First Ever 3″ 28 Gauge from Benelli and New Franchi Built for Women–SHOT Show 2016

Check out Franchi: http://www.franchiusa.com/

Check out Benelli: http://www.benelliusa.com/

Buy a Franchi on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=franchi

Buy a Benelli on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=benelli

Detail on the receiver. Just enough to avoid looking gaudy.

Detail on the receiver. The depth is incredible, but the use of the finish is still sparing.

Let’s start with the Franchi. The Instinct line is well established for Franchi. The Catalyst (the latest Instinct) is a gun designed with women shooters in mind. Franchi’s new design brings the shotgun down to the 13.78″ point. The comb has been raised for shooters without so much meat on their jawline. The distance between the grip and the trigger is built for smaller hands. The length of pull has been taken in slightly, but it doesn’t compromise anything in terms of weight. At just over six pounds, the Catalyst is light enough to carry in the field, and heavy enough to swing smoothly on the range. And the 12 gauge load offers a real benefit for women who want to hunt and play.

The Franchi guns are really attractive. They have cosmetic appointments, inside and out. The bluing on the receiver is deep, colorful, and varies nicely. Inside, there are tiny spots of engine turning. The walnut is nice, but not ostentatious. All told, these are handsome guns. And that’s the thing I like best about them. While the Catalyst is built for women, they are also ideal for younger shooters. If you’ve got a teenager who is ready for a real shotgun, this could be the ideal fit. Franchi could have easily etched in flowers or dyed something pink–the way this industry typically denotes something built for women. But they didn’t. They’re not pandering. Instead, they’re addressing the weight, and fit–without insisting that a woman couldn’t handle a 12 gauge, or can’t respect a classically beautiful gun. The price on these will start at $1,599. Details and specs will be available on the Franchi site soon.

The new Ethos. 3" 28 gauge.

The new Ethos. 3″ 28 gauge.

The new Ethos is a beast. A svelte, skinny beast. This is a 3″ chambered 28 gauge. Make no mistake, this is a hunting gun. With the lighter weight of the 28 gauge, this gun is easy to carry. Super easy to carry. We were incredibly surprised by the weight–which is achieved through a judicious use of aluminum and steel, carbon fiber, and wood. But the gun also packs more of a punch. Normal 28 gauge loads don’t live up to the reach of an average 20 gauge load. But the 3″ loads (specifically designed by Fiochi) are hot, and offer the same reach as a 20 gauge.

The aluminum on the receiver cuts down on weight. This one weighs in under six pounds.

The aluminum on the receiver cuts down on weight. This one weighs in under six pounds.

How hot? We’ll see. All of this news–both the shotguns and the Fiochi rounds–are early looks. When we get a chance to field one of the new Ethos guns, we’ll let you know what we find.

This opens up some new opportunities for upland game hunts. Scott Smith, from Benelli, mentions it in the video above, and he’s spot on. Late season hunts are often a challenge. The slow birds have all been culled. The only ones left are smart, or fast, or both. With the 3″ 28, you have a bit more range than you would with a 20 gauge. More range means more time to get off the ideal shot.

Lighter weight, increased punch–what more could you ask for?

Well, with Benelli, what you get is a well-built gun with a cohesive aesthetic. These look as good as they feel. As with most Benellis, the aesthetic is modern, but not distracting. So many guns that really try for a defining look end up being dated. Benelli’s team still brings design innovations, but has consistently avoided the faddish looks.

The engraving is modest, leaving a lot of the raw metal for a polished look.

The engraving is modest, leaving a lot of the raw metal for a polished look.

The rib is carbon fiber, taking even more weight off the gun.

The rib is carbon fiber, taking even more weight off the gun.

And if you'd rather have a gun that's chromed head to toe, Benelli has a Swan to fit your needs.

