Armi Poli Sporting Side-By-Side

By Nick Sisley

Page 18 of the June 2005 issue

Action: Anson and Deeley boxlock side-by-side in Sporting Model; side-plates added to Extra Model
Gauge: 12 (tested) and 20
Weight: 12-ga. Sporting Extra Model tested?7 lbs., 10.5 ozs.
Barrels: 30", 32" also available
Chokes: Five Briley screw-ins
Stock: Made to custom dimensions
Suggested Retail Price: $3,895 for Sporting Model, $5,500 for Sporting Extra Model with side-plates
Manufacturer/Importer: Armi F.lli Poli, Gardone, Italy/Cole Gunsmithing, 21 Bog Hollow Rd., Dept. SC, Harpswell, ME 04079; (800) 650-2653;

A serious side-by-side for sporting clays? For those serious about our clay target game, it's pretty much an over-under or semi-auto that finds its way into the winner's circle week in and week out. But Rich Cole of Cole Gunsmithing in Harpswell, Maine, figured there would be a market for a side-by-side specifically configured for sporting clays. Side-by-side shooters tend to be a dyed-in-the-wool lot. Some of them wouldn't consider shooting anything else. But most side-by-sides, especially the really good ones, tend to be fairly light, ideal in the hunting field, and such guns have been fine-tuned over the decades as perfect for shooting driven birds.

But Cole knows what it takes to make a great competition sporting gun. Among other things, he markets Rizzini over-under shotguns in this country. So the Poli side-by-side isn?t your typical, fine, 12-ga. European double, which tends to weigh less than 7 lbs., as light as 6-1/2 and even lighter. In a long day of clays shooting, a gun of such light weight can beat you up pretty bad, the accumulated effects of felt recoil never doing anything to improve scores. The 12-ga. Armi F.lli Poli I have for testing wears 30' barrels and weighs 7 lbs., 10.5 ozs. on the digital scale. When I pick up this gun, it somehow feels heavier. I think most folks are going to be able to shoot this gun in competition and not get their shoulder or cheek thumped too badly.

It's the brothers Paolo and Battista Poli who are this company. They're based in the heart of Italian gun making?Gardone, Italy. The two brothers trained at Sabatti e Zoli, then opened their own shotgun making facility in 1966. During the 1980s, two of Paolo's sons, Tiziano and Pierantonio, joined the firm. Cole imports two sporting models, and the base model is simply dubbed the Sporting Model. It sells for $3,885, while the side-plate model, the Sporting Extra Model, sells for $5,500. I have been testing the latter. All Poli shotguns are sold on a custom-order basis, including your own personal custom stock dimensions. Figure five months between placing your order and receiving the finished gun, according to Cole Gunsmithing.

For Sisley's completel review of this side-by-side, read the full article in the June 2005 issue.

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