Beautifully balanced, light for purpose and offering great value for money, the Fabarm Axis RS12 Trap shotgun impressed Vic Harker in this in depth review

There can be no doubt that the UK market for shotguns is a discerning one. Over the years, little more than a half-dozen makers have made any significant impact on the clay target gun market, and only rarely does anything new appear that represents a contender for a place in this small and select group.

Fabarm (Fabbrica Bresciana Di Armi) was established by the Galesi family of Brescia in 1900. As manufacturers of every kind of sporting gun, from double-barrel shotguns to air rifles, this maker's output was prodigious. In the year 2000, Fabarm revolutionised its production and created innovative advances in shotgun barrel production in a number of key areas that were not only cost-effective but technically superior.

The Fabarm Axis RS12 was introduced fairly recently and first impressions are excellent, with an appearance that is impressive without being eccentric. The barrels are under-bolted to the action, but the makers have avoided creating too great a depth to the action body, at least in appearance. The bottom plate is nicely rounded, and the action body is suitably sculpted at the rear, which meets the head of the stock and joins with the action body's reciprocating shapes to create a streamlined profile of considerable elegance.

Fabarm Axis RS12 Trap - Action

The RS12's side-by-side hammers are cocked off the fore-end iron in the conventional manner. The single selective trigger features a combined safety catch and barrel selector that is situated on the action's top strap. Nothing new here, but why should there be? It's all tried and tested!

This is, then, an entirely conventional design and there is little that is unfamiliar. The hammers sit side by side and are cocked by twin rods running through the action body when the gun is opened and the barrels drop forward. The benefit of this is that every aspect of the gun has been tried and tested countless times over decades. Most importantly, this bulletproof design is well proven and virtually unbreakable, and requires minimum care and attention.

The lockwork is carefully regulated, and the trigger pulls are set to just 3lb which, with the minimum take up, are very crisp. The ejector work is equally proven and reliable, thrown forward by the hammers and tripping the ejectors by way of a lever in the fore-end iron.

It is very reliable in operation and sufficiently powerful to ensure the fired cases clear the barrels cleanly. Again, everything is carefully regulated to provide smooth and fast function. Barrel selection is by a button integral to the safety-catch and is nicely shaped and suitably knurled.

Fabarm Axis RS12 Trap - stock

In terms of both dimensions and configuration, the RS12 stock is outstanding. The grip is suitably deep and with the trigger adjustable for length of pull, and a well-positioned palm-swell, a comfortable hold is easily achieved. The importance of this cannot be overstated in terms of achieving a consistent gun mount.

In terms of configuration and proportion, the Fabarm's stock ticks all the boxes, with the inclusion of an adjustable comb for height and cast. Only the best custom-made stock could better this.

Fabarm Axis RS12 Trap - barrels

At 1.47kg (3lb 3.6oz) with extended hand-detachable chokes in situ, the barrels are light, but to my surprise the Fabarm's point of balance was a fraction in front of the trunnions and the gun lay comfortably between my hands. This may be due to the makers dispensing with the middle rib, and instead the barrels are only joined at the muzzle ends with a substantial lower loop.

The top rib is easily interchangeable for a higher version of the same design which comes with the gun FOC.

With an interchangeable rib and the stock adjustable for height and cast, together with a trigger which can be lengthened or shortened for length of pull, this Fabarm can be tailored to meet most shooters' requirements in terms of fit.

Fabarm Axis RS12 Trap - shooting impressions

Certainly in my case, I found the Fabarm one of the most user-friendly Trap guns I have had the pleasure of shooting for some time. This I believe was due to suitable weight distribution throughout the gun, hence its excellent handling characteristics, and how this can be modified to suit the shooter in every department. All this in addition to the incredible value for money that the Fabarm Axis represents! That said, I am left mulling over quite how the Fabarm's excellent handling qualities have been achieved with barrels I would usually consider much too light for a 30" Trap gun, and yet the RS12 is as stable as you could wish for. This is even the case for DTL targets, where light barrels are usually not to be recommended. I can only say this Italian gun is great value for money and comes highly recommended. In an age where clay target guns tend to get bigger and heavier, regardless of their intended purpose, what I can only describe as moderation is a key ingredient in the Axis RS12 specification, which is one of outstanding judgement that cannot be seen but only felt. A happy accident of wood and steel blended together? That can happen in gunmaking, but I can't believe my sample gun can be very different to other examples of the Fabarm Axis RS12 Trap. Find an example of this gun yourself and give it a try, I think you will enjoy it.



Make and Model: Fabarm Axis RS12 Trap

Bore: 12

Action: Single trigger boxlock

Barrel Length: 30"

Chamber length: 2 ¾ "

Chokes: Hand detachable 5

Rib: Low ramped, tapered (2)

Stock: Pistol grip, adjustable comb

Weight: 8lbs 3oz

Price: £1,950 inc VAT

Distributor: Anglo Italian Arms Ltd.

Tel: 01564 742477