Fabarm L4S Grey Sporting 12 Gauge Autoloader

By Randy Wakeman

Fabarm L4S Grey Sporting 12 Gauge Autoloader
Photo by Randy Wakeman.

The Fabarm L4S Sporting, introduced in 2017 in both right hand and left hand models, has been a big hit. Expanding the line on the basis of that success for 2018 is this Grey Sporting while an even higher trim level model, the L4S Deluxe Sporting, is also available.


  • Model: L4S Sporting
  • Gauge: 12
  • Operation: Stainless Steel Piston, gas operated
  • Barrel: TRIBORE HP
  • Barrel Length: 28", 30" and 32"
  • Barrel Rib Height: 6mm
  • Chamber: 2-3/4"
  • Chokes: 5 EXIS HP Competition Choke Tubes
  • Frame Finish: Grey Anodized aluminum
  • Stock: Turkish Walnut
  • Length of pull: 14.75"
  • Drop at comb: 1.5"
  • Drop at heel: 2.25"
  • Cast off: 0.125"
  • Pitch: 5 degrees
  • Weight: 7.5 lbs. (as tested)
  • Proof test: 1630 BAR
  • Case: Hard Case
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Country of origin: Italy
  • 2018 MSRP: $2295

Compared to the L4S hunting models, the L4S Sporting comes in longer barrel lengths, has a 2-3/4 inch chamber, thicker recoil pad, oversized bolt release, oversized charging handle and a wider ventilated rib that is tapered. It also adds some weight, for my 26 inch L4S Grey Hunter weighs 6-3/4 pounds, while this L4S Grey Sporting 28 inch weighs 7-1/2 pounds, unloaded with a factory Exis HP 5/10 extended choke installed.

Though the L4S hunting models are soft-shooting themselves, the extra three-quarters of a pound means the L4S kicks less, a real cream puff with little muzzle rise or significant gun movement to slow you down from smashing that second bird when shooting doubles. Although there is no formula for felt recoil, as it is subjective and varies from person to person, the gas-operated L4S Sporting seems to me to have no more recoil than an 8-1/2 pound O/U, and it may have less.

One of my favorite race-game guns is an old Browning B-80 with a steel receiver, which weighs just over eight pounds. This L4S Grey Hunter, which has an aluminum receiver, is even softer shooting, due partly to the action design and the Grey Hunter's far more generous factory recoil pad. (The B-80 has a thin solid rubber butt-plate.)

One of the things that you can experience with the B-80 and with the related Beretta 302, 303 and 390 models is a slight forearm vibration. It isn't much, but Argentina dove hunters have had their left hands go numb from it on a 1500 round day. The L4S forearm design eliminates this potential. When my B-80 went to Argentina, I did not experience that problem, but I did burn my fingers, right through the wood.

All gas-operated shotguns need at least some post-shoot cleaning to operate at their best. I have been cleaning "self-cleaning" gas actions for the last fifty years. You can reduce the carbon build-up by using better quality ammo and either use very small amounts of Breakfree ClP, or get away from petroleum lubes altogether with Hornady One-Shot.

The Fabarm L4S action does have an advantage, as there is no mainspring or mainspring tube in the butt stock to forget about until your gun stops working. I have seen enough mainspring tubes with so much stuff growing in there, it is a wonder some of those guns worked as long as they did. With the Fabarm L4S, all the goodies are easily seen, monitored and cleaned.

The standard, or Black, L4S Sporting has a "Tri-Wood" stock and forearm and carries a MSRP of $1,895. The Grey Sporting is at $2,295 MSRP and the Deluxe Sporting is at $2695. Your Fabarm USA dealer sets their price, but a 10% to 15% discount seems to be fairly common retail pricing.

I prefer genuine walnut over fake (or "enhanced") finishes. For what it is worth, Fabarm's Tri-Wood enhanced finish is the best I have seen. It can be machined, it looks good and it is extremely weatherproof.

For clay sports in general, the L4S Sporting is ideal and a good choice for 60 yard dove spinning, as well. It is probably not the best for trap shooting, as there is no hull catcher available for it. It shoulders so well that you will not have a problem using it for pheasant shoots, either. This gun is just plain fun to shoot and is easy on the eyes.

Note: For a review of the Fabarm LS4 Initial Hunter 12 gauge shotgun, see the Product Reviews index page.

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Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.