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Fabarm XLR Chesapeake Semi-Auto Shotgun Review FT. Travis Mears

shotgun review Jan 11, 2024
Fabarm Chesapeake XLR Semi-Auto Shotgun Review FT. Travis Mears

Today we're covering one heck of a shotgun by Fabarm: The XLR Chesapeake in 12 gauge. We know a thing or two about shotguns, but we had the opportunity to team up with someone who has shot a lot of rounds through the Chesapeake to help us out with this one. That someone for today's post is our special guest, Travis Mears! Besides Steve, Travis is one of the only other shotgun exhibition trick shooters in the country! Lucky for us, he's been shooting Fabarm for quite some time now and has plenty of experience with this Chesapeak to share with us. Let's get into it!

Before we start, we have to shout out Travis - this review was done and filmed at his awesome sporting clays range near Fort Worth, Texas, Defender Clay Sport Ranch. If you are in the area and are itching for some fun shooting, you gotta give them a visit. Also, show Travis some love on his YouTube channel!: Shotgun Passion With Travis Mears

If you have experience with Fabarm Shotguns please let us know on the TFL COMMUNITY!   



The Fabarm XLR Chesapeake was designed as a waterfowl shotgun but could be a great all-purpose shotgun as well.


  • Specs

    • This is a 12-gauge gas-operated shotgun - only available in 12 gauge.
    • 3-inch Chamber
    • The Chesapeake is also available in a left-handed version
    • Comes with 3 flush-mounted chokes, and a cerekoated extended full choke which is rated for steel shot in a full constriction - Looking for aftermarket chokes? Check out Carlson's Chokes
    • The length of pull is 14 1/2"
    • Drop at comb 1 1/2"
    • Drop at heel 2 1/4"
    • No spacers on this gun, but it comes with shims for cast and drop.
    • We appreciate that Fabarm has put a lot of effort into their web literature even including measurements for heel cast, and toe cast: That's pretty in-depth!
    • 28" barrel - Available in 30"
    • 7lbs
    • 4lbs 13oz average trigger pull weight - Nice!
    • MSRP is $2,175
    • Fabarm has been manufactured in Italy for 100 years!
  • Ergonomics

    • This Fabarm has a decent 22mm Microcell recoil pad - to meet our length requirements and to lessen recoil even more, a FalconStrike would be a nice addition to this shotgun.
    • The polymer furniture is dipped in True Timber Strata camo and it has a soft touch finish which feels great in the hands - you can definitely feel the difference once you shoot it.
    • The receiver and barrel have a Cerakote Midnight Bronze protective finish.
    • There is a  nice rubber inlay over the comb.
    • The pistol and forend feel great in the hands.
    • The loading port is nicely milled out for easy loading.
    • The rear-mounted triangular safety is extremely easy to find and press.
    • The bolt handle and bolt release are just fantastic with great tolerances - Fabarm was on board early with offering oversized controls from the factory...except on the bold release.
    • A more unique aspect of this shotgun is that the bolt release is on the opposite side of the receiver - this may take some getting used to but it is quite slick once you figure out that it is a breeze to close.
    • The receiver comes with dovetails for optic mounting capabilities.
    • This has a flat, vented hunting-style rib with a silver mid bead and interchangeable fibers on the front
    • For a gas shotgun, it's well-balanced. That little bit of weight up front will aid in a smoother swing. Some of this weight is due to the higher quality metal parts under the hood - there is very minimal plastic in this Fabarm. This Chesapeake has fantastic built quality. 


  • Recoil and Reliability

    • The first thing worth noting is that Travis has run this gun hard through many trick shots and live shows. It continues to perform for him at a very high level. After all, his career depends on this Chesapeake operating flawlessly.
    • The recoil of target loads through this gun was minimal. Got to love a good gas gun!
    • Being that Steve and Travis are both trick shooters, we spent a bit more time shooting just for fun, and to get a good read on the reliability of this Fabarm.
    • We didn't experience one issue while shooting from all sorts of unorthodox positions (over the head, from the hip, behind the back, etc).
    • Also, keep in mind that Steve has had no experience with the Chesapeake before this review. He was able to pull off exhibition shots with no problem which speaks to the good ergonomics and intuitive build of this shotgun. It pointed very naturally
    • Overall, this Fabarm shot and ejected very well from many different positions and was a lot of fun to shoot.
    • If you can speak to the reliability of a Fabarm Chesapeake please let us know how it's held up on the  TFL COMMUNITY!    
  • Breakdown/Quality of Build

    • Steve was able to break down this shotgun in under 10 seconds without ever having done it before - the build is very intuitive
    • All the gas components have a chrome finish and should last a lifetime or two if you take care of it.
    • One thing to note is that the trigger group is held in by two pins. The shorter of the two goes in on the rear side of the trigger, and the longer one goes up front. They also go in opposite directions from each other. This is to maintain the tolerances of the trigger group through many many rounds of shooting. This was one small thing that we didn't care for.
    • As we said, the build quality all the way around is amazing. The breakdown relative to other gas guns was very simple.
  • Speed Shooting

    • In every review, we do a speed shooting test. This is where we hand throw 3 clays and record how fast we shoot them, as well as the split times between each shot. This is a fun competitive way to see how intuitively the gun mounts, shoots, and follows up on consecutive targets. Everything comes together in speed shooting.
    • Throughout this whole segment, we did not experience one misfeed or cycling malfunction with the Chesapeake. Very impressive!
    • Steve's first attempt was 1.18 seconds with his fastest time eventually being a 1.17
    • What we learned while speed shooting is that given Travis's experience with this gun, he was able to accomplish faster splits than Steve. At one point Travis accomplished a .13 split... That's wicked fast!
    • Just for fun, we also did a speed test seeing how fast we could off a string of shots without targets in the air. This is where Travis got his crazy split times. Steve was able to put together a string of 5 shots in .84 seconds! (84 being his lucky number) 


In conclusion, the Fabarm XLR Chesapeake stands as a formidable choice for shotgun enthusiasts, seamlessly blending advanced features with a commitment to user comfort and adaptability. From its solid ergonomics and pointability, the Chesapeake is great in the hands. The robust yet nimble construction, featuring a Timber Strata finish, not only adds durability but also ensures a confident grip. One of the biggest standouts was how well the Chesapeake handled recoil and cycled no matter how it was shot. If you are looking for a solid waterfowl shotgun or just an all-around shooter, the Fabarm Chesapeake is worth considering if you can pony up the investment for this 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 

Steve Gould 

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