Wingshooting is equal parts mechanics and voodoo; it’s one of the shooting arts that never really came naturally to me. Some guys seem to hit flying targets naturally as if they can simply feel it. Please rest assured that this was never my situation, and if I’m having a good day in the field it’s the exception and not the rule. But, I do enjoy hunting ruffed grouse and pheasants – in spite of the misses – and also enjoy a fine shotgun.
Shotgun fit has become paramount for me. I shoot much better with a properly fitting gun, and I’ve learned to find those that fit me well. I’ve also developed a near-addiction for fine guns, and though the wallet isn’t nearly as willing as the mind is, I don’t mind saving for a gun that is within reach.
Strolling through the aisles in between meetings at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, a sweet shotgun caught my eye. The gentleman working the Fausti booth must’ve seen that I was daydreaming about a good pointer and a field full of birds, as he snapped me back to reality when he asked me if I liked what I was looking at.
“That’s a pretty shotgun, huh? Want to hold it?”
I certainly didn’t decline, and that daydream became even more vivid as I wrapped my hands around the finely checkered stock and swung on an imaginary flushing rooster. The svelte, well-proportioned 28-gauge stack-barrel shouldered as if it was part of my anatomy; the Class LX‘s trigger at a proper length for my frame, with just enough drop at the comb to allow for a good fit on my cheek. I was deeply in lust…
- Type: Break-action, O/U shotgun
- Gauge: 28, 2¾ inch
- Capacity: 2 rds.
- Barrel length: 28 in.
- Overall length: 45 in.
- Weight: 5 lbs., 9.6 oz.
- Stock: Pistol gripped buttstock
- Sights: Brass bead front
- Finish: Blued steel, oiled walnut
- MSRP: $3,200
- Manufacturer: Fausti
Cavalier Ufficiale Stefano Fausti founded his firearms company in 1948, in the Trompia Valley of Italy; long famous for its gun-making tradition. Fausti Arms is now run by Stefano’s three daughters Elena, Giovanna and Barbara; and their business is thriving. This is, in no small part, to the effort of the sisters, making and keeping a strong presence in the firearms community. They have produced many OEM parts for different shotgun makers, they have teamed up with Weatherby to produce their D’Italia line, but it’s
Fausti’s own line of firearms that defines the essence of the company.
Speaking a fair amount of Italian myself, when I get the chance to converse with Giovanna and Barbara at the trade shows, it’s easy to pick up on the passion they have for their family business, and though both speak fluent English, in their native tongue it comes across best. They love what they do, and it shows in their products.
The Class LX is not your average shotgun. While it certainly isn’t Fausti’s most expensive – some of the higher-end Fausti shotguns can run very deep into the five-figures – it still has the attention to detail that any shotgunner will appreciate. It is part of Fausti’s ‘Core’ line; my test gun had a pair of 28-inch barrels – with interchangeable chokes – and a single trigger 14 3/8 inches from the center of the orange-red butt pad. The frame of the Class LX is gauge specific, and color case-hardened, with gold inlaid quail surrounded by a nice pattern of laser engraving.
A finely crafted vent rib, with perpendicular ridges and topped off with a small bead sight, offers a sweet sighting plane, while the skeletonized lever breaks the action so the automatic ejectors can do their thing. A sliding tang safety, which can be worked perpendicularly to select the barrel you wish to fire first, is finely checkered to give a positive grip under the thumb. Keeping the selector pushed to the right will have the top barrel fire first, pushing it to the left will fire the bottom barrel first. A nice walnut stock complements the appointments; it’s nicely figured, but not so off the charts that a hunter would feel guilty taking it afield. An open pistol grip in Prince of Wales style tops it off, giving it a classic look that grabs the eye.
Class is in session.
The Class LX arrived in a Negrini ABS plastic green hardshell case; this gun was made to travel. The interior of the case is a forest green velvety material, compartmentalized to hold the firearm when broken down, and three latches – each with a combination lock – keep the case shut tight. Fausti provides a faux-suede slipcase for the barrel/forend and buttstock/receiver, for further protection.
Assembly and disassembly of the Class LX was a breeze. The traditional lever, located under the forend, removes the forend – however, due to the automatic ejectors, you must pull the forend down toward the receiver in order to avoid touching the end of the ejectors. The initial feel of the action seemed a bit stiff but definitely became smoother as I used the shotgun. I believe this is a testament to the tight tolerances of the Fausti line, and after a significant break-in would feel like an extension of your hands.
Fausti supplied five choke tubes, each with its corresponding marking, in a neat plastic box. My test gun came with cylinder (C), improved cylinder (IC), modified (M), improved modified (IM) and full (F); a T-handled wrench installed and removed each without issue. Each of the chokes is identified by the number of notches – or lack thereof – on the muzzle end of the choke. I chose the classic M/F combination for the pheasant hunt, and the IC/IM for clay birds; both combinations worked just fine for me. I like to shoot the top barrel first, so I kept the tighter choke in the bottom barrel in each of the shooting scenarios. The F and IM choke tubes cannot be used with steel shot, but any of the more open chokes can safely shoot steel.
