Gun Review: Blaser F16 Shotgun

Blaser F16 Shotgun

I’ve had some success hunting upland birds with a Blaser F16 Game model shotgun and Federal ammunition. In this review, I extend the application of the F16 Game, paired with Federal Target loads, for the killing of some clay pigeons.

All kidding aside, just as in upland hunting, the combination of the Blaser F16 and Federal ammunition were perfect for the clays courses I’ve shot. This may seem to belie the gun’s ‘Game’ moniker, but the fact that I found the F16 to be great for busting clays doesn’t at all diminish its wonderful performance in the field.

Blaser F16 Shotgun

Overall

Before discussing how well the shotgun and ammunition performed during the clays shoot, I want to relate an anecdote. When I first went to collect the F16 from Tom McElwayne, he requested that I unpack the firearm and assemble it to make certain it hadn’t been damaged in shipment.

The shotgun was in perfect shape, but before I disassembled and placed the F16 back into its shipping case, I brought it to my shoulder. The thickness of the pistol grip fit my hand beautifully and the shotgun slipped effortlessly into the shooting position.

Blaser F16 Shotgun

I had never held an F16 before, so the perfect fit was a bit of a surprise. I asked Tom to run the same test, and he gave a satisfied exclamation; the shotgun matched him perfectly as well.

I realize that this represents a sample size of two, but every time I had the opportunity, I asked others to mount the Blaser F16. To a person, they reported the same result. I’m not certain of all Blaser F16s, but this one provided a tailored-made fit for a wide range of body types.

Blaser F16 Shotgun

As a lover of fine firearms, I hope that the accompanying photos provide a reasonable illustration of the beauty of the F16. The clean lines of the stock and metalwork, the crisp checkering and the high-grade wood from which the stock and forearm were constructed provided a wonderful complement to the smooth handling and fit.

Blaser F16 Shotgun

Blaser F16 Shotgun

This was a shotgun that I was proud to carry, even if it wasn’t mine to keep. The MSRP for the German-made F16 Game model (Blaser is pronouned blah-zer, not blay-zer) sent for review is priced at $4,289, so you’d expect beautiful wood and craftsmanship. That said, my personal shotgun isn’t nearly as beautiful, nor as smooth-handling as the F16, but crowds that price point.

The second aspect that made the F16 Game a wonderful companion for both field and clays applications is its relatively light weight. The loaded shotgun comes in at just under seven pounds. After carrying the F16 for several hours during an upland hunt, as well as on long sporting clays courses, I can testify that even as a 61-year-old, I didn’t come away fatigued. This added immeasurably to the enjoyment of both outings.

There’s usually a price to be paid for that light weight though. To test the effect on felt recoil from the fit and weight of the F16, in combination with the Federal Target loads (2¾ Dram Eq.; 11/8 ounces of shot), I wore no shoulder padding while shooting.

Blaser F16 Shotgun

This probably won’t be the practice of most shooters, but it’s a good way to gauge the gun’s kick. It is noteworthy that as I progressed along skeet and sporting clays rounds, the F16’s felt recoil was minimal, and at the end of the day’s shooting there was no tenderness in the muscles of my shoulder, and no bruising the next day. The combination of the Federal Game loads and the F16 left no ‘imprint’ after my hunting trip, either.

Having used a number of different brands of both over/under 12-gauge shotguns and shotshells on clays courses — with and without padded shooting vests — I can state unequivocally that the shotgun and ammunition combination in this test was unique in not making me want to skip a day or two between shooting sessions.

Likewise, though my accuracy wasn’t 100%(!), my hit rate didn’t decline as the day wore on.

Blaser F16 Shotgun

Blaser F16 Shotgun

Blaser F16 Shotgun

In short, all of the success afforded by the F16 Game shotgun and Federal ammunition for hunting, was duplicated in the clays arena.

Final Thoughts

As you will have gathered by now, I was incredibly impressed by the performance of the shotgun/ammunition pairing for stalking clay pigeons. The F16 Game model and the Federal Target loads were very forgiving of my lack of recent practice with a scattergun.

Blaser F16 Shotgun

In that regard, I’m going to be begging my family to buy me one of these lovely, and lovely-handling, Blaser F16 shotguns in 12-gauge, along with a lifetime supply of Federal shotshells.

Specifications: Blaser F16 Game 12 Gauge Shotgun

Gauge: 12
Chamber: 3″
Stock Length: 14.37″
Barrel Length: 30″
Weight: 6lb 13oz
Stock: Turkish Walnut, Grade 4
Front Sight: Bead
Ejectors: Yes (can be changed to extractor)
Trigger: Single
MSRP: $4,289

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Fit * * * * *
The F16 presents very clean lines and wonderful wood- and metal-work. It also possessed a thicker pistol grip and forend that provide not only beauty, but a wonderful, custom-esque fit. I mentioned this in the text of the review, but everyone who tried the F16, reflecting a wide array of body sizes and shapes, experienced an excellent fit with this shotgun.

