Review: 2015 Fabarm XLR5 Velocity Flat Rib Autoloading Shotgun

The Fabarm USA series of gas-operated, dedicated clay sports shotguns has now grown to four, somewhat confusingly all named the Fabarm XLR5 Velocity. There is a new compact model, while the other three full-sized models are distinguished by the rib type as far as naming. The original is now the “AR” for adjustable rib, there is the previously reviewed “LR” for long rib, and now this latest “FR” model that stands for flat rib.

The Fabarm Pulse Piston action is the same as prior releases, as is the Tri-Bore barrel proofed to 1630 BAR. The tested shotgun has a 30 inch barrel, actually 30-1/2 inches with one of the five included Exis extended choke tubes installed. My example weighs 7-3/4 lbs. on the nose, measured by calibrated electronic gauge. This model has a MSRP of $1990: the rest of the specifications follow.

Gauge 12 Ga
Operation Stainless Steel Piston, gas operated
Barrel Length 30" (76cm)
Barrel Rib Height 6mm
Chamber 2.75"
Chokes 5 EXIS HP Competition Choke Tubes
Frame Finish Black Anodized
Stock European Walnut
Wood Finish Triwood™
Length of pull 14.75"
Drop at comb 1.5"
Drop at heel 2.25"
Cast at toe .125"
Pitch 5°
Cast to heel .125"
Weight 7lbs 12oz. (as measured)
Proof test 1630 BAR
Case Hard Case


While not at all a light gun, it is a full one pound lighter than the XLR5 LR out of the box, that weighs a substantial 8-3/4 lbs. That is, however, with the LR's factory recoil reducer (5.36 ounces) installed. Without the recoil reducer, the difference is about 11 ounces lighter for the FR version. If you want to add the Kinetik Recoil Reducer to the FR, you can, as an option, as well as optional forearm cap weights.
The Fabarm Velocity FR trigger is excellent, as might imagine, breaking crisply at four pounds. The FR has a bit smaller, slimmer pistol grip which some shooters are going to prefer. The choice of model for you is going to depend in large measure on how much adjustability you prefer, as the FR does not have the adjustable comb of the AR and LR models.

The wood on the Fabarm XLR5 FR is “Tri-Wood,” and opinions are going to vary. It is ink-enhanced walnut, not a film, and has been used by Fabarm since 2002. It does not have the obvious seam of dipped finishes, and is far better-looking than the Beretta “X-Tra Wood” attempt. Although it is better-done than most other enhanced wood treatments, my own preference is for just a reasonably good standard grade of walnut with a conventional finish. Nevertheless, it does look like an $1800 premium stock set and appears to have a very tough acrylic clear finish as well.

The XLR Velocity FR has an adjustable trigger. That's one of the areas that you normally cannot adjust: the distance of the trigger from the pistol grip that the trigger is placed. With the FR, you can move the physical trigger forward or backward to suit your own preference.

The XLR5 Flat Rib fits me extremely well right out of the box. It, like the rest of the XLR5 Velocity semi-autos, are the best made autoloaders on the market, in terms of machining, finish, factory choke tubes, barrel quality, standard of proof, and trigger quality. Cleaning of the gas piston takes all of five minutes with a brass brush and Hoppe's No. 9.

The XLR5 FR is fun to shoot and has essentially no felt recoil with 1180 fps 1 oz. loads and very little with 1230 fps 1-1/8 oz. loads. The bolt release on the left side of the receiver is quite large, and effortless to use with the palm of your hand. Aftermarket bolt releases and aftermarket bolt handles are things you'll need with a Fabarm Velocity.

The XLR5 LR has a nice, solid feel to it that you'll not get with the “springy stock thing” type of recoil reducing attempts that invariably introduce unwanted stock and gun movement. The FR, like the rest of the Velocity line, doesn't have those problems for there is little in the way of recoil or gun movement to begin with. The Velocity FR is a very long ways from the most expensive dedicated clays gun out there; in fact, it is the least expensive of the XLR5 Velocity line, running at something like $1850 or so street price. It is my favorite, though, and if it fits you there is a good chance it will be yours as well.

Copyright 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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