In the field, the Class LX showed its true colors. Weighing in at 5 lbs. 9 oz., the 28 gauge had what I can only call a ‘sweet’ feel to it; it balanced like a dream and seemed to float to shoulder. Though it was spring, my good buddy Jeff Koonz – owner of Coxsackie Gun & Bow, my hometown gun shop was headed out on a training exercise with his faithful pointer Dooley and invited me to come along for a few pheasants at Stuyvesant Outdoor Adventures, our local preserve. While this endeavor wouldn’t necessarily test my own hunting prowess, it would most definitely test the mettle of the light 28-gauge. I grabbed a box of Federal Premium No. 6 shot 2 ¾-inch shotshells and began the fun with Koonz and Dooley. The first bird Dooley pointed was a hen pheasant, and when she flushed, an instinctive swing of the shotgun and a tickle of the trigger put her down quickly. Dooley locked up on a rooster next, and again the Class LX ended his cackling quickly and effectively. The third bird was another rooster, and though he gave Dooley some trouble in the high grass, the top barrel of the Fausti put him down quickly. This gun is a shooter, for certain.
I wanted a bit more shooting time with the Class XL, so my pal Marty Groppi and I took turns breaking clay birds with his backyard thrower. Groppi is an accomplished shotgunner, and he agreed with my observations about the balance and fit of the gun, as well as my opinions regarding the appointments and finish.
I used Federal Premium shotshells for all the testing; their Wing-Shok Upland Load uses ¾ ounce of copper-plated No. 6 shot, while the Gold Medal Target Load used ¾ ounce of lead No. 8 ½ shot. The Upland Load has an advertised muzzle velocity of 1,295 feet per second (fps), while the Target Load is slightly slower at 1,230 fps. Both lines shot very well, with no misfires or loading and ejection issues.
As you could easily guess, a 28-gauge shotgun doesn’t provide anything close to terrible recoil, however, the classy red pad took whatever there was and absorbed it well.
While certainly not a bargain basement gun, the Fausti Class LX is a great value, when compared to what could be spent on a good-quality stack barrel. There are the obvious selling points – the look, the balance, the pointability – but the subtleties of the gun would make anyone proud to own it. The engraving is rich enough, yet not gaudy. Through the color case hardening and gold-inlaid birds, you’ll see the fine outlines of trees and grass in the background – ‘finer than the finest pen strokes’, as Mr. Tolkien stated – that don’t jump out at the holder immediately, but become evident as time is spent with the rifle in hand. I like little subtleties like that; it’s almost as if you need to get to know the gun, like a good relationship. Regarding the color case hardening, I’m the kind of guy who could stare at it for hours; no two patterns are the same.
My dad taught me early on that form must follow function – his collection of firearms is comprised of basic, functioning guns, that have been worn through use, not abuse – and the Fausti Class LX is fully functional, with no design issues that I would change.
Are all of the features of the Class LX necessary for a good-shooting shotgun? You know that fine engraving or 32 LPI (lines per inch) checkering never killed a rooster or broke a clay bird, but then again if we applied that same mentality to automobiles, we’d all be driving World War II-era Willy’s Jeeps. Is the Class LX a gun that will run down the bank account? No, and while it’s not likely to be found on sale at Wal-Mart any time soon, it isn’t a shotgun that runs over five figures. What it is, in my opinion, is a shotgun with true class – pun absolutely intended – that is priced well enough for a hunter or shooter who wants to have something nice to take afield or to the trap range.
Just as with rifle calibers, I’m not a gauge-snob. I’ve heard the 28 referred to as a gentleman’s gauge but when I held the Class LX at the SHOT Show I immediately imagined what could be the ultimate gun for ruffed grouse, bobwhite quail and woodcock. At 5 pounds, 9 ounces unloaded, the petite little gun is a dream to carry, yet will handle even pheasants if the shooter is disciplined. Perhaps a 20 gauge may make a better all-around choice, or even a 12 if that tickles your fancy, but I like the sleek lines and lack of bulk of the 28 gauge. I can also testify to the effectiveness of 28-gauge shotguns for cottontail and snowshoe rabbits, and I’d love to grab this Fausti and a good beagle or two for a great day listening to the music they make while chasing rabbits. No matter, the Fausti Class LX is available in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges, as well as .410 bore.
Some folks believe that any double gun deserves two triggers, and while I am completely on board with that statement when it comes to a double rifle, I’m indifferent when it comes to shotguns. I own both varieties of double-barreled shotguns — with two triggers or a single, sometimes selective, and sometimes not — and it’s never been a handicap to me. Just like switching between action types, you must be aware of the fundamental workings of your gun, and that transfers to trigger setup as well.
Is the Fausti Class LX for you? That’s a personal choice, but with a street price of right around $3,200, the Class LX gives the fine Italian shotgun experience, without depleting your 401K, and that’s just fine by me.
To learn more information about a Fausti Class LX, click http://www.faustiusa.com/prodotti.php?cat=14&prod=54.
To purchase a Faustin shotgun on GunsAmerica, click https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?Keyword=Fausti.