Tony Galazan has been a fixture at the Safari Club convention as far back as I can remember. Over the past 25 years, he and his company, Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing (CSMC), have grown steadily in importance to the shooting industry.
During that time, Tony became recognized as the authority on American double guns, both side-by-sides and over/unders. He brought back the original A.H. Fox guns in the 1980s, built a workshop that turned into a vast, ultra-modern factory, acquired expertise with Parkers and Winchester 21s, and now builds those as well as making an expanding line of over/under guns of his own design.
Looking back to the 1950s, every shooting authority was simultaneously decrying the demise of the Fox, Parker and Ithaca doubles, while at the same time predicting the eventual supremacy of the semiauto. It was, they said, the coming gun for trap, skeet and birds on the wing. To an extent, they were right, but the semiauto never completely displaced the pump, which retained a solid place in our hearts, and it never achieved real dominance among trap shooters.
For years, serious trap shooters used specialized single-shots and for doubles preferred over/unders. Today, the over/under is far and away the most popular high-end gun for trap and sporting clays, as well as for hunting where a group insists on a break-action for safety’s sake.
Through the 1960s, American companies made several attempts at building an affordable over/under with the Browning Superposed recognized as the best around if you couldn’t afford a Woodward or a Boss. No one predicted that a handful of Italian companies, led by Beretta and Perazzi, would come to dominate the over/under market, but that’s what happened.
Today, there are all kinds of over/unders available, and not just from Italy. The Blaser F3 and F16 from Germany, for example, are outstanding guns. The F16 is priced in the $4,000 range, catching the mid-range market.
Tony Galazan watched all this happening and decided that what Americans needed was an American-made over/under of outstanding quality, and the result is his A-10 American, introduced half a dozen years ago. It’s that extreme rarity — a sidelock over/under. Only the Boss, Woodward and highest-grade Berettas are sidelocks. He followed that up with a sleek, more affordable boxlock gun called the Inverness. Roughly speaking, the A-10 sells for $12,000 and up, the Inverness for about half that.
Now, he has come out with a gun designed specifically to appeal to shotgunners with good taste but a limited budget — and by that, I mean a really limited budget. This is his Revelation, available only in 20 gauge, but with a starting price of $1,995. It manages to combine what I would call “aficionado” features — straight stock, automatic safety, longer barrels — with a slim grace and balance found only on much more expensive over/unders. For most of the past 50 years, manufacturers assumed that a 20-gauge buyer would want either 26 or, at most, 28-inch barrels. Such a configuration, together with the usual pistol grip and beavertail forend, made for a pretty clumsy gun that handles poorly.
The Revelation’s 30-inch barrels, straight grip, slim forend and a weight of 6 pounds, 6 ounces in that configuration, makes an extremely fast-handling gun that swings smoothly.
Another thing: I have not measured every single over/under stock made in the past half-century, but my guess is that most (especially short-barreled 20s) had a length of pull that is too short for good shooting under all conditions. The CSMC Revelation has a length of pull of 14 1/4 inches, which is about right for most. If it is a bit long for smaller people, it can easily be shortened; lengthening a stock, on the other hand, is a more major operation.
Naturally, the gun comes supplied with a variety of choke tubes, making it adaptable for every kind of shotgun activity.
The only way to really get a feel for a gun like this is to feel it — pick it up, swing it, shoot it. Do that, and you’ll find it’s, well, a revelation.–Terry Wieland