Fausti: The Most Famous Name in Shotguns You've Never Heard Of
set their sights on the American market. Photo courtesy of Fausti Stefano S.R.L.
There has been a glut of shotguns in the marketplace, primarily O/U models. Over the last several years, it has been difficult for some manufacturers to gain any identity or name recognition on their own. For various and sundry reasons, importers and manufacturers persist in re-badging and re-namplating shotguns under their own brand, opting to move boxes the contents of which change like underwear. There are all kinds of examples of this.
If it sounds confusing, it is only because it is. SKB has recently gone under. SKB never achieved any real identity, having been imported by Ithaca and more recently by Weatherby. The current Weatherby stackbarrels are made by Fausti Stefano. The Mossberg SA-20 is a Turkish gas gun, made by Armsan. Armsan is defined as a collaboration between Khan and ATA, both Turkish manufacturers. Khan is the maker of the nasty Mossberg Silver Reserve stackbarrels. Charles Daly, a brand of K.B.I., has recently gone south as K.B.I. has folded. The fine Remington Premiers that were manufactured by Sabatti are no longer marketed.
Every year, various liquidator outlets blow out piles of these guns. It might be a good thing for you if you know what you are looking for. Often, you will find yourself with a variable or non-existent warranty, but that should be expected at any fire sale. When it comes to Fausti shotguns, you might be more familiar with the “Fausti by Traditions” guns that were imported some five years ago, Franchi Highlander S x S models, discontinued Marlin L.C. Smith relabeled Fausti models or the current Weatherby D'Italia shotguns.
The practice of relabeled guns guns is hardly new. Sears, J.C. Penny, Western Auto and other stores have long done it. There is a section in the Blue Book devoted to decoding the old rebranded guns. The process was simple. Sears goes out for bids on 20,000 pump guns to their specs, for example. Bids came in from High Standard, Winchester and various other suppliers. Low price generally wins and in come the guns. Sears distributes them, makes the most significant money from them and Sears (or whoever) provides the service and warranty the way they choose. OEM's cannot and do not provide warranty or service unless that is included in the contract with the retailer or distributor. This should be self-evident to today's American consumer. Over 90% of all product sold by Walmart is made in China. Has anyone ever sent a product to China directly for repair or replacement? So it has been with Fausti in the United States, having been hidden beneath other brands and companies for too long.
After this admittedly wordy introduction, it is time to get to Fausti and the fairly new company, Fausti USA. Fausti Stefano has been around since 1948, making far more shotguns than most think. One of the problems with the Fausti reputation is that, when functioning as an OEM, shotguns are produced to the specifications and price points set by the American importer, distributor, or retailer. In the case of past examples by American Arms or Traditions, what is being ordered by the importer is an entry-level, extremely low price point firearm, often with cast parts. It is hardly a reflection of what the capabilities of the manufacturer truly are, just what can be done given the parameters of "as cheap as possible." When the association is made with a company with a very poor reputation, such as Traditions, some of the negativity tends to rub off. That's where Fausti Stefano has been for many years, without an identity or strong presence of their own in the United States.
That is changing with the formation of Fausti USA. Fausti Stefano, founded by the late Stefano Fausti and now operated by his daughters, has long been capable of making high quality, finely finished O/U and side-by-side shotguns. Their O/U models are built on the familiar Italian Guild action closely associated with the Brescia region, while their side-by-sides are of the proven Anson and Deeley boxlock design.
Levels of polish, engraving, walnut and finish increase with price. For those aficionados seeking a 16 gauge on a 16 gauge frame with 16 gauge barrels, Fausti has it. The same is true of their “real” 28 gauge shotguns. With the establishment of Fausti USA, cleverly located at http://www.faustiusa.com, Fausti now has their own ability to perform customization and warranty work under their own name. While Fausti cannot be expected to assume the legacy of defunct or former distributors' guns, they will offer parts and service for rebranded guns. Their primary purpose to provide dealer and customer support for those that take advantage of genuine Fausti USA products.
Unlike many, many brands of shotguns, Fausti is more than a brand, a trademark, or a cardboard box. It is a true manufacturer of fine shotguns in Brescia, Italy, with modern equipment, some forty full-time employees and in house abilities for fine woodwooking, engraving, machining, design, and testing. That makes all the difference in the world and it looks like now folks will finally become aware of it.
Craig Johnson and Joe Cunniffe are heading things up at Fausti USA, located in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I've recently chatted with Craig on the phone and have met with Giovanna, Director of Sales and Marketing in the U.S. and Western Europe, several times over the years, always a pleasant experience. It looks like it is finally Fausti's turn to shine.
Copyright 2010 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.