Gun Review: Intrepid Tactical Solutions RAS-12 Shotgun and Shotshells

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Strangely enough, the state of Nebraska has a surprisingly in-depth and comprehensive history of the shotshell hosted on its Game & Parks Commission website.  According to this amusingly well-researched compendium, the inventor of the first shotshell is unknown, but we do know that the C.D. Leet Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, is thought to have made the first paper-hull shotshells in at least 1869.  By the 1880s, shotshells were being machine-loaded, and between 1887 and 1901, shotshell sales increased seven-fold. Over the years, shotshell technology advanced with the addition of centerfire primers, better powders, and hull materials.  And though the “modern” shotshell itself is a half-century old (the first plastic hulls were made in the 1960s), at its core, the shotshell as we know it has stayed relatively the same for well over a century – a rimmed cartridge geared towards breech-loading, with a flat-top hull.  Modern pump and semi-auto shotguns have been built around the cartridge, being fed via a tube running under the receiver, diverging from the removable box magazine-fed path taken by the rifle.

While I can only speculate as to why the shotgun became and stayed an almost-exclusively tube-fed weapon, it was certainly a combination of factors, not the least of which is related to the unsuitability of the flat-fronted and rimmed shotshell for box magazine cycling.

We have seen a surge in box mag semi-auto shotguns in recent history, the most notable of which is the Saiga-12 shotgun based loosely upon the Kalashnikov operating system.  And though the Saiga enjoys one of the most zealous fan bases and may be one of the most heavily modifiable and popular semi-auto shotguns, I reluctantly opine that, if anything, the Saiga demonstrates well the shortcomings of the 100-plus year old shotshell design in the box mag semi-auto platform.

I owned this Henderson Defense converted Saiga 12 for a few years.  Both before and after the conversion, the Saiga was not what I would call a reliable weapon system.  Across a range of manufacturers and shotshell sizes, the Saiga was varying degrees of unreliable.  Apparently, my experience is not unique:  Other authors and reviewers with similar or greater experience have similarly observed the same issues.

Without wading any further into the Saiga debate, either way, it is accepted that rimmed cartridges are not optimal for box magazine feeding.  Accordingly, if you want to maximize reliability in a box fed semi-auto shotgun, it stands to reason that introducing a rimless cartridge is your first step.  Second, a ball tip case would increase feed reliability up the ramp and into the chamber.  The classic, standard shotgun shell has neither.

Intrepid Tactical Solutions has tackled this issue, creating a revolutionary new rimless, ball-tipped 12 gauge shotshell and manufacturing a platform for it, both the shotshell and the shotgun dubbed the “RAS-12″.  ITS contacted me about reviewing the RAS-12 shotgun and ammunition, and I enthusiastically accepted the invitation.  In my opinion, a shotshell optimized for mag-fed semi-auto operation is a welcome advance.  It’s been over a hundred years of the same shotshell, and instead of building the shotgun around the shotshell, it’s well time to capitalize on advances in firearm technology – the hardware itself – and redesign the shotshell for use in advanced semi-auto shotguns.

With that in mind, I received the RAS-12 for review and ran 100 rounds through it, while the RAS-12 is an innovative platform and a relative engineering success, the overarching question is “will it succeed in the marketplace?”

Specifications:

The RAS-12 is an 18″ 12 gauge shotgun upper that fits on a standard AR-10 lower and uses Magpul PMag AR-10 magazines (more on this below).  At present, the only ammunition available for it is ITS’s own RAS-12 12 gauge ammunition, which is a rimless, polymer shotgun shell with a cone or ball tip for enhanced loading and feeding.  The ITS Buckshot delivers a 9-pellet, 1.1oz payload at 1200fps.  More ammunition types are under development.

The RAS-12 comes with a railed handguard, “Scorpion” breaching muzzle device, and one five round Magpul PMag (actually a converted 20rd. Magpul .308 PMag).  The RAS-12 uses a piston operating system, and features a “monolithic” 12 gauge bolt carrier.  As will be discussed in depth below, the manual of arms is nearly identical to the AR platform, including field-stripping.  Unlike other box magazine-fed 12GA semi-auto shotguns, the RAS 12 features an auto bolt hold open, straight insert magazines, and is easy to load and charge on a closed bolt.

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The massive “monolithic” bolt carrier, bolt inserted.

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Bolt face, with a quarter for scale.

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The prodigious gas block on the fore end of the RAS-12.

ITS suggests field-stripping and cleaning the RAS-12 every 100 rounds.  The RAS-12 comes with a 1 year warranty.  See http://intrepidts.com/index.html for more information.

Also note that the RAS-12 is American-made.

