By Bruce Buck
Since 2009 I have reviewed Fausti shotguns five times and never been disappointed. In the past it always has been side-by-side or over/under game guns, but Fausti also imports some very interesting clay-target O/Us. The new XF4 Sport is just such a target gun. It is said to be a multi-discipline gun suitable for trap, skeet, sporting clays and FITASC.
Currently Fausti USA markets three target O/Us: the L4, at $2,999; the XF4 Sport, at $4,900; and the sideplated and heavily engraved Magnificent Sport, at $5,999. Those are 12- and 20-gauge prices. These guns also come in 28 and .410 at a $560 premium. The mechanics on all of the guns are the same, but the receiver profiles, cosmetics, engraving and wood quality differ with price. Our test gun was a 12-gauge XF4 Sport.
The XF4 Sport comes in three versions, but they differ only in whether the “XF4” lettering on the otherwise unengraved blued receiver is in black, gold or platinum. Our gun was the Gold model.
The action on the XF4 is attractive on the outside and purposeful inside. The exterior is nicely rounded on the bottom edges and quite slender for a target gun. Everything in the action, inside and out, is blued. The action body is machined from a single forging, as is the trigger group. Inside things are basic and proven. Hammers pivot from the bottom; sears are suspended from the top. The hammer springs are substantial horizontal coils surrounding strong guide rods. An inertia block sets the trigger, and the safety is manual as befits a target gun. The barrel selector is a lateral toggle in the safety like Beretta’s. It really couldn’t be simpler—and simple is good.
Action lockup is pretty standard, with the usual Val Trompia-style broad, locking tongue engaging a lateral notch in the bottom of the monoblock a la Browning. The passive locks on this Fausti are a little different. The company’s patented Four Lock system consists of two lugs at the rear of the monoblock engaging recesses in the bottom of the receiver. The sides of the monoblock also have recesses that engage lugs on both sides of the receiver, somewhat like on a Perazzi. This may be overkill. Beretta 680s lock up with two conical locks and no passive lugs at all, and they hold up fine. But it is for sure that Fausti’s “belt and suspenders” approach will ensure a tight gun for a very long time.
The blued inertia trigger on our gun was not adjustable for length. This means that the trigger blade won’t come loose at some inconvenient time, but those with small hands might have to stretch. Unfortunately, there was a good bit of take-up before the trigger engaged. Then there was a fair amount of creep on the lower sear but a bit less on the top. Measured pulls were 5 pounds on the under sear and 5½ on the over.
Barrels on our gun were 30", but 28" and 32" are available. The triple-alloy steel tubes are joined at the monoblock. Barrels hinge on the now almost universal (except for Browning) hinge stubs engaging notches in the monoblock. The blessedly flat vented top rib tapers from 10mm (.4") to 7mm (.275") at the muzzle. The top of the rib is scribed, to eliminate pesky glare. There is no center bead, and the front bead sports a red inchworm. The side ribs of the gun are vented for heat dispersion and extend to the monoblock. The ribs are said to be silver soldered, not soft soldered, so they should stay put.
The barrel interiors are chrome lined for ease of maintenance, and they are high-pressure proofed to 1,320 Bars. For comparison, common British proof is 950 Bars. The Fausti is sturdy, indeed. Chambers were 3" with longish forcing cones of just more than 1". Bores were .725", a bit tighter than the nominal 12-bore .729" and definitely not part of the current overbore trend.
Make & Model: Fausti XF4 Sport
Action: Over/under boxlock
Finish: Black receiver with gold lettering, no engraving
Barrel length: 30”
Weight: 8 pounds 2 ounces
Chokes: Five screw-in extended chokes
Stock: Pistol, palm swell, 14¾” LOP, adjustable comb
Accessories: Takedown ABS case, choke wrench, comb spacers, owner’s manual, two-year
Price as tested: $4,900
The gun can be ordered with fixed chokes, but ours came with five Xpro extended screw chokes. All of the chokes measured surprisingly close to the generally accepted nominal 12-bore constrictions. This is rarer than you might think. The chokes were 2 7⁄8" long with 1 1⁄8" of that extending beyond the muzzle. The interiors were tapered, with the last ½" parallel, to stabilize the shot. The choke designation was printed on each choke tube and also designated by notches on the rim for easy identification while installed. The extended portion was knurled for a good grip. Fausti did a great job in that there was no visible jugging of the muzzles to accommodate the chokes. On the downside, it took 42 full turns to remove a choke and insert a new one. But they stayed put, which is crucial.
