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Old May 9, 2008, 11:42 PM   #1
Smitty in CT
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Mossberg International - SA-20 - Review + Pics

As most of you that read these forums know I am a HUGE fan of the Mossberg 930. When I was at the NWTF convention in Nashville in ’07 the people at the Mossberg booth hinted that there was a 20GA autoloader in the works. I was hopeful, as were a lot of others, that it would be a scaled down 20GA version of the venerable 930. In November, I was lucky enough to see one at one of the distributors here in CT, I was quick to let everyone know that it wasn’t a “920”, but a Mossberg International SA-20. There was, of course, some initial disappointment that Mossberg didn’t make one of their own, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and waited for some reviews, I waited, and waited, and waited some more….

I have only heard of one person that bought a 28” barreled SA-20 and he was happy with it, but a sample size of one, doesn’t make for a reliable basis for judgement.

Fast forward to March, turkey season is approaching and my son needs a 20GA autoloader (I have a 20GA super bantam model 500 for him, but the light weight of the gun is a disadvantage in terms of recoil). I begin my search, the 20GA Beretta 391 looks really nice, but I can’t justify spending $800+ on a “kid’s gun”. My dealer has had a lot of issues with the Charles Daly semi’s (more 12GA than 20GA, but still…). We were just about settled on a Remington 1100, but, new ones were expensive and used ones are almost impossible to find…

During my search I saw that Mossberg (International) was showing a “Bantam” model of the SA-20, it has a 24" barrel and a 13" LOP, I looked for more reviews and couldn’t find any, so I figured I’d “take one for the team”. I went down and talked with my dealer, he said they weren’t listed in his catalog yet, but he’d see what he could do… I give him some money and 30 days later I get a call from him that it has arrived.

I picked it up and initial impressions are very good!!. The gun is packaged with the barrel off and the overall packaging is really nice, actually better that my 930’s…

The gun comes with 3 drop spacers and 1 spacer for cast, it also comes with 5 choke tubes (the 930 only comes with 3), the choke tubes are packaged in a nice choke tube case with a very nice choke wrench.

The gun is made by www.armsan.com in Turkey, from what I gather they make guns for other makers, too (the Smith & Wesson guns look extremely similar). It is supposedly a copy of a Beretta A30x series, I don’t know Berettas well enough to tell which model, if there’s any Beretta gurus that want to figure it out let me know….

Here are the initial pics, my son and I will be taking it to the range tomorrow, more reviews to follow….

If anyone wants to know something to specific, let me know…











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Old May 10, 2008, 07:43 AM   #2
buymore
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I was told by several sources on another site that they are indeed the same gun with only extreior cosmetic differences as the NEW S&W line, but a whole lote cheaper on the wallet! I've been leaning towards one also. Could you email me off boards and let me know about what you had to pay for it? I'm trying to sell a Baikal 20 g O/U to purchase a semi auto for my youngerst to shoot clays with. The O/U is too stout on the recoil also. He's only about 65# soaking wet! It's actually an adult sized gun also. No use keeping it, I have a decent 1100 12 g for my for hunting and some casual clays shooting. I have it listed for sale or trade, but if I have to lower my price a little, it may very well be worth it to ad a little more cash pick up a decent youth sized auto loader! I'll start searching for that model that you got now!
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Old May 10, 2008, 11:07 AM   #3
Smitty in CT
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I don't mind posting what I paid publically, I found the price on-line at Bud's Gun Shop, $365. I do a lot of business with my dealer and he agreed to match their price.

The gun was $365, the state of CT gets 6.25% sales tax and I wound up getting another $75 - $100 woth of ammo, targets, and other stuff...

We're off to the range..... I'll post some pics of the little gun in action.
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Old May 10, 2008, 08:45 PM   #4
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First trip to to the range today.

