FAIR Carrera One

FAIR is Italy’s second-largest maker of over/under shotguns after Beretta. FAIR stands for Fabbrica Armi Isidoro Rizzini. Isidoro Rizzini was one of the many Rizzinis in the Italian gun industry. One of his brothers, Battista, started the company that markets guns through Rizzini USA in this country. Two of his nephews started Caesar Guerini. Another brother, Emilio, also sold guns. His uncles market high-end guns under the name F.lli Rizzini.

FAIR was started in 1971, and its guns are marketed in the US by the Italian Firearms Group. The company makes a wide range of shotguns and rifles. The shotguns are mostly middle-priced offerings, and production relies a lot on computerized machinery.

Our test gun is the FAIR Carrera One in the sporting clays configuration. It is a basic O/U that retails for $1,988 in either 12 or 20 gauge. The Carrera One first reached the market in 2018, so it has had some time in rank. FAIR also sells a Carrera IV Sporting model, previously called the Carrera One Sporting, for an extra $200. It differs from our sample in that it has a bright nickel receiver rather than black, an adjustable trigger, ported barrels, and three interchangeable fiber-optic front sights rather than a single red sight. The Carrera IV Sporting also comes in different models with varying rib heights and stocks.

The action of the Carrera One is pretty standard for a modern O/U and appears to be quite similar mechanically to the FAIR Prestige O/U, which I reviewed in September/October 2008. The receiver is one piece of solid steel with a separate triggerplate. Lockup is by a broad Browning-style locking bolt mounted low in the receiver and engaging the lower part of the monoblock. Two fixed lugs on the bottom of the monoblock engage recesses in the bottom of the receiver to increase lock-up strength. The hinging copies Beretta, with the usual circular hinge pins engaging semi-circular cutouts on the sides of the monoblock. Hammers pivot on the separate triggerplate and are actuated by low-mounted, horizontal coil springs. Sear levers are suspended from the top strap. The sear-lever-return springs are extremely thin, as is the spring that pushes the rocker arm forward. All interior parts are proper machined steel except, as in many guns, the rocker arm, which is cast. In all, the inside of the action looks as though it came straight out of the CNC machine with little human interference. Considering the quality of CNCs these days, that’s not a bad thing.

The interior of the Carrera One’s action looks like it came straight out of a CNC machine—which these days is not a bad thing.
The interior of the Carrera One’s action looks like it came straight out of a CNC machine—which these days is not a bad thing.

The trigger is mechanical and does not require recoil to set the second sear. Pull weights were 4½ pounds for both barrels. That’s an excellent weight, but there was a little bit of creep before engagement. The safety is the usual Beretta type with a lateral-toggle barrel selector. It is a manual safety, which is most appropriate for a target gun, where the inconvenience of an automatic safety could cause problems. It’s just as well that the safety didn’t automatically go on, as it needed a hard push to operate.

The receiver was blued inside and out. There was a little bit of light laser engraving on the sides and bottom. “Carrera” was embossed in gold on both sides and the bottom, and it shared the space with an edge-on clay target. In all, it was modestly standard stuff. That said, the receiver was nicely rounded on the bottom for a comfortable carry.

The barrels on our gun were 32", but 30" and 28" are available. The vented top rib, clearly set up for clay targets, was .43" wide, untapered and low front to back. The top was machine scribed to reduce glare. There was no middle bead, to the chagrin of pre-mounted aimers, while the front bead was a small, fluorescent-orange, fiber-optic “worm.” The side ribs went straight back to the monoblock and were vented, to distribute barrel heat. The outsides of the barrels were uniformly blued in a standard low gloss. The solder seams were very well done, with no holidays or imperfections.

Inside the barrels, both bores measured .725". That is snugger than the usual overbores seen so often today. The chambers are 3"—in case you want to use mortar shells to really get even with those elusive clays. Forcing cones measured about 2" long. FAIR optimistically claims that its X-Cone system reduces recoil. The bores are chromed, to make maintenance a little easier, and the barrels are proofed for steel shot.

