Fausti Class Twenty Gauge O/U Shotgun
Photo by Randy Wakeman.
The Fausti Class twenty gauge O/U weighs in at a responsive six pounds and six ounces with its 28" barrel on my Lyman digital scale. That's with the choke tubes installed. The basic specifications are published as follows by Fausti USA:
This is an example of the well-known Italian Brescia vertical O/U shotgun action, very similar in style to the Caesar Guerini / B. Rizzini genre of low-profile action. The Fausti Class has mono-block barrels with hard chrome-lined bores and lengthened forcing cones. The semi-pistol grip stock is nicely-figured European walnut with an oil finish.
The receiver is extensively laser-engraved with very good coverage. The attention to detail is readily apparent, with excellent metal to wood fit. The forearm and buttstock are perfectly matched in color, grain and tone. The tang lever, for example, is tastefully engraved, skeletonized and profiled.
Illustration courtesy of Fausti, USA.
The test Fausti came with a feature that I dislike, an automatic (self-resetting) safety. It is particularly obnoxious when breaking clays or when on when on a busy dove field. I have to wonder what resets the safety for you on an autoloader or a pump. It is even more nonsensical on a break action, where the gun may be quickly and visibly rendered inert by opening the action. Fortunately, the automatic feature is activated by a simple pusher-rod that can be easily removed. My understanding is that future Fausti's will not have an automatic safety, unless the customer specifically requests it.
My other complaint about this gun also involves the safety: the top tang slider is overly stiff in operation. Fausti will loosen it a bit, but in its supplied form it isn't what you would want with cold or gloved hands. On the other hand, I am pleased to report that the Fausti safety slider is generously raised and gives better purchase with your thumb than most Italian O/U guns.
The Fausti's single-selective trigger is quite good, breaking at a bit over four pounds out of the box. Sloppy, creepy and heavy triggers have become commonplace in shotguns, even expensive double-barreled guns. It is a real bummer to buy a new O/U that needs an immediate trigger job, one of the many reasons to avoid cheap double-barreled guns. I am glad that Fausti does not fit into this unfortunate mold.
Many Italian vertical doubles are not stocked properly for me. By that, I mean not enough drop and too much comb to fit my face. Several are painful to shoot as a result. That is not the case with the Class. It fit me and several other shooters who tried it. The only thing that gets pushed when you shoot is your shoulder pocket, just as it should be.
The Fausti Class 20 screams “upland field gun.” It flies to the shoulder and is extremely easy with which to hit. Most of the shooting and patterning was done with B&P F2 15/16 oz. shells. This is the type of gun idea for flushing quail, pheasants and grouse. Fun to carry, fast to the shoulder and quick to the target. It is hard not to characterize this Fausti as an excellent value for a hunting shotgun of this level. At a MSRP of only $2449, it compares very favorably to competing Italian guns, some of which sell for up to 50% more.
The Fausti Class is available in .410 bore, 28 gauge, 20 gauge, 16 gauge and 12 gauge. Sixteen gauge fans will appreciate that the Class 16 has the same published weight as this twenty. “Class” is an appropriate name for this series of vertical doubles. The automatic ejectors functioned positively and strongly. The entire gun has fit, finish and a level of polish that you do not find on lesser guns. If you view “matte” type finishes as essentially unpolished, you will understand what I mean. It is the little touches that combine to make a field gun satisfying. Rather than just receiver engraving, the Fausti Class has applied tasteful laser engraved accents on the trigger guard, tang, tang lever and forearm metal.
The wood to metal fit is noticeably better than many new doubles. The grade of wood and the oil finish is a bit better. The bluing is darker, richer and more highly polished than many O/U's. The metalwork, like the profiled tang lever and the raised safety, is also a step up.
I appreciated the Fausti Class. It is one of those upland guns that are enjoyable to carry, shoulder, swing, shoot and look at. The build quality is a notch better than normally seen at its price point. It all combines to make the Fausti Class a thoroughly satisfying field gun that is an exceedingly good value. The closer you look, the better this gun gets.
Copyright 2011 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.