Fausti 28-bore shotgun.
The test gun is a particularly elegant little side-by-side created by the Fausti sisters and their team of gunsmiths in Brescia.
It?s a special gun, a product of their custom shop.
The Fausti story concerns three sisters who inherited a gun factory and determined to inject a bit of style and, let?s be frank, sex appeal, into the concern.
Thus far, only the company?s more pedestrian models have been imported into the UK.
Good though some of these are, I have one of its 12-bore side-by-sides that has done sterling service, they are nothing like the elegant, 5lb 3oz, 28-bore, which comes with an extra set of .410 barrels.
First impressions are excellent. I like the gun because it is typical of the feisty sisters themselves.
They can (and do) make guns that match traditional British preferences. But this one is made as they like, with a form of decoration to their taste.
It was originally designed as a display piece for exhibitions and similar. You wouldn?t call it ?girlie? but it has refined quality and achieves an aesthetic harmony with its good wood, and sumptuous, tight-scroll engraving with delicate gold highlights.
On a bigger gun this might be over the top but as an example of the fabulous Faustis? oeuvre, it?s near perfect.
Your girlfriend might want one just like it, but she might not get it once you?ve had a go.
More prosaically, I watched the prototype of this new Fausti action develop some years ago ? the firm has always made a significant number of side-by-sides as well as over-unders (total production is 8,000-odd guns a year, 20% of them side-by-side).
The 28-bore action was a new project and one into which the sisters put a great deal of passion.
It started life with 28in .410 barrels on the new 28/.410 action.
When I first admired it in the factory, I suggested to the Faustis that they add a set of 30in 28-bore tubes, thus maximising the gun?s functional potential as well as its evident beauty.
The test gun, a best boxlock with sideplates and single trigger, handles perfectly with the longer tubes.
Balance is a whisker forward of the hinge pin (bang on with the .410 set fitted). Both sets have tight fixed chokes and flat file cut ribs with brass beads.
Longer barrels are definitely the way to go in a smallbore ? they make light guns more controllable. Is this gun too light?
You might think so at 5lb 3oz but with the 30in 28-bore barrels it works extremely well.
As for the rest of the gun, the detailing was A1. I liked the function of the top lever and (non-auto) safety.
The trigger blade was well shaped and plain steel. The gripping surfaces and the comb were all especially good. The fore-end was of subtle (and super) beavertail pattern, not unlike some Purdeys.
The grip itself was oval in form. The stock shapes were typical of the Fausti house ? subtly different to English forms ? but very good. The gun had very little cast.
The wood had interesting figure. It was quite light and oil finished to a high standard with hand-cut chequering. The only thing
I was not sure of was the thin, orange pad, but that could be changed.
The Fausti is a sideplated boxlock. It is a modified Anson & Deeley design with Purdey lumps and is notable for being a smallbore that is an ejector and has an efficient and reliable single trigger.
The latter is of mechanical pattern and the pulls are crisp, showing no creep. Barrels are monobloc with excellent joins.
As in Fausti?s 12-bores, the stock is attached to the action by means of a stock bolt rather than a breech pin (as in most over-unders).
I thought the pattern of the fore-end near perfect. A subtle, narrow and not too deep beavertail that does not remove the hand far from the line of the barrels, it is matched to a well-angled straight grip.
The fore-end is attached by means of an Anson rod fastener. The button is a little bigger than average, and all the better for
it, and it does not spoil the gun?s delicate proportions.
I shot the gun at the West London Shooting School. After nailing some easy birds, I moved to one of the middle-height towers.
The Fausti smoked everything that came to me ? incoming, quartering and far right and left.
It shot better than any 5lb 28-bore might be expected to do (which I put down to the longer barrels and very slightly muzzle-forward, Purdey-like balance).
The Fausti was effortless, just the gun needed: easy to point and surprisingly precise. The single trigger was flawless.
The only thing the gun lacked was an auto safe (easily added). Though straight, the stock suited me.
This is the best-shooting light, 28-bore side-by-side that I have shot, by a wide margin. It is an affordable fantasy, too.
Prices start from about £4,500 for a plain gun with a single set of barrels.
The gun tested would cost upwards of £10,000 with a single set of barrels. Those interested should contact Fausti direct.
Fausti 28-bore side-by-side shotgun