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
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 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.
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.