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Old January 24, 2007, 03:51 PM   #1
KuAlii
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The Unknown TRISTAR 12GA SEMI-AUTO

My wife recently purchased the TriStar 12ga semi-auto (3", 28" barrel) Synthetic for me as a gift. I am very thankful, but I wished that she had just given me the money. As you all know, there's not much info out there regarding this shotgun. Since this is not the Semi-Auto 12ga that I really wanted and the fact that TriStar offers a 5 year warranty, and the fact that it was free, I plan on working this shotgun to its fullest to see how it actually holds up (both at the range and in the field).

Various quotes from TriStar's website:

TriStar Semi-Automatic Shotguns - Quality Shotguns with lots of Standard Features…"want a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun with guts, one you can take into the field or the brush knowing it's not going to let you down. One that's tough, hard-working and always performs. The TSA Series combines world renowned Italian design with old-fashioned American personality, resulting in a good looking and durable shotgun you can depend on. And best of all, this built-in fortitude is extremely affordable."

TSA SYNTHETIC & SYNTHETIC MAG…available in 3" (12 and 20-ga.) or 3.5" (12 ga.) This model has exactly the same features as the Field, but comes with a tough, non-glare, flat black synthetic stock and forend. It's a gutsy shotgun that's virtually indestructible.

I am not sure actually which model I have as TriStar's website and the shotgun manual does not provide specs. TriStar's website list the shotgun as "TSA SYNTHETIC," or "TSA SYNTHENTIC YOUTH," but the shotgun that I have has "Zeus Magnum" engraved on the right side of the receiver. I am currently awaiting an email response from TriStar to find out if I have an older model, or a 2007 model.

TriStar, North Kansas City, MO is listed on the barrel, which would make someone think that they are the manufacture of the shotgun. I am still conducting research on TriStar shotguns, but I do know that this shotgun is in fact imported. It also shows "Made in Turkey," on the barrel. Spoke to a local dealer yesterday who told me that if its made in Turkey, it’s a so-so kind of gun. My take on it is…you get what you paid for. I didn’t ask him what kind of problems he had ran into or heard of. My bad. If you run a search on the forum under "Tristar" you will find detailed postings with information regarding the Rizzini family (makers) and American Arms, now TriStar Arms.

My Shotgun feels to be sturdy and looks well made. The same local dealer also felt the same after he inspected the shotgun. Remember, he's the one that told me that these shotguns are "so-so." Confused. I should have asked him if he could tell me what he would compare it with, since he's around various brands of shotguns all day. Dangit. Next posting.

As I was disassembling the shotgun to clean it (and lightly oily it down) before I put some rounds through it, I noticed a lonely o-ring sitting at the bottom of the box. I quickly focused my attention to the piston area thinking that the usual o-ring in that area (like most semi-auto shotguns) was missing. The o-ring (exact same size) was in place. Now I'm thinking, what's going on? Is TriStar trying to send a message? Is this the week link? I am currently awaiting an email response from TriStar since I have no idea what this is for. The schematics in the manual are not detailed and it only has a listing for one o-ring (piston area).

Testing time. With some friends, we drove up into the mountains, and took turns wasting and clearing various evasive/none native trees, and fired about 50 rounds of cheap Win 2 ¾ with no problems. After this and a bunch of smoke breaks, it started to rain very hard. The friends wanted to leave but I wanted to leave when this thing failed. Please remember, my goal was to test this puppy out and see what it could do. We shot an additional 30+ rounds (estimated) with no problems. After a quick break I needed to quickly clean some mud off and out of the shotgun. Yup, the unloaded shotgun slipped off the hood of the jeep. I was a little ****** at "someone" (no names, in case he's reading this post) but I kept telling myself…"test this puppy out." After the cleaning, etc, I had trouble pulling the bolt back. I unloaded the shotgun, used some man-force on the bolt, racked it about eight times until I had free movement, reloaded and banged off what was in the mag. Other than the brief bolt issue, I had no problems.

We had a lot of fun and I'm starting to thing that I may have something good.
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Old January 24, 2007, 04:09 PM   #2
KuAlii
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Is Tristar Open? Anybody Working?

Has anyone had problems contacting TriStar? I have sent a number of emails to TriStar trying to obtain spec info on the Zeus Mag Semi Shotgun. I only got one email from them..."Provide serial number for us to identify the gun please." After sending this info to them, including other emails, I have not heard from them since. I will start calling to see whats going on.

My latest is with the warranty. According to TriStar's manual, the registration card needs to be submitted to them within 30 days of purchase. If not, the 5 year warranty will be voided. Guess what, there was no reg-card that came wiht the firearm. I contacted the dealer where the firearm was purchased who informed me that there are no reg-cards that came with the firearms. The dealer told me that he would contact TriStar himself and get back to me. Maybe his luck will be better.

