I was searching for a high quality, do-it-all, never-let-me-down shotgun. Enter the Franchi Affinity Shotgun.

best shotgun for waterfowl upland hunting franchi affinity

In gearing up for a Pheasant hunting trip to the Dakotas I decided to treat myself to a new shotgun. I was using a Benelli Nova pump action shotgun and didn’t have any issues with it, but I really wanted to find a do-it-all semi-automatic shotgun.

My friends were pushing me to the Benelli’s. I was drawn to their quality guns, but also the brand name. Now, I have shot a lot of Benelli shotguns, and seen them withstand incredible abuse, and developed an affinity for them, but at the time, I couldn’t quite swallow the price tag that came along with the brand name.

I started looking at other brands, and eventually found the Franchi line of shotguns. It looked and felt like a Benelli, but at a fraction of the price.

I picked up a Franchi Affinity and haven’t regretted it once.

I feel that I have found the do it all shotgun. I special ordered the Franchi Affinity 12ga with Realtree MAX5® camo and a 26″, not a 28″ barrel. The special order cost me a few extra bucks, but I wanted the newly offered camo pattern that wasn’t readily available in any of the shops I visited.

I have received some criticism for going with a 26″ barrel, rather than the “standard” 28″ barrel. Some claim that the 26″ barrel is more difficult to shoot with, but I personally am not good enough with a shotgun to have noticed much of a difference. I have noticed a difference, however, with the increased mobility that comes with a shorter barrel.

My Father and I enjoy the occasional chukar hunt which involves some very long and steep hikes. On pheasant hunts, we walk all day and encounter thick brush. As it relates to steep hikes, thick brush and carrying your gun all day, I prefer the relatively nimble platform of the Franchi Affinity with the 26″ barrel to a longer barreled gun. Especially in contrast to the Benelli Nova I was shooting, the Franchi Affinity is a true pleasure to hunt with.

By my calculations, the Affinity is 1.2-1.5 lbs lighter than the Nova. Perhaps that is part of the reason I have enjoyed this gun so much. Weighing in at 6.7 lbs the Affinity is not only light but also well-balanced. The heel drop is also adjustable via a selection of shims that come in the box.

It just feels good when you have it in your hands…

Many who are reading this review may be looking more seriously at the 28″ barreled model. Don’t worry; I believe that gun to still be nimble and light compared to other shotguns with a 28″ barrel. More importantly, the Franchi Affinity performs like a quality semi-auto should.

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The inertia driven system along with the soft butt-pad on the stock alleviates felt recoil considerably. This system while, similar to the system found in semi-automatic Benelli shotguns is not exactly the same as rumor would have you think. The Franchi’s Inertia driven system uses a spring and rail system that runs along the magazine tube, while the Benelli’s system has the springs funneled down into the buttstock. Other than that, the trigger groups and parts within that group appear to be the same in quality and function. (The size and shape of the trigger may vary to accommodate the style of the trigger guard.) The bolt also appears to be the same, with the exception of a slightly different charging handle which is typically easier to remove from the Benelli semi-automatic shotguns than from the Franchi Affinity.

I have yet to experience a malfunction where the gun is to blame.

The few malfunctions experienced to date were caused by a box of ammo which contained some faulty rounds. (My brother experienced the same issue with the same brand of ammo in the 20ga variety.) I have participated in sporting clays and skeet shooting events where hundreds of rounds were fired without a hitch. I have used it in extreme cold and extreme heat without any change in performance. You may have heard reports of generally needing to “break-in” semi-automatic shotguns. The first loads I ever fired from this gun were really light target loads, and each cycled flawlessly. I have fired target loads, performance competition loads, duck, goose, upland loads, even buckshot, and the Affinity performed well with each.

The Realtree MAX5® camo finish has held up great and looks sharp. I have a friend who upgrades to a new shotgun every couple of years. He recently told me that he went with a new Franchi Affinity this year rather than the high dollar semi-auto he usually buys. His exact words, “I don’t think I will ever go back. I love shooting this gun.”

The Franchi Affinity has also been getting a lot of attention from 3-Gun participants, especially from beginners trying to get into the sport, or those looking to purchase a secondary or backup gun. Many are finding the Affinity to be just as reliable as the guns which previously dominated that niche. Another part of the reason for this is that many aftermarket Benelli parts are compatible with the Franchi Affinity.

I can do it all with this gun.

I can hunt in the wetlands, or uplands for birds big, and small. I can shoot clay pigeons with friends, and introduce people to shooting, knowing that even those new to shooting will enjoy this gun. Lastly, with a couple add-ons, I can compete at some level with confidence, although I’m not sure how the 3-gun crowd will accept the camo finish…

I can assure that you will not be disappointed with the purchase of a Franchi Affinity 12ga shotgun.

I love this gun so much that I convinced my younger brother, who usually doesn’t want to listen to a word I say, to get this gun. He chose a 20ga as to uphold his reputation as being different from me.

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