A star Sporter
PUBLISHED: 16:42 03 August 2012 | UPDATED: 15:04 28 November 2012
The Fausti Windsor 32" Sporter is a gun that really does offer value for money
This month's test gun is taken straight from the rack at the Sportsman Gun Centre shop in Dorset, based at the Southern Counties Shooting Ground. I have to say before progressing with the test that I have had great service from the knowledgeable staff at this large and modern emporium and often go there for my own supplies. I have acquired bullet heads, scope mounts and a bipod on recent visits.
Now, on with the show! The test gun is a big beast but an attractive one, with a silver polished medium scroll and gamescene-engraved action. The stock shapes are quite full, with a large grip that is quite tightly radiused, a full comb that complements it and a schnabel fore-end, which is better than the average for not being too thin in the middle or forward.
The Fausti has a fixed single trigger with an especially wellshaped plain steel blade and a 10mm parallel sighting rib. The stock wood shows some figure and is nicely chequered. Altogether a pretty impressive package for a selling price of only £983, but the Sportsman likes to tempt, and these guns were part of a special consignment from my friends, the ever-active and attractive Fausti sisters - Elena, Barbara and Giovanna.
Bringing their gun up does not disappoint either. It comes to face and shoulder well with a slightly forward balance and a general feel of solid pointability that inspires confidence. It is no secret that I like these long guns and use them for my game shooting as well as clay busting (though my game shooting has been predominantly with 20s for several years now).
The Fausti weighs in at something around 8lbs 6oz. So, it is a bit heavy for field use, though it might be used for high bird work or, indeed, wildfowling, as it is 3"(76mm) chambered. I did not check the barrel weight, but I usually like something around the 1,550g mark in a 32" 12-bore. So far so good, but let's really get the magnifying glass out. The barrels are monobloc, as is the norm, and the joints are good, disguised with the usual bordertype engraving lines. The sighting rib is a standard 10mm, one of my favoured patterns (though my ideal is a 10-7mm taper on a clay gun and I also like an 8mm parallel).
The rib is vented, as are the joining ribs, as they should be on a competition machine. This rib was nicely laid, true with a good non-reflective top surface. Blacking on the barrels is competent too, and internal presentation is good. Forcing cones are of medium length and are well machined, both tubes marked 18.3mm - a little tighter than my preference but typical of Italian guns. There is a translucent foresight, a red rod in a steel cradle, which is not too big. It looks just a little fragile but might easily be replaced if damaged and is a good style for competition.
There are five multi-chokes supplied, so there is no skimping here - which can be an irritation on some budget guns from the big makers, as chokes are now £30 or more a pop.
As noted, this Windsor has an attractive scroll-engraved single trigger action. It is selective, with the selector placed conventionally on the top strap sliding safety. The action is of relatively low profile with trunnion hinging, a Browning style rear/primary bolt that engages with a bite slot beneath the bottom chamber mouth - a common Gardonne combination.
The action, though similar to many made in Northern Italy, is distinguished by an extra locking system which Fausti calls the ‘Quad-Lock' and appears to be Boss-inspired - a simplification, and a good one, of the ‘draw and wedge' side bolt. The action has protrusions either side which engage vertical slots in the monobloc. They may not be absolutely necessary in engineering terms - the fundamental design is actually stronger than the still brilliant Boss - but it makes the gun stand out from the Euro pack.
Machining on the action was good and the coin finish and scroll engraving were attractive, though full coverage medium scroll might have been an option rather than mixing it with game scenes. The trigger was not gold plated (hip, hip, hooray!), was elegantly shaped and could not have been easily improved upon.
The stock on the test gun was well-designed and finished too. I liked the big grip even though I am not usually a fan of large, tightly radiused designs. This one felt right, though. The comb was comfortable and offered consistent cheek support because it was not too thin (nor was it cricket bat thick). Dimensions suited me well, too, with a length from the middle www.sportingshooter.co.uk 45 of the trigger to the middle of the butt sole of 143/4" with 1/16" more at heel and 1/4" at toe. Drop was about 13/8" at the front of the comb and 21/4" at heel - all sensible, though perhaps a little low at heel.
There was slight right hand cast which suited me admirably. I never like to see much cast on an over and- under unless there really is a good reason for it, such as a major eye dominance issue.