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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well if finally came! My Saiga 12ga is finally here! For those who are not familiar with this beast it is an AK-47 built in the original AK factory by the original manufacture. At the end of this review will be links to the importer and manufacture.
First off lets look at the contents of the box:
Siaga 12ga
5 shot clip
plastic oil bottle
bore brush
bore patch holder
cleaning rod
2 cleaning/adjustment tools
tool holder

1st Impressions:
When I first saw the gun it looked incredible. It looked just like an AK, all the same style and design. When I picked it up, I was less impressed. The stock is a synthetic that feels like smooth plastic. The finish is dull and the design of the safety scratches the finish off in a line down the receiver. The gun also has 0 bolt hold open option. The bolt will not hold open unless you hold it open. The butt also has no pad at all, just a hard plastic plate. All of these bad points I listed are what makes it an AK. The scratching safety, odd feeling synthetic stock, and the no bolt hold open are all part of the original AK design.
On to the good! The gun just feels solid in your hands, like a baseball bat. The only sound it makes when you shake it is the click of the sling rings shaking back and forth. You need to disengage the safety to pull the bolt and it makes a very unique "claachink" sound when released. The clip is the standard AK "rock and lock" getup. With shells in the clip it will not "rock and lock" as easily as an empty clip. It took me 5 min to lock in a clip with one shell. Once I got it it was simple and now I can do it without thinking about it. You have to make sure the bottom of the action is pushing on the shell a bit to get the right angel to load a clip. I would not try this with paper shells. My gun came with a 22" bbl and a fixed full choke as well as fixed iron sites chambered in 3". You can get adjustable sites and 19" threaded bbl with screw chokes. I will have after market chokes put in mine (adjustable titan!). The gun is 7.6lb officially, but with the balance and distribution it feels like 2lbs. Everyone I handed it too said "wow this is light".
The gun ships from Russia with about 6lbs of heavy oil inside the action. I looked at the manual and proceeded to strip her down. Basically push a button on the back of the receiver to take the cover off. From there you just pull the guts of the gun out the top. I have yet to see a procedure for taking the trigger group out, but that really is no big deal since the whole mechanism can be seen and cleaned from the top if the gun. I cleaned and oiled the gun and slapped it back together. One thing I found is you can't be afraid to slam the top cover back on, you gotta give it a good whack.
So far I can say this is not a gun for everyone. This is a gun for those who want a solid action, interesting design and don't mind cleaning a gun. I say that because the action and safety are designed to scratch the finish of the gun. Keep the gun clean and dry and it should not be a problem.
Well sadly this is it for now. After work today I will be patterning the gun and shooting some clays from my thrower. Tonight is trap night so I plan on using this gun on the line. I'll let you all know how she shoots and how the funny looks turn out!

http://www.eaacorp.com/firearms/saiga/shotguns/saigawords.shtml
http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/product/saiga12.shtml
 

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Can't wait to hear about the looks you get. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok I shot the gun. First things first WOW! Ok the gun has very very very little recoil. It patterned a bit high on the paper (70% up). And yes I did take it to the trap line. I sucked until I figured the gun out, but it was fun! What I figured out was that with the gun shooting high I did not need to put the bead low, but instead right on the clay. The reason for this is because the gas tube is on top of the barrel. This puts the site a good 1 to 1.25 inches above the barrel. With the site that far off the barrel all you do is put the bead on the clay and pull the trigger. After I figured this out (I know DUH!!) the only clays I missed where the ones I stopped on or made some other BS mistake. Using this gun for trap is a trip, but not the easiest thing in the world. First off you have to load one in the clip after each shot as most clubs will not let you load more than one at a time. Second it's site plain is only half the length of the barrel, the sites ate on the gas tube only.
I put 72 rounds through the gun yesterday and had 0 problems to report. The gun functioned as advertised and not one jam, misfire or oddity. As I stated before the lack of recoil was a big surprise. At the end of the night I cleaned the weapon and found very little power and residue left in the gas tube or action (props to Win AA). As I stated before the gun come apart at the push of a button. The only tool you need is a punch (included) to push a retaining pin so you can get the gas tube plug out.
I did indeed get funny looks and lots of questions. A few fellows asked why I had a rifle at a trap shoot. After last night I found there are two types of trap shooter:
1) The "have fun and shoot" type
2) The "why shoot if you can't get at least 20?" type
The first group made jokes about hiding in the brush waiting for attacking deer and such, the second group tended to look confused and walk away.
In conclusion I would recommend this gun to anyone that looks at it and thinks "Cool I gotta try that". I would not recommend it to anyone that looks at it and say "What's the advantage?" See this gun is not about scores, prestige, or ego pumping, it's about fun. This gun is fun to hold, fun to shoot and fun to own. Like any sound weapon if you learn it well you can shoot it as your "go to" gun. If your looking for a fun gun and you care more about the joy of shooting than the look of the gun, run now to your dealer and buy this gun. At $300 or less (look around you'll find a good price) new it is a heck of a deal for the fun you will have!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Now that I have shot it for a while I just wanted to give an update on this gun since many who see it ask a ton of questions.

