Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun- The slim, trim Franchi® Affinity® 3 Semi–Auto Shotgun handles beautifully and points instinctively to bring down a variety of game birds. The Affinity 3 uses an Inertia Driven® operating system to cycle 2-3/4″–3″ shells flawlessly, without adjustments. The entire gun is finished in TrueTimber® DRT (Dead Right There) camo, featuring a contrast of brown and gray, dark enough to blend into swamps and wetlands, with just enough yellow coloration for cattails and CRP fields. The synthetic buttstock can be adjusted for drop and cast with the provided shim kit, and length of pull can be altered by changing out the TSA recoil pad. This Franchi shotgun features a full-length ventilated rib, and a fiber-optic front sight; and the receiver is drilled and tapped for attaching aftermarket sights. The Affinity utilizes interchangeable chokes (includes F, M, IC). The cross-bolt safety button behind the trigger is easy to locate and operate; and an oversized bolt handle, bolt release, and magazine port provide positive engagement, even with gloved hands. The Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun features a trigger assembly that can be removed for cleaning by punching out a single pin. Made in USA.
- TrueTimber DRT camo
- Synthetic buttstock and fore-end
- Inertia Driven operating system
- Vent rib with fiber optic front sight
- Push button safety behind trigger
- Oversize operation controls
- Shim kit for drop and cast
- Includes 3 chokes
Tested: Franchi Affinity 3 Shotgun
By ALEX LUFFO FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
It might seem strange at first for Franchi to name a shotgun “Affinity,” but in the broad sense of the word, a natural liking for something, it fits. Simply put, it’s an easy shotgun to shoot and shoot well. The Affinity uses the now-familiar inertia operating system brought to prominence by its stablemate the Benelli Black Eagle and its iterations, and also shared with its more affordably priced bedfellow, the Stoeger 3000. Interestingly enough, the inertia system was the 1903 brainchild of Danish gunsmith Christian Sjörgren when he first marketed his “Normal” semi-automatic design.
Our sample gun was a 28″-barreled 12 gauge chambered for 3″ shells—the company also makes a 3½” chambering, but given the added punishment those shells produce, the 3″ version will get the job done equally well. The inertia-driven operating system works by means of a rotating bolt head that is held in battery by a strong spring. When fired, the gun recoils, but the spring, supported by the mass of the bolt, is further compressed, which tightens the engagement of the bolt head with the cuts in the barrel extension. Once the ejecta leaves the muzzle, the spring tension relaxes and the bolt is then freed to move rearward, extracting the fired shell and ejecting it as it reaches the ejector at the rear of the barrel extension. If there is no round in the tubular magazine, the bolt is locked to the rear. If there is a fresh round available, it is released, tripping the action release and, as the bolt travels forward—powered by the return spring that is wrapped around the magazine tube rather than concealed within the buttstock—pivoting the carrier up to place the new cartridge in front of the bolt. The forward-traveling bolt then pushes it into the chamber with the extractor snapping over the rim of the shell. Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun
The Affinity comes with a set of stock adjustment shims so that users can customize fit and length of pull. At the 16-yd. fitting plate we found that it shot about 1″ high, just right for keeping game or clay visible over the rib. In the event it was off, the easy-to-follow directions show how the shims are employed, facilitating fitting the gun to the individual. The Affinity 3 features a red fiber-optic front bead, and the top of the aluminum receiver is drilled and tapped for the mounting of an optic.
We had the opportunity to shoot the Affinity for several days while hunting Maryland’s Eastern Shore geese, and it didn’t disappoint. In the field, we used a combination of Hevi-Shot Hevi-X, B&P Magnum, Winchester Blind Side, Federal Premium Black Cloud and Kent Bismuth. We shot each ammunition type individually, and also mixed them together randomly, again without a malfunction. The shots taken at the fitting plate were 7/8-oz. Rio light target loads, which the Affinity cycled without a hitch. The average trigger pull was 5 lbs., 8 ozs.—fairly light for a semi-automatic.
