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Page AK-47 » Russian
Posted: 10/8/2002 1:11:29 AM EST
I posted this question as well in the shotgun section of the "Armory" board.  Anybody have any experience with the Saiga shotguns?  I'm looking for an inexpensive semi-auto, and obviously the Saiga fits that categorey.  It also has a box mag and the controls are the same as my AKs so it seems like a cool gun.  Are these any good?

No, I'm not getting rid of my Benelli, but I need a new toy, and a shotgun would be neat.

Link Posted: 10/9/2002 5:58:09 AM EST
I'm about to get into a Saiga 12, too. 19" defense version for me.

Only downside I see to the Saigas is lack of a good sight system (ie ghost ring or adjustable rifle sights) for close-in defensive use. But they do have the standard side mount for optics, which would help realize good accuracy with slugs at longer ranges.  

As to your Benelli - I have it on good authority that the Saigas are the fastest-cycling shotguns in the world, beating out even the vaunted Italian mfr. And they're stone-tough and reliable, to boot.

I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Link Posted: 10/9/2002 6:37:55 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/10/2002 6:03:24 AM EST
I adore my SAIGA 12... one of the best guns I've ever had. Definately fast. But it does take a little getting used to...

1) That box mag can be a pain to lock in sometimes.
2) The action does not stay open at all. I've heard you can buy a different safety lever to hold the bolt open, but it's less than ideal.

My local skeet range won't let me shoot it there because the action cannot be locked open.
Link Posted: 10/11/2002 6:33:53 AM EST

The current-production Saigas have a manual bolt hold-open device. :-)

How has reliability been with yours? Recoil?

Link Posted: 10/14/2002 6:02:25 AM EST
Is the manual device just the safety lever with a big notch cut out of it? I've got one of those sitting on my shelf, waiting for a rainy day to be installed. Even with it installed, I'd still rather see the bolt held open after the last round, much like a pistol.


Recoil has been non-existant. Every time I take it to a range, I get lots of questions about it, and I usually just let people take a few clays with it, just to try it out. Most people say they want to buy one for their wife since it kicks so little.

It's a smooth gun, with very few problems (the most common is not getting the mag locked in, but you learn how quickly enough). Other than that the only problem I had was re-assembling after cleaning was a bit tough. Since then I've learned the gun and have no problems with disassembly, re-assembly, cleaning, firing, etc.

Just remember to adjust the gas port for your type onf ammo, and it'll cycle flawlessly.

It's been a really great gun.
Link Posted: 10/14/2002 8:27:20 AM EST

Thanks! I put mine in layaway over the weekend. :-) It's the Home Defense version with 19" Improved Cylinder barrel and rifle-type sights (fixed front post, drift-adj. rear notch). Didn't have the bolt hold-open (which is an extra little switch on the right side of the receiver near the bottom), so it's likely an older gun. But I got a GREAT price on it at $279.95 + tax.

Can't wait to get 'er out and get blasting!  
Link Posted: 10/14/2002 11:23:49 AM EST
Wow... $279 is a hell of a deal. I wish I could get one that cheaply around here...

Congrats. You'll love the gun.

Get a bunch of mags for it. You'll likely have to fit the new mags to the gun with a bit of filing on the mag, but it'll be beautiful, trust me...
Link Posted: 10/15/2002 12:06:11 PM EST
I figure I'll set it up with a red dot on a K-VAR or IOR Valdada Weaver-type side mount. Should be awesome for running 3-gun matches... coupla mags cinched together will allow faster reloads than I *ever* could with my 11-87P, and the thing only holds 1 less round. I've been bugging the folks at UltiMak (www.ultimak.com) to make a gas tube mount for the Saiga shotguns. :-) They agree such a setup would kick a$$, but have other irons in the fire right now...

Not sure if it would ever replace my 11-87P as a house gun, but if I could devise a decent light mount, who knows? :-o

Link Posted: 12/12/2002 10:30:30 AM EST
Hey, I'll jump in this thread to freshen it up.  I just purchased a 20 ga.  Local gun show for $180.  I'm thinking about blasing/3gun use more than anything else.

Anyone have the take on the mag's?  5 rnds in a few seconds is a pretty good reload, but 8 or 10 is better!  Anyway, the law isn't clear to me (most law isn't).  It seems to say that "fixed" magazines can't exceed 5 rnds, and these aren't fixed, but removable (which in my mind is strike one, but the ONLY strike)

Link Posted: 12/13/2002 2:36:14 PM EST
Semi auto shotguns that are post ban (after sept. 94) can only have ONE of the following features:

1. folding/telescoping stock
2. pistol grip
3. fixed mag (tube mag) in excess of 5 rounds.
4. detachable mag.

So a new Binnelli with a pistol grip can only have a five round tube magand no folding stock.
The only nasty feature the Saiga has is the detachable mag.

