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Old April 24, 2021, 02:03 PM   #1
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My Favorite Shotgun - Franchi 48 AL 20 Gauge 3" Chamber

Hi, I've been a FLF member since 2007. This is my first post in the shotgun forum. My favorite shotgun is the Franchi 48 Al, 20 gauge, 3 inch chamber (rare chambering). I'm mainly a hunter - upland game grouse and pheasant. I own SKB SXS's, Marochi O/U's, Benelli M1's, and two old Franchi 48 AL's. One is 1955 the other is 1995 vintage. I've shot in trap leagues using the Marochi's and Benelli M1's.

I started serious pheasant hunting 30 years ago with an SKB 20 gauge. Then moved on to my Marochi O/U's and Benelli M1's in 12 gauge. Twenty years ago, I retired in WI. My SKB's were too pretty to carry in WI woods for grouse, so I started looking for a light 20 gauge semi-auto. I went into a local gun shop intending to order a Franchi 48 AL. The clerk said they had a used one on the self, 20 gauge, 3" chamber. I looked it over and bought it for $200.00. I didn't notice in the store that the barrel had been cut, it was 24". That season my ruff grouse kills went up more than 100%. At the end of the season, I checked the choke - it was 16 gauge full. I used it for several years on WI grouse, while taking my Benelli M1 and Marochi out west for pheasant. During this time I had picked up a 26" ploychoke, 3" chambered barrel for it.

After several seasons I decided to take it out west for pheasants. Using 3" shells and the 26" barrel, I was surprised my pheasant kills also went up. It was light and fast, held five shells and the shells were lighter than the 12 gauge shells. Many times I limited out with the first flush of rosters. Close shots and distance shots, it made no difference - it killed. I, solely, used the Franchi 48 AL for the next fifteenth years. I ended up buying a second one with three inch chamber for a spare parts, it is still in tack and functioning. My SKB's, Marochi's and Benelli's have sat in the gunsafe, unused!
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Old April 24, 2021, 04:31 PM   #2
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The Franchi 48 Al and/or a Benelli Ultralight were the ultimate mountain woods grouse guns in my opinion. I don't know why Franchi dropped that gun other than folks no longer have any taste.
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Old April 24, 2021, 07:14 PM   #3
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I was fortunate to be able to acquire a 48AL some years ago. It runs right along with my old Winchester model 59.
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Old April 28, 2021, 12:59 AM   #4
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My uncle had one of them. If I remember correctly, it weighed less than 6 lb. Too light for me but my uncle liked it.
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Old May 6, 2021, 10:25 AM   #5
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I have an AL48 28 ga and it is a wonderfully light shot gun. Well made, reliable and super light and handy.
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Old May 11, 2021, 05:36 PM   #6
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Auto shotguns like the Franchi 48 AL 20 and the Winchester Model 59 are superb upland guns, especially when hunting woodcock and grouse in heavy cover, and are hard to come by anymore. My favorite shotgun of this genre is the Browning Double Auto.
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Old May 11, 2021, 07:26 PM   #7
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I didn't notice in the store that the barrel had been cut, it was 24". That season my ruff grouse kills went up more than 100%. At the end of the season, I checked the choke - it was 16 gauge full
That would be impossible; a cut barrel back past the fixed choke would be a Cylinder choke; and if it is a 20, the reference to 16 is moot................
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Old May 12, 2021, 02:05 AM   #8
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The Franchi barrel was over bored behind the choke. After that hunting season was over I wanted to have it threaded for screw in choke tubes. I sent it off to Briley to have choke tubes installed. Briley sent the barrel back saying it was over bored and they couldn't install screw in tubes in it. If it were a 20 gauge cylinder bore, they could have installed the choke tubes.

I should have listened to them, but I continued to search for a company that could. I found a company that said they did CNC tubes and could make them to fit any size barrel. So I sent them my 24" barrel. I got it back with a set of four or five choke tubes. The next season I went out to MT pheasant hunting. The first day I shot two tubes out of the barrel. Choke tubes were to small! Upon my return home I called the company and gave them a piece of my mind. They said return the barrel and they would correct the error. But they would also have to shorten the barrel again, another inch or so. So I sent the barrel back and it was returned again with another complete set of new choke tubes. I then took it to our trap range. Again I shot the screw in choke tubes out of the barrel. I called the company and complained, they were nice enough to refund my money for their work. But it left me with a 22 1/2" barrel with a threaded end. I ended up having my gunsmith cut off the threaded end of the barrel. I now have a 21" barrel that I use for grouse. Briley said it was over bored. The second company failed twice in making screw in choke tubes for it. I believe the barrel was over bored. It was my gunsmith who measured the end of the barrel and said it was equivalent to a 16 gauge full choke.

I almost ruined the barrel. These Franchi 48 AL 20 gauge 3" chambered barrels are next to impossible to find. I was lucky and purchased a plain 26" barrel in 3" chamber with poly choke for pheasant hunting. Later I purchased a second 48 AL 20 gauge, 3" chambered gun. It had a 28" vented rib, full choke barrel; not crazy about the full choke but I'll live with it.

Last edited by wachtelhund1; May 12, 2021 at 02:14 AM.
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