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Bourjaily: A Noteworthy Cheap Shotgun

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June 01, 2009

Bourjaily: A Noteworthy Cheap Shotgun

By Phil Bourjaily

I just spent an afternoon with a group from Pheasants Forever, participating in their annual shotgun test. The PF folks had gathered about 20 new guns and invited 25 or so members to shoot them. We tried guns ranging from Remington’s $400 887 pump to Caesar Guerini’s $6000+ Apex O/U. One of the most widely praised guns of the test was also one of the cheapest: Weatherby’s SA-08 semiauto (above).

We shot a 20 gauge in the test. The PF members loved it. They commented:

“It’s easy to swing.”

“It doesn’t beat you up.”

“It would make a great youth gun. Or a quail gun for me.”

Made in Turkey, the SA-08 is a gas gun with a low-tech design. It comes with two pistons, one for heavy loads and another for light loads. It has a black plastic stock and forearm, slender lines and is quite light. Some shooters with small hands won’t like the distance from the pistol grip to the trigger. Like Italian autoloaders, it has a bolt lock, and on the SA-08, the lock is a little button on the side of the trigger guard that takes some getting used to. That’s about the end of the SA-08’s shortcomings, and it has one huge plus: it lists for $449, which is dirt cheap for a gas gun.

It’s an easy gun to shoot straight, and it cycled a few hundred rounds at 5-stand throughout the afternoon without malfunction. That’s not a full-on torture test, of course, but preliminary indications are, Weatherby did its homework in sourcing this gun. Sooner or later, the Turks will build a gas gun that we can trust to perform, and maybe this is it.

* * *

Turkey season is over here, but it still runs until the end of the month in some states. At the PF test, I talked to a turkey hunter from the Twin Cities who had a novel solution for the frustrations he endured in Nebraska this spring. “I ran my Nebraska tag through the shredder so I wouldn’t be tempted to go back and try again,” he said. I have eaten plenty of tags myself, but it never occurred to me to make one into cole slaw.

Comments (19)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Overseas manufacturing still stings like #8shot in *ss, but it does seem like a nicely made gun for money.
ps-I admit my o/u is of Turkish desent, and for $5oo I the bet US maunfacture would cost double that! So shoot me in the *ss for being a hypocrite!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from cliff68 wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I too own several Turkish guns. A couple of them are quite nice when compared to about anything for the price. Give them a price point and they will build it accordingly.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Douglas wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I too own a turkish O/U and it is a working mans shotgun that I would not ever trade.
That said, I cannot ever consider trading my browning a-5 either.
Brownings don't wear out, they wear in!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I own only one foreign-made gun (aside from a K98 Mauser and a CZ-27 liberated from WWII), a Howa-built Smith & Wesson 1000 Waterfowl Special that was given to me. That is one slick well made shotgun with a nice parkerized (?) dull finish. On first glance, the SA-08 looks just like the S&W 1000.

As good as other Weatherby products are, I would find it unusual if they imported a POS and put the Weatherby name on it.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I'll stick with American made for just a little more. Mossberg 935. Oh and you never said what that shotgun ill' eat.(round length)
Just thought I'd help.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mjenkins1 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

All this hype over the new Benelli when there are perfectly fine shotguns being produced for a faction of the Vinci. This is what I enjoy about new shotguns: one that is affordable and reliable to the majority of hunters.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Big O,

I agree the Mossy Bergs are good semi's at a price less than the Weatherby. The Weatherby looks like the same gun Remington, CZ, Tristar Chas Daly and several others have and are importing at the same or slightly lower price. I've even seen a Turkish gun a Bass Pro that looks very similar on sale for for $289 can't recall the name.

Weatherby appears to be bending over for the poor man with a turkish shotgun and the Howa rifle. Guess when you stamp Weatherby on something pedigree can be ignored!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LutherMartin1517 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Maybe if we all buy lots of Turkish made shotguns the Turkish will stop invading Germany. Think about it. Make life better for them and make life better for Germans too!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

ML 1517

Ya think that might work with sombreros and tequila?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from firehorse918 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Love my mossy 930. Love it more for being American made. Only cost $399 at my local Sports Authority.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

A lot of people say that you get what you pay for and a lot of the times that is correct but it is nice to know that someone can get a good looking and working gun for a very good price. Although this is a good heads up, I still prefer the Stoeger M2000.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I still love my Remington 1100,870 and Stevens 311 all about 30 years old much cheaper. ALL made in USA. Although I just recently got a CZ 20 Ga S/S that is a joy to shoot also.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from illustrator wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

When I saw that this was a "cheap" shotgun review, I figured it was going to be in the $1500 range at a minimum, after all, the pages of F&S are all too often graced by "cheap" products that would require a 6 figure income to afford.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to find the shotgun was actually affordable! I have been considering a new semi auto 12 ga. for pheasants and general use this year. I was considering Remington's inexpensive offering, or even a pump from arem. or Mossberg, but this Weatherby has me thinking hard.

