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Franchi Affinity 3 Waterfowl Elite 12ga Shotgun Review

shotgun review Sep 21, 2021

Happy Tuesday!

Today I'm excited to make another run with a semi-auto Franchi, this time in 12 gauge! A couple of months ago I did a video including the Affinity 3 20 gauge with my 9 year old son to determine which compact gun would fit him best. If you'd like to see that video, check it out here

He ended up loving the the 20 gauge Franchi so I figured I might as well get myself the big boy version. This is the Affinity 3 Waterfowl Elite line from Franchi in 12 gauge. So far, I only have great things to say about it.

Come along to have some fun with me, and check out the video! If you prefer tp read, here's a breakdown.


  • This Franchi is going for about $1,249
  • I was able to get it at REEDS SPORTS well below that (Check it out here)

 Quick Specs

  • 12 gauge (Inertia operated)
  • 3.5" chamber (Not typically my jam but wanted to keep it consistent)
  • 28" Barrell (Some 26") 
  • 6lbs 14oz
  • Length of Pull 14 3/8" Out of the Box - This is not adjustable
  • Drop at Comb 2 1/2" (Adjustable with shims)
  • Drop at Heel 1" (Adjustable with shims) 
  • Comes with 3  chokes (Short, Mid, Long)
  • This Waterfowl Elite comes with a very nice braided sling too

Ergonomics/Look & Feel

  • Very nice raised rib (My preference)
  • Receiver is drilled and tapped (Very versatile)
  • Forearm and pistol grip have great texture and size (For me)
  • Charging handle and bolt release are oversized - Always a win for me (Only the Elite line is oversized)
  • Trigger guard - again, I prefer larger trigger guards.  
  • Cross-bolt safety is rear-mounted and easily accessible - Nothing special. I felt kind of small
  • Nice two-tone fiberoptic front bead/mid bead (Once you're mounted, IGNORE THE BEAD!) 
  • I noticed its balanced nicely - inertia guns are typically lighter up front due to less components - Franchi did a good job balancing this one out
  • Stock and recoil pad are proprietary - feels good though
  • Love the milled out loading port
  • I' also like to note that this Franchi comes in many variations - including the woman specific Catalyst


  • 5lbs 2.5oz (Average)
  • This is right where I like the trigger weight (Lower end of 5lbs) 
  • Trigger has some sponge (pre-travel) to it - it doesn't feel bad, but I'm having to stretch a little bit to get to it

Quality of Build

  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. Everything comes together nicely. The first comment would be about the hand-catching lip between the grip and the receiver - not a huge deal
  • Franchi claims a proprietary forcing cone (For increased accuracy)
  • Love the way this gun comes together overall
  • Safety is a but cheap but that's not totally important
  • My favorite point here is that Franchi puts a 7 year warranty behind this gun - I respect any manufacturer putting that much confidence behind their product 

Ease of Breakdown

  • The only real challenge I had here was putting the barrel/spring back together - I figured it out quickly though
  • As expected this inertia gun came apart simple with minimal parts - hats off to Franchi for keeping it easy
  • The bolt and arm come out and go in together but van be separated for cleaning


  • Very sustainable - I'd call it moderate across the board
  • Hunting loads certainly punch more than the target loads - to be expected with inertia
  • As expected, the 3 1/2" loads can be a workout, but all around the recoil is quite manageable. 
  • Not as great as come gas guns, but impressive for inertia


  • I don't believe I had a single hang-up while recording my reliability test and that's impressive being that most of these new guns I'm getting require a decent break in period - the Franchi powered right through
  • It handled target loads from the hip and from over the head too!
  • If you're looking for an inertia gun that can handle everything, this Franchi may be for you

Speed Shooting

I find this evaluation valuable because it tests how all the moving parts really come together. From getting on target, having an appropriate trigger pull, recovering from the recoil, and cycling good enough to get back on target. 

  • The fastest time I could accomplish with the Waterfowl Elite today was a 1.27 - I think I could get faster with some good practice
  • Besides my miss-mounts from time to time, the most difficult aspect to get consistent was the trigger - It felt like I couldn't get back on it as fast as I'd like to without really ripping on it. But this is just for fun, and I know none of us are going to be hitting birds that quick

With that said, I definitely enjoyed shooting around with this Franchi Affinity 3 Waterfowl Elite 12 gauge shotgun. I'm excited to have the option to match my son with our Franchi's out in the blind now!

Would you like to see a head-to-head comparison with another semiauto shotgun?

Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on so live the #targetfocusedlife


Stay Target Focused,


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