Our test gun came with a Realtree Max-5 dipped camouflage finish. This type of finish provides excellent protection against the elements, plus concealment from the birds’ eyes. Standard with the Affinity is an extra-large bolt handle that extends a full 11⁄8″ from the side of the action. So, too, the bolt release is a nearly 1/2″-wide button for fumble-free operation, as is the trigger guard, which is large enough to accommodate winter gloves. The crossbolt safety, located at the back of the trigger guard, is smallish compared with the other operating controls, but we found it to be no impediment in the field. At the right-front-top of the trigger guard is a small serrated tab that must be depressed in order to lock the bolt open. The magazine loading port is also enlarged to facilitate loading. The Affinity’s magazine has a capacity of four shells, but comes with the mandatory-for-hunting plug to reduce the capacity to two. Loading the magazine was a little harder than most, as the shell latch’s spring is fairly strong, and must be overcome with a harder-than-usual push.
The synthetic stock terminates in Franchi’s TSA recoil pad that does an excellent job of attenuating recoil. It has a slick heel to help with a smooth gun mount and horizontal striations across the center of the pad to stabilize it against the shoulder once mounted. However, in shooting it extensively, we found it had the tendency to slip on a variety of hunting coats, necessitating a remount for second and third shots. Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun
The bore of our test gun measured 0.719″ with a digital bore micrometer—rather on the tight side—but close to the SAAMI standard of 0.725″. The three included choke tubes, marked IC (0.0045″), M (0.017″) and F (0.0315″) hued fairly close to standard measurements against the cylinder bore. We used the modified tube for geese and ducks with excellent results. The 40-yd. patterning results are right on at 55 percent, as the 0.017″ choke constriction lies right between Light Modified (0.015″) and Modified (0.020″). We shot 10 patterns using Environ-metal’s (Hevi-Shot) new Hevi-X No. 4 ammunition. Our test loads contained 207 pellets that provided quite even patterns. The results are tabulated nearby.
In total, we found the Affinity to be a really endearing shotgun that performed to perfection in the field, as it was easy to shoot well in terms of birds bagged relative to shots fired. Perhaps the best news is the suggested retail price of $899 for the camouflaged and walnut models, and $789 for the black version—with at-the-counter prices potentially lower.
Review: Franchi Affinity 12ga Shotgun
By FRED TOAST FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
I was also surprised and delighted to learn that the initial release of the Franchi Affinity included a left-handed, mirror-image 12 gauge. With that in mind, I begged Poole to let me do a full-blown review of the shotgun.
Franchi has been making shotguns in Brescia, Italy, since 1868. It’s a good name and the Affinity has all the traits to be a great gun.
Unlike other companies’ initial releases that start slow and build up in models and options, the Franchi Affinity has quickly been built into a significant family of shotguns. The basics include the 12-gauge Affinity 3.5, chambered for 2¾-, 3-, and 31/2-inch shells and the Affinity 3 in 12 or 20 gauges, both with 2¾- and 3-inch chambers. Both happily digest a wide range of shotshells from light 2¾-inch loads on up.
The Affinity 3.5, intended primarily for the waterfowl and turkey markets, is available in black synthetic, Realtree Max-5, and Mossy Oak Bottomland with either 26- or 28-inch barrels. Overall weight with a 28-inch barrel is just seven pounds, making it a very light and responsive shotgun with full-up 3½-inch, 12-gauge capability. The Affinity 3 is a larger family. Right-hand, 12-gauge options come with 26- and 28-inch barrels and are available in black synthetic, Realtree Max-5, Mossy Oak Bottomland and A-Grade satin walnut. The 3-inch, 12-gauge guns are only a few ounces lighter than the 3½-inch version, running 6.8 to 6.9 pounds, depending on barrel length. The 20-gauge Affinity 3 is available in the same finishes, with only a 26-inch barrel and is quite a bit lighter at 6 pounds.
