Sunday, November 11, 2012

Praxis: If any of you newbies on a budget don't have a 12 Gauge . . .

Just received this email notification from a long-time reader:
Walmart has posted their Black Friday sale and they included this Savage 12-Gauge at only 169 dollars. Not all stores will carry this. (I checked.)
I expect a back-order sellout.
And yes, I know it's made in the PRC, but then so is my daughter's pre-ban Kalashnikov and my other daughter's SKS. The Zombies won't care where it came from.
Here's a review from American Rifleman.
A shotgun that can do it all at a price that nearly everyone can afford, the Stevens 320 pump-action was designed for versatility and affordability. Available in two base models and eight total configurations, the 320 platform has variants that can fill all traditional shotgun roles, from tactical to hunting. Imported by Savage Arms from China, the Stevens’ design is inspired by the Winchester 1300, ensuring simple, reliable functionality. Priced below the $300 mark, the new offering should appeal to armed citizens and sportsmen alike.
The 320 line is comprised of Security and Field models. All the shotguns in the line are 12-gauge pump-actions with 3-inch chambers and side ejection, differing only in barrel length, stock design and sight configuration. The Security line variations have an 18 1/2-inch barrel and can be equipped with a pistol grip stock. Stevens 320s with the pistol grip are available with ghost-ring sights, bead sights or bead sights with a top rail and heat shield. Security models without the pistol grip feature either ghost-ring, bead or rifle-style sights. Field models use a 28-inch barrel with a ventilated rib and front bead sight. The final version is a Field/Security combo that comes with interchangeable 18 1/2- and 28-inch barrels, both with bead sights, and a standard stock. For our evaluation we tested the Stevens 320 Field model.
Upon initial inspection it is clear that the Stevens 320 was designed for utility; no frills here. The steel barrel and receiver are finished in matte black, and the polymer stock and fore-end are also black. The lines, as stated before, are nearly identical to the Winchester 1300 pump-action, in fact the most obvious design difference is that instead of checkering the grip, the 320 has straight-line grooves molded into the stock for purchase. The brass bead sight was easy to see when looking down the ventilated rib, and the shotgun pointed well and naturally. At the shoulder, this is not the lightest gun, but at 7 pounds, 11 ounces, it is not the heaviest, either. The overall length is just less than 49 inches, and the length of pull was 13 3/4 inches—certainly within the average range, but there is no means for adjustment. The semi-pistol grip stock is of standard specifications with a 1 3/4-inch drop at comb, and a 2 1/2-inch drop at heel. The hard rubber recoil pad, while serviceable, does not encourage long days spent breaking clays.
We found the Stevens 320 to have a surprisingly smooth action and tight lockup, achieved by a four-lug rotary bolt engaging the barrel extension. The pump-action is aided by the dual-bar slide arm assembly. The trigger assembly features an external safety button at the trigger guard’s front and a slide lock release button just to the rear and on the left side. The trigger is not adjustable and required a firm 6-pound, 11-ounce pull. The 3-inch chamber will accept either 2 3/4 or 3 inch 12-gauge shells, and the magazine will hold up to four shells, though a plug is provided in order to limit capacity to two. Disassembly is uncomplicated: Unscrew the magazine cap, allowing the barrel to slide forward and off the slide arm; tap out the single trigger guard pin—located just above the trigger—in order to remove the trigger assembly; and remove the slide arm and bolt assembly.
For evaluation we used Federal Ammunition’s 12-gauge, 2 3/4, 1-ounce Game-Shok with No. 6 shot. Over an RCBS AmmoMaster chronograph at 5 feet, the load yielded an average velocity of 1,312 fps with a standard deviation of 19. For patterning, 10 shots were fired at a target 40 yards distant. The shotgun proved quite capable, averaging a 71 percent hit-ratio within a 30-inch circle and 48 percent in the smaller 21-inch inner ring.
Technical evaluation complete, we tested the Stevens against some hand-thrown clay targets and a veritable hodgepodge of 2 3/4-inch, 12-gauge ammunition. Confirming our initial impressions, the 320 swung well and pointed true. It was not picky regarding ammunition, and we experienced no failures to fire in any part of the testing. A few birds were lost, however, due to improper feed or failure to eject. In these cases, the spent hull either was not ejected or, after being ejected the next round did not fully chamber. A little investigation revealed a solution that would remedy those and similar problems encountered with many economy priced pump-actions—elbow grease. This is not a shotgun to be handled lightly, in fact, within the limits of safety; the harder the better. A firm and energetic motion is required to reliably cycle the action and avoid the frustration that comes from watching bright orange saucers land, unbroken, in the field.
There should be no doubt that the Stevens 320 pump-action shotgun is purpose-built and priced to sell. With configurations intended for security and sport, shooters of all kinds will find a place in their safes for this gun. But don’t expect it to stay there long, as a shotgun as rugged as this will be on the frontlines, doing the dirty work where you wouldn’t think of using a prettier gun.
Importer: Stevens, Savage; (413) 568-7001;
Action Type: pump-action shotgun
Gauge: 12, 3"
Trigger: single-action; 6-lb. 11-oz. pull
Barrel: 28"; interchangeable choke tubes (modified included)
Sights: ventilated rib with brass front bead
Stock: Polymer; length of pull: 13¾"; drop at comb: 1¾"; drop at heel: 2½"
Magazine: four-round capacity, includes magazine plug
Overall Length: 48¾"
Weight: 7 lbs., 11 ozs
Accessories: owner’s manual
Suggested Retail Price: $235 to $260 (depending on configuration)