Theoretically you could put a mag with a larger capacity in the Saiga, cause the law doesn't clarify between high and low capacity detachable mags.  I think that most people don't know the law and so they only import the 5 rounders to be on the safe side, although I have seen people's photos of larger capacity mags but don't know how to get them.

on a side note, since the .410 Saiga is a CALIBER, not a gauge, it's not considered a shotgun, but a rifle, so it falls under the '94 prohibitions on rifles.  So I guess you could have a pistol grip on it. --but that's just what I've heard.
Link Posted: 12/13/2002 8:15:53 PM EST
For the record, my Saiga .410 had a mag with the capacity limited to 3. After a little filing, 4 fit. I guess I need to do a little more filing. Anybody else have this dilemna?
Link Posted: 12/13/2002 8:35:42 PM EST
I have a Saiga 12.  Long barrel w/ a full choke.  Any how, I must be a woosss....as I put a recoil pad on.  But over all, I love it.
Link Posted: 12/13/2002 9:01:13 PM EST
I have had a Sagia .410 for a few years. i think i have one of the earlyist in the country.  IIRC, I bought it in 1999.  its fun to go to the range and blast cans, but not real usefull.  I have had a lot of trouble with it when it gets hot, the plastic shells melt and don't chamber fully.  it helps if you put the shells in the freever over-night.  Also, its really hard to find .410 buckshot.  Seller & Bellot makes some 5 ball 00, but it is hit or miss to find at the gun show.  In case you are wondering about the potency of .410 buck, it will puncture(x5) a 55 gal drum from 10 yrd.  It would be interesting to see a gelatin test of this round...

Link Posted: 12/14/2002 5:35:23 PM EST
If you have a FFL holder who will do a transfer for a reasonable price, keisler's online seems to have even lower prices than those in SGN.  
Link Posted: 12/14/2002 7:08:20 PM EST
Nice that the prices are going down.  When I got mine, I think I paid $250.00 and it was used.  Not used much, but used.
Link Posted: 12/18/2002 4:56:54 PM EST
could you put a "thumbhole" stock on it and relocate the trigger back to its original position and still remain legal?
Link Posted: 12/18/2002 5:29:09 PM EST


on a side note, since the .410 Saiga is a CALIBER, not a gauge, it's not considered a shotgun, but a rifle, so it falls under the '94 prohibitions on rifles.  So I guess you could have a pistol grip on it. --but that's just what I've heard.

Is this right ???? Sounds like BS to me (no offence). Isn't the rifle vs shotgun distinction based on whether or not the barrel contains rifling ? If so, the .410 could have the pistol grip and mag >5 rounds if it also had a rifled barrel. Unfortunately, this work around would not fly for 12g, as a rifle with a bore greater than 0.50" is an NFA "destructive device".

Someone with more legal knowledge, please put me out of my misery.
Link Posted: 12/19/2002 5:31:28 AM EST

could you put a "thumbhole" stock on it and relocate the trigger back to its original position and still remain legal?

Nope, shotguns can only have one evil feature, and the detahable mag is it.  The BATF had gloriously decided that a thumbhole stock is a pistol grip.  Sorry! :(  hopefully the restrictions will expire in '04.  Time to get political!
Link Posted: 12/19/2002 5:38:25 AM EST
For those of use without the bolt hold open device in our Saigas, a guy emailed me about his modification regarding the weapon. You can see his mod at this site:

Link Posted: 12/19/2002 8:51:06 AM EST
Interesting... making link active.


Link Posted: 1/2/2003 10:27:16 AM EST

I think the guy has moved to www.saiga-12.com

I'm waiting for him to get those AK-style front sight/muzzle brake combos in!

And to address Ross' original question... I took my Saiga-12 out for its inaugural run last weekend. In just-above-freezing temps with snow on the ground... fired about 100 rounds of mixed 00 buck and slugs with ONE malfunction (stovepiped on last round of Speer Lawman OO buck, with the gas port on the "magnum" setting).

With its vestigial iron sights, the gun was throwing buckshot patterns dead-center out to 20 yards. Slug groups at 50 yards could be covered with a handspread, but were about 4" left of center. I plan to stick a dot sight on there shortly, but it's nice to know the irons are pretty well regulated from the factory.

With the gas reg set to the "non-magnum" position, the gun would cycle Federal H132 "Tactical" 00 buck and Remington low-recoil slugs - a feat my vaunted 11-87P wouldn't even attempt! And the Federal was the group winner of the day, keeping all 9 pellets on an 8-1/2 x 11 target at 20 yards!

So let's see... good accuracy, utter reliability, detachable box mag for quick reloads, the ability to use low-recoil buck and slugs, and an AK action I'm already familiar with. Yeah, it's good. :-)


Link Posted: 1/9/2003 6:44:48 AM EST
Are these Cali-legal?
Link Posted: 1/9/2003 1:08:42 PM EST
it has an AK reciever, so it falls under SB23 ,just like all Saiga's.
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