Calling a spring gobbler into close range is a task that is never taken lightly, even for the most experienced turkey hunters. A tom might be a bit call shy because of hunting pressure, he could have hens with him, or there may be a natural interference such as a fence, creek, or another landmark that might detour him from coming to a call. Overcoming such obstacles is a feat in itself; the last thing that a hunter wants is to miss or have a weapon malfunction when the shot opportunity finally presents itself.
I have been on the losing end of the hunt more than I like to admit. Unfortunately, most of the time, the explanation for not being able to close the deal was because of something to do with my shooting ability, the gun not performing the way I wanted, or not knowing the weapons capabilities before the hunt.
To avoid these mishaps, many turkey hunters seek out better-performing shotguns when preparing for the hunt. Quality leads to fewer malfunctions, better performance, and an advantage that will lead to more successful hunts.
I recently decided to put the NEW Franchi Affinity 3.5 turkey shotgun to the test and see if the hype I had heard from other shooters had any accountability. I also wanted to see if the performance would result in a firearm that I would be comfortable taking with me on my next turkey hunting adventure.
The Franchi Affinity line of shotguns has been famous among waterfowl and upland bird hunters for a few years now. The Affinity line is known for its reliability and smooth swing when hunting a fast-flying bird. Seeing the confidence that these hunters have in a shotgun had me excited when the opportunity arose for me to try the reliable Affinity platform in the Affinity 3.5 Turkey edition.
Franchi Affinity 3.5 12-Gauge Turkey Shotgun
- Action: Semi- Auto
- Chambering: 2-3/4", 3", and 3-1/2"
- Capacity: 4 + 1
- Barrell Length: 24 Inches
- Overall Length: 40 Inches
- Weight: 7.5 lbs
- Stock, Barrel, and Reciever Finish: Mossy Oak Bottomland
- Choke: Extended Turkey and Turkey XF
- Sights: Adjustable rear sight, Hooded fiber-optic front sight
- Length Of Pull: 14- 3/8 Inches
- MSRP: $1,129.00
The first thing that sparked my attention was the sleek look from the buttstock to the tip of Mossy Oak Bottomland’s barrel coverage. We have often heard that looks aren’t everything; even though this is a beautiful-looking gun, I wanted to see how it was made and how it performed.
As a die-hard turkey hunter, I want a gun that is easy to use in the field. The oversized bolt handle is one of the features that makes the ease of use shine. Although it may be a minor feature, it must not be overlooked. The oversized handle is easy to use, even with gloves on while hunting. The enlarged loading port is another often disregarded feature that needs to be addressed. The larger port allows for more effortless loading in the dark before heading out or waiting until sitting in a blind before loading. It is quiet and easy to do.
After observing features that make use in the field a breeze, I was on the quest to see how it performed mechanically.
As with my camouflage clothing, boots, and turkey calls, I want to have confidence in what I use at all times when turkey hunting. Especially when it comes to the shotgun, when you have confidence in your weapon, you’re genuinely a better hunter. The pistol grip handle that is on the Affinity 3.5 gives the hunter better control over the shotgun. The 24-inch barrel and pistol grip handle makes the gun feel compact, perfect for hunting in the timber or hunting inside a ground blind.
The last factor in finding a quality shotgun is how it patterns. Even though the Affinity 3.5 is capable of shooting 3.5-inch shells, I do not like shooting them; instead, I prefer shooting a 3-inch turkey load.
With my personal preference in mind, I used Winchester XR turkey loads when patterning. When it is my first time shooting a specific gun, I choose to shoot #4’s, 5’s, and 6’s to see which one patterns the best from that particular gun. When shooting the Franchi Affinity 3.5, I was able to get the best pattern from the #5’s. The most impressive pattern that I received was at 40 yards, shooting at a Birchwood Casey Pregame Turkey Target.
At 40 yards, I put 225 pellets into the 12” x 18” target. Another great feature of the Birchwood Casey targets is that the turkey is life-size. During that same shot, I captured 42 pellets inside the vital area/ head of the turkey. At 30 yards, the pattern was still impressive, with 182 pellets and 34 pellets in vitals. At 50 yards, it was 191 in the paper and 31 in vitals.
With patterns like these, I have the confirmation not to use 3.5-inch shells. You will not get much better performance from 3.5; however, you will get a broader range of bruises on your shoulder for no reason.
The Franchi Affinity 3.5 turkey gun performed at a high level for me when patterning for turkey hunting. I love the feel of this gun. Franchi hits home with their slogan: “Feels Right.” The gun is not overly heavy, only weighing 7.5 pounds. I was more than happy with how it patterned with a factory turkey choke and factory sights, which are very good out of the box. I am excited to put this gun to even more tests throughout the 2021 spring turkey season.