Real-world will probably be at/just under $400, which sounds like a heck of a deal for a semi-auto, especially considering what it has to offer. A more in-depth test would be nice, but the wheels are definitely spinning!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Will continue to use my 12 ga 1100, 9200 Moseburg or if want a dble s x s will take the AH Fox in l6 ga or the Stevens dble in 410 or the 12 ga dble is a good, well built, cheap dble if in that market. Lots of imports not worth taking home, plus if repairs needed, good luck.Until some preditors are killed, no need to even take a shotgun out as all Rabbits, birds, Quail, etc, been eaten by the HAWKS, Coyotes, or Foxes. I hunted 40 Am's this past year and was in teh woods prior to daylight and never saw a Rabbit or Quail and I hunt on l00 Acres of land that no one but myself and Son hunt this land that we aware of.It gets back to $$$$ always, most of us buy what we can afford. I waited 4 yrs to buy a Handgun I wanted, saved a little now and then. Now got it and shoots like a dream, a 44-40 Uberti. Jut hope I can go back to the Rockie Mountains andtake it along for backup on whatever I need.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

About 20 years ago I bought a Weatherby Orion for shooting skeet and Pheasant, after shooting about 500 shells in a month or so the Stock split at the trigger guard.

I took it to the dealer and they sent it back to Weatherby asking them to replace it. They "repaired" it and SENT IT BACK!

Needles to say I made a deal with the dealer for a Citori and he terminated his affiliation with Weatherby. I know this is most likely a very isolated incident and I am no longer as upset as I was then, so I may buy one of those.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from meagel wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

Dont buy a cheap shotgun, because either your shoulder will pay for it or the many trips to the gunsmith will break your bank even more. Its not worth it. Want to get a cheap (moneywise) shotgun? Get a good benelli supernova, 11/87, or 870 which is proven to be good with time and will have more available parts in case it does break. If I HAD to buy a cheap scattergun, the semi would be last choice for me. CHEAP SEMIS ARE NOT THAT RELIABLE. These are wiser choices than buying a really cheap semi. Trust me!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nycflyangler wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

The vast majority of Turkish citizens that migrate to Germany are Kurds. They leave because of Turkish oppression.

LutherMartin1517 wrote:

"Maybe if we all buy lots of Turkish made shotguns the Turkish will stop invading Germany. Think about it. Make life better for them and make life better for Germans too!"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from mdflyfishnut wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Just bought the waterfowl edition with the 28" barrel. This gun is great! I would recommend this gun to anyone that doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg on a great semi. Is shoulders great and shoots even better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from priesbrian wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

Im no shotgun expert or world class shooter, I have been hunting and shooting 25 plus years.I own a Weatherby SA-8.Its made in Turkey.I guess 'cheap' depends on many factors.There are cheaper guns out there.
The gun is light, balanced, points well and cycles well.It jammed once on the first box I put through it.
If you use the Light piston for light loads and heavy for the heavy, it should cyle fine.The stock is handsome walnut satin finish,with good not great checkering.Soft recoil pad.It has a really low profiled rib and chrome lined bore.Its kind of homely and spartan compared to ultra premium tweed jacket high brow guns.
Thats OK with me, Its crushes targets at the sporting clays club, it downs birds when you do your part.
Ive seen some posts critical of this gun around the web.
Blaming the gun.Some of these guys don't know a light load from a heavy one, thats one problem.The gun shoots soft with target loads,being gas operated.
If people would quit blaming the gun and the loads, get out there and practice, try different loads and maintain their guns, they'd find joy with many guns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Douglas wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I too own a turkish O/U and it is a working mans shotgun that I would not ever trade.
That said, I cannot ever consider trading my browning a-5 either.
Brownings don't wear out, they wear in!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I'll stick with American made for just a little more. Mossberg 935. Oh and you never said what that shotgun ill' eat.(round length)
Just thought I'd help.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I own only one foreign-made gun (aside from a K98 Mauser and a CZ-27 liberated from WWII), a Howa-built Smith & Wesson 1000 Waterfowl Special that was given to me. That is one slick well made shotgun with a nice parkerized (?) dull finish. On first glance, the SA-08 looks just like the S&W 1000.

As good as other Weatherby products are, I would find it unusual if they imported a POS and put the Weatherby name on it.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mjenkins1 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

All this hype over the new Benelli when there are perfectly fine shotguns being produced for a faction of the Vinci. This is what I enjoy about new shotguns: one that is affordable and reliable to the majority of hunters.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from illustrator wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

When I saw that this was a "cheap" shotgun review, I figured it was going to be in the $1500 range at a minimum, after all, the pages of F&S are all too often graced by "cheap" products that would require a 6 figure income to afford.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to find the shotgun was actually affordable! I have been considering a new semi auto 12 ga. for pheasants and general use this year. I was considering Remington's inexpensive offering, or even a pump from arem. or Mossberg, but this Weatherby has me thinking hard.

