The Franchi Instinct is an affordable over/under shotgun available in a variety of configurations, including 12-gauge, 16-gauge, 20-gauge, 28-gauge, and even .410 bore. Most models are chambered for 2.75-inch and 3-inch loads, with the SL model also accepting 2.5-inch loads. In this review, I’ll be focusing mainly on the 12-gauge Instinct L model.
Right out of the box, the Instinct looks very nice and sturdy. It has an A-grade satin walnut stock with deep, cleanly cut checkering, and comfortable texturing on both the semi-pistol grip and fore-end. The L model also features a very resilient, color case-hardened receiver and built-in barrel selector for quick barrel changes. As soon as you shoulder the gun, you’ll notice how perfectly balanced and ergonomic it is. It swings and shoulders smoothly, and even though the design is relatively simple, it’s a very intuitive shotgun.
For the most part, the Instinct is dependable and durable. It will, however, need to be cleaned regularly to ensure the most consistent functioning, and there are a couple of loads that I’ve noticed it doesn’t like (and I definitely wouldn’t recommend using homemade black powder in it!). But, for the most part, you can expect reliable performance and no squib loads. The standard auto ejectors work well, and even through years of wear and tear, you can expect incredible durability.
The Instinct L features a great sight system, which includes a red fiber-optic front bead sight that helps you stay on target. It works great for target acquisition, but of course, you could always replace it with something like a holographic sight. The Instinct also has a well-fitted recoil pad that helps mitigate some of the felt recoil, and anything that isn’t absorbed by the pad is soaked up by the weight of the gun itself. With a 28-inch barrel and an overall length of just under 45-inch, the L model weighs an ideal weight of just about 7 pounds.
The gold-plated, single-selective trigger is driven mechanically rather than by inertia. Unfortunately, the pull is somewhat heavy. It has a 5 lb lower barrel break and a 5.75 upper barrel break, which isn’t great, but pretty comparable to other shotguns in its class. It also includes a tang-mounted safety, but it’s pretty stiff and resets automatically after you break open the gun, which doesn’t make it the easiest to use. Overall, the trigger is okay for me, but some might find it excessively stiff and heavy.
The Franchi Instinct is relatively inexpensive. It’s not as inexpensive as quality pump-action models like the Benelli Nova, but still a very affordable entry-level shotgun. The L model starts at $1,369, with the SL, LX, Sporting, and SLX models starting at a few hundred dollars more. This price includes a seven-year warranty and three different choke tubes (IC, M, F). It definitely has its highs and lows, but overall, it’s not a bad investment if you care more about hunting or target shooting than self-defense. If you’re looking for an affordable over/under shotgun, this might just be the one for you.
Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller and other publications.
Image: Creative Commons.