2018 Fabarm ELOS D2 20 Gauge O/U Shotgun
Illustration courtesy of Fabarm.
The new, revised for 2018 Elos D2 line is available in 12, 20 and 28 gauge. These are upland hunting shotguns, designed to be light and fast. They have nickel plated, lightweight, aluminum alloy receivers made from what Fabarm calls "Ergal 55," hand-oiled stocks, 6mm wide ventilated ribs and 28 inch barrels.
The 20 gauge guns I hunt with weigh around 6-1/4 pounds. The lightest 20 gauge that I currently own is a six pound, 24 inch barrel Benelli M2; the heaviest is a Miroku made Browning Auto-Five Magnum Twenty that tips the scales at eight pounds, three ounces.
Catalog weights are often not to be trusted. Here are the actual weights via calibrated digital scale of several 20 gauge guns that I either own, did own, or have personally tested. (The vast majority are autoloaders and pump guns.):
The Elos D2 20 gauge weighs 5.75 pounds. It is not only lighter than any 20 gauge shotgun I own, but lighter than any other shotgun I own, period.
Back in 2007, I used a Cynergy Classic Field O/U with a hard plastic butt plate that weighed in at 6 pounds, 3.5 ounces. That Cynergy was pleasant to shoot, but only with 7/8 oz. loads. One ounce loads got old in a hurry. This Elos D2 shaves almost a half pound of weight from that Cynergy.
The aluminum alloy alloy receiver, coil-spring, box-lock Elos D2 is an attractive O/U shotgun. The four panel, laser checkered, oil finished, Turkish walnut stock on the test gun is Select Standard grade wood and the rather bulky pistol grip has a subtle right hand palm swell. The approximately 50% coverage, laser engraving with game scene is crisp and attractively inked.
Photo by Randy Wakeman.
Like most Fabarm shotguns, the Elos D2 20 gauge has mono-block, Tri-Bore barrels, a 1630 BAR proof level, is 100% Made in Italy and all choke tubes, regardless of constriction, are rated for steel shot. The Elos comes nicely presented in an Integrale hard case. The 2018 MSRP is $2595 for the D2, regardless of gauge, and dealers normally discount from that level, as they see fit.
(For a review of an all steel and walnut Italian double gun with barrels struck full length, see our recent review of the F.A.I.R. Iside Prestige Gold 20 gauge gun. -Editor)
Who is this gun for? It all depends on your intended use and your recoil tolerance. I use 20 gauge guns a lot, with one ounce of #7-1/2 shot for doves, one ounce of #6 shot for pigeons and 1-1/4 ounce of buffered #5 shot for wild pheasants.
Firing 1-1/4 ounce loads from any 5-3/4 pound shotgun is not going to be the perfect definition of fun. This gun has three inch chambers, so you can blow 1-1/4, 1-3/8, or even 1-1/2 ounce loads out of the pipes, but you won't want to.
If your typical hunting use is no more than 7/8 oz. payloads, then you are probably in luck, although compared to 20 gauge guns of average weight the Elos D2 is still going to kick harder. However, you will have a shotgun that is lighter than most 28 gauge guns, with a much wider ammo selection than is available in 28 gauge and far more economical loads from which to choose.
With high-antimony target shotshells (AA, STS, Gold Medal), you can expect better patterns than with traditional 7/8 ounce field loads. For quail and woodcock, 7/8 ounce of #8 shot is about 357 pellets and about 303 pellets of #7-1/2 shot, so you can well-populate a medium range pattern.
Yes, the Fabarm Elos D2 20 gauge gun kicks. It would take a new branch of physics to suggest that a 5-3/4 pound O/U doesn't kick, as recoil energy is inversely proportional to gun weight.
Although this gun fits me well, is easy on the eyes and performs flawlessly, it just is not for me. While 7/8 ounce loads are manageable, the difference when moving incrementally up the intensity scale is easy to feel. 15/16 ounce loads are unpleasant and one ounce loads get old in a hurry. For hunting with a 20 gauge, I rarely use less than one ounce loads for dove and pigeon, and pheasants get 1-1/4 to 1-5/16 ounce loads; turkeys get 1-1/2 ounce loads.
The more you carry this gun and the less you shoot it, the happier you are going to be. Certainly, an ounce of #6 shot does the job for preserve shooting in most cases, but for any significant volume of shooting, you probably won't like anything heavier than 7/8 ounce, 1200 fps loads.
The Fabarm Elos D2 is a nicely made gun and qualifies as the "joy to carry" genre of shotgun better than many so-called light, feather-light and super-light models. The triggers are crisp, the ejectors work with authority and the primer hits are positive. The tang safety has better purchase than most, making it usable with cold or gloved hands.
It is easy to get a kick out of this shotgun, quite literally. Although some may find its extreme light weight appealing, for the typical hunting uses I have for a shotgun, it is not a practical choice.
Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.