So far, I think I may have good semi-shotgun, but customer service sucks.
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Old January 25, 2007, 01:29 PM   #3
dakotashooter2
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Forget the email. I had the same results as you. I did get through by phone and was told to send it in with a letter explaining the problem (The lower barrel of the OU shot 10" below point of aim) I took it back to the dealer and had them ship it about 2 weeks ago. I didn't get a warrantee card either.
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Old January 31, 2007, 02:00 AM   #4
KuAlii
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Tried calling and faxing TriStar all week. Today Marty w/TriStar emailed me about the warranty card and told me that they had enough info from email for their files. Haven't answered my other questions, but Im happy they address the warranty card issue.
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Old June 5, 2007, 10:01 AM   #5
IDMadness
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re:The Unknown TRISTAR 12GA SEMI-AUTO

I purchased the 12 ga TriStar semo-auto a few weeks back and picked it up last night. Its is also stamped "Zeus Magnum , Made in Turkey". As I understand , after making a call to the factory , this is last years (2005-6) model prior to the introduction of the "Viper" (2007)series model that is a duplicate , that replaces it. According to the factory,The new Vipers are made in Italy. Both models have Berretta/Bennelli copied actions.

From what I can tell prior to taking it out and shooting it today , is its LIGHT. 6 1/2 lbs. The stock and foregrip feel sturdy. The reciever and barrel finish is deep and black. The action when cycled was crisp and solid. All positive notes.

What did I expect for my hard earned $349 ? Relative comparisons to other autos for sale in the same rack , Mossberg auto was $449 , Remington , $599 , Beretta/Bennelli $649 and UP. You get the picture. I wasnt looking for the top of the line here. Just an entry level Auto , that I could run some rounds thru and have a little fun with at my local Sporting Clays range.

The one call I made to TriStar was also positive. The rep on the other end was helpful , and knowledgeable about the gun , and its workings. He was very enthusiastic about getting me all the information I wanted or needed. This call was in Mid May 2007.

So Far so good. I will reply again tomorrow after having a chance to pour 100 rds thru it.
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Old June 6, 2007, 02:18 PM   #6
IDMadness
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Follow Up , TriStar 12GA Semi-auto

I took the new gun to the local sporting clays 5 station , and passed 100 rounds + thru it. It shoots new ammo just fine . I was using Winchester Universal , 2 3/4 #7 -1oz loads . Cycled every one without fail. The only hitch was my inexperience in the workings of the action.

The old Remington-Peters ammo that Id had in the storage locker for a few years didnt fair so well. A few jams later , I tossed the whole bunch in the recycle bin and cut my losses. I chock that up to poor storage conditions , and new , very tight tolerances.

Im happy with the weight and feel of the TriStar . It doesnt rattle or feel cheap when firing , or just after the 100 rds.

Now , if I was just a better shot !

Im giving this gun a thumbs up for an entry level semi-auto . This is the 5th shotgun I own.
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Old June 9, 2007, 10:30 AM   #7
IDMadness
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2 quick snapshots

2 quick snapshots.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tristar-ZeusMagnum12ga.JPG (27.0 KB, 3517 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_2305.JPG (199.7 KB, 2839 views)
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Old June 14, 2007, 07:59 AM   #8
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Follow Up , TriStar 12GA Semi-auto

IDMadness,

Please keep us updated on your Tristar. I'm looking at buying a semi-auto, but this is the only review I could find on them and no gun dealers (in Wichita, KS) carry them. I hear Stoeger also makes a good autoloader, but I want something in 20ga that's wood. All the Stoegers I have seen are synthetic and 12ga.

I called Tristar and talked with them about their shotguns a little bit. He said they just made a deal with Cabelas to sell their new models. I talked to the Cabelas in Kansas City and they have a couple in stock. The guy behind the counter said they had a "shoot" recently with Tristar and he was pleasantly surprised. On a 1-10 scale (10 being Benelli, 1 being w/e crap you can dream of), he gave it a 6. What's your rating?

Any others that have experience with the Tristar please post. I'd love to hear opinions on this.

Another interesting thing the rep from Tristar said (biased, but no reason to lie), since they took over they have had only 1% of their guns returned to be fixed.
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Old June 15, 2007, 10:20 AM   #9
IDMadness
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Fired another 50 rds at the 5-Stand yesterday. Im not bruised or battered. The gun cycled well, and was on target.
Im changing ammo to see what "feels" best. Yesterday I ran "Rio-Target Loads" thru the gun and it handled those as well as any other generic ammo.

http://www.rioammo.com/target_12ga.htm

Im not having any problems with it getting dirty or showing wear. So Far , Ive run only 200 rds thru it on 3 different days. More to come.

