FAUSTI FX4 SPORT - test & review
- Credit: Archant
Vic Harker was impressed by the Fausti FX4 Sport’s adaptability, when putting it through its paces on both Sporting and Trap targets in this detailed test and review
Not so very long ago, the dedicated clay target gun was manufactured and marketed by a scant half-dozen well-established manufacturers, but it now seems that ever more makers view this market as a growing one. The Fausti company is 70 years old, but their XF4 over-and-under is a recent introduction. It is offered by the makers as a clay gun that can be used for every discipline - that's quite a claim, so I was very interested to find out how close the XF4 Sport comes to achieving this goal.
It is very obvious that, in the matter of aesthetics, the makers have gone to great efforts to achieve an elegant looking gun. To do this, they have produced an action body that externally closely resembles that of the Perazzi MX8, which in turn is another crib on the British Woodward action. There is, however, a difference in that the XF4 is under-bolted, albeit by a very shallow bolt, which engages Browning-style with a reciprocal slot under the bottom barrel. This is inevitably not as low a profile as the Perazzi, which, without under-bolting, has a bifurcated locking bolt coming forward through the breech face and locating with bites or bearing surfaces above the bottom barrel.
As with every aspect of the Fausti gun, fit and finish is excellent. A well-proportioned pistol grip provides a secure and comfortable hold, and the comb, which is easily adjustable for height and cast, is equally accommodating.
A slim, well-fitted recoil pad is suitably shaped and well finished and comes into the shoulder easily and without any snagging. The fore-end wood is also well designed and sits in the palm of the hand comfortably with grooves that are shaped at the side to allow the fingers to assume a natural pointing hold.
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At 31½" in length and with the hand-detachable chokes adding another 1", this is indeed a long-barrelled gun. With an all-up weight of 8lb 2oz, it did balance nicely between the hands, though, and at no time did it feel unduly heavy.
The XF4 Sport as it is designated, at least in my opinion, will primarily be used as a Sporter. I used the Fausti in this role to begin with. With the adjustable comb, I easily achieved a good stock fit, and having verified this at the pattern plate, my first stop was the North Oxfordshire Shooting School.
I have to confess that, not having used the gun, I expected the XF4 to be something of a handful, and in truth it was over the first two targets, which I missed cleanly. It then occurred to me that this is a gun to get a firm hold of and use its weight to its best advantage, and from this point on the Fausti and I worked together well.
Its long barrels, with the momentum they created, ensured I was swinging the gun through the targets effectively; indeed, with the gun's upfront weight, I could do little else. It was at this point that the Fausti became an enjoyable experience. I should also add that the gun's mechanical functions in terms of trigger pulls are excellent. I confess I began the Fausti gun test with some reservations as regards to its weight as a Sporter, but having persevered sufficiently, I will be sad to send it back to its distributor (to a degree).
The fact is, however, that as I am writing I am yet to return the XF4 to its rightful owners. Instead, I took them at their word and decided to evaluate the gun for the purpose of Trap shooting too. This is something I have never considered before, simply because I did not believe there is such a thing as an all-purpose shotgun. Indeed, I still believe that, but I have to admit the Fausti XF4 is rather different. There have been examples of shooters using one gun for two different disciplines, the most notable in my experience being the late A. J. 'Smoker' Smith, who used a Browning A1 Trap gun for both FITASC and Olympic Trap.
As a Trap gun, the XF4 Sport adapted easily in that its barrel weight of 1.609kg helps a great deal. Though surprisingly lively as a Sporter, the XF4 easily adapted to its role as a Trap gun. In this, the stock configuration inevitably played a key role - drop at heel, which of course cannot be adjusted, was a crucial dimension in this. A measurement of 60mm was, in my view, a perfect compromise that, together with a comb that is adjustable, is a judicious choice that will accommodate a lot of shooters.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the XF4 is what it offers for the price. Those of us who have been around for some while acquired our guns at a cost that was significantly less than it is today. Perazzi, Beretta and Browning were the most popular choices simply because they were the best in terms of specification and quality of manufacture. In the main, this is still true today, but inevitably their cost is significantly greater than it was. In the case of the Fausti XF4, much of its design is simpler (for example, the jointing of the barrels to the action is less sophisticated than the Browning or the Perazzi), but nevertheless it's more than adequate. The same can be said of the ejector work. As for the trigger mechanism, it's to a very satisfactory design, and mechanical function is very good. Weight and balance, in the case of the 32" barrelled XF4, represents a versatile clay target gun and I look forward to using the shorter barrelled version.
Model: Fausti FX4 Sport
Action: Single Trigger Boxlock
Barrel Length: 31 ½ "
Chokes: Six hand detachable chokes
Rib: Tapered 10mm-7mm
Stock: Pistol grip, adjustable comb
Weight: 8lbs 4oz
Suggested Retail: £3,870 inc VAT
UK Distributor: Fausti UK, (in association with Stag Country Sports).
T: 07702 843520