If only I had a sports car with the top down……….imagine driving along a secondary highway on a sunny day in Northern Italy.  On either side of the fairly narrow valley, lush green mountainsides loom above with ancient stone churches and houses perched on impossibly steep slopes.  This is Val Trompia, famous home of many Italian gun manufacturers.

It was a very educational experience to tour nine gun factories in Italy and Spain.  Late May 2011 found my husband and I in Marcheno, Italy, a smaller town in Italy north of Brescia. This was our second visit to the F.A.I.R. offices, having first visited in 2008.   F.A.I.R.  has been producing fine shotguns and rifles since 1971, having just celebrated their 40th Anniversary in 2011. They produce a top quality, affordable line of over under shotguns as well as an impressive double over under rifle.  Their single shot rifle, combination guns and trap/skeet models have also been extremely popular since we began exclusively importing F.A.I.R into Canada in 2007.

The factory is nestled at the base of the mountain near the Mella River which runs the length of the valley.  On our last visit it was sunny and hot, however this day offered a marked contrast producing a violent hail storm. The factory is managed by Luca Rizzini, the son of the founder Isidoro Rizzini, along with his charming and efficient assistant, Moira. The responsiveness to our queries and orders along with the consistent and timely production and shipment of product has made working with F.A.I.R a very enjoyable relationship.

Custom stocks are made available for the reasonable cost of approximately $100 Canadian through the use of CNC technology. The operator sets up the machine using the measurements we provide (drop at heel, drop at comb and length of pull) and the basic stock is created by the machine. Of course, meticulous hand fitting and finishing is necessary to produce the finished piece. The machining and finishing of the inside of the receiver is noteworthy and adds to the appeal of these affordable, quality guns.

Deep in the factory you will find their 50 meter shooting tunnel where they test fire guns, in particular used for regulating the beautiful double-rifles.  One of the most exciting parts of the tour was to watch the rifle regulator regulate the barrels of a double rifle. Using cameras and monitor he places the rifle in a rifle vise, fires both barrels, reviews on the monitor, adjust, shoots, reviews, and adjusts until both barrels are shooting a maximum of 50 mm apart at 50m. Often regulation is to 30mm, which is quite remarkable since the barrels start  at about 15mm apart. This entire process takes about 30 minutes, and the quick, skilled, (and patented) adjustments of the barrels are extraordinary.
This enclosed area allowed us to enjoy the smell of smokeless powder and appreciate how loud a rifle can be (yes, that’s while wearing appropriate hearing protection). The attention to detail that is required to produce consistent results is obvious, and it was fascinating to watch these experienced people at work.
Of course, no visit would be complete without sampling some very fine food and wine but beware of the ‘cover charge’ at restaurants.  We had our most expensive meal at Lake Garda where it was 10 EU each just to sit at the table.  But we did have a nice view of Italian Mallards!

F.A.I.R. will be announcing some new models at the I.W.A. show in Nuremburg this March, so stay tuned for some very exciting developments.

Happy Hunting
Donna Bilozir

Bilozir Fine Guns

Ph: 403.938.6066



The 12 gauge (ga) shotgun is the most popular sporting cartridge available. The possible exception is the .22 Rimfire cartridge that may be ahead of the 12ga in popular sales. However considering military usage of the 12ga it certainly is the most versatile.

The cartridge as we know it, plastic hull with a brass base, first appeared in 1960 made by Remington. Prior to that paper/brass construction was common from the late 19th century. The early cartridges were all brass cases much like the rifle/pistol cartridges of today.  Having a bore diameter of .729″ the 12ga can use shot (in this case shot means round pellets that can be lead, steel, bismuth or any other metal/alloys of various sizes) and single projectiles like lead slugs or other substances that may be designed to be non-lethal or lethal. This statement says a lot.

It is the only real choice for serious Trap Shooters and is extremely popular on Sporting Clays (Golf with a Shotgun) and Skeet shooters everywhere. Of 10 shotgun sales I would have the opinion that perhaps 7 of them, or more, are in 12ga.

