Monday, August 11, 2008

Franchi 48AL Deluxe

Last September I bought a Franchi 48AL Deluxe in 28 ga. for hunting grouse and woodcock here in upstate New York. I bought it because I was looking for an autoloader, but one that was fast and light. All the reviews said the 48AL's long recoil design was a reliable, tried-and-true system, although considered 'old-school' by some.

But from the first time I used it, the action did not feed shells correctly. Most of the time the fired shell would eject, but the next feeding shell would jam. I tried a number of things to correct the problem, including shooting different brands of ammunition and changing the orientation of the friction ring (something you have to do with 48AL's depending on the shotshell load being used). Nothing worked and I began to think of the 48AL as a very expensive single-shot shotgun.

Finally I took it back to the dealer and he shipped it off to Franchi USA in Accokeek, MD for warranty service. Weeks turned into months and the entire long New York grouse season passed as I checked back regularly to see if my repaired or replaced shotgun was returned (fortunately, I still have my old Winchester Model 1300 to use). Each time I was assured that it would be in 'soon'. After six months, though, even the dealer had given up hope that it would be returned any time soon. The last word he got was that Franchi couldn't 'find' my gun so he replaced it on his own with a new one.

So far I've fired 30-40 rounds through the new gun at a shooting range and it has operated flawlessly. We'll see how it operates in the field. I'm excited again to use this gun after the initial disappointment. It's a beautiful gun, super light, carries like a dream, and it fits me perfectly. I hope it lives up to its reputation. And I hope I can hit birds with it...

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