The Mighty Saiga Shotgun

A while back I was introduced to the Saiga shotgun by a friend. I thought it was ugly as sin but I learned that the real beauty of the Saiga’s is realized when they are customized. One of the reasons that I thought it was ugly was because to be legally imported into the U.S. they had to be modified. They were originally designed to mimic the well known AK and the originals looked a lot like the AK, the firing control group was almost identical and the bolt arrangement was pretty much the same except that every thing was upsized to take the 12 guage shells.

When that socialistic Brady Bill that basically banned cool things to shoot expired, it became legal to modify the shotguns back to way they where originally . This meant moving the whole fire control group forward and moving the pistol grip up to where you could actually pull the trigger and changing the stock. This meant that you had to buy another trigger group since all of the old parts were discarded.

Now here’s another fact of dealing with Saiga shotguns. The gas ports that are used to cycle the shotgun were inconsistent, meaning that some had two gas ports, some had 3 and others had 4. Why the Russians would make them like that is the source of speculation. One theory is that they were supposed to have 4 ports and that guns that were built on Monday and Tuesday were built with 4 ports. Guns built on Wednesday and Thursday had 3 ports because the builders got tired of messing with them and by Friday, they only had 2 ports. Those ports were a pain to drill in the shotgun because the gas holes are actually at a 45 degree angle to the bore and they could be very tricky to place correctly. I’ve heard other stories that involved Vodka, the favorite drink of the Russians but I cant really confirm that. After working on many Saiga Shotgun conversions, I have often wondered if that was in fact the case.

So, I decided to convert one for myself. This one is a SBS, a short barreled shotgun with an 11.5″ barrel and as such it is registered with the ATF as an SBS. Every bearing surface in the gun is polished. The Saiga’s were known to be pretty persnickety when it came to feeding so I tried to remove as much friction in the system as I could.

Using a Tapco Fire Control group along with polishing the rails and the bearing sections of the bolt made the gun much smooter to operate. I enlarged the gas ports and installed an adjustable gas plug that could be tuned for low, medium or high brass as well as buckshot or slugs. So that I could actually get a pattern from it, I installed a Poly Choke “Breacher” which allows the choke to be regulated for the size of shot being used and the pattern you desire. In actual practice, this choke performed much better than I had hoped, it works very well for its intended function.

I installed a MagPul stock for two reasons. The first reason is that like the AK rifles, the stock was just too short. Since the original stoke no longer worked after the conversion, The MagPul was used because it is adjustable. Since most of my AR’s already have them, this just seemed like a natural thing to do. Since I had the MagPul stock in place, the Magpul pistol grip makes it look better and it feels much better than the standard AK grip.

I had to use an adapter to get the grip to fit. Back then, there was no such thing as a MagPul grip on an AK Shotgun so someone designed an adapter. Now MagPul has decided to do it right, and they just started producing grips that affix right to the receiver without adapters or modification. It looks so much better that when I saw one I ordered it and when I get it I will change it out.

Now there are a variety of forearms, but when I built this shotgun there were none. To modify the look, I decided to mill some slots in the forearm. Not only does it look better than stock, it also serves to lets some air in there for cooling. This thing gets really hot when you empty several magazines through it in rapid succession, it needed all the air it could get.

Now for the fun part. This thing shoots ridiculously fast. I have my son on video dumping a factory 5 round magazine in less than one second. That is semi auto, just pulling the trigger as fast as you can. I have done 6 rounds per second. With a firing rate like that, who needs one full auto? Six round per second is a firing rate of 360 rounds per minute. Considering that double ought buck has 9 round per shell in it, that’s 48 .31 caliber slugs per second. It’s absolute hell on targets.

Another plus is that you can get extra magazines that come in 6, 8, 10, and 12 round magazines. Shoot one, dump it an reload another mag. In this category it has ever other shotgun made beat. If that’s not enough for you, you can buy 12, 20 and 30 round drums. Imagine shooting 30 rounds of buckshot as fast as you can pull the trigger.

The 11.5 inch barrel makes it easy to wield and it points naturally. With the Poly Choke on it, it does a wickedly efficient job of placing shot on target at whatever pattern you desire. When screwed down to extra full, it throws such a good pattern at 40 yards that I have actually taken it turkey hunting with me. Fortunately for the turkeys, none of them showed up for me to test the shotgun on.

After shooting a bunch of crows with it, it has become my favorite shotgun. Its quick, handy and lethal. It would make an excellent home defense gun. It is probably the best “assault” shotgun made when its been converted.

Another reason that I like it is because anti-gun weenies see it and either want to run or have to give conscious thought to not peeing all over themselves. Also, I get a sense of satisfaction when someone looks at it and says “On my God! Is that even legal” ? Of course it is you twit…you think I’d be posting it on a Blog if it weren’t?

Here is a picture with the 8 round magazine.
Saiga SBS

Here’s one with the 12 round drum.
Saiga with the 12 round drum

Least but not least…this one is on the Crow “no fly zone” watch.
Saiga 12 1

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About Bob

I'm a retired Machinist. I worked at the local Nuclear Plant making tools and things. I also have an 07 FFL as well as an 02 SOT, which allows me to build some cool stuff. I'm a part time Deputy Marshal for a small town close by, it keeps the adrenaline flowing once in a while. I sell suppressor's, do custom rifle builds and some totally off the wall stuff.
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