Fabarm Classic Lion

Fabarm Classic Lion

WHILE many sportsmen have moved to over-unders and semiautomatic shotguns, a small but traditional market still exists for elegant side-by-sides. FABARM’s line of doublebarrel shotguns, appropriately named “Classic Lion,” exhibit a mixture of Old World craftsmanship with modern manufacturing methods and features. Two grades are offered, differing only in that Grade I is an engraved boxlock, while the Grade II is a boxlock with removable, engraved, false sideplates and a lockable, fitted luggage case. We received a Grade I Classic Lion for test and evaluation.

The most remarkable feature about the FABARM Classic Lion is its locking system. Each barrel chamber of the monobloc has its own set of Purdy double under lumps. H&K, the importer of FABARM shotguns, calls this arrangement the “four locking points.” This “quad-lock” makes assembling the gun almost effortless as it is essentially self-aligning, and offers unsurpassed strength and durability.

The boxlock action is CNC machined from a nickel-chromium-molybdenum steel forging that is finished in the white. A tasteful amount of scroll engraving adorns the sides and bottom of the receiver as well as its fences. Hammers pivot on pins in the bottom of the action and are powered by coil springs. Sears are pinned in the top tang and tripped by an extension protruding up from the single selective trigger. The trigger is gold-plated and checkered for better finger purchase. Barrel selection is by means of a selector button built into the top tang-mounted automatic safety button. Moving the selector to the left exposes one red dot indicating that the right barrel will fire first. Upon pulling the trigger. the trigger extension lifts the selected barrel’s sear, releasing the hammer to strike the rebounding firing pin and fire the shot. Recoil causes the inertia block to rock back and positions the trigger extension under the other barrel’s sear.

Cocking is by a single rod passing through the bottom of the action that pushes the hammers back when the action is opened. The rather complicated automatic ejector system is interlocked with the action of cocking the hammers. When a hammer is cocked, it presses back a steel stamping in the side of the action connected to the ejector trip rods. The rod trips the ejector sear contained in the fore-end iron, which activates the ejector. If a barrel isn’t fired, cocking does not occur, and the ejector is not activated.

Our sample’s stock is straight-grained walnut with hand-cut checkering of 22 lines per inch on the pistol grip and splinter fore-end. An Anson push rod latch retains the fore-end under the blued steel barrels. The pistol grip has a very slight right-hand palm swell, and the buttstock is cast-on to center the barrels in front of a right-handed shooter. A satin oil finish gives the wood a warm glow

Barrels are 26″ and joined by solid top and bottom ribs. A single gold sighting bead is on the front end of the top rib, while grooves perpendicular to the rib reduce glare. Chambers and barrels are chromelined and the muzzles are threaded to accept screw-in choke tubes. Full, improved-modified, modified, improved cylinder and cylinder tubes come with the gun. Tubes are rated for steel shot up to modified constriction.

We installed improved cylinder and improved-modified choke tubes and patterned the FABARM Classic Lion with Federal Premium Magnum lead shot ammunitian. Function firing was at hand-thrown battue clay targets with PMC target loads and Remington field loads. When hand– thrown. battue targets typically move fast, face, and zip off in almost any direction. They proved challenging, but the Classic Lion was up to the task. This shotgun points naturally, balances well and is extremely lively. Calmly tracking these targets was impossible, but we hammered most of them by using a combination of point and passthrough shooting techniques.

The handling characteristics of the Classic Lion will probably not come into play on game such as pheasant. Given faster and more unpredictable targets such as woodcock, grouse or quail, the responsiveness of the Classic Lion will really shine. For the upland hunter who appreciates excellent workmanship in a classic package at a fairly reasonable price, the FABARM Classic Lion will appeal.

Copyright National Rifle Association of America Sep 1999

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