The Saiga has not failed me once. I have tried to jam it by setting the gas port the magnum setting and firing light loads and hot loads, I also did not clean it for 3 outings (total of 250 shots), but it was fine. I can now shoot the gun so fast that the last shell is out of the gun before the first hits the ground (5 shells, crap for accuracy, I'm 5'10"). It is a fast autoloader (I've heard it's faster than the Benelli and Auto 5). I can now lock a fully loaded clip in the gun with the action closed and would feel fine doing so in a life or death situation. That took a bit of practice, but once you get it it's a snap.
I have been using this gun for trap at least once a week and some of the snobs have stopped laughing. This short barreled, clip fed, fixed rifle site, fixed choke little ******* has served me well on the line.
So I am now confident in these 2 statements:
1) This is my new go to gun. When I am going to shoot something this will be the first gun that comes to mind. After I get the poly installed it will handle any situation.
2) This gun would make an excellent home defense gun IF YOU PRACTICE WITH THE CLIP!!! The ability to have a clip or 6 loaded and waiting has some real advantages in the HD world!
 

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Sounds pretty cool. I've been thinking of getting one in a .410, but I've only seen pictures and never heard anything of them.
 

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i have the 410 model and i can honestly back up everything he said about these guns.it is probrably the most fun gun i have.of course i had too buy a 410 reloader too be able too shoot it alot,with the costs of 410 shells being so high.i even started loading 00b shells in 3" hulls,can get 5 00b in each shell.you would be surprised at how powerful a 410 is in 00b loading,and the gun shoots as fast as you can pull the trigger.hope this helps don
 

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I wish they made 8-round mags, 10-round mags, 10-round drums, and 20-round drums for Saigas. I also wish SIG would make a 12-gauge PE-57 with a 14" barrel. I always thought it would be a great idea to mount a 40mm grenade launcher on a semi-auto or select-fire shotgun.
 

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How's the Saiga holding up? I just bought one and am looking forward to shooting a round of sporting clays with it.

The guy at the gunshop told me some people are taking two five rounders, cutting them in half and then epoxying the two halves together to make an 8 round magazine. Have you heard about (or tried) this?
 

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Gordon Setter--

I hope you know that you are the last person to whom I'd display cynicism, let alone snobbery. So please do take this as its intended--a quesion! What does a guy like you, who calls himself "Gordon Setter," who knows gun dogs and who has walked many a cornfield and sat in many a duck blind, want with this contraption? Granted, it functions well, but you must admit it's one of the ugliest shotguns to come along in years. Would you really rather carry it than a fine old double? The thing looks to me that it's primarily built for self-defense, and I can't fault anyone for wanting it for that. But I guess I'd like to see you write a little more about your feelings toward this shotgun as a hunting weapon--it's aesthetics as well as its utilitarian and "fun" value.

Of course, you're under no obligation to do so, and if you don't feel like it, never fear, I'll just shut up. But I AM curious. I do hope you'll forgive me for asking. I just can't see myself lovingly cleaning my Saiga at the end of the day, as the autumn light glances through the cabin window, the sippin' whiskey and branch water run free and cold, the fire crackles up the chimney, and my old dog lies at my feet.

All Due Respect,

Jeff23
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
First let me address the making the clip thing, then I will give Jeff more info.
You can not make a clip that holds more than 5 rounds for this gun unless you make it from materials sold before the ban in '94. No mag existed then to fit the saiga 12 so your S.O.L. on that idea. The ONLY way to own an 8 shot clip without the ATF coming down on you is to be in law enforcement or hold an FFL. If you make one it will be considered a newly manufactured high capacity clip and you can get busted. Pissing off the ATF is a very bad idea.

