FABARM ELOS N2 Sporting
It is a whole new ball game: while Fabarm has kept the Elos nameplate on this shotgun, there are more, far more than enough changes to call it a brand new gun. Most manufacturers would have done just that. It also comes in at a price level that makes Beretta and Browning models look unreasonably, horribly overpriced by comparison. (Consider that the Beretta 692 Sporting B-Fast 12 gauge J692B10 w/ Adjustable Comb has an MSRP of $5275, while the Browning 725 Pro has still-salty MSRP of $3999.99, for what it is. This Fabarm Elos N2 has an astonishing low MSRP of $2795.)
According to statista, the “Statistics Portal,” there are currently 5.08 million participants in clay shooting sports in the United States. I'll call that a lot of shooters, a lot of shotguns, and a tremendous amount of clays and shells. When it comes to “Sporting Models” of shotguns, that's a fairly recent phenomenon. At one time, there were only trap or skeet models, and even then not much selection. Even today, the “sporting” gun is often a field gun shoved into a different box with “Sporting” printed on the outside. What you might get is a higher price, a wider rib, some light pipes, perhaps some ugly and annoying barrel ports, and a few light pipes. In other words, not much.
The Fabarm N2 Sporting does not suffer from paint job syndrome: it is a complete reworking of the gun. The barrels are lighter and livelier, the ejectors are more robust, the forearm attachment is improved, and the triggers are lighter as both sears break at 3 lbs. 9 oz. on my test gun. The Elos N2 has a well-done palm swell, and a wide tapered rib that runs from 10mm to 8mm: a common field gun ventilated rib is often 6mm in width. The triggers are inertia type, the action is a coil-spring boxlock similar to Caesar Guerini and B. Rizzini shotguns, sometimes called the Italian Guild Action. The barrels rotate on trunnions and the lock-up is with a full-width hinge pin. The tang safety does not automatically reset, as you would expect (and want) on a target gun.
The adjustable Micro-Metric comb has independently adjustable bolts for the height, and can be moved to the left or right as you prefer.
It doesn't stop there, for the Elos N2 also has an adjustable trigger, a generous 22mm Microcell recoil pad, and the factory adjustable comb that Fabarm calls their “Micro-Metric 3D” system. The recoil pad is interchangeable with three other factory Fabarm pads as you prefer, or if you prefer. The 30 inch Fabarm Elos N2 weighs almost 8 lbs.: it is 7 lbs. 14 oz. unloaded, so it is just over 8 lbs. when you actually use it. It is a soft-shooting shotgun, noticeably softer than the 725 Browning Sporting. It doesn't come from any particularly special white or dark magic, it just weighs a bit more.
If you want to add more weight, Fabarm makes it easy. The 180 gram weight that fits on the Fabarm AXIS RS 12 models as shown above fits right into the buttstock of the ELOS N2, quicky adding about 6.35 ounces if you wish.
Four Fabarm Exis HP extended chokes are supplied: a #2 (Improved Cylinder), #5 (Modified), #7 (Improved Modified), and #9 (Full). Fabarm describes their chokes in just about every way they can be described, for both the number and the designation are etched on the outside of the tubes, so you never have to stick your snoodle into the muzzle in search of notches.
Fabarm flush chokes (inner HP, as supplied on the L4S hunting line and the XLR5 Waterfowler) are interchangeable with the extended chokes. The Fabarm designation (#2, #5. #7, etc.) indicates actual constrictions in one-tenth of one millimeter, which is 0.0393701 inch. That's roughly .004 inch per increment of constriction. All constrictions are steel rated as well. The flush tubes are 82mm (3.23 inches) in length, whereas the current extended tubes are 97mm (3.82 inches) in length.
For sake of completeness, I'll mention the old style of 12 gauge Fabarm Exis extended tubes that are 92mm in overall length: those are interchangeable as well with both the flush and 97mm tubes. Fabarm USA currently offers a total of eight different constrictions, from 0/0 to 10/10. The only gaps, if you want to call them that, is that there is no “3/10” choke or "6/10" choke. It jumps from #2 (Improved Cylinder) to #4 (Light Modified) in the line-up and from #5 (Modified) to #7 (Light Full).
THE ADJUSTABLE COMB
The adjustable comb section will fool you: at least it fooled me. It looks like it could be black plastic or rubber from a short distance, especially from the left side, but it is walnut with some sort of mysterious, impervious black coating applied to it. Some have asked, why have an adjustable comb?
Many shooters, perhaps most shooters, could benefit from either an adjustable comb or a professional stock fitting. Just as many shooters are not exactly keen on stock-fitting or adding an adjustable comb for quite understandable reasons. You probably don't have a truly excellent stock-fitter within driving distance: a Wal*Mart or Target, sure, but not a professional stock-fitter. Back in the day around here, what we considered the best path was a trio to Kolar Arms in Racine, Wisconsin. Today, Kolar still does expert stock-fitting, but whether stock-fitting or gunsmithing, it is usually limited to only Kolar guns or the Remington 90-T, which was made by Kolar. Their price to install an adjustable comb is $595.
The travel and expense for a stock-fitting is a bit of a turn-off for some. Sending off your buttstock for the addition of an adjustable comb conjures up the usual UPS smashed package worries, as well as the cost. Also, there is the consideration of resale value. Once a gun is modified from factory condition, it isn't usually a terrific investment. We are all likely better-off putting the cash into the kitchen remodeling.
