The Italian maker may not yet be a household name in the UK but this elegant shotgun will raise its profile significantly, says Mark Heath
Fausti offers a wide range of side-by-side and over-and-under guns, from the plain black XF4, aimed at clay shooters, to the RDX round-action over-and-under for game shooters, as well as the Magnificent over-and-under in both game and clay models. In this review we are looking at the Fausti DEA side-by-side 12-bore.
- The gun on test is a single non-selective trigger, 30in-barrel, fixed-choke gun.
- It weighs 7lb 1oz — no light weight for a side-by-side.
- The barrels weigh 1,359g, which is in the right area to give some nice, smooth handling, and the gun is well balanced.
- The action has scroll engraving that is elegant in its design.
- The rib is a file-cut, tapered design that works well, and the barrels are choked at quarter and half.
The stock has some well-figured wood with a lacquered finish and the butt is finished in the classic Silvers pad. The grip is Woodward style with an ornate cap. The measurements for the standard gun are 14¾in length-of-pull with an additional ⅛in at heel and an extra ¼in at toe. Drop measurements were 1 ⅜in at the comb and 2 1/6in at heel. Cast was ⅛in cast-off at heel.
These measurements are similar to the Beretta Parallelo and the gun feels very much like the Beretta. Both would benefit from a little extra cast and length in the stock. The measurements are similar to an off-the-peg 12-bore over-and-under, yet when we fit side-by-sides, we would normally add up to half an inch compared with an over-and-under for the same individual. This allows for the sliding back of the hand where you have double triggers and also the control of the side-by-side, which is invariably lighter. Cast can be up to three times that of an over-and-under and normally, therefore, on average sits at around ⅜in to ensure that the pupil of the eye is sighted down the centre of the rib on the broader profile of the side-by-side shotgun.
Need to know
- Manufacturer Fausti, Italy
- UK distributor Stag Country Sports, tel 07702 843520
- Model DEA
- Bore 12
- Barrels 28in
- Action Boxlock ejector
- Weight 7lb 1oz
- Price £3,000
The gun on test is priced at £3,000, and there is a choice of single non- selective or double trigger with no variation in cost. There is a multichoke option, which again remains within the price, and a choice between straight-hand, Prince of Wales and Woodward-style grip. There are various custom options that will incur extra cost but allow you to build a gun to your own specifications, including the fit. Alternatively, there are more expensive side-by-side options available, with the DEA SLX at £4,400 or the DEA British at £9,000. Fausti guns carry a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
And so to the test, this time with Chris Castle, who is part of the team here at the West London Shooting School. Warming up with the 40ft tower with some 24g clay loads, the handling of the gun was very predictable and it delivered some great patterns, had no vices and was a pleasure to shoot. The ejectors did their job without fault. It was the same story on the 80ft tower. The weight of the gun meant some very smooth handling, resulting in the consistent powdering of clays.
On to the West London high tower and some high birds at all angles. The Fausti performed well and its weight meant it was controllable and absorbed the recoil effectively. Just to make sure, I put some 36g No.5s through it to see if it would reach its limitations but it handled them well with no significant discomfort.
If you are a fan of big loads and want to shoot a side-by-side, this may well be the gun for you.
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The direct competition comes from the Beretta Parallelo which, with a bit of research, can be picked up for just under £4,000. They are similar to shoot so your choice will largely depend on personal taste and budget. The Fausti is probably the cheapest quality side-by-side on the market at the moment. An entry-level boxlock from a Spanish maker will cost in the region of £5,000 for a new gun.
The unknown with the Fausti is whether it will hold its price in the second-hand market but does that really matter? If it is doing the job and you are shooting well, why change? There is no golden thunderstick that will ensure you hit everything — misses are invariably caused by operator error and are not the gun’s fault.
Action/barrels: The action and barrels appear well finished to a high standard, which you would expect from Fausti. Though not a household name in the UK, the manufacturer has been around long enough and has a good reputation in Europe. 19/20
Trigger and ejectors: The trigger-pulls were comfortable with no vices and consistent for the first and second shot. Single-trigger side-by-sides can be troublesome on occasion but the Fausti showed no issues. The ejectors worked well and the timing was good. 19/20
Stock: The stock would benefit from a little extra length and cast but my advice would be to have the stock made to your measurements – the additional cost is worth it. The gun on test had a lacquer finish, which would not be my choice – I would have it oil finished. 18/20
Handling: The Fausti handles well, with its weight giving it smoothness. It would hold its own on a wide variety of shoot days, from partridges to some very decent pheasants and even a day on grouse. 19/20
Value: The Fausti offers very good value for money for a new gun – there are few other new side-by-sides in its price bracket. It comes with a two-year warranty, which shows confidence in the product. Value on the second-handmarket is yet to be established. 18/20
If you are a fan of big loads and want to shoot a side-by-side, this may well be the gun for you