Real-world will probably be at/just under $400, which sounds like a heck of a deal for a semi-auto, especially considering what it has to offer. A more in-depth test would be nice, but the wheels are definitely spinning!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

Overseas manufacturing still stings like #8shot in *ss, but it does seem like a nicely made gun for money.
ps-I admit my o/u is of Turkish desent, and for $5oo I the bet US maunfacture would cost double that! So shoot me in the *ss for being a hypocrite!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from cliff68 wrote 4 years 46 weeks ago

I too own several Turkish guns. A couple of them are quite nice when compared to about anything for the price. Give them a price point and they will build it accordingly.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from firehorse918 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Love my mossy 930. Love it more for being American made. Only cost $399 at my local Sports Authority.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

A lot of people say that you get what you pay for and a lot of the times that is correct but it is nice to know that someone can get a good looking and working gun for a very good price. Although this is a good heads up, I still prefer the Stoeger M2000.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gunslinger wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

Will continue to use my 12 ga 1100, 9200 Moseburg or if want a dble s x s will take the AH Fox in l6 ga or the Stevens dble in 410 or the 12 ga dble is a good, well built, cheap dble if in that market. Lots of imports not worth taking home, plus if repairs needed, good luck.Until some preditors are killed, no need to even take a shotgun out as all Rabbits, birds, Quail, etc, been eaten by the HAWKS, Coyotes, or Foxes. I hunted 40 Am's this past year and was in teh woods prior to daylight and never saw a Rabbit or Quail and I hunt on l00 Acres of land that no one but myself and Son hunt this land that we aware of.It gets back to $$$$ always, most of us buy what we can afford. I waited 4 yrs to buy a Handgun I wanted, saved a little now and then. Now got it and shoots like a dream, a 44-40 Uberti. Jut hope I can go back to the Rockie Mountains andtake it along for backup on whatever I need.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from meagel wrote 4 years 42 weeks ago

Dont buy a cheap shotgun, because either your shoulder will pay for it or the many trips to the gunsmith will break your bank even more. Its not worth it. Want to get a cheap (moneywise) shotgun? Get a good benelli supernova, 11/87, or 870 which is proven to be good with time and will have more available parts in case it does break. If I HAD to buy a cheap scattergun, the semi would be last choice for me. CHEAP SEMIS ARE NOT THAT RELIABLE. These are wiser choices than buying a really cheap semi. Trust me!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Big O,

I agree the Mossy Bergs are good semi's at a price less than the Weatherby. The Weatherby looks like the same gun Remington, CZ, Tristar Chas Daly and several others have and are importing at the same or slightly lower price. I've even seen a Turkish gun a Bass Pro that looks very similar on sale for for $289 can't recall the name.

Weatherby appears to be bending over for the poor man with a turkish shotgun and the Howa rifle. Guess when you stamp Weatherby on something pedigree can be ignored!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

ML 1517

Ya think that might work with sombreros and tequila?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

I still love my Remington 1100,870 and Stevens 311 all about 30 years old much cheaper. ALL made in USA. Although I just recently got a CZ 20 Ga S/S that is a joy to shoot also.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 44 weeks ago

About 20 years ago I bought a Weatherby Orion for shooting skeet and Pheasant, after shooting about 500 shells in a month or so the Stock split at the trigger guard.

I took it to the dealer and they sent it back to Weatherby asking them to replace it. They "repaired" it and SENT IT BACK!

Needles to say I made a deal with the dealer for a Citori and he terminated his affiliation with Weatherby. I know this is most likely a very isolated incident and I am no longer as upset as I was then, so I may buy one of those.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nycflyangler wrote 4 years 40 weeks ago

The vast majority of Turkish citizens that migrate to Germany are Kurds. They leave because of Turkish oppression.

LutherMartin1517 wrote:

"Maybe if we all buy lots of Turkish made shotguns the Turkish will stop invading Germany. Think about it. Make life better for them and make life better for Germans too!"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from LutherMartin1517 wrote 4 years 45 weeks ago

Maybe if we all buy lots of Turkish made shotguns the Turkish will stop invading Germany. Think about it. Make life better for them and make life better for Germans too!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mdflyfishnut wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

Just bought the waterfowl edition with the 28" barrel. This gun is great! I would recommend this gun to anyone that doesn't want to spend an arm and a leg on a great semi. Is shoulders great and shoots even better.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from priesbrian wrote 3 years 5 weeks ago

Im no shotgun expert or world class shooter, I have been hunting and shooting 25 plus years.I own a Weatherby SA-8.Its made in Turkey.I guess 'cheap' depends on many factors.There are cheaper guns out there.
The gun is light, balanced, points well and cycles well.It jammed once on the first box I put through it.
If you use the Light piston for light loads and heavy for the heavy, it should cyle fine.The stock is handsome walnut satin finish,with good not great checkering.Soft recoil pad.It has a really low profiled rib and chrome lined bore.Its kind of homely and spartan compared to ultra premium tweed jacket high brow guns.
Thats OK with me, Its crushes targets at the sporting clays club, it downs birds when you do your part.
Ive seen some posts critical of this gun around the web.
Blaming the gun.Some of these guys don't know a light load from a heavy one, thats one problem.The gun shoots soft with target loads,being gas operated.
If people would quit blaming the gun and the loads, get out there and practice, try different loads and maintain their guns, they'd find joy with many guns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment