Franchi Affinity Compact Twenty Gauge Autoloading Shotgun
Shown: FranchiAffinity Compact left, Benelli M2 Comfortech (also 24" barrel) right. Photo by Randy Wakeman.
This is third Franchi Affinity I've tested. This version is designated the “Franchi Affinity Compact: 20 Gauge Compact 2-3/4" and 3" Black Synthetic” by Franchi USA. It shares the same action as the 20 gauge Affinity previously tested, but has a 24 inch Mobil-choked barrel vs. the standard 26 inch offering.
Where the regular Affinity 20 weighed in at six pounds on the nose, this compact version is fully half of a pound lighter at 5.5 pounds. The standard Affinity has an overall length of 47.25", while this version is 43.375" in length out of the box. The two inches in length reduction are attributable to the shorter barrel, while the rest is from the shorter buttstock. I measured the length of pull at about 12-1/4 inches with my trusty tape measure. Included with the Compact Twenty is a spacer kit, so you can add to this diminutive length of pull in one-quarter inch increments up to one inch.
The Affinity Compact is a flyweight shotgun, with a trigger that breaks at 4-1/4 pounds, far better than the average autoloader, as was the case with the two previous Affinity models tested. Is this the ideal youth or smaller shooter's shotgun? The answer is: maybe, but not out of the box.
There is no question about the Affinity's overall excellent build quality. It assembles easily and was perfectly reliable during my testing. There is no escaping the reality of recoil with extremely lightweight guns, however. I found this Affinity to be a bit of an abrupt little shoulder-stabber with 1 ounce, 1165 fps field loads and also the peppy B&P F2 15/16 ounce 1280 fps loads. The hard recoil pad in this model certainly offers no relief. It is tolerable with 7/8 ounce, 1200 fps target loads, but still not pleasant. Compared to the Benelli M2 20 gauge, 24 inch Comfortech model I shot alongside it, the Benelli was comparatively a slice of inertia heaven in the shooting comfort department.
All is not lost, however, as the Compact has a more conventional style stiff rubber buttplate, as opposed to the notched regular Affinity array, so it is easily replaced with any number of after market pads. This gun needs a better pad and needs it badly. This is the sole area where Franchi screwed the pooch a bit, for if they had spent a few pesos for a better recoil pad instead of the polymer crucifix they went with, it would be a far more appealing gun. It doesn't take a lot of effort to get a 5.5 pound shotgun into the unpleasant to shoot category and that's exactly what this gun is.
As for the general function of the gun itself, this Affinity is exemplary. I've had the pleasure of introducing many younger and female shooters to the sport. This gun, in out of the box form, is just too harsh-shooting to be recommended. For example, the 6.5 pound Mossberg 500 Bantam (13 inch length of pull, 24 inch barrel) pump gun with its standard, ventilated recoil pad is a lot more fun to shoot. Nevertheless, the 5.5 pound Affinity Compact is well worth your consideration if light weight is extremely important to you, you are willing to add a better recoil pad, and intend on shooting primarily 7/8 ounce loads.
Note: According to the folks at Franchi USA, full-size replacement buttstocks are available as follows:
USA item number and description
Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.