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As the only member of the TTAG staff who hadn’t attended SHOT previously, I got paired up with my battle buddy Dan Zimmerman for today’s Media Day at the Range. Given that Dan’s a real scattergun fan, we set off to explore the wide world of clay busters as the first order of business. We immediately got sucked into the Benelli universe (not that there’s anything wrong with that) where a case colored receiver and some finely finished walnut caught Dan’s eye. The gun? Franchi’s Instinct Catalyst over/under . . .


Dan the man speaks a different language when he’s around people of a similar persuasion, namely fellow shotgunners. He and Carter Miller from Benelli spent time discussing the finer points of a higher comb, a shorter length of pull, and a bit more cast off, all things the Catalyst offers. Meanwhile, I fiddled with my camera and bounced from toe to toe, ready to shoot our first gun of SHOT 2016.



Age before beauty though. Dan took the first crack at it, sheepishly admitting that with his small hands and compact stature, a gun scaled down for women might be just his speed. And just his it appeared to be, as our intrepid editor was knocking clays out of the sky like it was his job. I also took a couple of passes at the course of fire, and found the bright fiber optic front sight to be quite easy to pick up on our overcast morning. And similar to Dan, I was quickly knocking clays out of the sky.


The Franchi Instinct Catalyst carries a retail price of $1599, a half way point between the L and SL models, which MSRP for $1349 and $1699 respectively. If market conditions hold for the Catalyst the way the L and SL models have already shown, real world pricing will be about $200 less…in the neighborhood of $1400. That’s a pretty penny for an over/under shotgun, but it still beats the pants of the nearly $3K that Benelli charges for the 828U. Naturally, we’ve asked our friends at the Italian giant for a T&E sample for further review and examination.

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    • I think the Caesar Guerini are some of the best bang:buck (pardon the pun) guns out there. The Perazzi and Krieghoffs will run you at least $3K more for the same features – not that they’re bad guns, they’re very, very solid guns. Zoli is another good bang:buck gun out of Italy.

    • According to Franchi’s website, yes, with three chokes shipped standard, and optional extra choke inserts available.

      Personally, I like double triggers, but that’s me.

  1. $1700 for an O/U shotgun is peanuts. Really. It is such a low price that it has me suspicious of where it is made and what it looks like on the inside, and whether that color casing on the receiver is real, or if it is merely a color appliqué’.

    I think of $2K to $2500 as the starting price for a decent new O/U shotgun with interchangeable chokes. Add more as you get into an adjustable comb, add more for raised ribs, and add lots more for unsingle and long barrel sets.

    • What is your opinion on a Browning Citori in the $2k range then? Right now I only shoot clays a few times a year, if I had a decent trap gun it would possibly/probably increase.

      • They’re a great “starter” trap/sporting clay gun. They have been for years. Browning offers a good product at a good price in the Citori.

        The one objection some people have to the Citori is that they’re tight (I mean you’ll have to work to open it) when new, and they take some considerable time to loosen up a bit. That’s by design.

      • Haven’t heard great things about Brownings customer service. Everyone at my club shoot’s Beretta’s, mostly Silver Pigeon 1’s and/or Beretta 391 Teknys Gold’s. You can find an SP1 for 2k all day and a little lower if you know the right dealers…

    • It looks like some of the cost-cutting went to the wood, which is pretty basic looking (but apparently functional enough).

      Thanks for the tips on what to look out for on a O/U shotgun at the entry-level price range.

    • I did the cheap O/U quest a while back. The Franchi did not impress me at all. A few hundred more gets you into a Citori Lightning field grade or a Silver Pigeon I. I found the Citoris and the Silver Pigeons were the minimum for a gun that did not feel and look like an imitation of something else, which is pretty much what anything cheaper than those guns are. I actually preferred the Citori to the Silver Pigeon, even though it’s cheaper.

      If you’re interested in shooting clays, take a good look at the Citori Crossover.

  2. Recently purchased the Instinct Catalyst. I was really looking for a Beretta – probably a Silver Pigeon – but the 15″ LOP was a non starter. It twisted around in my shoulder pocket so bad I couldn’t even try it out. I tried a Browning CX which fit better, but as with other Brownings I’ve owned and shot, it felt like a blocky chunk of timber.

    I was just about to call it a day when the owner pulled the Franchi’s out of the safe. The L felt better than anything so far and the weight of the SL was striking – but the day was won by the Catalyst. 13 7/8″ LOP was perfect for my short arms and perhaps the sweetest feature was the increased pitch (angle of the butt) which put the whole recoil surface evenly in contact with my shoulder.

    The Catalyst is designed to fit a woman – but those features also fit my very non-woman frame. Weight is within an ounce or so of the Fabled Beretta Silver Pigeon. Nice walnut, subtle engraving and the CCH receiver finish out the package.

    Very happy with it so far. Highly recommended – and not just for the price.


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