Fabarm XLR5 Waterfowler 12 Gauge, Part Two
The actual rib portion that resides on the top of the Waterfowler receiver is 6 inches long. It provides a contiguous rib that, combined with the ventilated rib portion of the barrel is 34 inches in length for the 28 inch barrel Waterfowler, 36 inches for the 30 inch Waterfowler.
The XLR5 Waterfowler is very easy to clean, for the elastomer portion of the “Pulse Piston” acts as a wipe to scrub away fouling from the gas housing. The Waterfowler is a soft shooter. At this juncture, the heaviest loads I've tested have been 1-1/2 ounce 1315 fps #4 lead loads that decidedly break clay pigeons. Ejection on the tested model is positive, with about 7 foot ejection with target loads, but 12 – 14 foot ejection with the 1-1/2 oz. loads.
Sling studs are included with every XLR5 Waterfowler, there is nothing extra to buy. I do like the rubberized finish of the Waterfowler, but have not conducted any abrasion testing. Some may well drag the shotgun over gravel or rocks, but that isn't part of what I call any conventional testing. It has been my experience that water transfer printing, as a class, is extremely durable and most of that durability comes from the proper application of the clear coat. As far as corrosion resistance, Fabarm XLR5 and L4S models all have generous, heavy chrome plating on the internals and a titanium finish on the gas housing. The Waterfowler adds to that with its PVD coated bolt.
PVD is the abbreviation of Physical Vapor Deposition. PVD is a process covers a large group of coatings. It includes is titanium nitride (TiN) however: chromium nitride (CrN), and aluminum titanium nitride (AlTiN). Which specific coating Fabarm is using I don't know. I would speculate that it is likely nickel boron, becoming popular in shotguns, which adds lubricity, wear resistance, offers easier cleaning, and has reduced carbon fouling.
I've been asked to compare the recoil of the Fabarm XLR5 Waterfowler to other shotguns, in some cases every other shotgun ever made in the history of the world. It isn't quite so easy, as there are several gas-action autoloaders that are similar in both felt recoil and weight. As a group, the XLR5 Waterfowler, Browning Maxus, and Remington V3 are all significantly softer shooting than inertia guns, whether a Benelli M2, Franchi Affinity, the new Browning A5, the Weatherby Element, and so on. Between gas guns, some might find the Remington V3 to be the softest-shooting, that's my impression but there isn't really much of a difference between the three.
I will compare the Fabarm Waterfowler to the Browning Maxus, not because the Maxus is a poor shotgun, but because it is a good one and quite popular as well. You can expect a better trigger with the Fabarm, better choke tubes, and a proper hard case as well, along with the extended bolt handle and a better warranty / higher standard of customer service. Mechanically, there are no springs in the gas piston to snap, nor can there be any issues with the mainspring tube or mainspring in the buttstock, as the XLR5 doesn't use them. The Fabarm Waterfowler also comes in left-hand versions, notable because most gas autoloaders don't.
The most appealing, most unique feature of the XLR5 Waterfowler is the “Long Rib.” Not only does it make target acquisition fast and easy, but the 10.4 mm rib height encourages a natural, comfortable, heads up shooting style that offers better visibility beneath your target as well, which may well be duck number two or duck number three. If you use the XLR5 Velocity Long Rib target gun for clays, using the Waterfowler for hunting is an easy choice.
Barrel length is a personal preference affair. If it was up to me, a 26 inch Fabarm Waterfowler would be ideal. I would imagine that Fabarm will expand their hunting line as time goes on, and as the initial shipment of the XLR5 Waterfowlers to the U.S. sold out very quickly, that's a very good sign that the Waterfowler is here to stay in the United States indefinitely.
I will do some patterning comparisons with the Waterfowler in the near future, starting with Kent Silver Steel 1-1/4 oz. #2 1480 fps loads and the new Kent Bismuth 1-1/4 oz. #4 1350 fps loads, two loads that are extremely good duck medicine.
The multi-language Fabarm XLR Pulse Piston manual is included here for sake of completeness: XLR 3 in. Pulse Piston Shotgun Manual .
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.