Well, my niece's two teenage boys, 15 & 13, want to learn how to shoot. Their Dad tragically past away 8 years ago from stomach cancer, and my niece has had to raise them on her own since.
Now I have some short stocked rimfire rifles, and even one short stocked centerfire. But all of my shotguns are 12 gauges, with full length stocks. I did not feel that any of them would work well for me to use to teach them with. The boys are not tall, and I felt that it would also be better to introduce them to shotgun shooting with something lighter than a 12.
So the solution? I decided to get a short stock 20 gauge autoloader for teaching them how to shoot a shotgun. I could not find any dealer anywhere that had the CZ 720 youth shotgun in stock for me to look at. I almost bought one for $410 from a dealer on Gunbroker.com
I then decided to checkout the Franchi 720 short stock and Franchi 48 AL short stock shotguns, both of which I was able to locate, after calling several dealers. I immediately fell in love with the 48 AL. Man, this is one light shotgun at only 5 1/2 lbs. But boy, it is a solid, well built quality gun. I was most impressed when I examined it.
This shotgun uses the exact same long recoil system that the original Browning Auto 5 uses. But it has been updated so you can easily take out the trigger group and bolt, and give the gun a full internal cleaning, unlike the original Browning.
The entire bolt and the carrier are beautifully chromed. In addition, the chamber and inside of the barrel are chrome plated also. What really suprised me was the quality of the Walnut Stock. It is most handsome indeed! It has a fine satin finish on it. The checkering on the forearm is very deep and crisp. That, plus a handy groove in the forearm makes for a most secure grip.
And the quality of the wood exceeded my expectation. The figure in it is lovely to behold. The gun is listed as having a matte finish. And while the barrel looks a little bit dull, the receiver itself has a most handsome finish on it.
Only odd thing about the Franchi 48 AL is the bolt release button, which is on the left side of the gun, instead of on the right side like most semiauto shotguns. I grew up shooting 20 and 12 gauge Browning Auto-5's myself, so this shotgun really brings back memories to me. Hopefully my grand-nephews will enjoy shooting this shotgun as much as I did shooting my Dad's Browning Auto-5's when I was their age.
For any of you considering a lightweight 20 gauge for a woman or a youth, I would highly recommend that you consider this shotgun. Here is a photo that I took of it, after I got home from the store. This is a very fine semiauto shotgun. I paid $640 for it.
Below is the image that Franchi has on their website for illustrating this shotgun. Both the stock and even the finish of the gun don't look all that great.
So you can see why I was so very pleasantly surprised when I saw how very nice the gun really looks in person.
Franchi must have decided to upgrade the gun's stock recently, as the website does not even show the stock having a recoil pad on it.
I'll have to take some photos of the boys at the range with the shotgun the first time we go shooting. Hopefully I can even coax my niece ( she is only 5' 2" ) to shoot a couple of rounds of trap with it too.