Yet, unless you are an identical twin, the chances of a shotgun fitting you precisely like someone else is low. It may be close, it may be what you deem good enough, but the general idea of an adjustable comb is to get your eye absolutely, perfectly aligned with the center of the rib . . . with the natural amount of cheek pressure you want.
Also, the comb is equivalent to your rear sight: raise the comb, you raise your point of impact. It isn't unusual for those who want to use their field guns in a summer trap league to get better visibility on constantly rising targets and better scores. Slipping a sock on your buttstock with an oval foam comb riser isn't exactly elegant, it doesn't move the comb precisely left or right like an adjustable comb can, but it is done and it is used as a temporary fix on field guns for the most part.
With the Fabarm ManoMetric adjustable comb, you're good to go right out of the box. No trips to UPS, no waiting, no up-charges, and no aftermarket modifications that change your gun permanently from factory new condition are all generally very good things. The factory works far better than sock slip-on or stick-um attempts, and it looks (at least) a thousand percent better as well.
The walnut on the Elos N2 is hand-oiled. The forearm and the buttstock are well-matched in color, figure, and tone. As with all Fabarm product, the Elos N2 is 100% Made in Italy, no sourced fodder from other countries, and the barrels are proofed to 1630 BAR, the highest level of any commercially available C.I.P. shotgun.
Fabarm is proud of the "100% Made in Italy" construction. One of the worst-kept secrets in the industry is where guns are made. It has been common practice to make a shotgun "somewhere" (it often rhymes with jerky), run it through the Italian Proofhouse, get Italian proofmarks stamped on the barrel and whammo: you have the "Italian Job." I like the looks of the gun overall: is a bit modernistic in style, with a few tasteful red and white accents here and there. It is your choice of 30 inch or 32 inch barrel sets. I prefer the 30 inch set, they are actually 30.59 inch barrels with the factory extended Exis chokes installed.
HOW IT STACKS UP
We can land a Man on the Moon, but we can't land a Man on Rosie O'Donnell. The American firearms industry cannot offer a truly good clays gun for $6000, much less $5000, $4000, or $3000.
This Fabarm Elos N2, $2795 MSRP, has a 5 year written warranty. Fabarm easily wins the warranty coverage comparison without question.
Onto street price: you can find the Beretta 692 B-Fast for $4598, $5048 for the “Sporting Black Edition.” The Browning 725 Pro is $3499 street price. The Fabarm Elos N2 breaks the $4000 barrier with ease, and smashes cleanly through the $3000 barrier as well. MSRP is at $2795, a whopping $2200 or more less than the street price of the Beretta 692 Sporting Black, and $700 or so less than the Browning 725 Pro street price. It is too early to tell precisely, but it looks like the Fabarm is about $900 more affordable than the Browning 725 Pro. The Fabarm Elos N2 is the best value, easily, and it makes the Beretta 692 look ridiculously overpriced and the Browning 725 Pro is hardly anyone's bargain.
I have shot all three guns and although I generally do like the Beretta 692, the price is not close to being justifiable. The Browning 725 Pro does have upgraded walnut, but is plagued by obnoxious factory porting, choke tubes that do not perform as marked, and plastic Hi Viz light-pipe sights that I personally disdain, but others may actually prefer them. The Fabarm Elos N2 barrel set weighs 3 lbs. 4.6 oz. on my calibrated digital scale with two extended Exis choke tubes installed. That makes the new, lighter Elos N2 barrel set as light, or slightly lighter than the 3-1/4 lb. Beretta 692 Sporting “Steelium Pro” set.
I expected a lot from Fabarm, and in the case of the Elos N2 . . . they nailed it, and this is their best effort to date, easily. This is a shotgun that is not just easily the equal of the Beretta 692, it betters it with 100% Made in Italy quality, a higher standard of proof, better choke tubes that are steel rated in all constrictions, a thumb safety that offers a bit better purchase than the various Beretta attempts, and a remarkably more generous factory warranty and what many feel is the best gunsmithing / customer service team in North America.
The Elos N2 breaks new ground. For 5 million of the 5.08 million clay target smashers in the United States, this is all sporting gun they will ever need or want. There is nothing on the market that comes close to competing with this gun at the Fabarm Elos N2 MSRP / Maximum Advertised Price of $2795, and your favorite Fabarm USA dealer will likely save you a few pesos from that figure.
This is the type of gun, that after you take it for a test drive, you'll smile, then groan wondering just how much over $5000 it is going to cost you. When you learn that it can be yours today for $2700, you'll have to have one. The ELOS N2 is a game-changer, for it redefines the 12 gauge Clays O/U shotgun in a way has a lot less wallet-recoil than any similarly configured quality shotgun on market, like two thousand dollars or more less wallet recoil than many other models. When you consider that a Blaser F16 with no adjustable comb can run you $4500 or so, the closer you look, the better the Elos N2 gets.
defines the Fabarm Elos N2 is balance: perfect balance
between the hands, perfectly balanced triggers, balanced /
comfortable recoil, and a perfect balance of adjust-ability and
is a level of clays gun that many thought they could not afford, but as
it turns out . . . essentially anyone that can afford to break a lot of
clays can easily afford this gun.
The Fabarm Elos N2 is not only half the price of some similarly specified models and scant little more than some autoloaders: all in all, this is a tremendous accomplishment from Fabarm USA. It is a terrific clays gun that allows you to compete with anything and everything.
Copyright 2019 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.