I am currently looking for the TSA Youth 24 inch 20GA for my daughter , who would like to start shooting shotgun with the ol' man. I think this Tri-Star is a suprising ,affordable ,entry level shooter .
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Old June 16, 2007, 12:11 PM   #10
tmfries
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Re

How much is the one you are looking at?

Able ammo has the youth model Viper for only $310. The Viper and TSA are exactly the same shotguns with slight differences in the wood/synthetics.
http://www.ableammo.com/catalog/defa...35_13769_13883
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Old June 16, 2007, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
According to the factory,The new Vipers are made in Italy. Both models have Berretta/Bennelli copied actions.
I seriously doubt that it's made in Italy. Marketing says "Italian design", meaning yup, they copied a Beretta or Benelli design. But likely the shotgun was and is still made in Turkey.

I've got a turkish shotgun (Sarsimalz factory) - it's the "New England Firearms" Excel Auto 5 - works pretty well so far...but I don't like the fact that the front sight is held on with only 1 screw instead of 2. when bumped, it can and has "swiveled" on the axis of the 1 screw, misaligning the sight.

There are LOTS of shotguns made in Turkey now, at Huglu, Sarsimalz, & elsehwere - and they are sold under LOTS of different brand names.
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Old June 30, 2007, 05:27 AM   #12
IDMadness
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After an additional call to the factory , it was verified that the " Italian design" is often misrepresented as Italian Made. The new Viper series as well as TSA shotguns are manufatured in Turkey. My mistake in originally reporting that they were currently being manufactured in Italy.

Celebrate your Independence.
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Old May 13, 2008, 12:09 PM   #13
IDMadness
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D/U Gun of the year

Has anyone else seen this ?

http://www.tristarsportingarms.com/

I cant seem to find much news on it. Im not sure how this works . The question I have is , "Is there only one "Gun of the Year" or does D/U put their name on a variety each year ? Just curious.
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Old May 13, 2008, 01:58 PM   #14
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From my experiences with TriStar shotguns, albeit only a TriStar O/U 12ga that my boss bought last winter, I think they are quality guns.

The O/U he has is accurate, feels good in your hands, and isn't overly heavy like some O/U and SxS guns I've shot before.

First time he took it out was when we went up north last winter, and we put easily 100 rounds thru the gun in one afternoon without issue. Didn't even clean it before shooting, or during the shooting time.

The TriStar O/U has a cool feature, where you can flip a little switch on the gun to choose which barrel fires with the first trigger pull. My boss has the gun set up with full choke in one barrel, and a modified in the other. I think he's gonna try it for pheasants this fall.

I'd buy a TriStar O/U without hesitation after shooting his gun. Cabelas runs specials on the TriStar guns from time to time.
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Old February 27, 2009, 02:19 PM   #15
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I won a Tristar NWTF at the Banquet last night. Don't know much about it, but it sure looks like a Benelli.
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Old March 2, 2009, 11:08 AM   #16
Chuckusaret
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My friend bought the TriStar Cobra Tactical Pump for $310 plus the other fees at a recent gun show. The first range trip was a total disaster. First there was a spent round ejection problem that was corrected with a ammo change. Then a very tight/hard slide action. The gun was disassembled, inspected, cleaned and reassembled. No change in the operation. Thought was to work the slide and it would get better. Fired about five rounds and the fore end return spring failed. Yes, it has a spring that returns the fore end. No luck in getting a reply from the manufacturer. His lesson learned, stick with the known brands. He has since bought a Mossberg 500 12 gauge 20" barrel Cruiser NIB for $305.
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Old July 17, 2009, 02:10 PM   #17
rrykerinf
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Tri Star

I was reading through this post today while board at work and figured I would put out some information on my experience with tri-star shotguns.

Last October (2008) I was invited to Garden City, KS for a Pheasant hunt that was put on by a local guide their and was sponsored by several associations including Pheasants Forever,Tri-Star, Native Dog Foods, Beaver Game Farm, Tall Grass Outfitters just to name a few. There were around 30 of us wounded Soldiers that were invited for the hunt. All of us received free Tri-star shotguns that ranged from 12-20 gauge semi autos, and one individual received a 12 ga. O/U and another a 20 ga. O/U. We hunted with these guns for two days the second day being a controlled bird hunt were they placed some 200 pheasants and we shot 105. We used an assortment of brands of ammo but most all of it was 2 3/4 in. 7 or 8 shot. We had only one issue and I believe it was operator error as they managed to pull the charging stud from the bolt and lost it in the grass. But all of the guns fired flawlessly that those two days. I went on to use the 20 ga. I received for bird hunting that year and plan on using it again this year. I have already put several hundred rounds through it and with the exception of normal cleaning after a day in the field I havnt had to do anything special to it. So I would say that for the price of these guns they are worth well more than what you will pay for one.
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Old July 19, 2009, 11:33 PM   #18
rickyjames
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i have a tristar viper that i received for fathers day. i have been looking for info on these guns but until now i havn't found too much.

