Champion shooter and regular Clay Shooting Magazine columnist Becky McKenzie reviews this week’s Gun of the Week – the Fausti XF4.
I felt honoured to have been selected to test a Fausti XF4, which was loaned to me by Tony Laughton of Fausti UK, based at Stag Country Sports in Stokesley, Yorkshire.
Shortly before the lockdown occurred, I popped up with my husband John to meet Tony and collect a Fausti XF4 for testing. Tony showed me the gun in both 30in and 32in barrels and, typically, I found it impossible to decide which I preferred. Patient as Tony was, he let me take both!
About 15 minutes down the road from Tony’s is Thimbleby Shooting Ground, so I just had to stop on the way home to have a quick go. The Fausti is presented in a really nice silver coloured hard case, with a set of six chokes. One of the guns I’d picked up was a brand new 32in black action model. Straight out of the box it certainly felt like a very well balanced gun.
With it being brand new I put a little grease on the moving parts of the action, and went out for a play. My own gun has a custom stock, so I immediately noticed the difference in fit.
Fausti XF4: Specification
Model: XF4 Sport
Action: Over / Under
Barrel length: 30ins or 32ins
Gauge / chamber: 12g / 3ins (76mm)
Pull length: 14 ¾ins (375mm)
Weight: 8lb 4oz (3.74kg)
SRP: £3,870 (includes lockable hard transport case, XPro chokes and key)
UK Distributor: Fausti UK, 07702 843520, firstname.lastname@example.org
This stock was a little too long for me, but I coped with it. That said, the stock on the Fausti is of straight grain, strong, robust. It wasn’t fancy to look at, but it’s there to do a job, and to last the duration of its owner’s clay shooting life, and I’ve no doubt this one will measure up.
My immediate impression was that it’s a cracking gun. The movement of the barrels was smooth, controllable, and as fast as I wanted it to be. This gun, as standard, felt really good – natural is the word that springs to mind. That’s to be expected perhaps from what is, let’s face it, a prestigious Italian made shotgun.
Having shot the 32in model I wanted to try the 30in version. This one had the gold XF4 lettering on the action. Like the 32in gun, this one comes with an adjustable comb on the stock – an excellent feature. I believe all guns should come with these, as whether you’re male or female we are all different, and gun fit is paramount in my opinion.
I made a slight adjustment to the comb before taking the 30in Fausti to Kibworth Shooting Ground in Leicester. Once again, straight out of the box I felt this was a good gun.
Even with shorter barrels, it performed exactly how I wanted it to. It was low in recoil and smooth in movement – I was really liking these guns. Even with the odd mistake in my hold position with the barrels, I never had to fight it like I have with some other brands I’ve shot or tested. It just seemed to go where I looked, rather like my Kreighoff.
Weighing in at just a fraction over 8lb for the 30in and 8lb 6.4oz for the 32in model, they are much lighter than my K80, which is 9lb 2.5 oz with 30in barrels. But even with such a big weight difference I found the XF4 an easy gun to shoot – in fact a delight to shoot!
One thing I look for when trying new guns is the feel of how they open and shut. I am not a fan of a top lever that feels weak and notchy, and shuts with a clang. I like something that feels like a solid car door when you shut it. I want it low in noise, and silky smooth. I hope that makes sense! The Fausti does this; there’s a nice clean connection of barrel breech to action.
I’m told that Fausti make all the parts for their own guns, including the chokes. The wood for each individual gun is personally selected, hand finished and hand fitted.
The Fausti family have been manufacturing guns in the Gardone Valley, Italy, since around 1948. Stefano Fausti founded the company, and his three daughters continue these guns today with great passion, combining a century-old tradition in craftsmanship with cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to provide the best combination of beauty, elegance and value. The XF4 is a true competition clay gun, everything you will need from a shotgun
The XF4s that I have been testing both have a starting price of around £3870, which is really a great price for a gun of such excellent quality. Fausti produce a couple of other shotguns that caught my eye.
The Magnificent Sporting is another clay competition gun, but this one has a sideplate style action. I’m not really a great fan of the side plates, but I did like the look of this one!
Fausti also do a ladies’ gun called the Aphrodite. It has a lovely Monte Carlo style stock made for the lady shooter, and comes in 12, 20, 28 bore and even a .410. I did shoulder an Aphrodite when I met Tony at the British Shooting Show this year. I found it a little short in the stock for me, but what a cracking gun this is!
In conclusion, if you’re thinking of buying a new or used gun this year, have a look at the Fausti XF4. It truly is a little gem that’s still relatively unknown in the clay shooting world, and I recommend you try shooting a demo gun if you possibly can.
I really liked it, and I can honesty say that Tony won’t be getting it back for a while yet.
Fausti XF4: The experts view
Here’s what our gun tester Richard Atkins said about the Fausti XF4 when he tested it back in our September 2018 issue:
“The XF4 is a fascinating entry into the serious competition market. It is not adorned with a host of bells and whistles, but it is a well thought out and nicely put together shotgun.
“From the moment you take it out of its smart and sturdy ABS travel case with triple combination locks, and slide the protective sleeves off its barrel and stock, it’s obvious that this gun is something special.
“It’s not that it has any glaringly different features; it’s the evident quality of the gun as a whole. The deep black, no-glare finish to the round-bodied action and well struck off barrels contrast very well with the quality walnut stock and fore-end.
“The Fausti XF4 is new to the market, and with a suggested price tag of £3,870 it faces some stiff competition. But as you’ll find if you try it, there are some excellent guns that we rarely see in the UK.
“I first tried it on Park Farm’s Compak Sporting course, where it handled well and shot smoothly against a wide variety of targets. The XF4 proved itself to be a competent performer, scoring well in all departments including looks, handling and crisp, well- timed ejection.
“Competition is good; it brings us some excellent new products. Try one – I think you might like it.”
This review originally appeared in Clay Shooting Magazine
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