The Zoli Starter Pack

You guessed it! This blog post has been ushered in by the arrival of my Zoli Kronos. My beautifully crafted, custom fitted skeet gun with a black action, simply decorated with the name ‘Zoli’ in gold lettering along the bottom corner.

Not going to lie, I spent the whole day thinking about the moment I would open the case to reveal the first ever gun I have owned from new (my previous two having been second hand). The day dragged; the cold air coupled with the anticipation made it so much harder to concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing! Buzzing, I think is an appropriate turn of phrase here. I probably sound as though I’ve been waiting a year or more for this moment, and it does feel like that considering I’ve only shot twice since I ordered it two and a half months ago (with borrowed guns), but it was only 12 weeks – the shortest amount of time it was expected to take – so I really should stop over-exaggerating …

When I finally got away, it took another agonising twenty minutes to get to the shop my gun had been RFD’d to. The longest 20 minutes of my life, and, of course, the first time in the last five days I’ve been stuck behind somebody who drives 10 miles an hour below the actual speed limit, who in turn got stuck behind two horse riders on the main road. By this stage I was checking the clock on my dash, panicking that I wouldn’t make it in time – unnecessary, considering the journey is only usually 15 minutes and the shop wasn’t due to close for another hour and a half. I am an obsessive pedant, after all, and had waited (I thought) for so long that another day would be completely unbearable!

I parked the car as neatly as I could given the rush I was in, grabbed my licence out of the door pocket and took the stairs to the gun room two at a time. Like a child in a sweet shop would not be an inappropriate comparison at this stage. The moment I walked through the door, the man behind the till looked up at me and – before I could even catch my breath – told me what I was there for, even though I had never met him. All I could do in my excitement was smile gormlessly and nod.

He disappeared for under a minute, and emerged with a navy gun case and plastic clothing bag. Inside the bag was a purple skeet vest, emblazoned with the Zoli name and logo across the front and back. The man (I was in too much of a whirlwind of happiness to take any notice of his name, which is a bit naughty really) proceeded to ask me one of the most stupid questions he could ever have come up with: “would you like to see it now?”.

I tried not to give him my “don’t ask stupid questions” face as I replied with my attempt at a non-sarcastic “yes”. For a split second, I wondered why it didn’t look right when there were no black barrels or wooden stock and fore-end, before I realised that they were professionally wrapped in velvety blue Zoli socks. I pulled out the barrels, he removed the stock, and I was genuinely in heaven. I didn’t put the gun together in the shop – which later turned out to be a great idea as, being a new gun, it was a bit stiff when I attempted to do so at home. Another customer commented on how well-made it looked, from the ejectors to the action to the wood, and I beamed like a proud mother watching at her child in a school play or something. As the man behind the till did the paperwork for the transfer, I couldn’t help but try the skeet vest on too. Fits like a glove, and matches my fitted earplugs!

A friend had asked me to send photos as soon as I could, so when I got home I put the gun together and did just that. (Those photos are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, if you were wondering). I could quite easily have just sat there in my skeet vest, caressing my gun and examining every inch of it, until my husband came home, but I managed to tear myself away just long enough to cook and eat dinner before we then swooned over my gun together.

I’ve decided that it is a he, and he already has a name. He is called Zoltan. (Bear with me, it’ll make sense in a moment). A friend of mine has a Hungarian father called Zoltan, whose nickname is … Zoli. So it couldn’t really be anything else, could it?! Unfortunately, the gun Zoltan will have to wait until the weekend, or even later on our next beaters’ day, to be put through his paces, as I sadly can’t take a day off to go and test him. But at least my Zoli starter pack (consisting of a gun with a barrel sticker and branded skeet vest) is in my house and ready to go the moment I have the chance to shoot!

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