Finish: * * * * *
As expected with a Blaser firearm, the wood and metal components are beautifully finished. The checkering was crisp and the bluing flawless across all metal parts.

Ergonomics * * * * *
This is where the F16 shown especially well. Great inherent ergonomics, of course, has quite a bit to do with the gun’s fit to the shooter. However, the F16 is also a relatively light for a 12 gauge over/under. This makes it perfect for long days pursuing game, or long sessions on the skeet and sporting clays course.

Reliability * * * * *
Perfect. No issues whatsoever.

Overall * * * * *
The F16 (and the Federal ammunition used for this review) performed flawlessly. The shotgun’s overall handling characteristics – stock shape and size, light weight, balance and smooth swing – led to an inherent accuracy even in the hands of someone who spends the greatest proportion of his time on the rifle range. This shotgun is also very, very attractive. People commented on it when they encountered me on the clays courses (and on an upland hunt). I would gladly purchase a Blaser F16 Game shotgun for myself.

 

Mike Arnold writes about firearms and hunting at his blog Mike Arnold, Outdoor Writer.

 

As usual, Yim Szeto of Blaser-USA was my contact for the Blaser firearm, this time the F16 Game Model in 12-gauge. The Federal Clay Target shotshells were provided by Jeff Williams of Vista Outdoor. Tom McElwayne owner of Shooters Den in Watkinsville, GA processed the FFL transfer. The detailed photography of the F16 would not have been possible without the Cherry Wood Presentation Stand provided by Ledbetter’s Gun Racks For Less. Finally, the photographs from the skeet field and sporting clays course were taken by my very talented photographer/wife, Frances.

 

All images by the author. 

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Beautiful gun.

    Beautiful guns should have a name and not a number.

    Just my preference.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      “Boomstick Bob”?

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Yeah….something like that…..lmao

        1. avatar John Gancho says:

          870?

  2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    I was at a skeet competition earlier this year, with a couple hundred participants, and I did pretty well with my 1960 Winchester pump Model 12. Nothing fancy, and it sent the pellets where I aimed the muzzle. The person who took second place also had a simple pump action.

    The overall winner was an older retired gentleman with a beautiful customized over/under he paid north of $20K for. One of the event employees told me he’s seen custom shotties sell for well more than that.

    This featured gun in the article looks very nice, but unless it’s going to save my family from zombies or put supper on the table every night, I have better things to do with $5K to add to my collection.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      That Model 12 is a marvel. Back in the day I chose a Model 12 over all others. But I’m in my 60s now and that Model 12 is hefty to carry, especially for upland birding. My Mossberg 500 is my gun of choice these days based solely on its weight. I like a pump gun.

      But in the past i have flirted with double and stack barrels. If I encounter a sub 7 pound gun in 12, we are restricted to non lead shot here in CA and the 12 seems to work the best for that, I would have to have a serious discussion about taking it home.

      If I know I’m going to be crossing rough terrain for a good distance I will at times even restrict myself to a single shot and a half a box of shells, cause weight.

      Getting old ain’t for the sissified.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        I live in SoCal, where hunting is not an industry, but I’m aware of the non-lead requirements. One of my co-workers (who’s a total Fudd and thinks the ammo registration law is only an irritation rather than an unconstitutional overreach) recently complained about the price of acceptable shotshells.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          When I knew that they were outlawing mail order and doing that ammo registration crap I did a quick survey and got to ordering. I got enough steel shot to last me until I’m done hunting or move out state.

          Steel shot isn’t that much more expensive than lead. But some of the non lead ammo, especially for water fowlers, is really pricey. I just make do with heavy 3 inch loads of steel.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Yeah, he’s an occasional duck hunter, so it’s the pricey stuff for him.

          As for me, I also started stockpiling ammo way ahead of the curve, and have enough to satisfy my own training for a minimum of four years, which should hopefully be enough time to have the new law overturned in court.

        3. avatar DrewN says:

          You can always get your 03 FFL / COE and still mail order. PITA, but better than the alternative.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      I Haz a Question,

      The overall winner was an older retired gentleman with a beautiful customized over/under he paid north of $20K for.

      Someone paid over $20,000 for a double-barrel shotgun. Yeah. I now understand the proverb, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

      On a religious/faith note, I would not want to stand before God Almighty some day and justify my decision to spend over $20,000 on a double-barrel shotgun. You can do a LOT of good for mankind with $20,000 (or even $18,500 allowing $1,500 — still a ridiculous amount of money — for a double barrel shotgun).

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        I used to think that way, until I met someone who had come into a large sum of money (around $100K) and spent half of it on his dream car. If that’s all we know about him, we might say “but he could have bought a decent car for half that amount and used the rest to help others”.

        Turned out that he took that $100K, donated $50K off the top to a Christian mission group, and then spent what was left over on himself. He put God first and gave way beyond the customary 10% tithe, but you’d only know that if you knew the whole story.

