Icon Logo Gun Mart

Fabarm Beta 3

Fabarm Beta 3

This attractive and sturdy looking Italian gun - which has been described as a side by side for over and under users - is imported by Viking Arms of Harrogate. First impressions of the Beta 3 are positive as just noted. Cosmetically, the gun is handsome with a colour case hardened action. This is just the sort of action finish that I would specify myself (and which is adopted in the new Italian made Webley 700s in homage to their English ancestors). 

On the Test Bench

story continues below...

Mounting the Beta ‘dry’ does not present any unpleasant surprises. On the contrary, the 30” test gun (there is a 28”) feels pretty well balanced and the stock shapes are reasonable. It is a slightly muzzle heavy gun – the balance point being about 1/4” forward of the hinge pin. The barrels feel quite meaty too (and I would guess that they had quite thick in the walls though I did not have a gauge to hand to confirm this). They are 3" (76mm) chambered, built on the monobloc process, and bear Italian proof marks.

Getting the magnifying glass out, the joint between monobloc and barrels is good and disguised in the usual manner with a line or two of engraving. The barrels are well put together generally. They are unusual both because of the four lumps protruding from their flats (of which more shortly) and because of their ‘Tri-boring’ - a plan of over-boring particular to Fabarm guns (see box). It combines an over-bored section in the first part of the barrel with a lengthened forcing cone and special chokes. Fabarm chokes are longer than average and of the pattern favoured by British gun makers, where a forcing cone leads into a parallel section - rather than a simple conic or tapered form for the entire length of the constriction.

It is also notable that Fabarm barrels are made by a deep drilling process rather than by hammer forging (which the makers claim creates less stresses in the metal). The barrels certainly pass muster as far as their straightness is concerned. A little additional research reveals that the firm - which now makes in excess of 50,000 guns a years (making it a very major player on the international scene) - was founded by an Italian shooter with a special interest in ballistics and barrel making.

The action of the Beta is really distinct too. It is not built upon the usual Purdey inspired plan with two lumps projecting under the barrels as the vast majority of side by side guns (save a few light-weight specials with one lump). The Fabarm side by side has no less than four lumps! It certainly appears a very strong arrangement, though it necessitates an extra slot in the action flat to accommodate the extra pair of lumps. Full marks to Fabarm, though, for making something different and not just being copyists like so many manufacturers are today; how different the situation was in the second half of the nineteenth century when every gunmaker seemed to have his own idea for a better mousetrap.

Looking at the details of the action, the colour case hardening was really great in my opinion, the gold-plated trigger had some chequering to its front, was not especially well shaped and looked a bit naff (though providing contrast with action). Nor was I especially fond of the pierced top-lever (though it has grown on me). The trigger pulls were reasonable breaking around the 3 ½ pound mark. Function of the top lever and Beretta style safety and combined barrel-selector was good. The ejectors kicked out spent shell cases efficiently.

On to the ‘Wood’

The form of the stock fell somewhere between those of a classic side by side and an over and under. Ergonomics were good and shapes reasonable. Length of pull was 14 1/2" with a thin black plastic butt plate in place. Though a bit short, this is adequate as a shelf measurement for a single-trigger gun of middle weight gun. It might easily be increased, moreover, by the simple means of a recoil pad. The drop was about right at 1 1/2" at comb and 2 1/8" at heel. There was a little cast for a right hander. The pistol grip had some good qualities. It was relatively even in depth and there was no palm swell, though it was quite tightly radiused. I also like the tapered comb and lack of obvious flutes at its front. The forend was of near classic pattern - a deep splinter. Both butt and forend are well finished and chequered, but the grain is enhanced by the Fabarm Tri-wood process (which is not used on the most recent Classis model).

Shooting Impressions

This Beta 3 costs around £1400, but sadly has recently been discontinued to be replaced by the Classis model (approx. £1600) which has a rounded action body and silver action - an especially nice gun in 20 bore. There is also a radically designed ‘Nobile’ model in the range - a very modernistic, side-plated, gun with unusual features such as ejectors that can be turned on or off. I like the Beta 3, though. It is a solid gun that shoots well with good recoil control. It is not especially pointable, but, generally speaking, feels more like an over and under than a traditionally made side by side. It would make a good skeet gun. The new Classis is a little more refined, but is essentially the same gun with a makeover.

My thanks to Lyalvale for supplying the cartridges used in this test.

PRICE: £1400

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Fabarm Beta 3 - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Model: Fabarm Beta 3
  • Bore: 12
  • Action type: single-trigger, four lump, boxlock side by side
  • Barrels: 30" (28" option)
  • Chamber: 3" (76mm)
  • Weight: about 7 pounds

4 Comments



Arrow