Who Would Want a Farco Air Shotgun?

By Ronald E. Gill
Photos by Stephanie Gill

Customizing And Hot Rodding The Airforce Rifle!
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"Who would want one?" My wife Stephanie was referring to my new Farco CO2 air shotgun, and the question stopped me in mid-sentence. "Well, me of course," was not a satisfactory answer for my most important editor. Would other shooters want it too? Here are my answers about some of the shooters who would find the Farco air shotgun appealing.

Someone who would want a Farco must have a sense of adventure and humor, because the Farco is an outlandish airgun. It is a .51 caliber, smoothbore, CO2 powered Ďpelletí gun from the Republic of the Philippines. If that doesnít break all the pellet gun rules, consider that it has a 30 inch barrel and an overall length of 4 feet.

I ordered my Farco from Air Rifle Specialists in New York. It arrived at my home near Pocatello, Idaho, just after a flash flood closed the county road about two miles below my house. The Sheriffís Deputy in a four wheel drive led the UPS truck through flood debris to the foot of our washed out driveway. I looked down from the house and saw Stephanie step out of the mud on to the truckís runningboard to sign the electronic clip board for an airgun I had wanted for years.

The person who wants a Farco must be the kind of airgunner who really appreciates grinder and file marks on a $460 airgun. The Farco is appropriate technology from the Philippines. This is a hand made gun and it is made with hand tools. Solder and brass tubing play an important part in its construction. The Farco came out of the hand-cut styrofoam packing box with no pretensions. It was just what the Philippine craftsman packed in there. The kind of craftsman who gets the most out of working with a hammer, file and hacksaw. I have appreciated this craftsmanship since I was a sailor in the Philippines, where I bought an engraved belt buckle. The engraverís tools were a cold chisel and a center punch.

A reality check for airgunners is a $100 Benjamin/Sheridan from the Mart store of your choice. This gun represents high technology to most folks in the U.S. A handmade CO2 shotgun from the Republic of the Philippines that costs $460 may dumbfound a mainstream shooter. The same money would buy a nice rifle that would shoot a nice elk that would fill a freezer with nice steaks. If mainstream shooters are incredulous over a $460 airgun, well, they have a valid point.

For the airgunner who wants an air shotgun, the point is that the Farco is very different from most other airguns. The nickel plated Farco looks and shoots like a Silver Streak on steroids. The Farco shoots shot or round balls at 100 foot pounds of energy. That is 6 to 10 times the energy of domestic airguns, and this is only one of the differences. It is loaded with reusable brass shells that have to be removed from the gun after each firing. There is no extractor or ejector. The shells slide to the rear as the bolt is opened. Then they are removed by hand. Twelve shells made from 1 inch long pieces of brass tubing the same size as the barrel come with the gun.

Loading the shell with loose shot is very much like loading a muzzleloader. First, a thick wad (analogous to an over powder card) is pushed into the shell. Then the shot is added and a thin wad is placed over the shot. The gun came with a 17/32 inch wad cutter to make wads from sheet cork, cardboard, or other materials. When shooting round balls, a plastic .50 caliber muzzleloader sabot and a .433 round ball are pressed into the shell. These removable shells make the Farco air shotgun unlike most airguns where the shooter simply loads a pellet by itself and fires.

The first time I shot my Farco it felt like a big sling shot. It sounded like the valve was fluttering, and then I heard the rat tat tats of the shot hitting an empty cereal box 20 yards away. The 7 1/2 shot hit the box with enough force to go through both sides. I had fun experimenting with various kinds of wads and shot, but I really wanted to shoot it with round balls.

To see how the gun would do with round balls, I set up a 2 x 2 piece of 0.040" sheet metal at about 30 yards. I aimed at the center of the target and squeezed the trigger. There was the hushed report followed by a metallic thump of the lead ball deforming against sheet iron. The time lag between the shot and the thump made the perception of power much more intense. I walked up to the target and found a dent 2 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep. Just then, airgunning took on a whole new dimension. I was born to go fooom! Big bore airgunning was what I had wanted and the Farco delivered. Shooting .433 round balls from 50 yards, the airgun from Manila can topple a 1/2 size ram silhouette that weighs just over 10 pounds. More amazing was all that power comes from CO2.