The Affinity 3 Compact is a youth model with a 12 3⁄8-inch length of pull, in 12- or 20-gauge, with 24- or 26-inch barrels and with stock options in black synthetic, Realtree Max-5 and Realtree APG. Then there’s the 28-inch barreled, 12-gauge, 3-inch Affinity Catalyst with an A-Grade satin walnut stock crafted for a woman’s build.
Finally, near and dear to my heart, there’s the left-hand, mirror-image version. While it is only offered in a black synthetic stock, chambered for 12-gauge 3-inchers and with just a 28-inch barrel, I’m overjoyed! Right-handers have no idea how rare left-hand semiautos are, so the lack of options doesn’t bother me in the least. Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun
Shooters will find the button safety located behind the trigger on the triggerguard works in reverse in the left-hand configuration.
Depending on finish, stock style and gauge, the Affinity family members look quite a bit different, but all are very much the same basic shotgun with significant features in common.
All Affinity shotguns have a raised ventilated rib and come from the box with a slightly higher comb for a 6-o’clock point of aim (POA), which I’ve always preferred. However, a shim kit with four different shims is supplied. (Shims go between the stock and receiver and allow modifying the height of the comb either to suit your build or change to your preferred POA.)
Three interchangeable chokes and a choke wrench are provided. The supplied chokes are intended for both lead and steel, and are clearly marked: Lead Full, Lead Modified/Steel Full or Lead Improved Cylinder/Steel Improved Modified. A full range of extended choke tubes are also available as options. Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun
Also standard is the Franchi TSA recoil pad yielding a 137⁄8-inch length of pull (LOP), which I found perfect for Average Joe (me). Optional TSA pads are available to alter the LOP if needed. The bolt release, bolt handle and loading port are oversized, allowing easier operation with gloves. The safety is the common crossbolt safety found on the triggerguard behind the trigger, right-to-left (safe to fire) on the right-hand models and left-to-right on the left-hand model. The cartridge drop lever is forward of the trigger above the triggerguardbow, and is on the right side on all models.
The magazine tube cap on all Affinity shotguns has a forward sling swivel stud, while only the synthetic-stocked versions have rear sling swivel studs integral with the buttstocks
Pricewise, the Affinity 3 starts at $10 less than $800, while the Affinity 3.5 starts at $960. There are less expensive semiautos — and some that are more — but this is a very good and very complete shotgun for that price range.
Matters of Inertia
The Franchi Affinity uses an inertia-driven and simple semiautomatic action that requires just three primary parts: bolt body, the inertia spring within the bolt body and the rotating bolt head.
The inertia-driven semiautomatic action has only three parts: the bolt body, the inertia spring and a rotating bolt head.
On firing, the shotgun moves rearward but the bolt remains stationary with the bolt head locked into the barrel extension. At the end of the recoil cycle, as chamber pressure drops, the inertia spring thrusts the bolt assembly rearward, unlocking the rotating the bolt head. As the bolt moves rearward, the fired cartridge is extracted and ejected. The cartridge drop lever moves up allowing a cartridge to move from magazine to carrier. The rearward movement of the bolt cocks the internal hammer and compresses the recoil spring surrounding the magazine tube. With rearward movement completed, the recoil spring thrusts the bolt forward. The carrier then lifts the next shell and the bolt pushes it into the chamber.
The Affinity’s inertia-driven system is certainly not the only effective semiauto shotgun action. We can argue endlessly whether a gas-operated system is more reliable, and I suppose you could throw in the Browning long-recoil system, too. However, the Franchi inertia-driven system is simple, fast and clean. Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun
The inertia operating system does everything from extraction to driving the next shell into the chamber.
Between the inertia system, which soaks up a bit of recoil, and the excellent TSA recoil pad, Franchi claims a 50 percent recoil reduction. I cannot verify this for full-house, 31/2-inch shells are always a handful and the Affinity is fairly light. However, the Affinity is amazingly manageable with heavy loads and a real pleasure to shoot with target loads.
