Where does the ZOLI quality come from
The origin of Antonio Zoli S.r.l. finds its roots in the historical and cultural context of the post-war period following World War II. A real embodiment of the typical entrepreneurial spirit that marks people from the area around Brescia, Antonio Zoli played an active part in the rebuilding stages following the war events that also involved the valley of the river Mella, where the company is located, placing the first steps for a business that would have shortly projected his name on the markets around the world. Antonio Zoli was born in 1905, his father Giuseppe built flintlocks in his shop in Magno, a small village (hamlet of Gardone Val Trompia) perched on the mountain above the present company location, the place where several famous gunsmith families come from.
Since the 14th Century, Magno was highly appreciated for its gun production, destined to the governments of Venice, Piedmont and Naples. From archive research, the Zoli family was already active in Magno in 1490, where they were involved with the local artisan scene, flanking the early arquebus makers, masters of rare sensibility, in the manufacturing of firearms, in the first decades of the 15th century. In the following centuries, the activity of the Zoli family consolidated even more, so much so that in 1845 Giovanni Zoli becomes a renowned flintlock maker. Proof of his activity is found in an exquisite muzzle-loading pistol depicting the family logo and presently stored in Zoli’ gunshop, a symbol of the enterprising spirit and determination that the valley developed through the centuries. Reading thorough the Zoli’s family history is like reading through the series of events that involved the Val Trompia area and its population, responsible for instilling in Antonio Zoli those values and traditions that are still perceived as indissoluble today. Captivated by the appeal of the valley and the strong passion inherited by his parents for guns and the precision mechanics it took to build them, the beginning of Antonio Zoli’s career saw him collaborating with the main companies in the gun sector, until in October 1945 he started his own business, soon taking him from appreciated gunsmith to become one of the most relevant industrial activities in the area. The company then changed structure also thanks to the contribution of Antonio’s sons, who provided further impulse in terms of product quality and market approach, with excellent results. From guns made with high quality components, according to the classical parameters employed by master gunmakers, the production was later integrated by guns with smooth bore barrels, with hammer or hammerless, over-and-under and side-by-side.
Always available to satisfy any market requests, Antonio Zoli Spa developed an awareness for new trends since the very early years. In 1956, it was the first company in the world to build replicas of old muzzle load guns, marking the start of a new market that would become extremely important. Among the main achievements, in the 1960s Antonio Zoli Spa was also the first company in Italy to industrially manufacture combination guns, breaking the monopoly held by gun makers in central Europe. A few years later, over-and-under and side-by-side express guns were added to the catalogue, as well as bolt-action guns, a production that reached thousands of units, both in the hunting and varmint version. At the beginning of the 1990s, following the success achieved across all markets, Zoli decided to make a range of Drilling guns called MG-92. This step represented a new challenge, making Zoli compete with long-established, well-known manufacturers from Eastern Europe. The product launch was a blazing success, so much so that the production lasted for more than 20 years. Zoli Drilling (2 smooth bore barrels, one rifle) remains today the only example of a similar gun ever to be industrially manufactured in Italy.
At the end of the Millennium, under the new direction of Paolo Zoli, the company took on a great new challenge in the over-and-under segment. The new project was called ‘Classic Revolution 4’ as it included four types of over-and-under guns: Skeet and Hunting smooth bore, Express and Combination rifles. Thank to this project, the company has today reached the objective of placing their products in the highest market segment. In fact, all four guns present technical characteristics belonging to top quality firearms and produced in limited quantities.
At the beginning of the new Millennium, production methods, techniques and technologies have undergone a dramatic change and thanks to this constant development Zoli today can take direct control of the whole production line, from planning and researching to product sale.
In recent years, the company has achieved amazing results in various shooting disciplines, winning national and international championships with a progression that clearly shows the extremely high ballistic and dynamic qualities featured on Zoli’s guns. In the wake of these triumphs, Zoli successfully developed a custom shop that has managed to satisfy even the most demanding requests.
The incessant appreciation shown through the years by loyal customers is the best endorsement to Zoli’s work, as well as their consolidated presence on markets all over the world. The traditions of a family business, now in its third generation, have managed to adapt constantly to technological innovations without altering the love a craftsman feels for the products they manufacture.
It is thanks to this rich history that Zoli can today be proudly named among the few businesses offering a wide range of prestigious products that are planned, researched and produced in their own factory.