We’re back. Stitch and I just returned from a few weeks of grouse and woodcock hunting up in Maine. We had a great time and we found a lot of birds.
While the 12g I had with me did the job, here’s a SxS I wish I had had with me:
The FABARM Autumn SxS
Last spring Caeser Guerini sent me one of these shotguns in 20 gauge to look over and bang some rounds through. It was a great gun and a blast to shoot. Here’s what impressed me most about it:
5 things to love about the FABARM Autumn SxS:
1. IT’S EASY ON THE EYES
My FABARM Autumn was a great double to admire with a rounded, color-case hardened action, some interesting scroll engraving, and nicely figured, oil-finished wood, While it had a vintage vibe to it, its clean, pinless action gave it a sleek, modern look.
2. IT’S BUILT TO SHOOT TONS OF ROUNDS AND KEEP GOING
On the outside, the FABARM Autumn looks like an old-school, Anson & Deeley style boxlock shotgun. But it’s not.
Instead, the gun mounts the lockwork on its triggerplate and uses sliding rods to cock the hammers.
Then there’s the real interesting part of the FABARM Autumn: its quad-lug system.
These 4 lumps are designed to increase the longevity of the barrel/action connection and help you deliver quicker, more accurate second shots. How?
Even though we worship SxSs like Parkers and Purdeys, those guns, and others like them, have their weaknesses. One’s the way the barrels mount on the action.
These shotguns connect to the action with two lumps. The front lump has the hook. This catches the hingepin. The rear lump has a bite. This receives a sliding bolt that comes in from the back to lock down the barrels (most British and European SxSs also have a bite on the front lump, but it doesn’t always do much to secure the bbls).
When you fire a SxS, the barrels twist horizontally and flex vertically, trying to pivot on the hinge pin. Even though the bolt, bites and action secure the barrels and resist this twisting and flexing, these forces pulls you off your target. And over time, they cause wear which can lead to a SxS’s barrels going off face and become loose on the action.
(For a nerdy dive into what this mean, read this article by Delbert Whitman Jr.).
The FABARM Autumn quad-lump design displaces this twisting and flexing over more surface area. This helps cut down on wear and increases the longevity of the barrel/action connection.
The quad-lug system also stabilizes the barrels and cuts down on horizontal flexing. This is an idea borrowed from competitive pigeon shooting and the thinking is that it helps you deliver a quicker, more accurate shot with the left barrel.
3. IT FEELS GREAT
A few years ago I shot a 12g Purdey Trigger Plate OU. It was big gun that came in at just over 8 lbs, but it had a lively feel that belied its weight and encouraged me to shoot it all day.
A few months later I was I hunting with a new 20g Italian OU. It was a field gun, and even though it weighed 6 3/4 lbs, it felt heavy and dead, like a target gun. I wanted to get rid of it as soon as possible.
I thought about those guns the first time I shot the 20g FABARM Autumn. How would it feel — dead or alive?
My gun had 28″ barrels and weighed 6 lbs, 6 oz. — a good weight for an all-around bird gun. But it also pistol grip stock and a beavertail forend. Those said “target” to me — and had me worried.
After a lot of clays and a flat of 2 3/4″, 7/8 oz loads (which were a PITA to find), I had my answer: alive and very lively.
Like that big Purdey OU, the FABARM Autumn snapped to my shoulder and and picked up the clays with little effort. The more I shot it, the more I wanted to shoot it. I think its lightweight barrels were a big reason for this, but not the only one.
I liked the pistol-grip, beavertail forend setup, too. They gave me a lot to hold onto and more control over the gun more. This made the gun easier to mount and move to target.
The selective single trigger was crisp and with just a of whisker play in it on second shots. And even though I pulled it as fast as I could and tried to make it fail, it fired round after round without a problem.
4. IT’S ALL YOU NEED FOR UPLAND HUNTING
With 3″ chambers, choke tubes and barrels/choke tubes that are steel-shot safe, the 20g FABARM Autumn I had could handle all the bird hunting I did (or hoped to do).
If you’re an upland hunter, it could do the same for you.
5. IT’S BACKED BY A 5-YEAR WARRANTY
I’ve had old guns, older guns, and really old guns. They can be a PITA to maintain and repair. So I appreciate new, trouble-free new SxSs and OUs.
But of course, things do break. When they do, it’s good to know the gun is backed by a warranty, especially one with repair centers in the US.
The FABARM Autumn’s 5-year warranty gives you this kind of protection and peace of mind.
Of course, while I loved the gun, I thought it could use some tweaks:
- The fences could use a bit of styling, especially on ahead of the toplever.
- The pistol grip needs some refinement. I would like to see it look more like round-knob
- They need to add an automatic safety. It’s a must have on a bird gun. I’ve owned guns without them, and it’s too easy to forget to slide it to “safe” after opening and closing the gun.
Ready to buy? Here are a few dealers on Gunsinternational.com who can help you out now:
Fabarm Autumn Pistol Grip Side by Side Shotgun | 20ga 30″ | For Sale at Cole Guns
Fabarm Autumn 20ga For Sale at Gordy and Sons Outfitters
Fabarm Autumn 20 gauge Side by Side 30″ For Sale at Pacific Sporting Arms East
Fabarm Autumn 20ga 28″ English Stock For Sale at Silver Creek Outfitters
Fabarm Autumn 20ga 28” barrels English Etock SST For Sale at the Iron Cowboy Gun Shop