by Barbara Baird - Thursday, December 22, 2016
Photo Courtesy Jason Baird
Franchi claims the average female shotgunner stands 5 feet 4 inches tall and sports 28-inch arms. The average male shotgunner is 5 feet 9 inches tall, with 33-inch arms. I land somewhere in between those two averages, and so it was with great interest that I accepted an assignment to test Franchi’s two guns made especially for women—the Instinct Catalyst and the Affinity Catalyst.
Franchi Instinct Catalyst
Let’s just put this out there as a blanket statement: Women love anything Italian—if it’s in good taste. Franchi waltzed into the women’s shotgun market, which typically demands at least three Grover Cleveland bills for a purchase, with this 12-gauge over/under designed with a drop, cast, pitch, length-of-pull and grip length attuned to the average woman shotgunner’s body size.
As I opened the shipping box at my local FFL’s shop, I was struck by the complement between the shotgun’s walnut and metal. The A-Grade satin walnut looks attractive next to the color case-hardened receiver and blued barrel. Add the bling of the gold-plated trigger, and you have a very handsome gun.
When I brought the Instinct Catalyst to my shoulder I could immediately feel that the gun was a good fit to me. No need to break out the ¼-inch recoil pad spacer to adjust for my length of pull. I hit a few and missed a few. Then, I took it home to my range to shoot some cross-overs and again, I liked the balance of it and the overall swing-ability of the gun.
I would love to rabbit or pheasant hunt with this one.
Technical Specifications:• Type: Over/under shotgun
Franchi Affinity Catalyst
This one also comes from good bloodlines. Built on the genetics of Franchi’s Affinity, the semi-auto is like a beautiful little sister—still tough enough to take afield, but sporting that polished A-Grade satin walnut finish with a black anodized receiver and blued barrel. The gold trigger completes the look of class in this gun.
The Affinity comes with Franchi’s Inertia-Driven System with its three primary parts: bolt body, inertia spring and rotating bolt head. Believe me, I’ve had to disassemble and clean some gas-driven systems here lately and this one should be a snap compared to those. Also, this type of system weighs less than a gas-driven type, and it also has no springs, gas cylinders or action bar linkages under the forend that add weight and affect balance. Considering that I will be wearing a heavy jacket while duck hunting, I’m sure the recoil from shooting a shotgun with this type of system will not bother me.
Frankly, for wingshooting I like the Affinity better than the Instinct. For me, it feels more like an extension of my arm, and during practice I hit way more than I missed with it. I can hardly wait to take it duck hunting in Arkansas this winter.
Technical Specifications:• Type: Semi-auto shotgun
E-mail your comments/questions about this site to:
For questions/comments about American Hunter magazine, please e-mail:
You can contact the NRA via phone at: NRA Member Programs
To advertise on American Hunter, visit nramediakit.com for more information
Get the American Hunter Insider newsletter for at-a-glance access to industry news, gear, gun reviews, videos and more—delivered directly to your Inbox.