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Fabarm Classis 20 shotgun review

Fabarm Classis 20 shotgun review

Manufacturer: Fabarm

Price as reviewed: £1,450

Italian gunmaker, Fabarm is probably best known for its range of semi-automatic and over-under shotguns but the company is also a dab hand at building side-by-side game guns.

And the latest to emerge from the factory is called the Classis 20.

This interesting newcomer comes with 28in barrels which have been built on the monoblock principle and fitted with 3in (76mm) chambers, then subjected to special steel shot proof.

You can’t help but admire the blacking on the barrels – it’s a lovely deep gloss that has been done to a very high standard.

The barrels on this gun have been treated to Fabarm’s patented Tribore process – a system that involves making the internal bores slightly wider than standard and then reducing the diameter gradually on the run in to the choke tubes.

This type of profile is intended to improve pattern quality and reduce felt recoil.

However, to make doubly sure the gun does throw excellent patterns, the makers have fitted it with extra-long choke tubes as well.

Construction of the Classis is very strong thanks to two lumps on the monoblock which hinge on a cross pin running through the knuckle of the action.

Each lump of course carries a bite for the bolt which in turn means there’s a great deal of surface area to lock the barrels when closed.

The mechanics of this gun follow similar lines to those used on the over-unders built by Fabarm in that it has a single selective trigger mechanism activated by a selector button placed in the middle of the safety catch.

You simply flick the button from one side to the other to choose the left or right barrel first.

Fabarm Classis 20 shotgun toplever.

The left or right barrel can be selected with the switch in the middle of the safety catch.

The hammers on the Classis are powered by strong coil springs and have been fitted with intercepting safety sears to help prevent accidental discharge should the gun be jarred or dropped in the course of a day’s shooting.

The action frame is scroll backed which means it has been sculptured where it meets the stock. As you can see, the entire action and furniture sport a silver finish along with a good covering of engraving which takes the form of bold scroll work and flowers.

The background has been acid etched to make the engraving really stand out. Despite the fact the woodwork is held to the action by a stock bolt the stock’s straight hand grip is comfortable to hold and still reasonably slim.

Fabarm Classis 20 shotgun action.

The acid etched engraving really stands out on this gun.

Chequering to the grip and the splinter shaped fore-end is very crisp and follows a traditional pattern.

Full marks to the maker’s for treating the woodwork to a durable oil finish as well.

The stock’s butt end is fitted with a removable wood plate to allow ready access to the stock bolt.

Wood length is approximately 14.1/2in with drops of 1.1/2in and 2.1/2in at comb and heel respectively, pretty reasonable dimensions for a game gun, in my book. And to make gun mounting easier the stock has been cast off by around 1/8in.

Overall weight is 6.1/4lb and the gun is supplied in a semi-rigid travel case with a set of five chokes.

This is an unconventional shotgun but one that’s definitely worth a second look.

It has nice lines, handles well and is immensely strong thanks to the action design and double bites. The Classis might be up against a lot of competition in this price range but it should be able to fight its corner.

Build quality: 9

Handling: 8

Styling: 8

Value for money: 7



This is an unconventional shotgun but one that's definitely worth a second look.