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Fabarm STL VS sporter

Fabarm STL VS sporter

The Fabarm STL VS sporter is made in Italy and imported by Viking Arms of Harrogate (who handle many other well known sporting lines including Colt,  Merkel and Ruger). Fabarm have a reputation for innovation. They make more than 50,000 guns a year ñ so they are a major player internationally. They certainly make some interesting and attractive guns using high-tech methods (I am a particular fan of their 4 lump side by side). The STL VS is no exception, first impressions of it are very good, not least because of the tough-looking aluminium travel case in which it is presented. 

The gun definitely has the wow factor. It is strikingly handsome thanks to so called ëTri-woodí (a clever inking process that creates the illusion of exceptionally figured wood), sculptured actions fences, and action decoration that combines bold scroll engraving with well done gold accents and the STL logo on the walls of the action (and a VS on bottom). It was all quite flash, but not over the top. Not quite. The Italians seem to love this stylistic stuff. One has to acknowledge that they are masters of it.

Beauty is as beauty does. On bringing the STL to the shoulder, my first thoughts on the handling were very positive. The gun feels solid and is comfortable with regard to grip, forend and comb shapes. The grip filled the hand and had a very slight palm swell. I also liked the balance which in our 30î  model (there are 32 and 28î options) was slightly muzzle-heavy (about an 1/8î 
forward of the hingepin). I noted that the rib had a slight taper and was equipped with a HiViz front sight. This comes with a variety of interchangeable inserts. Indeed, the STL is a gun-nuts dream, in a number of respects. As well as the Hi Viz sights, it comes equipped with no fewer than than 8, titanium coated Exis chokes tubes. The comb is adjustable (for both height and off-set),  so is the trigger, and the recoil pad is of the interchangeable type too. Fabarm seem determined to increase the perceived value of their product by such touches. 

Time to put the gun on the test bench. The gun bears Italian proof marks for 3î (76mm) shells. Bore diameter is marked at 18.7 ñ wider than average (and better for it). They are made by a deep drilling process rather than hammer forging. Fabarm claims this reduces stress in the metal (I have no opinion on this, but they have got me thinking!). They are also Triboredí. This combines a lengthened forcing cone with a back-bored section in the first part of the bore.  It gradually contracts in diameter to 18.4 or thereabouts behind the choke area.  The makers claim a ballistic advantage to the system.

story continues below...

The barrels are well put together. They are, of course, monobloc.  Internal and external presentation is good, blacking is excellent. The interchangeable chokes are nicely machined and of the parallel type as favoured by older British gunmakers rather than the conic section as made famous by Nigel Teague. The cones that lead into the parallel section are exceptionally long,  however 40mm or so. The parallel section is only about 10mm.

There is nothing earth shattering about the action design. It is a typical modern Italian design with split hinge pins combined with a Browning style, full-width, bolting arrangement. It is nicely engineered. Everything, of course, is powered by coil springs. The trigger is recoil activated. The most notable feature of the action design is the titanium coating on the well-shaped top lever and trigger guard.  This is also used on the chokes and forend iron. It is not only attractive but,  I would anticipate,  durable too.  Its anti-corrosive properties can do no hard.

The stock design on the Fabarm was good. I liked the fairly full pistol grip as noted. I liked the comb shape. I also like the simple way the adjustable comb could be moved and locked (it also had a good range of movements). Stock length was just under 15î (another thumbís up). The drop of the stock would have been low at something a little over 2 ºî but it is a sensible dimension
(by luck or accident) on a gun with an adjustable comb. It allows one to create something like a Monte Carlo comb if required. The checkering on butt and forend was good,  and I would guess it has been achieved by a laser process. What about the Tri-Wood. Well, it looks good, and allows for fairly easy repair (unlike processes involving transfers). It would have been nice to see it extending beneath the adjustable comb piece, though. 

Shooting Impressions

I shot the gun, as ever, at the Braintree Shooting Ground  (Clayhouse Ltd.) in Essex. It was a gun without notable vices. It was comfortable to use, relatively soft-recoiling, and steady. Its handling was not unlike an old silver-actioned 682. I liked the gun. It was predictable in use.  The STL VS offers sound design, excellent styling and good value.  My thanks to Lyalvale (Express) for supplying the cartridges used in this test.

PRICE: £1860

  • Fabarm STL VS sporter - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm STL VS sporter - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm STL VS sporter - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm STL VS sporter - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm STL VS sporter - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm STL VS sporter - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm STL VS sporter - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge


  • Model: Fabarm STL VS
  • Action type: trigger-plate over and under
  • Weight: 8 pounds approx.
  • Barrel length: 30 (28 and 32" options)
  • Construction: monobloc
  • Chokes: Multi (8 supplied)


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