Rupert Blackwall gets a good impression from the new Franchi Alcione One
This new Franchi Alcione One O/U has thrown itself into the market place for the under £900, with a price of £865. And on initial viewing, they have not done a bad job either. As a gunmaker, I would struggle to supply a block of wood for that price, though admittedly I would choose a very attractive piece of wood! The test gun I have to play with is a 30in 12-bore supplied by GMK.
This new Franchi comes in either 28in or 30in barrels. These guns are fitted with multichokes as standard. I have one gripe: the muzzles are flared like a Browning to fit the multichoke system in, which can put some people off. It also spoils the barrel profile. These barrels are made as a Sporter profile with vented ribs. The barrels are 18.7in in the bore, and I find it patterns reasonably well. They are chrome lined and chambered to 3inch for wildfowlers and proofed for superior steel shot. The barrel construction is CNC made mono-block system; this is the norm these days, being a well-proven solid construction. The blacking of the barrels is a good standard and at the breach end Franchi has finished the gun off nicely by jewelling the lumps.
This CNC-machined action is nickel- plated and is well made for the money. To manufacture a gun like this at this price is very impressive. All the internal components are made with this process too. The Alcione One has an inertia- operated single trigger and is identical to the Bettinsoli system. All guns comes with auto-safe as standard and a selectable single trigger, which is gold washed – something that is not to every one’s taste. The trigger pulls are on the heavier side at roughly 5¾lb with a little creep, but I don’t think you can complain too much at this price.
The gun is laser engraved with a simple pattern: a border scroll and a single gold game bird on each side. It is nothing mind-blowing, but this is an area that can keep the costs down without cutting out on core manufacturing qualities, and sometimes less is more.
The quality of the wood is not going to make you drool, but the grain runs in the right direction. The wood to metal fit, which is very important, is of a good standard. The fore-end is shaped with a schnabel and the chequering for the fore-end and stock is laser cut. The stock is oil-finished rather than varnished and the colour of the wood is a good match between the stock and fore-end. The stock finally finished off at the butt with a soft recoil pad.
The stock length is 14¾in with a slim recoil pad, 2⅜in drop at heel and 1½in at comb with 3⁄16in cast. The comb shape has a Sporter profile, so it is thicker and more parallel. The measurements are very similar to standard Browning measurements, including the depth of the pistol grip so the overall comb measurements are fractionally on the flatter side for a Sporter/game gun.
The test was done at West Oxfordshire Shooting School, which is just down the road from my premises.
This gun weighs 7lb 9oz, which fits into the above category well. With that weight, the Franchi Alcione One handle reasonable well, fractionally muzzle heavy, which is better than a stock-heavy gun. The gun ejects well using RC 30g Sipes and was reasonable comfortable with recoil — it compares any Beretta Silver Pigeon on that front. The stock measurements were a little flat for me, but not any different to a Browning, with a deep grip too.
My main grumble is those trigger pulls, which any competent gunsmith could tweak. After a little bit of shooting the Franchi Alcione One did start to ease a little as it was very stiff to open and close, which for a novice Shot could be a nuisance, but again this can be resolved easily by a gunsmith. Overall, apart from the triggers pulls, I found the Alcione One handled well, GMK advertise it as a game gun but in truth it’s more of a Sporter.
Franchi Alcione One Verdict
Franchi’s Alcione One is a gun at a price, and for that price it is made to a good standard. It does have some competition with Bettinsoli, but they have made it a little different, so it will be down to your personal taste and what feels right for you. GMK informs me that there will be a 20-bore version that will be launched in the autumn. So if they keep it at that price bracket and make it on a 20-bore scaled action, this could be again another perfect entry-level starter gun.