F.A.I.R. Iside Vintage side-by-sides: revisited classics tested

The profile of a hunter moves slowly over the horizon with his gun on his shoulder, a moment of silence, time to cock the hammers of his side-by-side, before shooting. An image that for many years represented the norm in the countryside and in hunting: the double-barreled shotgun with external hammers ever present in the hunter's home, passing as a torch representing the ancient passion from father to son. Times have since changed in favor of speed and semi-automatic firearms, but for many hunters it remains the irreplaceable symbol of hunting. In F.A.I.R.'s Iside series, the external-hammer side-by-side is not only present, but is offered with both smoothbore and rifled barrels to meet the wishes of enthusiasts in every situation.

In the smoothbore version, the Iside Vintage is available in 20-gauge with a round-body receiver machined from a solid billet, and color case hardened. The special feature that makes the Iside unique, in addition to its receiver, is peculiar to the barrel coupling system, based on a "demibloc" soldering. The pierced opening lever is an elegant and recognizable detail that matches well with the carefully crafted hammers. The trigger is obviously a double trigger system and the manual case extraction is consistent with the gun's design and project. F.A.I.R.'s chrome-lined tri-alloy steel barrels have 76 mm magnum chambers and are available in three different lengths of 68, 71 and 76 cm. To increase the versatility of the gun – that we can define a classic revisited in a modern key, F.A.I.R. delivers a set of interchangeable Technichoke internal chokes.

The English-style buttstock and forend in the Iside side-by-side are select and oil-finished European walnut, with tartan-pattern, fine-pitch laser checkering, particularly grippy when swinging. The overall weight of the side-by-side is standard and well balanced along the slim profile of the gun, which does not exceed 2.8 kg.

Video: testing the F.A.I.R. Iside Vintage side-by-sides

Iside Vintage Safari

The profile of the integral color-case hardened receiver is recognizable for its elegance. 

The Iside Vintage side-by-side in the Express version with rifled barrels reflects the same construction principles as the smoothbore version, that is an integral receiver machined from a solid billet, obviously with increased thicknesses to ensure safety and stability when hunting with calibers intended for large ungulates. Also in this case we find the elegant profile given by the long side plates with color case hardening and the two hammers with a fine design.

The chamberings offered by F.A.I.R. for this version are 8X57 JRS, 9.3X74R, 30R Blaser, .30-06 Springfield, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, 7X57 Remington. Stock is different: it is select European walnut but we have a stock with classic Bavarian-style cheek rest and boar hump profile. 

F.A.I.R.'s Iside Vintage Safari side-by-side is equipped with iron sights and attachments that allow the monting of optics and aiming devices. 

Also optimizing ergonomics is the beavertail fore-end, which allows a firm and precise grip on the gun. Again, the checkering is fine-pitched with a tartan pattern and made by deep laser. The very compact size of the gun, which features 55-cm barrels, allow a quick and precise swing that facilitates even instinctive shooting in driven hunts. For its practicality and safety, the iside Vintage side-by-side can also be recommended for close-range shoots in the woods. The classic and sleek appearance does not prevent the side-by-side from being equipped with modern aiming devices and optics thanks to the attachments that are arranged along the 9 mm raised rib. The side-by-side is otherwise supplied with iron sights consisting of a high-visibility rear sight and adjustable fiber-optic front sight. The weight of the gun, which is well-balanced also in this case, does not exceed 2.9 kg and overall is adequate for stability and accuracy in follow-up shots as the field test showed on the of the runnig boar silhouette at a 50-m distance which in driven hunting can be considered a common range – a challenging one in the woods. 

Our considerations about the test

The F.A.I.R. Iside side-by-sides proved to be fun and stable firearms in follow-up shots. 

Obviously, the choice of these guns is never accidental and comes consciously for those hunters who want a gun with particular aesthetics while prioritizing the pleasure of hunting in general and the thrill of the shot, that we might call thoughtful but absolutely no less effective. The moment of cocking the hammers, which might give the impression of a slow or cumbersome gesture, actually represents a call to attention and concentration that prepares the hunter for the more pondered shot. These are not gun for those who shoot large volumes of ammo, but for traditional stalking or dog hunting especially in open environments. A gun of substance beyond its elegant appearance. Using commercial cartridges with standard loads, although the rigidity of break-actions is not comparable to other guns, with the Iside side-by-sides we fired follow-up shots without any problems, often precisely hitting the targets with our second barrel. Visibility when aiming with downed hammers is definitely good and facilitates open-eye shooting, both instinctive and aimed. We can conclude by saying that for the audience of traditionalist enthusiasts, the Iside side-by-sides can be a reliable and enjoyable alternative, suitable for different types of hunting and, no doubt, distinctive.

Iside side-by-sides come at a suggested price of about 3,900 euros for the Vintage 20-gauge model and 6,700 euros for the Safari Express version.

For more information please visit the F.A.I.R. website.

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