FABARM L4S Sporting 12 Gauge Target Autoloader
When the Fabarm L4S Hunter first appeared two years ago, it instantly became my favorite 12 gauge upland shotgun. It is a beautifully machined and finished autoloader that is reliable, soft-shooting, yet quick and smooth handling. It is backed by the best customer service and gunsmithing team in the industry, the Caesar Guerini / Fabarm USA staff.
The four shot (three shot tubular magazine) L4S Hunter quickly generated the enthusiasm of many. Jim Bellegarde, gas autoloading shotgun expert gunsmith of Cole Gunsmithing in Maine, uses his three inch chambered, 28 inch barrel Fabarm L4S Initial Hunter for essentially everything.
Rich Cole, proprietor of Cole Gunsmithing and others saw the L4S as an idea platform as a clays gun. Now, a couple of years later, the L4S Sporting is a reality.
Compared to the L4S Hunter three inch guns, the L4S Sporting has a target stock with a subtle palm swell, wider target rib, oversized bolt handle and oversized bolt release. The bolt handle, bolt release and forearm cap are all accented in Fabarm "Lion Red." The L4S has a 2-3/4 inch chamber, the way Rich Cole and Wes Lang of Caesar Guerini feels all target guns should be.
The L4S Sporting is designed for absolute reliability with target loads. Ejection with 1180 fps one ounce loads is positive and robust. That is as light of a payload as I would ever use in a 12 gauge, but others have already used slow 7/8 ounce loads out of the L4S Sporting with no issues. Whereas the L4S Hunting guns are offered with 26 and 28 inch barrels, the L4S Sporting comes with your choice of a 28 inch, 30 inch or 32 inch barrel.
My test gun has a 28 inch barrel and it has excellent, essentially neutral, balance. The L4S Sporting has gained half of a pound from the L4S Hunter, weighing in at 7-1/4 pounds.
For those who want to cleanly add weight, the 150g Kinetik Recoil Reducer is available from Fabarm. It screws into the buttstock, adding 5.29 ounces. This alone will get the L4S Sporting over the 7-1/2 pound mark.
Going with the popular 30 inch barrel adds a few more ounces, getting the gun close to 7-3/4 pounds at the cost of a muzzle heavy balance. Like any gun, the L4S picks up a bit of weight when you actually use it, as you can add in the weight of a shotshell or two.
As you might expect, the Fabarm L4S Sporting comes nicely presented with a barrel sleeve and a stock sleeve in a $200 Fabarm Adaptive lockable hard case by Negrini. It is supplied with five Exis High Performance extended choke tubes and a full array of stock adjustment shims.
Fabarm has very close tolerances on their walnut. As a result, you can change pads from the supplied 22mm pad to a 12mm pad, 22mm trap pad, or 27mm pad and still enjoy a perfect factory fit. Left-handed shooters have not been overlooked, for the L4S Sporting is also available in a true left-hand model with left ejection, in all three barrel lengths.
The L4S Sporting prints 60/40 patterns, about three inches high at 40 yards. The Exis HP choke tubes are exceptionally well-machined. They do not get dirty on the outside and they do not shoot loose.
The walnut is Fabarm's Tri-Wood. It is weatherproof, essentially stain proof and, unlike some enhanced grain stocks, it is readily machinable. The latter is a big advantage for those who might want adjustable combs or other custom stock work.
The 2017 MSRP is $1850 for the right hand L4S Sporting. Naturally, Fabarm USA dealers set their own selling prices.
The L4S Sporting is everything I want an autoloader to be. Most of all, it is really fun to shoot. I went through a case of 1-1/8 ounce loads in short order yesterday and I do not even feel like I went shooting.
The 28 inch model is spritely enough so it can serve a dual duty. It is a good choice to make it rain doves on opening day.
It is a rare event when an out of the box gun needs no tweaking and is perfect as supplied. This is one of those rare times, for the L4S Sporting needs nothing changed to be a good autoloader. Fabarm has made a lot of customers happy by releasing this model.
Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.