And if you’d rather have a gun that’s chromed head to toe, Benelli has a Swan to fit your needs.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Cliff Chandler February 3, 2016, 4:44 pm

    I have bought both a Benelli 28ga. auto and a Franchi O/U. Both are total junk…………the auto starts getting sluggish after 50 shots on the skeet field and by 75 shots no longer ejects empties out of the port. I have cleaned it with good results, tried oiling it and the same happens, ran it dry and it still sputters after 50 shells. The Franchi O/U turned out to be a single shot if the bottom barrel is fired first, it does not switch to the top barrel after the first shot out of the bottom. If I switch the selector to fire the Top barrel first then it the bottom fires OK. In my opinion both guns are junk and I will not buy another Benelli, Franchi or Beretta product. Oh, I forgot about Beretta; I had an AL390 and it shot fine for about three months on the skeet field but then it broke one of the retaining eye rings on the gas piston during a skeet shoot making it a single shot. So that is what I consider junk too.

    • Nelson October 13, 2017, 10:37 pm

      Cliff
      You are talking about three of the finest guns on the market today. Kind of think problems stem from the owner. All guns have a five year warranty..send them in for repair if having problems

  • JS February 3, 2016, 10:03 am

    I have had a detached retina problem for years and I went down to the 28 for recoil purposes. I do like it though.

  • J.D Nesbitt February 2, 2016, 4:40 pm

    I beg to differ with the author on the “28 gauge 3inch giving you a bit more range than a 20 gauge. 20 gauge shotguns are also chambered
    for 3 inch. therefor you would have the same range but the 28 gauge would have less shot in the
    Pattern. I won’t even get into the loss of the “square load” effect or holes in the shot column.

    • Cliff Chandler February 3, 2016, 4:53 pm

      I agree with your thoughts 100%. It would be similar to shooting 3″ 410 loads. You might put more shot in the shell but the patterns go to crap because of the small hole you are trying to force the shot through. People are finding that loading 20ga. shells down to 3/4 oz. of shot improves the patterns and the same with 12ga. loads. Look at the Olympic International which are about 3/4oz shot loads and those kids are breaking birds better than most shooters do with 1-1/8oz. loads. I hunt pheasants and grouse with 1/2oz. 410 loads and have kept track of my kill vs. cripples, in the past five years I average about 24 birds dead when they hit the ground, crippled but recovered 2ea. and have only lost two birds in five years. I hunt over a setter and do not take shots beyond 30 yards.

    • Jake January 19, 2017, 2:30 pm

      What you said plus the 28 can’t handle shot larger than 6. Where it really shines is as a bird gun over dogs with 7 1/2.
      I disagree with all these statements about comparing with other gauges. I bought an 1100 Remington full choke around 1980 because pellet for pellet the 28 had the same velocity as a typical 12 gauge 2 3/4 non magnum. The 16 and 20 did not. I never lost a well hit pheasant with a 28. With #6 it will anchor a large hare as well as a 12 will.
      My three 12’s are used for shooting games and turkey shoots and ne’er do wells while the old 1100 28 handles all upland bird hunting. #6 without dogs, 7 1/2 with dogs.

  • Dewey February 2, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Three inch 28 gauge, the answer to the question that no one is asking. You know that this is built solely for the American ignoramus market. To the author, that multi-colored “bluing” is color case hardening, not bluing. Way to go, stick with black plastic, mall ninja, wannabe stuff.

  • Douglas Pope February 2, 2016, 8:34 am

    Why would you want a 3 ” 28 guage? What kind of pattern does it shoot . When you stack shot, you end up with holes in your pattern ( 3″ 410 ) If you need more use a 20 gauge .

  • Douglas Pope February 2, 2016, 8:33 am

    Why would you want a 3 ” 28 guage? What kind of pattern does it shoot . When you stack shot, you end up with holes in your pattern ( 3″ 410 ) If you need more use a 20 gauge .

  • Randy February 2, 2016, 6:49 am

    The staggering ignorance regarding the ballistic inefficiency of a three-inch 28-gauge shotshell reflected in this interview can only be matched by those heedless enough to buy said shells and pretend the .28 bore is something it’s not and never needed to be. Load this beautiful gun with premium hard shot shotshells early, then be a HUNTER, working at sensible ranges mid, and late season for doves, grouse, quail, and woodcock and behold the marvel of the 28!

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