        It taught me to be careful how I view things, and to withhold judgement on someone’s actions until I know the whole story.

        1. avatar Achmed says:

          Man you got the right idea!!!!

          Many of these comments are disturbing especially we live in a great country where you get to spend your money however you want and it’s built on capitalism and industry. Shotguns like this are beautiful, for me at least the Italian guns fit better , and nice things cost $$$

      2. avatar ChanceMcCall says:

        Why are we getting into a ethical/political discussion on what people can/should do with their money?

  3. avatar strych9 says:

    She’s a looker. Not my cup of tea but very nice looking and functional hardware.

  4. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Nice looking shotgun. I would rather shoot quail than hunt anything else. I’ve only owned one o/u. A Pidgeon grade Browning Superposed in 20 gauge. Didn’t have access to bird hunting at the time. Flipped it for a $1500 profit. Wish I had it back. Shoot a Remington 1100 Special Field in 20 now. Great shotgun. Handles like a wand. Still, I would like a stack barrel.

    1. avatar ChanceMcCall says:

      I own a number of O/Us. I use a 20 gauge Special Field to hunt quail and love it. They are great guns.

    2. avatar Dave G. says:

      @Gadsden Flag:
      I like to trap shoot; no bird hunting for me in half a century. I had a Remington 1100 once, but autoloading shotguns make me nervous, so I got rid of it. My favorite is my Ithaca M37 12 gauge pump. Always has been. But like you, I have often thought about getting an over/under double, but have never gotten around to taking the plunge. As for $5k shotguns: too rich for my blood by a factor of 4. As for $20k, stop kidding me!!!

  5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Shouldn’t a shotgun named ‘F16’ be a 16 gauge?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Afterburners.

    2. avatar Kevin says:

      I was thinking the same thing, Gov! We need more 16 gauge shotguns, so ammo will be more plentiful. I have a Sweet 16 (love that gun!) and my LGS only has a few types of shells for it.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        when i visit little girl in ames i stop at theissens to stock up tax and id free. .22, 9mm, 9×18, even 7.62x25possum. but not a shell of16ga for the 37.

  6. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    The “felt recoil” from a gun with no parts that move after the shot, is a matter of mass and butt padding and really nothing else. Blazer makes some fine guns but they are still bound by the laws of physics.

    Plenty of people bust clay targets with relatively light field guns. But there is a reason that competition shotguns tend to weigh nine pounds or more.

    Nothing wrong with dropping $4G on a shotgun if your disposable income allows. But save enough bucks to pay a professional to get it custom fitted for you. A cheap gun that fits your body beats an expensive gun that doesn’t. Every time.

  7. avatar CplCamelToe says:

    So… it fit you perfectly, fit your dealer perfectly and, “to a person”, fit everyone else who handled it perfectly as well?

    Right.

    That doe-eyed BS kinda throws the credibility of the all five-star review out the window. You liked the shotgun. We all get that, but reviews filled with impossible hyperbole are worthless.

    Either you’re lying, one or more people in your sample set were lying, or you don’t actually know anything about shotgun fit. No shotgun fits “a wide range of body types” “perfectly”, any more than a pair of pants can.

  8. avatar LifeSavor says:

    $4,289!!! Do you have any idea of how many moca and vanilla decaf cappuccino lattes with whipped cream and cinnamon I could buy for that kind of money! I could even go to the stylist to have my man-bun set properly. Just saying, man.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      I always think “hmmm I could buy 2 Brownings with that money….and have 2 beautiful pieces of art.

  9. avatar Rubiconcrossed says:

    No info as to whether you can select which barrel to fire first.

    No engraving as one would expect on a gun in this price range.

    Does not have fancy wood compared to other brands of shotguns in that price range.

    Bluing looks satin not high gloss.

    No info as to whether it has screw in chokes.

    No info as to the weight of the trigger pull

    No test for point of impact on either or both barrels.

    No test for percentage of pattern on target

  10. avatar thomaspaine says:

    I will stick with my Browning A-5 Sweet 16. Well balanced, reliable and I can hit doubles far more times than any pump gun that I have ever owned. Of course my Browning Citori is a nice gun also but only holds two shots and the receiver is nicely engraved while this gun is not and it did not cost me $4,000 plus either.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      I have a Citori and it’s not engraved. Did it come that way? I’d love to have some design on mine. (Looking for an engraver in Chicago area. Anyone?)

      1. avatar Al Bondigas says:

        The Citori is such an excellent shotgun that it doesn’t need engraving. Save your money and go shooting instead.

  11. avatar Achmed says:

    Is it available with left hand cast?

  12. avatar bryan1980 says:

    My old man has a Winchester 101 double. Beautiful, great-handling gun. Any time he has it out somewhere, people offer to buy it off of him. That’s how you know you’ve got a great gun. Same thing happens to me when I’m out with my Beretta AL390 Silver Mallard. It’s not a rare or special gun by any means, it just has a reputation as great-handling gun that you can’t buy new anymore.

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