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Old 08-09-2012, 03:02 PM   #1
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Saiga 20 Question

Recently I bought a Saiga 20 shotgun and took it to the range today for the first time. I tried out both shot and rifled slugs. The shot worked great and i hit everything I shot at from about a 25 yd distance. I then tried out the rifled slugs at the 50 yard range. With a man-sized target, you couldn't hit the torso unless you aimed at the right waist area and then the rounds would hit at the left shoulder area. When I asked the guy at the gun shop if I was doing something wrong he said that I was probably asking too much of this gun to hit a man sized target reliably at 50 yards.

My question(s) are these

1) Am I really expecting too much of this gun?

2) Is there anything I should do to improve the accuracy of this gun. There doesn't appear to be any way of adjusting the sights...
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
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Probably so... but it isn't the gun as much as the sights. Generally you need rifle sights for much accuracy with slugs at anything other than close range.

You probably could learn where to hold the front bead in relation to the target if you shot enough but you could not count on great precision.

I guess it mostly depends on what you want to do with the gun. For defense buckshot may be a better alternative.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigjack View Post
Recently I bought a Saiga 20 shotgun and took it to the range today for the first time. I tried out both shot and rifled slugs. The shot worked great and i hit everything I shot at from about a 25 yd distance. I then tried out the rifled slugs at the 50 yard range. With a man-sized target, you couldn't hit the torso unless you aimed at the right waist area and then the rounds would hit at the left shoulder area. When I asked the guy at the gun shop if I was doing something wrong he said that I was probably asking too much of this gun to hit a man sized target reliably at 50 yards.

My question(s) are these

1) Am I really expecting too much of this gun?

2) Is there anything I should do to improve the accuracy of this gun. There doesn't appear to be any way of adjusting the sights...
"Bigjack":

I don’t follow shotgun stuff as much as I used to but one of the things you need to do is truly shoot the gun for group before making any decisions about it.

You also need to find 20ga slugs that truly represent all of the advancements seen in current 12ga versions to make sure it is not the shells you are using that might be the cause of the rounds going all over the place.

And at this point in your research, I would also bring your target in closer until you can “see” what the ammo itself is capable of out of your particular gun.

Personally, I would bring it in to something like 7 or 10 yards and fire at least two groups (on separate targets or at least very different locations on one target) of 3-5 rounds each so you can see if the gun and ammo are consistent enough to “group” at that distance.

(Note that you might have some issues with wads and sabots marring your targets this close but that shouldn’t keep you from judging the performance of the actual projectiles and their ability to travel to the same place at this location.)

If things don’t group here, then you have bigger issues to deal with. But if they do, I’d jump out to 20 or 25 yards and do the same thing again. At this point (and also with those earlier shots taken at either that 7 or 10 yard distance), you needn’t care about where you are pointing and where the shots are going as long as they are landing on your target. Just hold to the same point each time and let the rounds go where they will (hopefully all to the same location wherever that is on the target).

If you are still grouping, I would either go out to 35 yards (sort of a common distance for a lot of shot – not slug – patterning) or all the way to your 50 yard requirement.

Personally, unless that Saiga is really terrible and/or the slugs you are using are throwbacks to the dark ages, hitting a target of the size that concerns you at 50 yards should not be asking too much.

Just as I think one day, the accuracy potential of inline blackpowder rifles will cause the regulations affecting their use in special set aside hunting periods to change, I think that the accuracy and long range potential of shotguns these days (at least 12 ga shotguns these days) will ultimately have them re-evaluated in terms of what they are and where and when they can be used; especially those with “rifled” barrels or chokes, which seem to be pushing the limits of the law anyway.

If the gun is capable of grouping with the right ammo (and I would try several brands and configurations before giving up), and you can’t do anything about the iron sights already on the gun (I don’t know that; but it sounds as though you believe you cannot), then I would look at mounting some sort of adjustable optical sight on to the weapon.

The Saiga 20 is supposed to have a side rail hard point for an optical sight so you don’t have to rely on the top cover for mounting like on most (certainly not all) AK’s. I’ve also seen some elaborate rail accessories for those guns so you should be able to set yours up with a Red Dot of one sort or another.

While I am a real fan of the full size and holographic EOTech type devices for such applications (either from them or through companies like Bushnell; although I think that version has been discontinued), Charlie and I both had comments recently in another thread here about the far smaller reflex type sighting devices originally made known by Docter Optic but now manufactured (with certain individual corporate differences) by such well known and reputable companies as Burris (FastFire), Leupold (DeltaPoint), and EOTech again (MRDS).

If the gun "groups" but you just can’t crank the original sights far enough to compensate for how the various parts of the gun now line up, something like that could be just the ticket in regard to solving your problem. In fact, something like that can make fast, fighting employment of any shotgun a lot easier than it used to be.

But the main thing is to wring the gun out first and see what it is capable of without truly involving the adjustability or aiming potential of its existing sighting system. Once you know that as a machine, it is capable of the accuracy you require, fitting a functional sight to it to get that accuracy to the place you need it, shouldn’t be that hard.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:16 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses guys. I talked to the distributor, seems theres a simple little switch on the top of the gas tube that you have to move when you go from shot to slugs in this particular piece . He said that its a common mistake people make when they first buy the gun. Still feel like a jackass though. Well that gives me an excuse to get back out to the range so its ok.
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:40 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigjack View Post
Thanks for the responses guys. I talked to the distributor, seems theres a simple little switch on the top of the gas tube that you have to move when you go from shot to slugs in this particular piece . He said that its a common mistake people make when they first buy the gun. Still feel like a jackass though. Well that gives me an excuse to get back out to the range so its ok.
“Bigjack”:

I thought that “switch”, which I think is a two-position turnscrew type of thing, was intended more for gun function (regulating gas flow differently between standard and magnum-type loads) than anything related to accuracy but if adjusting it either keeps things from banging around internally or helps you in controlling the gun upon firing, it may help out.

In any case, it would help me to hear of your results as I find the gun somewhat intriguing and I am interested in how it ultimately performs for you in this application.

Thanks
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Old 08-18-2012, 03:29 AM   #6
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I have an abiding affection for shotguns for certain serious purposes and have done a lot of work with them over the decades.

Besides the comments of Mr. Marlowe, I'd like to point out that slugs and shot with the same point of aim don't always go the the same point of impact. You need to shoot both and figure out if/where you can get acceptable results with both. Zero with slugs and then see where your shot patterns go.

I've never used the Brenneke type slugs, but have read numerous times they're superior in accuracy. The attached base wad may help if the shotgun bore is oversize.

Last edited by William R. Moore; 08-18-2012 at 03:32 AM.
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