Up front you get five screw chokes made of nickel-plated steel. They are 2¾" long with ¾" of that extending in front of the muzzle. The chokes measured Cylinder Bore, .000"; Improved Cylinder, .009"; Modified, .021"; Improved Modified, .031"; and Full, .041". These dimensions are almost dead-on nominal. Well done, and rarer than you might think. The interiors of the chokes are conical in the rear, to do the choking, and then parallel in the front half, to stabilize the shot. This configuration is common and well proven. The rears of the chokes measured .738", so that’s a pretty big .013" drop from where the .725" bore abuts the choke. Less would be better for patterns. The choke rims are notched to accept a perfectly adequate metal wrench, but on the extended rims there is no choke constriction identification either by rim notches or writing. There are IDs on the bodies of the chokes where they go into the barrel, but you can’t see that once they are in place. You will have to remember what you put where.

The Carrera One comes with a nice target stock. Well, it’s nice in the dimensions, but the walnut grain on our gun was very ordinary and virtually featureless. Wood finishing was a dull matte stain that failed to fill the wood pores. The insides of the head of the stock and forend were not finished and could have used a coat or two of TruOil to prevent oil-seepage damage. On the plus side, the machine-cut checkering was very nice and provided the required good grip. The butt is covered by a curved 58" hard rubber pad that easily could be replaced if more or less length was required.

Stock measurements were a fairly standard 14½" length of pull, 1½" drop at comb and 238" drop at heel with the adjustable comb in the lowest position. There was also a good bit of right-hand cast and about the normal 4° of pitch. But you aren’t limited to these dimensions, as the adjustable cheekpiece can be raised to any sane height and cast-off or -on as you wish. This is a most welcome touch in a target gun. The grip is full-size as befits a target gun, and it has a right-hand palm swell. The forend is a most appropriate hand-filling semi-beavertail. Its front is nicely rounded, to permit an easy grip with the fingers as far forward as you wish. Wood-to-metal fit was excellent throughout the gun.

The weight was well distributed, so moment of inertia was not excessive.

The gun kit includes a decent PVC case that just might survive the airlines. Inside is the gun, cloth sleeves for the action and barrels, five chokes, a decent metal wrench, an Allen key to adjust the cheekpiece, a trigger lock and a basic five-language manual. The warranty is for three years to the original owner.

So what was the gun like to shoot? Very nice indeed. I may have been a little nitpicky about some cosmetics, but when it comes to getting down to business, this gun delivers. It was mechanically correct in all respects. There were no malfunctions of any kind. Trigger pulls remained crisp. The chokes stayed put. The barrels were properly regulated, with correct convergence. At 8 pounds 5.2 ounces the gun was in the ballpark for a sporter. Recoil seemed normal. With the 32" barrels, the gun balanced about 1" in front of the hinge, but the weight was well distributed, so moment of inertia was not excessive. There was plenty of weight for a good follow-through but not so much that the gun wasn’t agile. If you wanted a little-quicker gun, the 30" barrels would work.

In all, the FAIR Carrera One costs less than the usual Browning or Beretta sporter yet shoots and handles very well. If you are in the market for a new sporter at a good price, it is certainly worth a look.

SNAPSHOT

Make & Model: FAIR Carrera One
Gauge: 12
Action: Boxlock over/under
Chambering: 3"
Finish: Blued with laser engraving and gold emblems
Barrel length: 32"
Weight: 8 pounds 5.2 ounces
Chokes: 5 extended screw chokes
Stock: 14½" x 1½" x 238", 4° pitch, cast-off and toe-out, adjustable cheekpiece
Accessories: Case, gun sleeves, chokes, wrench, choke box, Allen key, trigger lock, manual, 3-year warranty
Price as tested: $1,988


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