Orvis Elos O/U Shotgun
Illustration courtesy of Orvis Co., Inc.
This shotgun, made in Italy by Fabarm, is an Orvis exclusive. They are sold exclusively through the Orvis (www.orvis.com) gunroom. You can e-mail the Orvis Gun Room at email@example.com or call 802-362-2580.
The only Fabarm O/U I have tested previously was an Elos Deluxe 20 gauge, which fared extremely well. The Orvis organization has been using their Orvis Elos models as rental guns for some time at their renowned shooting grounds in Millbrook, New York and Sylacauga, Alabama and they have proved to be tough, durable, vertical doubles. When you purchase an Orvis Elos, it comes with the five year Fabarm USA warranty. Beyond that, it comes with the Orvis Satisfaction Guaranteed written warranty, which is as good as it gets.
The tested Orvis Elos 12 gauge has 28 inch barrels, as do the Orvis Elos 20 and 28 gauge models. It weighs 7-1/2 pounds on my scale, with the triggers breaking at about 4-1/2 pounds.
The configuration of this field/hunting gun is an "all-around" type compromise. This 7-1/2 pound 12 gauge is not heavy enough, or the barrels long enough, for a dedicated clays gun. However, it swings smooth enough for casual clay target shooting, particularly with one ounce loads.
(Orvis offers their own dedicated upscale clays gun, the Orvis Clays Sporter, which is a significantly heavier gun made exclusively for Orvis by Caesar Guerini. The Orvis Clays Sporter, with an adjustable comb, extensive engraving and bristling with competition features, sells for $5495.)
The case-colored receiver is attractive and the trigger is gold-plated for contrast. The scroll engraving includes the Orvis name and is apparently done by laser. The trigger face is stippled, a touch that I appreciate.
The Elos comes with Fabarm TriBore barrels and five flush, nickel-plated, choke tubes are supplied. You can use steel shot, regardless of constriction, with Tribore barrels.
The Fabarm Triwood stock also looks nice. Although Triwood is in the category of "enhanced walnut," it is weatherproof and, unlike conventional dips, it can be cut for the addition of recoil pads, adjustable combs and so forth without issue. Triwood is tough, it looks good and the Triwood stocks are all a bit different, so they do not have the unfortunate, clone-type, cookie-cutter affliction.
Triwood is, as far as I am concerned, the best of the simulated walnut finishes, requiring little care and no worry if caught in the rain or snow. (Of course, none of these "enhanced" wood stocks are as desirable as genuine, solid walnut, any more than a rhinestone is as desirable as a real diamond. -Editor)
The Orvis Elos has a raised, blued, top tang safety that gives good purchase. Unfortunately, it also comes standard with a feature for which I personally have great disdain, automatic reset. This feature is easily disabled, as it is a simple little pusher rod that pushes the safety rearward as you break open the shotgun. It isn't unusual for Italian field guns to have an automatic safety, but this makes it no less obnoxious. The automatic safety on the Orvis Elos can be removed by Orvis or Fabarm prior to shipment, or disabled later, if you like.
If you are looking for an attractive 12 gauge O/U with which you can shoot clays for practice and you want to use the same gun on the dove field or for preserve shooting, that is where this gun fits-in. If significant walking is required for flushing game, the 20 gauge version makes a bit more sense.
The Elos 28 inch 20 gauge gun I reviewed weighed 6-3/4 pounds, shaving about 3/4 pound off of the 12 gauge model. For quail, grouse and wild pheasant hunting, I like the lighter and faster 20 gauge Orvis Elos.
With the five included, excellent choke tubes, Tribore barrels and an unequaled satisfaction guarantee, the Orvis Elos is both fairly priced ($2395) and a solid long-term investment. It is a substantial leap forward from the myriad of clunky and forgettable Turkish entry level stack-barrels in terms of build quality, balance and handling.
For those who appreciate name brand quality and have $2400 in their budget, it works well as a general purpose field gun. For upland hunting use, with normal care you will not be able to wear-out an Orvis Elos, unless you abuse it.
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.