The wood on our XF4 Sport was a step up but not what you would call fancy or highly figured. Fausti rates it an ambiguous “3A.” The walnut grain ran fore and aft in relatively straight lines but with good contrast. Straight grain is most appropriate on a competition gun intended for heavy use, as it is stronger than more heavily figured wood. Still, it was quite attractive with the contrasting dark grain against the reddish-walnut background.
The high-gloss oil finish on our sample was excellent. Unlike on many Italian guns, the finish fully filled the grain. The insides of the head of the stock and forend also were coated with finish, to forestall oil-seepage damage. That’s a nice touch that many makers omit. Checkering was in a simple pattern and applied by laser in a relatively high-lines-per-inch count. It covered the majority of the forend and pistol grip.
The forend configuration was a nicely rounded competition style. It wasn’t bulky, but it did fill the hand. It was also attractive. Fausti literature says that the forends can be had in rounded, semi-beavertail and Schnabel configurations. The forend latch is the common Deeley type in the center of the forearm, not the Anson button at the nose of the forearm. The Deeley latch allows a smoother forend front on an O/U than the Anson button does.
Our gun’s stock had a 14¾" length of pull and an adjustable comb. It would go as low as 1½" at the comb and 2 3⁄8" at the heel and up to just about any height you wish with spacers inserted. You also can adjust the angle of the top of the comb by placing more washers in the front or rear. Cast is adjustable by loosening and moving the pillars that hold the washers to one side or the other. A downside of the adjustable comb is the sharp edges that can get caught on things. The stock also had slight built-in cast for a righty, and it had a right-hand palm swell on the moderate pistol grip. Left-handed stocks are available on request. At the butt is a ½" hard-rubber recoil pad. It probably doesn’t do much for recoil, but it has more grab to stay on your shoulder than a plastic buttplate. The edges were left sharp, and some shooters no doubt would prefer them rounded. Pitch on the stock seemed to be the usual 4°, or 2" stand-off.
Guns that fit and balance properly, like this XF4, always shoot well.
The XF4 comes in a nice ABS takedown case that is silver on the outside and black inside. It should survive the airlines. The gun comes swathed in cloth socks. The five chokes, adequate choke wrench and comb spacers are packed in a useful plastic box that will go neatly into your shooting kit. The instruction manual is basic. The warranty is for two years from the date of purchase.
Since the gun is advertised as being meant for sporting clays, trap and skeet, I went a little overboard and shot it at sporting, 5 Stand, FITASC, trap, skeet and Olympic trap. It had a nice target weight of 8 pounds 2 ounces. To my taste, the 30" barrels were ideal, and the gun was well balanced. Teeter-totter was on the front edge of the hinge pins, but the barrels had enough weight so that the gun wasn’t at all whippy. If you want to adjust the balance slightly, simply select longer or shorter barrels. O/U 12-gauge barrels weigh roughly an ounce per inch, so changing 2 oz at the muzzle definitely will alter the feel of the gun.
The XF4’s inertia trigger functioned correctly with standard factory 1 1⁄8- and 1-oz target loads. Chokes stayed put and didn’t need retightening. Barrel convergence appeared to be correct—not surprising, as Fausti also makes double rifles, which require perfect convergence. Shell ejection was flawless, and hulls were tossed about five feet.
Thanks to the stock’s adjustable comb, I was able to make the gun fit perfectly, and it shot accordingly. Guns that fit and balance properly, like this XF4, always shoot well. Fausti should be commended. The company clearly has made a real clays gun that is not only a serious shooter and built for the long haul but also quite attractive.