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Famars Leonardo

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It was a beautiful day on Saturday at the Southern Side by Side Classic in Raleigh, North Carolina. I had the pleasure of meeting Cristina Abbiatico and Paul Mihailides, the President and Chairman of FAMARS srl, the largest best gun maker in the world who was displaying at the event. She explained to me that they had just launched their newest expansion with a U.S.-based operation, FAMARS USA. The company was at the 5-stand offering trials of the Leonardo, the latest model released by this Italian best gun maker.

My initial reaction was that the lines of this gun were elegant and its fit and finish were stunning in the light. The gun was quite balanced but the profile is noticeably more shallow than its competition Holland & Holland and Purdey. When I shouldered the gun and pointed, the sight plane was as if I was looking down a side-by-side with a perfect field of view. While I only fired 8 rounds, the gun fired flawlessly and only dropped one target – hardly the gun’s fault. Upon my inspection of the barrels and receiver, I observed a most elegant lock up and perfect fit and finish. I decided to take the forearm and barrels off and observed that the shotgun uses a Boss woodward locking system.

But this locking system is different than what I am used to seeing. It is Famars newest design addition. The barrel lock up is not only hinged like traditional systems but there are two interlocking lugs on the inside of the receiver seat. The Leonardo can also be fit with barrels up to 500 nitro.

The Leonardo is familiar to a preceding Famars model called the Sovereign but with noticeable improvements that make this model quite special. The Leonardo is 1 mm wider and has a shallower receiver depth any other O/U I have seen. The armament lever is straight back and positive, instead of the trajectory being angled off. Because of its angulations, the recoil is manageable and this gun is a pleasure to shoot. The ejector system is modified for improved reliability and the triggers are a mechanical design, a wise improvement over the inertia triggers of the Sovereign.

Overall, the Leonardo is a delightful, well-appointed gun that creates a new standard in the world of best guns. The model has been produced in 12 and 20 gauge and will be available in the fall in 28 and 410 gauge. A 12 gauge weighs in at 7 lb 7 oz. Currently in production is a titanium model with 30" barrels and 15" LOP that will weigh 37% less than the steel model. The titanium model – with Titanium frame, sidelocks, and forend iron – could actually weigh as little as 5 lbs. in 20 gauge.

The Leonardo is available in all gauges, with single or double triggers, and each model uses a pinless sidelock hand engraved by Il Bulino’s best engravers.

The gun, if ever disassembled, is also engraved on the inside with every attention to detail internally as well. Every part of the Leonardo is best quality, no exception, from the locking mechanism to the chopper lump barrels to the exquisite exhibition grade Turkish walnut of the stock. The limited production of only 75 guns surely makes the Leonardo a must have for any serious gun collector. With a price tag of 95,000USD, this stunning limited edition model will surely hold its value through time.


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