so far my experience has been very good. my first magazine had 1 faliure to eject but i have not had a single problem since. i have the tacticle version, it seems to be well made, it looks like it has a durable finish and i can hit what i shoot at and as long as it keeps going bang i'm a happy camper.
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Old July 20, 2009, 01:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
FirstFreedom: I don't like the fact that the front sight is held on with only 1 screw instead of 2. when bumped, it can and has "swiveled" on the axis of the 1 screw, misaligning the sight.
I secured the same sight on a Excell A5 with JB Weld and holds very well. Just put a little under front sight metal bracket on the end opposite the end with the screw. You can put some about half way up the bracket for a even better hold.


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Old January 29, 2010, 01:03 AM   #20
dukklr
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hey guys, like most of you i've been trying to find info on tristar. i have the tristar diana series(3 1/2 semi auto). no luck on much information and would like to know how the guns are holding up. i can give it a thumbs up on my part. i've put it through more work than most. its been put through rain, snow, and frozen several times. it has yet to fail. i've had this gun for two years and i promise it has seen better days. the only problem i've had with mine was a bad shell. the shell left the plastic casing inside, but ejecting the brass not allowing the next shell to completly sit in the chamber. i had to take the gun appart in the field and take a stick and shove the casing back through, but no problems. just five minutes of last estate shells i'll ever shoot. over all i can answer most questions about the strength of this gun after the thousands of shots fired through
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Old February 23, 2011, 09:28 AM   #21
chiefpd7
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Tristar Magnum 12 Gauge Auto

Anyone have the receiver lockup on them? Loading guide drops down and locks, closing off the magazine and slide locks in closed position.
Anyone know how to correct this?
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Old February 23, 2011, 12:48 PM   #22
BigJimP
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The reports I hear on TriStars are mixed ...but the good side of this, is they do have the 5 yr warranty. These days there seems to be more and more shotguns coming out of Turkey / with mixed results ...some ok, some not ...

Most of the other shotguns in this price range ...Mossberg, Remington, etc -- do not have the 5 yr warranty - in that "under $600 or so price range" - and many of them are probably coming out of Turkey as well.

In general - if you have no issues in the first 50 shells ....it will probably run just fine for awhile. How long is "awhile" ....nobody can really tell you ...but I think you can probably expect 5,000 - 25,000 shells thru it with no major issues hopefully.

Some of us shoot 10 boxes a yr ( 250 shells ) / some of us shoot 10 boxes a week ...so the life of that gun will depend.... Is it a great gun for the money ( not in my opinion ) - but I've said many times on this forum, if you're going to spend under $ 600 for a semi-auto or an O/U at least consider the TriStar because it has the 5 yr warranty.

In my opinion - in the semi-auto market ---- Beretta has dominated it for a long time ( 390 and 391 series ) ...with Winchester, Browning, etc mixing in there in the gas operated guns. Benelli has dominated the inertia guns for a long time... but all of these guns are in the $ 1,000 - $2,000 price ranges. But in my opinion / these other guns are going to give you a life of 100,000 shells pretty easily ...maybe more ...

So its a trade off .../but if the gun fits you ..(so it hits where you look) you've accomplished 95% of the issue ...and as long as its trouble free ....just enjoy it and have some fun with it. I wish you "good shooting"...

My hunch is the extra " O ring" in the box ....is there as a replacement / if you break one cleaning the gun. By the way ....keep it clean and well lubed ...( every time you shoot it - inside the action especially ...not just the barrel ..) and it will extend its life / and improve its reliability !!
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:46 PM   #23
nogo
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Academy sells TriStars and may have good info on warranty issues.
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Old April 4, 2011, 08:24 AM   #24
jmckinley
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Viper G2

I made the plunge on Saturday and picked the gun up. Sunday I shot Trap and ran a 100 rounds thru the Viper with out perfect performance. Took it apart cleaned it last night and easy to clean and appears very well made. It was real windy hear 20-40 MPH wind I broke 22,18, 21,21 which i'll take all day for the first timed I shot the gun. I played with every auto I could find and the Viper fit me the best and I sure shot it well. I think this is a winner. if the function is good I see a Sporting model and a 20 ga in my future. Great gun for the money. All the reviews I looked at said the same buy. Worth every dime. Jess
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Old May 2, 2011, 05:50 AM   #25
Armor
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Gunsumer Reports Review

GR is working on a review of the TriStar Viper G2 T/W now and you can see lots of details by going to each part of the review. Range results should be complete next week.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
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