Matthew Clark sees what the entry-level model Fausti Class SL is made of
You know when a pair of shoes fits because it feels comfortable. It’s the same with shotguns. When I shouldered the Fausti Class SL my eye was in exactly the right place to look down the barrels, the trigger blade came easily to my finger and the gun fitted to my cheek in one swift movement. The gun just felt right and I was looking forward to shooting it.
At £3,040, the Class SL is one of Fausti’s entry-level game guns, though it has the same internal action as more expensive models made by the Italian company. Naturally, on the higher grade and bespoke guns the internals are hand-finished, giving them extra finesse. Nonetheless, the basic action is the same Italian-style boxlock, though you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a sidelock because of the dummy sideplates.
All the internal parts are forged from solid steel billets, making them durable. The inertia action is typical Italian fare, with sears hanging from the top strap and hammers pivoting from the bottom. Guided coil springs power the action and barrel selection is done by the standard lateral toggle on the top strap. The gun I used had an auto-safety, which a gunsmith could set to manual for you. These actions are simple and renowned for their durability.
The SL shares the same patented Four Lock mechanism as used on the more expensive guns. With four locking points ensuring a vertical and lateral lock-up, it is designed to last and should give many years’ service.
Spanner twizzlers will be pleased to know that the SL comes with multi-chokes. I rarely change the chokes, but if you are lucky enough to be invited to a high-bird day in Devon, you may want to fit tight chokes. Also, multi-chokes are more appealing to the second-hand buyer.
So, what’s the difference between the SL and some of the other non-boutique Fausti offerings, which cost double the amount? As with all shotguns, the grade of walnut and engraving make a difference. The SL I tested had relatively low-grade timber in terms of figuring, but with the straight grain it would have been strong and, to be honest, that’s all I care about when I’m in the field. Also, the SL has a metal cap to the pistol grip, which is a nice touch for a relatively inexpensive gun.
There are some game scenes on the side plates, well executed by modern laser technology, but nothing compared to the works of art on some of the more expensive guns. The finish to the SL is basic, but you are still getting a gun with true Fausti pedigree – and at half the price.
The SL, like its expensive stablemates, has an orange butt-pad. This is reminiscent of a vintage Purdey, but if it’s not to your taste it can easily be changed for a black one.
Part of what made this gun feel right for me is the handling. All the Fausti shotguns I’ve tested have been beautifully balanced, making them a delight to use. This was no exception. It fitted me perfectly and everything felt right. Even though it weighed in at just over 7lb, it didn’t feel heavy – probably because it was so well-balanced. The recoil was negligible for game loads, due to the weight and good fit.
I was lucky enough to use the gun on a driven day, so it was tested on high duck, long pheasant crossers and low, fast partridge. Rain fell steadily all day, but the Fausti performed flawlessly. The stock didn’t become slippery and it gave me full control of the gun. Even though I wasn’t all that familiar with it, birds started falling to the SL.
The only problem I had was that the high brass cartridges occasionally did not eject fully – a problem I have on any cartridge with a high brass head on any make of gun. My other gripe was that, as on most Italian low-profile actions, access to the bottom barrel when reloading was slightly restricted. It was a minor frustration and I’ve come across it before. All you have to do is push down on the barrel to open the breech a little more.
Fausti Class SL information
- From £3,040 (coin finish) £3,200 (case hardened)
- Calibres 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410
- Scaled actions
- Contact Fausti
The Fausti Class SL was designed for gameshooting and it certainly did the job. Its performance was flawless and it was a pleasure to shoot. The Fausti Class SL fitted me perfectly. It felt comfortable, rather like a good pair of shoes. I looked forward to each drive, not because of the challenging birds they had to offer, but because it gave me another opportunity to test my marksmanship with the SL.
Fausti should be applauded for making a gun that is affordable, yet retains many of the features of its more expensive guns, such as the Four Lock mechanism. The SL is a sensibly priced gun that should offer years of service and more importantly, years of enjoyment.
Build quality: 23/25
Value for money: 23/25
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Fausti Class SL in detail
Trigger: Single selective
Weight: 7.3lb 12-bore (tested)
Overall length: 48in
Barrel: 26, 28, 30in (tested)
Length of pull: 14¾in
Drop at comb: 1½in
Drop at heel: 2¼in
Heel to toe: 380mm heel, 385mm toe
A sensibly priced gun that should offer years of service and enjoyment