Christian Patriot III said...

You can sometimes find the Stevens Security 350 which is a nice Ithicka 37 knock-off with the typical PRC monster extractor - one thing those boys do better than anyone. I picked mine up at Dunhams for around $219 on sale. Bottom eject 4+1.

ScottJ said...

The Remington 870 Express usually goes onto a good sale for black Friday at some stores.

It's the sporting rather than combat version but Remington is offering a $30 rebate on any bought by the end of 2012.

A barrel for "social purposes" can be found cheap on Gun Broker.

Crustyrusty said...

I'd take it at 169 for a trunk gun, but at list I'd keep my Mossberg 500.

ebd10 said...

Nice concept, but, true to Chinese manufacturing, the delivery needs some work. First off, this thing is HEAVY. It's like trying to maneuver a barbell. Not good for fast employment. Second, the action feels like it was lubricated with sand. Finally, despite the robust action, I have yet to find one that doesn't fail regularly. Save your money and go for a Mossberg 500.

Erinyes said...

Yep, the 870 can't be beat for the money...fuck the Chinese, they don't need any more of our dollars.

bruce said...

don't for get to buy flechettes as they go right through a vest.

Anonymous said...

How well does it handle double-cut shells?

B Woodman

FG said...

Folks, the time for "gun snobbery" is long past. ANY working gun is better than NO gun. Let's leave the "mine is better" arguments to pick-up truck branding. You may be able to afford a Barrett (or new Remington) but plenty of people who read this site are actually budgeting buying enough food for the month, or keeping their power bill paid.

Get a working gun, get plenty of ammo, and train with it.

Jason said...

Well said FG. I expect a day at the range would work out any smoothness issues and believe me, the shooter will appreciate the stoutness of this shotgun when shooting 00 buck.

Erinyes said...

FG: No snobbery here. An 870 is a reliable shotgun for not much more money. As far as snobbery goes, I'm an AK fan. Why?

CHEAPER THAN AN AR and damned reliable.

And yeah, a lot of us ARE living paycheck to paycheck and can't even afford ammo. But I'd still save another two hundred and get an 870. If you can't afford power or groceries, you ain't buying a gun. That's just an indisputable fact.

Christian Patriot III said...

If you don't like the 320 you should look around for the 350. Yes - it has some weight to it but that works to your advantage if you have to close range and employ a butt stroke.

Aside from that - if you're not cleaning and examining a gun thoroughly when you purchased it, it's a throw away gun anyway so if you find some grit entered the works during shipping, clean the gun. Simple.

Also - my above comment about the extractor. CHECK THEM OUT. Seriously. This think will not break any time soon. It's 2-3 times as much contact area as the 870 or 1200.

I will say the paint job is crap so if you want to make it last, strip and blue or just keep it oiled.