Firearms

SHOT Show 2014 Special Edition Day 3: New Shotguns

Ruger Red Label 12 gauge with either a 26-, 28-, or 30-inch barrel

Cheaper Than Dirt! staffers covering the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas have filed their third report on new shotguns introduced at the show. In this edition are details about Harrington & Richardson 1871’s H&R Excell Auto and Ruger’s—remade and American-made—Red Label. Also, new for 2014 will be Fabarm’s Axis, which has a versatile rib design that lets it cross from trap to skeet to sporting clays.

Ruger

The American-made Ruger Red Label over/under shotgun has been an American classic for years. Discontinued in 2011, it returns this year in a redesigned format that features refined inner workings, a new center-of-gravity balance point, and reduced recoil.

Ruger Red Label 12 gauge with either a 26-, 28-, or 30-inch barrel
Ruger Red Label 12 gauge with either a 26-, 28-, or 30-inch barrel

The new Ruger Red Label (SRP: $1,399) is available in 12 gauge (chambered for 3-inch shells but able to handle all 2¾-inch shells) and can be had with a 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrel. All barrels now feature 2-inch lengthened forcing cones and maximum backboring to produce tighter patterns and reduce recoil. The Red Label’s traditional low-profile receiver is enhanced with a new stainless-steel top lever.

The Red Label sports an American walnut stock with a 1.5-inch drop at the comb, 2.5-inch drop at heel and 14.5-inch length of pull. A Pachmayr butt pad helps reduce felt recoil. The finely polished stainless-steel receiver mates with blue steel barrels that are topped with a ¼-inch dovetailed ventilated rib and a front bead sight. The barrels are threaded for interchangable choke tubes, and five separate Briley steel-shot-compatible choke tubes (two Skeet, and one each of IC, M and F) are included—as is a Briley choke-tube wrench.

The action incorporates a single selective trigger that allows a second shot without recocking. It also features rebounding hammers for easier action opening. An automatic two-position top tang safety/barrel selector switch allows quick barrel selection and positive visibility. Each Red Label ships with a custom-molded semi-soft case and safety lock.

Harrington & Richardson 1871

The H&R Excell Auto is a 12-gauge with a 3-inch chamber. The proven gas-operating system is adjustable for light or heavy loads. The magazine capacity is five rounds. The shotgun has an empty weight of about 7 pounds—thanks to its synthetic stock and forearm. It will be available in four models, three of which feature interchangeable Remington choke tubes.

The Excell Auto Black Synthetic 12/28 (SRP: $499) features a black synthetic stock with a 28-inch vent rib barrel and ships with Remington chokes in IC, M, IM and F. The Excell Auto Camo 12/28 (SRP: $579) is the same gun as the Black Synthetic, but wears a waterfowl camouflage finish. It ships with the same choke tube selection.

The Excell Auto Camo 12/22 (SRP: $579) uses the same platform, but with a 22-inch barrel and a turkey camouflage finish. It ships with Remington chokes in IC, M, F and an XF turkey tube. The Excell Auto Tactical 12/18 (SRP: $499) is designed for home defense with a black synthetic stock and an 18.5-inch barrel with a fixed-cylinder choke.

H&R Excell Auto Black Synthetic 12/28 shotgun
H&R Excell Auto Black Synthetic 12/28

Fabarm

Fabarm is fast becoming a familiar name to American shotgunners. Although the Brescia, Italy, gunmaker’s wares have been imported on and off to the U.S. for years. However, Fabarm never really made its mark in the U.S. until Guerini USA bought the company in 2011. Guerini/Fabarm is now Italy’s second-largest shotgun maker (behind Beretta) and the Fabarm line has grown to have its own separate space on the back side of the Guerini booth, where it displays its distinctive line of semi-autos and O/Us.

Fabarm-XLR5-Velocity-Silver-Semi-Auto-with-Adjustable-Rib-processed
Fabarm XLR5 Velocity Silver Semi-Auto with Adjustable Rib

Fabarm guns occupy a lower price point than Guerinis. They have a contemporary European styling of their own, while sharing the excellent fit, finish and value that is a Guerini hallmark. The Velocity XLR 5 semi-auto, the new Fabarm’s “first gun” is a good example. Stocked in attractive walnut with an engraved receiver and angular European lines, it has gained a foothold in the competition semi-auto market dominated by Beretta. A high-end gun with a price tag starting at $2,500, it comes competition-ready out of the box with a rib that adjusts for point of impact, adjustable comb and stock spacers, trigger that adjusts for length of pull and weights to alter its balance. An oversize bolt handle and an enlarged bolt-release button are standard as well. The internal parts of the Velocity are beautifully polished, which may partly explain its smooth operation and ability to cycle anything you put in it—down to reloads 7/8 ounce and lighter. It’s a soft shooter with any ammo.

Last year Fabarm added the Axis and Elos over/unders. The Axis is a 12-gauge target gun in trap and sporting clays configurations. I have shot the Sporting Clays gun and been impressed with its unconventional good looks and shootability. New for 2014, will be an Axis with a versatile rib design that lets it cross over from trap to skeet to sporting clays.

The Elos is a hunting gun in 20 and 28 gauge in both steel and lightweight alloy frame configurations in a field and Deluxe grade. This year Elos will be available in a reduced-length model for smaller-stature shooters. — By Phil Bourjaily, SHOT Daily

Do tactical shotguns tickle your fancy or do you prefer something more refined? American or European Shotguns? Sound off with your picks in the comment section.

Editor’s Note: Our staff articles are supplemented with reporting by SHOT Business Daily, reprinted with permission. SHOT Daily, produced by The Bonnier Corporation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, covers all facets of the yearly firearms-industry show. To view a 2014 digital version of SHOT Dailyclick here.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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