Having lubed them as best I could, I tried them both out and all I can say is "limbsaver please, Santa".
The VC Franchi 12G was set to "heavy loads" as per PetahW's guidelines. I reasoned that if the cartridges I had were light loads, the worst that would happen is the gun would not cycle, with no damage to components.
Clearly the Nobel cartridges were heavy loads because it cycled perfectly and left a gun-but shaped hole in my shoulder! That thing kicks!! Good thing I didn't decide to test it with slugs!
Then the little 16G. I was expecting more pain as it is insanely light (and the VC is pretty light too), but luckily the 16G cartrigdes were milder, albeit not mild!
So both work and both were fired today for the first time in about 40-45 years!!