Jeff when I started looking for a new gun I had 3 criteria that had to be met and 1 that I thought would be nice. The gun had to be a semi auto, had to be less than $800 and had to work under extreme cold and wet conditions. Being in WI and having 90% of our hunting season in the wet and snow season can wreak havoc on an auto. The last thing I wanted was a way to unload the gun quickly. I just don't like taking a knee and pulling the action for each sell as they land in the snow and mud. I originally thought I could get a gun that has an unload button and they would just slide out the tube mag and I would be set. I started searching the web (how I found ShotgunWorld.com) and found the Saiga. I looked at every review I could find (not many) and finally came to a forum of Saiga owners. I spent weeks asking questions about it's reliability and performance. I liked what I heard, these guys had used the gun for just about everything. They gave me the lead on where to buy it and what kind of custom work could and has been done on them. I read a ton on the AK weapons and action and found one common theme ... they function in any climatic condition and don't slow down for dirt or water. That is exactly what I wanted. On the downside of the AK weapons was the accuracy. After talking to the guy on the Saiga forum they assured me it was not a problem on the modern Saiga so I placed my order for the gun and paid less than $250 for it. After I put the thing in my hands for the first time I thought "Wow, this feels great". As recommended I took the gun apart right away to clean out the grease and found it to be a very simple action and very sturdy. The piston, rails, firing pin, springs and other parts are just beefy and solid. I fired the gun expecting to feel a kick from heck and felt almost nothing. From that first time firing that gun I decided that this was the best shotgun purchase I have made.
The gun met all of my criteria and tossed in some benefits I didn't count on (low recoil, fast loading, low price tag). How could I pass that up. Now with all these features and benefits, who cares how it looks? Not I.
As for the fun part, that comes from having a do anything, fast cycling, accurate gun that really turns heads. Everyone that sees me shoot it for the first time is amazed by this gun. Some think its neat and ask a million questions and some turn the nose up and say they don't get it. In that respect it's like the old Harley statement "If you have to ask, you wouldn't understand." When I look at all these benefits I have gotten from shooting this gun it is no wonder to me why I am spending more money on it getting it setup for the duck season. It is getting screw chokes (Sorry Remm the poly was not economical enough), a 2 shot clip and a nice cammo job (for next season). I have even been looking into a Russian made Kobra red dot scope specifically designed for the AK and a custom thumbhole stock for the deer season. Before trap next year I also plan on making a haul catcher (non on the market will work) and a bolt hold open device. Customizing the gun is also loads of fun if your a tinkering kind of guy. Most of the guns parts are interchangeable with the AK. If you look for AK parts on the net you will see a million parts and custom ideas.
I have been dove hunting with it and done pretty good. It shoulders well and patterns nice. The gun is very short and the sight plain is even shorter so that takes some getting used to, but I found it really helps you get on target fast once you are used to it. I use it for trap and shoot in the twenties, the gun just works. I will be taking it out for duck in a couple of weeks and plan to do just fine with that as well. It will also go with me to Iowa for the open weekend of pheasant in October.
While looking for this gun I also had my eye on a SxS 12ga, but now that I have the Saiga I really can't think of a need for the gun (other than I like owning guns). So I thought I would buy another saiga in .308, though I did see a camo pontoon boat in the paper for $400 today. So now I have the dilemma, a SxS I won't use as much as I should, a .308 Saiga or a floating duck blind.
 

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Heheh, Well GS, I'm not running out to buy one. :lol: But through your words I felt your enthusiasm and began to understand why YOU want to own a Saiga! Thanks for not just writing to me that "if you have to ask then you don't understand." Instead, you took the time to explain and for that I owe you thanks. I learned something important from reading your post: loving a gun isn't all about looks!

God save the pheasants in Iowa!

Best,

Jeff23
 

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I HATE POSTS LIKE THIS>>>>>>>>>>>

It's an AK for all praticial purposes which means you can abuse the heck out of it

It's ugly so you don't have to worry about beating it around

It's inexpensive so you aren't out an arm and a leg

It looks like an assault weapon which means it will piss off most liberals

What actually is there not to like about this weapon?

NOW I FEEL LIKE i REALLY NEED ONE OF THESE. DARN...................ANOTHER GUN
 

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It is odd--you've got me thinking about the way talk and questions about guns tend to go. Turn about is fair play. Nobody has ever asked me, "Hey! You old fool! Why do you want to hunt with a 52-year old shotgun with only one choke?" But it's just as valid a question as "Why do you want to hunt with a Saiga?" The Saiga's surely a more effective piece--it could be argued that it's more ethical in that it will cause fewer cripples. (At least in Gordon Setter's hands, since he clearly knows what he's doing--alot depends on the shooter and choice of shots to try to take). They've got 'em in the gunshop at the range I use. I'm going to try shooting one tomorrow if I can. Time for me to shut up and learn something. I shall report back :lol:
 

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Is it California legal by any chance does anyone know?
i have the misfortune of living in this state and can't buy anything more powerful then a rubber band gun. :x
And how much did you pay for it?
 

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Sorry but you really get pooped on in Kali.

Section 12276.1 Line 7

(7) A semiautomatic shotgun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine

Any semi auto shotgun that has a Mag is a NO NO but you could have a clip fed pump :roll: ...sorry
 
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Obviously everyone knows this gun isn't for looks, it was made to be a military gun, in fact it was suppose to replace the 870 for the Marines. It competed against the new Bennelli auto, the Bennelli came out, and all the Saigas went to market in the US.
 
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