So far so good, 125 rounds, started off with 50 2-3/4" Remington Heavy Dove loads (1oz @ 1165fps), the gun cycled fine with no failures.... we then switched to Winchester "AA" (7/8 oz, 1200fps) we went through three boxes, again no problems...

It shoots very well, my son was hitting most of the targets thrown and never complained once about recoil...

Ok, so here's what I don't like about it so far;

1) The receiver isn't drilled & tapped for scope mounting, I'm going to have to figure something out before next week end...
Anybody know of a scope mount for a 20GA Beretta, it might fit...

2) Loading the magazine is a PITA!!, after you load one in the chamber, you have to press the bolt release button in order to release the elevator so you can load into the mag tube... One of the guys we were shooting with said that this was normal, he shoots a Beretta, I guess I'm just spoiled by the way the 930 loads. I'm sure we'll get used to it, it's just different...
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Old May 10, 2008, 09:29 PM   #5
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A friend of mine has a 20 gauge Charles Daly that loads the same way. He bought it at Dick's in Waterford. I found it to be extremely hard and frustrating. I can only imagine what it must be like load that gun when it is cold out. Plus, it was a semi auto and it came plugged from the factory to our wonderful state's three shell only rule. That is good for hunting, but not good for the fun factor.
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Old May 11, 2008, 12:30 PM   #6
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Time to clear something up...

After reading the original post here and on another forum, and the subsequent replies, I think I can clear a few things up.

First off, Armsan, who makes the Mossberg, is a joint venture between ATA and Khan, both of Istanbul. This is readily shown on the Armsan web site and is true. (Khan is an exporter, not a manufacturer. They represent a factory named Arthemis. Arthemis makes the Mossberg Silver Reserve.) The Armsan/Mossberg semi-auto is basically an ATA semi-auto modified for Mossberg with the top tang safety that Mossberg insisted on.

ATA/Armsan makes semi-auto shotguns for Tristar and did make a small quantity of guns, for a short while, for Charles Daly. Armsan also makes the new semi-autos for Weatherby. I can state with 100% certainty that Armsan has nothing to do with S&W. What buymore has said is true in one sense, that the factory that makes S&W semi-autos actually copied most of the internals of the ATA semi-auto gun. It's just the way buymore phrases it in his post that makes it sound like they come from the same factory. They do not. I wanted to clear that up.

One last thing for bottom rung, the plug on the Daly semi-auto is easily removed by the consumer. If you need help in doing that, please call our Customer Service department (toll free) at 866-DalyGun, 8:00AM to 4:30PM M-F eastern time.
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Last edited by Charles Daly; May 11, 2008 at 04:51 PM.
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Old May 11, 2008, 04:46 PM   #7
Smitty in CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Daly
...The Armsan/Mossberg semi-auto is basically an ATA semi-auto modified for Mossberg with the top tang safety that Mossberg insisted on.
No top tang safety... standard cross-bolt, just behind the trigger...
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Old May 11, 2008, 04:50 PM   #8
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If no top tang safety then they must have changed the design at the last minute. I will ask about that. Perhaps they were having some issues getting it right. I know that Mossberg had been insistent on it but they must have backed off.

Thanks for that little piece of information Smitty.
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Old May 12, 2008, 12:47 PM   #9
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Who is making the S&W semi's?
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Old May 12, 2008, 09:32 PM   #10
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TORUN Silah is making the S&W semi-auto shotguns in Turkey.
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Old May 12, 2008, 09:50 PM   #11
Smitty in CT
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TORUN is also making the (Savage) Stevens 512 "Gold Wing" that is being improted by Hatfield out of Illinois. They are down in Konya, an area known for side by sides and over / unders. The area isn't known for making autoloaders.....Hmmm????

