Now in its 19th year, readers count on American Hunter’s Golden Bullseye Awards to denote excellence. Indeed, these days many companies knowingly strive to hit the mark—to produce innovative products that catch our attention. After all, any product worthy of our gold standard must meet or exceed American Hunter’s expectations of innovation—and they absolutely must provide hunters with value for their money.
2020 Shotgun of the Year: Franchi Instinct LX
Field Editor Ron Spomer knew it when he tested the Franchi Instinct LX: “The beating heart and soul of this shotgun is its feel and performance,” he wrote (“Hardware,” October ’19).
Dark, satin-finished, AA-grade walnut is complemented by clean cut checkering, a rounded Prince of Wales grip and a schnabel fore-end with wraparound checkering. A case-colored receiver is accented with light scroll-engraved borders and hinge pins, gold-inlaid pheasants on its side walls and a checkered top lever.
Stacked, gloss-blued, back-bored 28-inch barrels send the gun to shoulder smoothly, then hang on target to smack birds all day long. The gun locks into battery via a single, action-locking bar under the fence that juts forward as the gun is closed. This wedges into a matching recess in the monoblock, suggesting the gun should self-tighten over the years.
This Italian over/under looks good, performs marvelously and costs less than two grand. In fact the 7-pound, 12-gauge unit costs $1,699. That’s a price, considering the “feel and performance,” which should attract anyone who knows life is too short to hunt with an ugly gun. MSRP: $1,699; franchiusa.com.