FAIR Carrera Competition Shotgun see "For Sale" on this site

As a versatile sporting cartridge the 12ga can and does do it all. The first choice of Upland Game Birds and Water Fowl hunters, shot size ranges from Smallest #12 – .05” up to No. 000 – .36” making the 12ga versatile across the spectrum of Game Birds from Quail to Geese and Turkey – all available to the BC Hunter. Commonly found in 2 ¾” and 3” lengths the 12ga is available from 2” and 2 ½” from Ely in the UK to 3 ½” Magnum loads for the biggest and heaviest jobs. Loadings range from around 7/8 oz in a typical light target load to the bone rattling, and I’m referring to the recoil the shooter must endure, 2 ¼ oz – 3 ½” magnum loads.

For Big Game the 12ga can be loaded with Buckshot pellets, 0 – 00 or 000, or slugs, a solid or sometimes hollow single projectile. I have witnessed deer taken with buckshot and it is very effective at 50 yards and beyond. Either slugs or buckshot will do the job for anyone having to go into heavy cover after a wounded Bear, a task not for the faint of heart!!

Courtesy Remington Arms - 870P

For Police and Military the 12ga has long been and will continue well into the future an important tool where close in combat is a possibility. It is a fearsome weapon that can make an opponent surrender just by looking at the big hole pointed at them. The infamous “Schliiick – Schliiick!!!” of a pump gun operation can chill the spine of even the toughest villain. Used in WWI, the Winchester 97 shotgun dressed up to include a bayonet mounting was called “The Trench Broom”. Shotguns continue to be an important weapon of war, although today they are a little more sophisticated than the “rattley but entirely dependable” Winchester 97.

Whether you are a member of a Police Force, our Military that keeps us free, or just enjoy a day shooting clay pigeons or game birds the 12ga is a great choice.




On 19 October 2011 Pablo E-mailed askken@shotgunsb.ca,

Pablo – “Hi!!  I have some questions regarding the combo rifles, those with one  shotgun barrel on top and one rifle barrel on the bottom, or the opposite, not the ones that you have to change the whole barrel to have a different caliber.
How good or bad are they? Which brand is good? What is the best combination of calibers?”


Straight Shooter answer:   While not particularly popular in North America, or for that matter well known, combination firearms are used in Europe and Africa and come in a wide variety of rifle and shotgun cartridge choices. Combination Guns range from inexpensive to where I would have to take a mortgage out to afford one. Usually rifle over shotgun they also come in shotgun over rifle. The Combination Gun is a great way to be able to harvest both big and small game when carrying one firearm. When a scope is mounted with quick detachable mounts the Combination Gun is a long range rifle which turns into a shotgun, with available interchangeable chokes, quickly when needed. Why Combination Guns are not more popular here I really do not understand.

Savage Arms Model 24, no longer available, was perhaps the best known Combination Gun in North America and was available in 308 Win, 30-30 Win and .222 Rem Center Fire cartridges & 22LR and 22 Win Mag rimfire rounds over 12ga, 20ga and .410 shotgun. The Model 24 was an inexpensive way to get a reliable Combination Gun. You can find them occasionally at gun shows. They don’t last long when one does show up.

Courtesy Sabatti - left click to see larger picture

European made Combination Guns are available and some are reasonably priced for quality firearms. Germany, Austria and Italy have a number of manufactures that make very nice Combination Guns.

A few manufactures are:

Merkel, Suhl Germany

FAIR (Fabbrica Armi Isidoro Rizzini), Brescia, Italy

Sabatti, Brescia, Italy

As mentioned selection of rifle cartridges is wide, example from one company:

9,3x74R – 8x57JRS – 7x65R – 7x57R – 6,5x57R – 6,5×55 SE – 5,6x57R 5,6x50R Mag. – 22 Hornet – 308 Win. – 30-06 Spring -270 Win – 22-250 Rem. – 222 Rem. Mag. – 222 Rem.

12ga – 16ga – 20ga -  28ga & .410

Something for every hunter.

I have sold Combination Guns where the customer ordered an extra set of O/U shotgun barrels which gives the best of all worlds. Why Combination Guns are not more popular in BC completely eludes me considering the variety of game available to hunters in this Province.

Always Shoot Straight

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