As Fausti introduces its new sporter to the UK market, will its performance match its good looks? The Editor of Sporting Gun finds out
A former shooting champion once told me that if a gun looks good it would shoot well. He explained that rather like a sports car if the lines of the gun flowed nicely, then it should handle superbly. When I first saw the XF4 at the IWA shooting show in Germany I was certainly impressed by its flowing lines, but would its good looks be matched by its shooting characteristics?
Designed as a sporter, the gun I tested was a 12-bore, with 30-in barrels and five extended Xpro chokes. Internal chokes are available as an option (pictured above) at no extra cost. You also have a choice of 28- and 32-in barrels, which have ventilated top and mid ribs to ensure heat build-up is not a problem when the gun is being shot hard.
There are three XF4 designations – Gold (tested), Platinum and Black, the only difference being the colour of the lettering on the action. The gun I tested had a grade 3 (A) walnut stock with an adjustable comb, adjustable for pitch as well as height and there are spacers that allow the height to be adjusted to suit the shooter.
The pistol grip had a right-hand palm swell with nice laser chequering that is not too sharp. Fairly plain wood with a straight grain won’t please the timber tarts out there, but a straight grain gives the stock more strength and for a gun that will have hundreds of thousands of cartridges put through it in its lifetime, this is exactly what you need.
There is a variant for left-handed shooters and, as you would expect from a company that has made its name making bespoke guns, a custom stock can be ordered at an extra cost of £800 to £1,200. The fore-end is semi-beaver tail and filled the hand nicely, giving great controllability over the gun.
The round-bodied action has a matt black finish embellished only with the XF4 lettering. Some people love a black action and others hate them. Personally I like the black action with minimal decoration because it befits a gun designed to be a workhorse. I also like the round body, which makes the XF4 a bit different from other sporters on the market, giving it a bit of Italian flair.
The barrels are nicely blued and the rib tapers from 11mm to 7mm bringing your eye nicely down the barrels. There is a central bead – again you will either love or hate this feature.
The trigger blade has a black powder coating and is not adjustable, so shooters with smaller hands might be disadvantaged. However, I found the trigger blade was set perfectly for my medium-sized hands and at least there is no danger of the blade coming loose in the middle of a competition.
Another thing to note is that there is no weighting system on this gun, unlike competitors such as Browning’s new XS Pro, reviewed last month. This means shooters can’t customise the balance of the gun. However, the balance point is just behind the hinge pins on the XF4 and that felt perfect for me, but more on that later.
Belt and braces
The gun uses Fausti’s patented Four Lock system, which is a bit of over-engineering to keep the gun tight and extend its life. Two lugs at the rear of the monobloc engage recesses in the bottom of the receiver and the sides of the monobloc also have recesses that engage lugs on both sides of the receiver. It’s belt and braces, but that’s not a bad thing for a sporter, which will receive a hammering in its lifetime.
Like the exterior the internals are simple, but proven. All the parts are forged from solid metal billets making them extremely durable. The hammers pivot from the bottom and sears hang from the top strap. It is an inertia mechanism and the safety is manual – as you’d expect on a sporter – and is on the top strap of the gun. Barrel selection is the standard lateral toggle, like on so many sporters.
I fitted the test gun with a quarter- and half-choke and raised the comb a smidgen, which gave me a perfect sight picture. Length of pull could have been little longer for me because I have gorilla arms. However, that could have been easily remedied with a thicker recoil pad. You could also go for a bespoke stock if you were a serious clay shooter.
I tested the gun on a number of targets. The first thing I noticed was how well balanced it was. When the XF4 was shouldered the weight disappeared. It came on aim easily and moved fluidly with the target. It didn’t feel at all “whippy” and was very stable.
There was no muzzle flip when the gun was fired and recoil was surprisingly low, even with 28g load cartridges. The trigger was crisp and had a predictable break point and I was soon dusting the clays easily.
I immediately felt at home with the XF4. The gun was a delight to shoot. It’s one of those guns that you look forward to picking up again as soon as you have finished your shooting session. It just felt right.
Scores on the doors
- Build quality 23/25
- Handling 25/25
- Styling 23/25
- Value for Money 23/25
- TOTAL: 94 out of 100
Prices from £3,870. Option of internal chokes at no extra cost. Custom stock costs from £800 to £1,200.
At £3,870 the XF4 costs a chunk of money. But this gun is for the shooter who is beginning to get serious about their sport. This price puts it head-to-head with giants such as Browning, Beretta and Blaser, but the Fausti more than fights its corner with the big boys. True, it doesn’t come with all the whistles and bells that some guns like the excellent XS Pro comes with, but to be honest, the XF4 felt beautifully balanced straight out of the box to me, so there was no need for a weighting system. And that is what I liked about this gun. It was simple. There were no complexities or gimmicks to distract the shooter. Money has been spent where it matters; on design and build quality.
With the XF4, Fausti is announcing its return to the UK market in a big way and shows it means business. The former shooting champion who told me that is a gun looks good it would shoot well was right.
The recent addition of the Browning B525 Ultra XS Pro Adjustable to Browning’s range is certain to delight the dedicated…
- Weight: 8lb 2 oz
- Length of pull: 14 ¾ in
- Overall length: 48 in
- Drop to comb: 45 to 55mm
- Rib tapered: 10mm to 7mm
- Heel to toe: 380 to 385mm
- Gauge: .410, 28, 20 and 12 (tested)
One of those guns that you look forward to picking up again as soon as you have finished your shooting session.