One of the problems with both 3- and 31/2-inch semiautos isn’t functioning with the heaviest loads but getting them to cycle with the lighter loads we’re more likely to use for practice and upland game.
The Affinity is not perfect. The 3.5 balked with some light target loads, but functioned perfectly with standard 23/4-, 3-, and 31/2-inch loads. My 3-inch, left-hand Affinity was more tolerant. It digested the full range of 23/4-inch loads with no hiccups, and had no issues with the heaviest 3-inch loads.
To check its tolerance level, I chambered some light target handloads with some very questionable crimps. The Franchi shrugged them off with absolutely no problem. However, I also had on hand some lighter English 21/2-inch, 12-gauge shells (rarely seen in this country). These were below the limit. They did not have enough oomph to cycle the action, but I would have been really surprised if they worked.
Operation is simple and straightforward. Single-loading can be accomplished by dropping a shell through the ejection port and onto the carrier, then pressing the bolt release button. Loading for repeat operation is done by pressing shells into the magazine from the loading port. They must be pressed completely in and will lock. The first cartridge can then be single-loaded into the chamber as above, or the cartridge drop lever can be pressed to release the first shell in the magazine.
The technical aspects of shotgunning can get fairly complex. Each and every shotgun is likely to pattern slightly different with various brands of shotshells, size and construction of shot, payloads and wad columns. Turkey hunters can drive themselves insane trying to find the densest swarm of shot that can center a turkey’s head, while serious waterfowlers and clay shooters focus more on the most even patterns. This can be painstaking work. What I cared about with the left-hand Affinity was confirming what appeared to be a six o’clock hold, just kissing the bottom of a target (yes) and ensuring that the choke tubes gave increasing pattern densities from Improved Cylinder to Full (yes, again). Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun
Grace Under Pressure
The technical considerations is one thing, but actually shooting a shotgun is a bit more subjective than shooting rifles or handguns. Given a correct POA and consistent patterns, much of shotgunning depends heavily on shotgun fit and feel.
I recently attended a sporting clays fundraiser at Camp Theodore Naish near Bonner Springs, Kansas, where I used to work when I was a kid. Believe me, I don’t compete with a shotgun anymore. But I couldn’t help myself and I got competitive. I like to shoot as well as I can, so my first thought was to bring a real sporting clays gun. On second thought, the event would be a great way to see the Affinity in action. I could get a better feel for how well it really handles and shoots.
The course was elaborate and diabolic, but only a few targets had any serious distance, so I stayed with the Improved Cylinder choke tube throughout the shoot. I shot two full courses of 100 rounds each, using Federal Premium target loads with 11⁄8 ounces of 7½ shot. I had zero jams or malfunctions — not one — which speaks extremely well of a 3-inch gun shooting target loads.
Handling capability was superb, however, my performance was not. Running rabbit targets always give me fits, and I missed more than I should have. Of the first 100, I broke 85. That’s hardly a great score, but not embarrassing for a rusty old guy with an unfamiliar shotgun. Franchi Affinity 3 Semi-Auto Shotgun
I have been extremely impressed with the Franchi Affinity. It is light and responsive. The recoil spring is a very tight fit around the magazine tube, which resulted in a trimmer forend than most semiautos and contributed to a really good feel. I enjoyed shooting it, and it did its part when I did mine. You really can’t ask for much more, so I think the Affinity and I have some bird shooting to do in the weeks ahead.
Franchi Affinity (Left Hand)
Action: Inertia, semiautomatic
Gauge: 12 ga.
Chamber: 2.75- and 3-in.
Stock: Synthetic, black (tested)
Metal Finish: Matte black
Barrel Length: 28 in.
Overall Length: 49.25 in.
Weight 6 lbs., 14.4 oz.
Length of Pull: 13.875 in.
Manufacturer: Franchi (Italy)
Importer: Franchi USA,