That could be one of the reasons why the reviews of the S&W's haven't been too favorable. I would love to know how much S&W dumped on advertising and such regarding the plant "built by S&W" only to have a "luke-warm" reception... I wonder how long they're going to try and keep it going??
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Old June 16, 2008, 09:04 PM   #12
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Smitty,
did you notice that they make their version with the scope ring grooves right in the receiver? Under accessories, it shows the scope mount as built into the receiver. Wonder why Mossberg opted to not use the same receiver? Also, I looked at the other models they make and they have a SLUG version of the SA20. I emailed to see if we can order slug barrels directly from them or if any plans to import barrels. I'll post any info I obtain. Maybe I can find a Beretta model to interchange barrel also? Anyone get an exact model they copied. I know I was able to finally find the correct cross-reference on my Verona SX405 12g. It is a franchi model 610. I was able to lock into a very cheap smoothbore slug barrel BRAND NEW in the package for under $65 shipped at Numeriches. Hopefully, if I can find out what model they copied, I can do the same for the SA20. I'd rather have smoothbore anyways.
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Old June 17, 2008, 05:32 AM   #13
Smitty in CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buymore
Smitty,
did you notice that they make their version with the scope ring grooves right in the receiver? Under accessories, it shows the scope mount as built into the receiver. Wonder why Mossberg opted to not use the same receiver?
Because it would have cost more.... Every machining operation adds money, I'm sue that Mossberg was more concerned about keeping this gun lower priced rather than full of features...

I'm going to, eventually, have the receiver "drilled and tapped" to receive optics
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Old June 18, 2008, 03:26 AM   #14
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I called my dealer thursday evening and ordered my SA20. It came in yesterday and I picked it up. I have a very good dealer for ordering for me. All I do is call and he orders it! Man are they shipped dirty! After I got all that shipping grease/gunk off the outside, I can say I'm not at all impressed with the metal finish. It has specs of missing finish ALL over the barrel, it looked like pieces of the paper towel I was using with bore solvent at first, but when I took oil to a cotton cloth, they were shiny spots of bare metal. Also has a couple of spots on the receiver that look like little globs of heavy finish and around the ejection port, you can see bare metal where they didn't get it all the way covered. The machining looks very good, so I have no problems with that.

I just ran three test rounds through it rapid fire and it is FAST and didn't hiccup at all! I am impressed with the weight and the ligh recoil, even being so light. I haven't decided whether I'm going to change the stock shims. I guess I have to figure out what each one will do for me. When I bring it up naturally, my eye comes up just a little high, so I may try to drop it a little to see if that fixes it. It will all be experimental, but it's only time! Does anyone know who elses choke tubes will fit? All I have is Mossberg Accu-chokes and without getting them out, these appeared a little longer, but I will try later tonight to make sure. It would be nice to get an extra full for turkey loads and a cylinder bore to see how it shoots slugs through the VR barrel. I guess I can use the Imp Cyl or skeet and see how they shoot, but I'd rather have cyl bore for slugs.

Over all, I'm ok, seeing how I only have $385 out the door in it ($359.99 + tax) Mossberg did email me saying they will probably be importing slug barrels in the near future. No answer yet from the main company in Turkey as to whether or not they will sell direct?
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Old June 19, 2008, 08:38 PM   #15
Smitty in CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buymore
...Does anyone know who elses choke tubes will fit?...
I went by my local shop today at lunchtime with the SA-20 in tow to find out what kind of chokes it takes.

I go back into the gunsmith's area and start to pull the choke, before I get the choke tube all the way out of the barrel, the old guy says, "it takes a Benelli 20GA tube". We tried a couple and he was right a 20GA Benelli tube fit like a glove... I wish I knew how he could tell just be seeing a few of the threads...
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Old June 19, 2008, 09:44 PM   #16
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Thanks alot! Saved me alot of grief. I asked the dealer where I got mine and no answers and not alot of shotguns to compare! Much appreciated!!

Now to find the tubes I want without having to sell my first born!
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Old June 19, 2008, 10:36 PM   #17
Smitty in CT
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www.trulockchokes.com are very good and aren't too bad on the wallet....
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