Fabarm might be one of the larger gunmakers in Italy but for some unknown reason sales in the UK lag behind those of their home-grown competitors.

This is something of a shame because Fabarm’s very comprehensive gun range has much to offer a prospective buyer here.

The company is probably best known as a major maker of semiautomatic shotguns but don’t be fooled – it also builds some very good over-under guns too.

In order to catch attention in the market place, many manufacturers are now increasingly being drawn to make guns with very contemporary looks. A case in point is the striking new Browning Cynergy, which has prompted other makers to re-think their own designs in an attempt to come up with guns that have an ultra modern look and feel to them.

Fabarm is no exception. Say hello then to the 20-bore Axis…

This new model of theirs certainly demands a second inspection because it comprises a mixture of old and new Fabarm thinking, as well as a look that’s totally new for this company.

The frame has been given a completely new shape with a sharply angled action where it meets the stock. These new lines follow through and match the shape of the fore-end iron and, just to make sure you really do get an eyeful, the makers have added raised panels on the side of the action body.

These panels sweep down the side of the frame to a small radius and come back parallel with the belly of the action.

The top lever has been given a more discreet and subtle shape but the trigger guard is far more radical and flows well with the other lines of the frame.

The action body has an acid etched engraving pattern that centres on the hinge pins of the frame and a Fabarm Lion, in gold, appears on the action’s belly. To complete the effect some gold engraving has also been inset on the top strap in front of the safety catch and all metalwork – apart from the barrels – has been finished in grey PVD titanium plating.

This finish not only complements the gun’s overall looks but also gives it a very durable protective coating in the process.

Take the gun apart, however, and you find that mechanically speaking the Axis is very similar to other Fabarm over-unders.

The actual mechanism follows familiar principles with the hammers pivoting from the bottom of the action and the sears from the top. This arrangement allows the selector block to lift the sears clear of the bents thus releasing the hammers forward, rather than pulling them down.

A useful safety feature is the second bent or sear notch in each tumbler, which is designed to catch the hammer falling and prevent the gun firing in the case of an accidental discharge.

Mainsprings in this gun are of the coil type and the selector system for shooting the first barrel is worked off the safety button on the top strap. This button in the centre of the safety catch is clearly marked and can be switched from side to side to select the required barrel.