So who has a Saiga 12? Tell me about it

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Thread: So who has a Saiga 12? Tell me about it

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    So who has a Saiga 12? Tell me about it

    A friend and I have been heavily researching the Saiga 12. The AK47 of shotguns. It appears to have much potential. Why should one choose this weapon over a "traditional" shotgun such as an 870 or a Mossberg 590? Is it just a novelty? or is it everything it appears to be? Educate me.
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    Member Array PaxMentis's Avatar
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    A friend of mine who shoots at my house has one with a 30rd drum mag. He has switched out for the AK wood furniture and the pistol grip.

    The 30 rounder makes it as heavy as a BAR to move around, but it is a fun weapon and does the job as well as any I have seen. I think it could be a great SHTF weapon and a good HD shotgun with the 10 and 20 round mags.
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    Member Array Rayman's Avatar
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    Semi auto 12 gauge. 2 rounds, 5 rounds, 8 rounds, 10 rounds, 12 rounds, and 20 rounds magazines/drum. No pumping. What's not to like?

    The only thing to keep in mind is that they are made in Russia. Russia's not exactly known for their quality products. Some people do run into "vodka specials" every now and then. Those take some work to get them to run with no hiccups.

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    If I were to buy one it would be a smooth package maybe a rail for a light and a few extra mags, and possibly an extended charging handle. My friend wants a custom job from Tromix. They run as much as an good AR though.

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    Member Array SAMI's Avatar
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    That's a lot of money.. I've seen new Saiga-12's in local classifieds going for $400..
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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    The customs are a lot of money...but I guess its no different than a custom AR...if you want it bad enough you'll pay it.
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    Senior Member Array zero's Avatar
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    I liked my first one so much I picked up a second one (price was right too).

    Primarily I got it as a fun project gun. I restored a 7.62x39 last year and couldn't stop there. The quality of the Saiga brand is very good. Yes, there were some vodka specials and those are all covered in their warranty.

    Seems like the more I run mine the smoother and better it becomes. There is just something about it (especially if you dump a ten round mag) that puts a stupid grin on your face when shooting it.

    forum.Saiga-12.com

    The link is a good site to find out more about them. I learned how to do the conversions and fine tuning there. Tromix, CSS and all the other Saiga gurus are there and very helpful.

    My .357 is my primary home defense firearm, next is the 12 gauge pump. If I ever feel I have to get the S12 out I'm confident it will take care of business, and then some.
    Last edited by zero; March 17th, 2010 at 07:03 PM.

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    Member Array onetuza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwhite75 View Post
    A friend and I have been heavily researching the Saiga 12. The AK47 of shotguns. It appears to have much potential. Why should one choose this weapon over a "traditional" shotgun such as an 870 or a Mossberg 590? Is it just a novelty? or is it everything it appears to be? Educate me.
    A lot of education to be had here ----> forum.Saiga-12.com
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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAMI View Post
    That's a lot of money.. I've seen new Saiga-12's in local classifieds going for $400..
    There was a time that that was a lot of money for a saiga as well...
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    Senior Member Array zero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by packinnova View Post
    There was a time that that was a lot of money for a saiga as well...
    So true. I picked up my saiga 7.62x39 for 270 not that long ago.

    The S12's are starting to go down a little in price, still much higher than a couple years ago.

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    Senior Member Array zero's Avatar
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    Image link didn't seem to work well so here's a different image.
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    Member Array HahnsXD's Avatar
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    I've got one, I converted it with a Tromix kit, SAW grip and standard AK buttstock. I love it, I had an 870 that I loved too but didn't see the need after picking up my S12 so I sold the 870 to a friend.
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    Member Array dakotasdad's Avatar
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    One thing to bear in mind is that the Saiga 12 is a combat shotgun that was designed as such from the start. I like Remmy's and Mossy's just fine but in the end they are pretty much just a combatized? is that a word? version of a sporting shotgun.

    Here's mine that I converted myself.



