm)

Barrels length: 29½” (76cm)

Rib: Ramped adjustable

Chamber Length: 2¾” (70mm)

Chokes: 6 extended hand-detachable,

Stock: Pistol grip, adjustable comb

Forend: Beavertail

Weight: 8lbs 8oz (3.854kg)

Price: £6,834 inc VAT

Distributor: Edgar Brothers. Telephone: 01625 613177