This CO2 gun does not take 12 gram Powerlets. The large tube under the barrel holds 4-5 ounces of liquefied gas, and is refilled from a separate ten ounce cylinder that is provided with the gun. This is not new; the first CO2 gun I ever shot was filled with CO2 from a cylinder that had to be refilled at the refrigeration plant. With my new Farco, I use a five pound tank to refill the ten ounce cylinder. I can connect the two tanks with an adapter from Air Rifle Specialists This way, I donít have to go back to town every time the smaller cylinder runs dry. Some people who have watched me shoot are as interested in the refilling as in the shooting.

The kind of shooter who wants a Farco air shotgun will be someone who wants to share the fun of shooting. Most people smile when they see the Farco. Their smiles usually broaden after they shoot it, as I learned at our local shooting range.

At the range, several friends gathered to see my new gun. My friend Neal wanted to be able to say he shot the Farco. I handed him a shell loaded with a round ball, and suggested a sight picture for the 25 yard target. "Oh no, Iím going for something further," and he aimed for a 4 X 8 foot target board at 200 yards. We all watched to see where the ball would hit. We knew in our hearts the ball would fall short of the target. None of us saw dust. Finally, "THUMP!" We had thought the ball could no longer be in flight when we heard it strike the board. Ten shots later, no one had duplicated Nealís shot.

On another trip to the range, Valerie, my 11 year old daughter, and I shot the Farco. Valerie reloaded the shells with the 120 gr. balls and sabots and shot the Farco through the chronograph. She tried to shoot it offhand, but it was too big and clumsy for her, so she shot from a rest. The gun won her approval: "Thatís a neat gun, Dad."

Valerie and I measured three successive shots with .433 round balls: 533, 522 and 508 fps. The lead ball and sabot weigh 135 gr. We calculated energy figures of 85, 82, & 77 foot pounds respectively. My Farco was not delivering to the 100+ foot pounds of energy I had read about. The kinetic energy for the first shots I measured were in the low 70s. However, with more shooting the Farcoís voice got deeper. Airguns wear in with shooting, and this gunís velocity was getting faster. The most recent shots were 574 fps (99 foot pounds) for round ball and sabot, and 440 fps (103 foot pounds) for 240 grains of 7 1/2 shot. The Farco is powerful. Against steel rams at 50 yards the lead balls flatten to the size of quarters. Its major role is as a shot gun, and at 20 yards it will shoot 7 1/2 shot through an aluminum pop can filled with water.

The hunter who wants to hunt with an air shotgun is a hunter who wants to use stealth and skill to get a step closer to the game. For all its power the Farco is a limited range weapon. An air shotgunner will have to pass up shots that could be made with a 12 gauge or a .22 long rifle. A hunter with an air shotgun has to get closer to the game, but there is a reward. Hunting at closer range is hunting at a higher skill level.

Who would want to own a Farco air shotgun? Well, me of course, but there are others. A shooter who is looking for something different and who has a sense of humor and adventure. A gun owner who knows hand made can leave marks from hand tools. A hunter who wants to hunt more with stealth than power. Someone who likes to have fun and share it with others.

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The ARS Farco CO2 Air Shotgun Specs

Model ARS Farco CO2 Air Shotgun
Manufacturer Grion Metal Craft
Republic of the Philippines
Importer Air Rifle Specialists
311 East Water St.
Elmira, NY 14901
Power Source CO2 Bulk Fill
Caliber .51 (28 guage)
Energy 100+ ft. lb.
Overall Length 48 1/2"
Weight 7 lb.
Barrel 30" Smoothbore
Sights Open Rear
Post Front
Stock Philipine Hardwood
Safety Trigger Blocking
Price $460


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