June 04, 2012
Good Shotguns: Franchi Affinity
By Phil Bourjaily
Franchi’s Affinity is a reboot of the Franchi line of inertia semiautos that bear an eerie resemblance to Benelli inertia semiautos. That is not unexpected, as Benelli is Franchi’s parent company. If you think of the Benelli as the Cadillac of the line, then Franchis are the Buicks or Oldsmobiles, (that would make the very similar Stoeger semiautos the Chevys if I have my car brands straight). I had the chance to shoot an Affinity this spring and found a lot to like.
My test gun was a 20 gauge with a 26-inch barrel. It came in black synthetic; there’s a camo version, too. It has an acceptably low amount of the annoying futuristic styling* that afflicts shotguns made today. Besides, once I picked it up, I forgot all about the styling.
Franchi lists it at 5.6 pounds. My scale called it 5.9. There’s no reason to quibble over a few ounces because either way the gun is a wand. The forend is slim in hand, and the Affinity has a slender stock wrist to match. It is a light, lithe, long gun. It practically begs to be shot. Being accustomed to bulker 12 gauges it took me most of a round of skeet to get used to the Affinity. Once I did, I had no trouble shooting it straight. In fact, I liked it a lot. It functioned perfectly with light target loads and ground targets. It comes from the factory with a fair amount of drop in the stock, although you can change the dimensions significantly with the stock shims included with the gun.
The main internal difference between a Benelli and a Franchi inertia gun is that the Franchis have the return spring on the magazine tube where it is easy to inspect and clean, while Benellis have their spring in the stock.
On “The Gun Nuts” TV show I used the Affinity as an example of what the perfect mountain chukar gun might be: light to carry, with enough firepower to keep shooting when a covey rises, and stocked with black plastic so you don’t cry when you drop it on piles of volcanic rock. It would be fine for mourning doves, and early teal seasons and a multitude of other shotgunning uses. There is also a 3-inch 12 gauge version.
While I hesitate to use the word “affordable” in this space because one person’s “affordable” is another’s “out of reach,” I will call it affordable anyway: it lists for $849.
*I do wish all manufacturers would stop making these angled forends that partially cover the magazine cap. Sometimes caps stick, and you need to get a good grip on them. Franchi is far from being the only offender here.