Saiga 12 Shotgun

A preliminary review

Performance

This gun has had a huge variety of rounds through it, from 2 3/4" #7 1/2 shot all the way up to 3" magnum 1 oz rifled slugs. As long as I used the factory five round magazine, it worked fine. It has had a bit over 100 rounds of 00 Buck and slugs and about 70 rounds of various low brass field loads through it, and of the malfunctions it has had, all were because of aftermarket mags. More on this in the summary.

Features

This gun's Kalashnikov roots are obvious, and because of this, the features are few. There is a mounting rail on the left side of the receiver, but I haven't found a mount I'd want to use for it yet. The factory sights are a simple bead front and u-notch rear. The rear sight appears to be drift adjustable, but the base where you would put the drift pin/punch is curved, and the fit of the sight into the receiver slot is very tight, so attempting to drift the sights to the left resultd in banged-up knuckles and no change in point of impact. I understand wanting the sight to be firmly in the groove with the recoil of a 12 gauge, but the sight base should be flat to allow a good contact with the drift pin. The gun has a two position gas regulator but since it cycles with all the types of ammo I use, I see no need to adjust it. I may get some low-recoil ammo to test this feature for a later edit of this review.

Appeal

Well hell, it's a magazine-fed, semi auto shotgun that looks like an AK. Who wouldn't want one?

Summary

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A preliminary review

Performance Rating: 
10
Performance: 

This gun has had a huge variety of rounds through it, from 2 3/4" #7 1/2 shot all the way up to 3" magnum 1 oz rifled slugs. As long as I used the factory five round magazine, it worked fine. It has had a bit over 100 rounds of 00 Buck and slugs and about 70 rounds of various low brass field loads through it, and of the malfunctions it has had, all were because of aftermarket mags. More on this in the summary.

Features Rating: 
5
Features: 

This gun's Kalashnikov roots are obvious, and because of this, the features are few. There is a mounting rail on the left side of the receiver, but I haven't found a mount I'd want to use for it yet. The factory sights are a simple bead front and u-notch rear. The rear sight appears to be drift adjustable, but the base where you would put the drift pin/punch is curved, and the fit of the sight into the receiver slot is very tight, so attempting to drift the sights to the left resultd in banged-up knuckles and no change in point of impact. I understand wanting the sight to be firmly in the groove with the recoil of a 12 gauge, but the sight base should be flat to allow a good contact with the drift pin. The gun has a two position gas regulator but since it cycles with all the types of ammo I use, I see no need to adjust it. I may get some low-recoil ammo to test this feature for a later edit of this review.

Appeal Rating: 
9
Appeal: 

Well hell, it's a magazine-fed, semi auto shotgun that looks like an AK. Who wouldn't want one?

I've has less than 200 rounds total through this gun and yesterday I discovered the magazine release pivot pin was beginning to walk out of the hole. This is not an easy thing to fix at a range unless you take a vise out with you (I didn't) or have the extra set of hands of a range buddy (I didn't). Izhmash obviously knew the recoil of this gun was above what a standard AK-based system could take, as they added a retaining pin with spring detent on top of the top cover retaining button (the button of the back of the top cover you push to begin disassembly), so they should have stipled the mag release lever pin into place. The sights, as I stated above, leave much to be desired as far as adjustment goes. My biggest problem so far has been magazines. The factory mag works fine with all kinds of ammo, but the two different brands of aftermarket mags, Surefire (not the flashlight company) and Promag are both terrible. The follower of the promag 10 round magazine I bought binds against the inside of the mag body, and the Surefire 12 round magazine won't work fully loaded and won't work at all with 3" buckshot rounds. This is not a problem with the gun, but the lack of good quality extended magazines is something to think about. I have a nine-shot Mossberg, so the five rounds of the factory mag really doesn't make up for the semi-auto firepower. As far as shooting the gun, if you see my video, the first ten rounds are 2 3/4" 00 Buck and you can see how controllable the gun is, even in rapid fire. The buttplate is a hard plastic, but the gas operation takes a huge amount of felt recoil away. Overall, it's a fun gun, but until I can find reliable spare mags and get some competent gunsmithing done on it, My Mossberg will be the go-to shotgun when things go bump in the night.

3 Comments

4 years 21 weeks ago, 6:50 PM

TLtactical

TLtactical's picture

Rank:
Major General
Points:
611
Join Date:
May 2010
Location:
Gilbert, Arizona, United States

The Saiga is a great way to build a cool shotgun and stay under 1K after all the upgrades... After a pistol conversion, a quad rail, cutting down the barrel and a few high cap mags you have a fun toy...

TL

Best Regards TL “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ---Aristotle Greek critic, philosopher, physicist, & zoologist (384 BC - 322 BC)
3 years 40 weeks ago, 5:56 PM

KS101010

KS101010's picture

Rank:
Colonel
Points:
120
Join Date:
Jan 2011
Location:
Delray Beach, Florida, United States

Fired one a while back and thoroughly enjoyed it! Not sure I would buy one though. Had a hard time getting some of the high cap mags in and out the weapon.

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