After being asked by several wildfowler members to suggest a potential gun for their juniors, there was only one winner - the Armsan A620
Having recently opened a junior section at our local wildfowling club, I was duly asked by several of our members to suggest a potential option for their respective youngsters. The choice was an easy one for me because I had seen a suitable candidate a few months earlier and have one in the cabinet at home!
I was very impressed when Armsan’s semi-automatic shotguns first came into work a couple of years ago. For a Turkish-built budget gun, they are nicely put together with well-machined metalwork that’s easy to access and maintain. They also handle well; so well, in fact, that I’ve got a few in the cabinet.
Armsan has been established since 2006 and in the past decade I believe the company is now in the top three three Turkish arms manufacturers. Making a variety of practical and hunting pump-action and gas-operated semi-automatic shotguns, with a staff of fewer than 200, I think Armsan does a pretty good job! There’s quite a few models and calibres in its product range. Practical and tactical shotguns along with sporting 12 and 20-bore pump and semi-automatic in wood, plastic and various camouflage patterns. The 28-bore (CRE8) semi-automatic comes in standard black action or stainless action, with some nicer wood upgrade options. After all, the company has access to some of the best homegrown walnut on the planet.
What makes them stand out? Well, a 12 or 20-bore with three inch chambers, steel-proofed multi-choke in wood/synthetic or painted camouflage – all for around £450 – is a good start. It’s a good starter gun that doesn’t break the bank. It’s perfect for a pigeon hide, the marsh and for the yearly goose trip north of the border.
So, when Stuart Grant, Highland Outdoors area sales manager, said the new 20-bore junior/senior combination was inbound, I just had to take a look! You see I have a very keen 11-year-old, who loves his shooting and he was rapidly out growing his .410. Besides, Christmas was coming and, more importantly, so was the wildfowling season, and bismuth .410 shells cost nearly £60 for two boxes! As for 28-bore ammunition at £9 a box, I didn’t really like the idea of that either. So, I took the gamble to jump straight to the 20-bore.
I opened the box and was pleasantly surprised. Black synthetic soft touch furniture, matt black chrome-lined barrels, three inch chamber that comes with three chokes as standard – full, half and cylinder – which are more than enough to cover all options of shooting, with the option to buy ¼ and ¾ at £20. A nice medium-sized rib lines up nicely to a bright red bead. There’s two straight stocks – one for juniors measuring 12.5inches and one full size at 14.5inches, with stock shims should they be required. All in all a very pleasant surprise, especially when you throw in a carrying strap and a four year warranty as standard. It stripped down very easily and the internals were surprisingly well made. The trigger mechanism is held in with pins, so easy access while the bolt and slide were easily strippable should you need to deep clean it. It takes minutes to change the stock should senior decide to borrow the gun or should junior go along with them, which is always a bonus. With the barrel extension it converts quickly to a full-size gun, which is really well thought out and well made.
We took the gun along to a family outing where both young and old tried it out. Josh. the youngest at 11, a couple of teenagers and even the ladies found it easy to handle. I noticed that the short stock gave them more strength in the arm, which stopped them from getting tired arms. We shot a variety of loads, all of which performed admirably with no cycling issues. The novices used 21g while I tried the 24g and 28g – all of which shot well. This gave me confidence in the gun, especially after having owned budget semi-automatics before with cycling issues!
Available in wood, synthetic, right and left handed varieties. Josh is more than happy with his gun and is looking forward to his first trip north of the border! And I’m looking forward to having a go in the pigeon hide when he’s at school!
Barrel:26in or 28in with 2in multi-choke extension
Length of pull:12.5in short stock 14.5in standard stock
Drop to comb:40mm to 55mm
Heel to toe:115mm
Magazine capacity:Two plus one
Mechanism:Gas recoil system
I find that as long as you keep them clean with a light film of oil over the working parts most semi-automatics work really well. My top tip is to keep the gas ports clear. Dirty ammunition and gas ports don’t get on with each other. If they aren’t kept clean they can hack and cough until the cows come home and there is nothing more annoying when you’re under a skein of geese and the gun goes click!
Scores on the doors
Value for money: 24/25
More information: Contact the importers, Highland Outdoors