Six Semi-Automatic Sporters for $600 or Less
Turkish-made semi-automatic shotguns have gained in popularity through their rock-bottom prices and wide-spread availability. Just about any gun store in America will have a model or two (or more) that appeals to budget-minded wing and clays enthusiasts, while the online selection seems almost boundless. In addition to routinely getting the job done for diehard shooters, these semi-automatics are often a cost-effective go-to choice for first-time shooters dipping their toe in the water, or as a knock-about when the weather turns foul in the field.
Personally, I shoot a $12,000 12-gauge over/under for clays and a custom-fitted 20-gauge over/under for the field that cost $6,000. But if I’m hunting doves from the edge of a field, I’ll grab my $550 Turkish-made 12 gauge; or if I’m after quail in the rain, out comes my Turkish 20-gauge over/under that set me back $600 at a big-box outdoor retailer in the mall. Both Turkish shotguns, in fact, shoot quite agreeably and deliver satisfactory results.
The Turkish shotgun industry, because of its price/performance proposition, has become a staple in supplying affordable, branded semi-automatic sporting shotguns for leading names such as Stoeger, Mossberg, CZ and Weatherby. While you may view Turkish shotguns with a jaundiced eye, perhaps it’s time for an attitude adjustment along the lines of, well if they’re good enough for Stoeger, Mossberg, CZ and Weatherby maybe they’re good enough for me.
Skepticism about Turkish shotguns is certainly justified. Early Turkish sporting guns, both break-open and semi-automatics, earned a reputation for low quality and questionable reliability that barely justified their cheap price. After all, when a dream formation of ducks descend on your decoy layout and the Turkish-made semi-automatic goes click instead of bang, the inevitable question arises, “Is this thing even worth $300?”
In the ensuing decades, though, the largest Turkish sporting-gun makers have adopted state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities and advanced management practices to improve reliability, durability and shootability, while adhering to their winning value formula as compared to European and American shotguns.
Pointer Sports Tek 8 and Field-Tek 4
For clays shooters, the gas-powered Pointer Sport Tek 8 semi-auto features a Turkish walnut stock with oil-rubbed finish. The shotgun is offered in 12 and 20 gauge with a 30-inch, chrome-lined barrel that has 3-inch chambers, and a shell capacity is 5+1 for 2¾-inch shells. It comes standard with five chokes (C, IC, M, IM & F). The MSRP is $379.
The Field Tek 4 is the wingshooting variant. It has Cerakote and wood options in two primary choices: bronze Cerakote and oil-rubbed Turkish walnut or gray Cerakote and oil-rubbed Turkish walnut (camo stocks are also available). The Field Tek 4 is available in 12, 20 and .410 gauges, all with a 28-inch barrel. Like the Sports Tek 8, the Field Tek 4 has comes with five chokes. Field Tek 4 prices begin at $299.
Youth models are available.
More information at https://www.legacysports.com
Two pistons are included with the 12-gauge, gas-powered CZ 712 G3. Accepting 2¾- and 3-inch shells, either piston accommodates a wide variety of ammunition. With the light piston installed, soft-shooting shells for clays can be cycled easily. The heavy piston is recommended for the hottest waterfowl loads.
Five extra-long Active-Choke tubes are provided for the shotgun’s 26-inch and 28-inch barrel. The CZ 712 G3’s receiver and barrel have a matte-black finish that can be paired with either black synthetic, camo or walnut stocks. With 2¾-inch shells, the capacity is 3+1. Suggested retail price is $579.
More information at https://cz-usa.com/product/cz-712-g3
Stevens 560 Field
Distributed and sold by Savage Arms, the Stevens 560 Field is a gas-powered 12 gauge that ships with a Turkish walnut stock and forend. The 28-inch barrel has a ventilated rib with fiber-optic front sight. The lightweight aluminum alloy receiver is chambered for 3-inch shells, although the capacity is 5+1 for 2¾-inch loads. Three chokes are included (IC, IM, F). Prices start at $499.
More information at http://tinyurl.com/25fj9es2
Weatherby SA-08 Synthetic
Weatherby’s SA-08 Synthetic Semi-Auto shotgun comes in 12 and 20 gauge models, including a scaled-down youth model. The barrel is 26 inches. All metalwork is matte black, and matches the stock and forend. With a 3-inch chamber, the CNC-machined receiver features a chrome-plated bolt and drop-out trigger system. Shell capacity is 5+1 for 2¾-inch ammunition. The MSRP is $529.00 (a walnut version is available at $599).
More information at https://weatherbyfirearms.com
This inertia-driven 12-gauge Stoeger, with a matte-black synthetic finish, comes with IC, M and XFT chokes. The model number 36018 has a factory price of $599. It has a 26-inch barrel and an aluminum receiver chambered for 3-inch shells. The capacity is 5+1 for 2¾-inch shells.
More information at http://tinyurl.com/3xy56svs
Dickinson Arms ASI
The Dickinson ASI semi-automatic shotguns have three finishes: camo, synthetic and wood. The shell capacity is 4+1 for 2¾-inch loads. These inertia-driven 12-gauges have 3-inch chambers and with barrel options of 26-inchs, 28-inchs or 30-inchs. Five chokes are included (C, IC, M, IM, F). The Dickinson ASI can be purchased for approximately $400.
More information at https://dickinsonarms.com/hunting-guns/#semisautomatic
Even though Turkish sporting guns have improved over the years, when it comes to buying one perhaps the most important aspect to enjoying it lies in your ability to set realistic expectations. Don’t anticipate experiencing a Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 semi-automatic that retails for about $2,000 with a Turkish knock-off costing $300. Instead, take our list of six semi-automatic shotguns costing $600 or less at their face value, and you’re more likely to be satisfied than disappointed.
Irwin Greenstein is the publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him on the Shotgun Life Group Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1743767055715063