    Lots of fun for sure! Take your time and go to forum.Saiga-12.com and do your research. Some Saiga 12's may need a little massaging in order to work well, but you should be able to find all the answers to your questions over there.

    Good luck!

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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I'm not keen on the idea of leaving plastic shotshells in a vertical magazine under pressure from the mag spring for long periods of time. Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems there is a risk of the shells deforming, possibly causing some feed issues (?).

    Besides - if you need more than the 4-8 shells you can get in a regular shotgun...you are in a war zone, not a home defense situation.

    One of the great advantages of the shotgun is that they are fairly light weight and easy to swing - as long as you resist the urge to "tacticool" them up. Loading a Saiga 12 with a bunch of ammo is going to make it heavy.

    If I need that much ammo, I'm grabbing my carbine. JMHO.
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    Member Array kdydak's Avatar
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    Well this is my Saiga 12 experience.

    I bought a stock saiga as well as parts necessary to convert it myself and three AGP 10 round mags.

    Before making any modifications I bought and shot 25 2.75inch slugs in stock magazine to make sure the gun works. There were no failures however to be honest the recoil was out of this world. After 25 slugs I had a big nasty yellow bruise for a week on my shoulder.

    After a few months (time enough for the bruising memories to fade) I converted the saiga over a weekend. The process went relatively smoothly. I heard how the "bolt hold open" was supposed to be impossible to reinstall but it turned out to be a non-issue (there are some good youtube videos on conversion and how to reinstall the bolt hold open that helped a lot).

    The only major problem was that the tapco SAW grip just flat out does not cooperate with tromix do it yourself trigger guard (basically the grip mounts a little further back then it should and has a tendency to rotate).

    I bought an Ergo rubberized grip and that one works MUCH better. I also installed tromix shark brake (for looks and to reduce recoil) and a rubber pad on the AR stock.

    The first range session was at best mixed. The new internals worked without a hitch and the recoil was more manageable (but definitely not in the shoot all day category).

    The new magazines definitely did not check out. The shells tended to stick and the feeding sucked. More worryingly (I was shooting 3 inch slugs and 00 buckshot) while feeding the shell casing would catch on the extractor chamber cutout and deform the shell and jam. The gun was very unreliable.

    Back home I disassembled and cleaned the mags. Originally the gun came oiled but I switched to grease (I use grease on all my guns). I decided to clean and switch back to oil for Saiga. I also bought a cheap case of 100 shells 2.75 inch bird shot to break in the gun/mags before shooting duty loads.

    The third range session went much better. The break in bird shot shells fed like a champ. I then shot about 50 3inch slugs and 50 3inch 00 buckshot. The feeding issues disappeared (not sure if it was the grease or just break in issues before).

    Unfortunately on the very last shot the magazine catch decided to self dis-assemble (it was very noticeable because the magazine fell out). The problem is that the magazine catch pin is not captured in any way and just drifted out while shooting.

    The mag catch turned out to be very difficult to reinstall back on the gun (youtube again saved the day).

    So overall I have mixed feelings about the gun. The recoil is still enough that I will want to shoot it as little as possible. It is also enough to make follow up shots slow. Spare parts are almost impossible to come by.

    The gun in it's stock configuration is a torture device so plan on spending additional $200-$400 to convert it (depending on if you do it yourself or have gunsmith do it).

    So from my point of view for the same money I decided I would rather have an AR15:

    1) Cheap easy to get spare parts
    2) Fast follow up shots
    3) Large mag capacity
    4) Superior ergonomics
    5) Easy to add optics (red dot etc)

    If you REALLY want a shotgun then a converted semi automatic Saiga at $800 may fit the bill but for me I decided I would rather have an AR-15 rifle.

    PS: The "plastic shells in vertical mag" is a non issue. I typically lock the bolt back using bolt hold open and then insert the magazine and leave it like that for "storage". This way there is no undue pressure on the top shell and no risk of deformation

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