General Observations:

The unquestionable core of the RAS-12 shotgun is the polymer-jacketed ITS RAS-12 shotshell.  As you can see from the pictures and the cut-away below, this is a rimless case round with a ball tip.

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From L-R: a 2 3/4″ 12GA shotshell; a 3″ 12GA shotshell; an RAS-12 00 Buck shotshell, and; a 10GA shotshell.

 

A cut-away of the RAS-12 00 Buck round.

ITS claims that the RAS-12 round is the first polymer shotshell designed to “stack vertically and work flawlessly.”  And stack vertically it does.  The rimless cartridge allows the RAS-12 shotshell to stack five deep into a Magpul .308 PMag.  You read that correctly – as seen from the photos, the RAS-12 shotgun comes with an inexpensive and durable modified Magpul PMag that accommodates five RAS-12 rounds with room to spare after installing a new follower (although I am curious if this would work with a standard follower as well).  Also, you can almost jam a sixth round in there, which inclines me to believe that a slightly larger .308 magazine like the 25rd. 7.62×51 Magpul PMag might even accommodate seven rounds.

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The RAS-12 shotgun uses a 20rd. .308 Magpul PMag.

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This offers an edge over the Saiga in several ways.  First, the Saiga is known for expensive and cheaply-made third-party magazines (although the Saiga factory five round magazine is very durable and well-made).  Without offering any names, I used to sell a very popular brand of Saiga magazine by the case at a distributor and a dealer level.  Almost regularly, magazines bulk-packed in a box would be reported as broken by dealers and customers.  The RAS-12 gets around that easily – no flimsy, third-party, proprietary magazines needed, only the renowned and durable PMag that can be purchased for under $20.  Second, these mags are straight-insert, which are much easier to manipulate than the rock-and-lock AK style Saiga mags.  Third, a PMag full of five RAS-12 rounds has a little play in it.  This allows it to be straight-inserted on a closed bolt easily.  The first generation magazine I received had a smooth follower and full-length feed lips, and, when fully loaded, the mag would give minor resistance during loading into the mag well.  However, before I made it to the range for a second trip, ITS sent the second generation magazine (see pictures below), which appeared to have trimmed feed lips and a modified AR-10 follower, and it loaded smoothly.  Compare this to the Saiga, which can be very difficult to load on a closed bolt, and the Saiga further compounds this problem with the lack of a factory bolt hold open.  The RAS-12 upper holds the bolt open automatically after the last round is fired, dramatically increasing loading speed.

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The first generation magazine/follower is on the left, the modified new design is on the right. While the newer design worked perfectly, I imagine it will look cleaner when it goes into production.

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The ball tip of the casing splits open when fired, violently delivering its payload to great effect.  This is what a pile of expended RAS-12 shells looks like:

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There are a couple of drawbacks, however.  First, the RAS-12 ammo is relatively expensive at $3 a round, although not inordinate.  ITS claims that price will go down on ammo as they have received commitments from large manufacturers, including Remington, to make the RAS-12 shell.  I suggested that ITS consider allowing the royalty-free manufacture of the round (if you recall, this certainly helped the .300BLK round gain serious traction, while the nearly-identical .300 Whisper remained a wildcat for years before), however, ITS did not seem like they planned to follow my suggestion.  I think this may be an error, as the RAS-12 platform is not going to survive if the ammunition is difficult to obtain, however, I am not an economist.  Second, one of the ball tips split when the RAS-12 bolt attempted to slam the shell into battery – right into the base of the previously-fired round that failed to eject.  And though the cracked round still fed and fired perfectly, it bears mentioning that the ball tips are not very thick.

All said, the RAS-12 shotshell seems a worthy semi-auto counterpart to the revered 12 gauge round, and will not doubt improve rapidly in subsequent iterations.  ITS claims that the RAS-12 round can be reloaded like any other 12GA round as well.  Performance is good, with the buckshot delivering 9 Buck pellets at 1200fps – more or less the same as 00 Buck from your 18″ Remington 870.

But the effectiveness of the projectile is just as well determined by the effectiveness of the platform firing it.  In this case, the RAS-12 shotgun:

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As I said in the introduction, it is difficult to think of any way that the RAS-12 shotgun could be better-designed or manufactured.  As to the manufacture quality, everything fits tightly, lines are clean and sharp, there is almost no evidence of machining, and it just feels like a sturdy and robust platform.  Obviously, no expense was spared in the composition and assembly of this weapon.

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Further still, the design is ingenious.  I’ve already told you that it takes PMags, so, of course, the RAS-12 shotgun uses your standard AR-10 lower.  This is brilliant, as it basically makes the RAS-12 a quick swap, and better still, it can be bought without going to your FFL so long as you own an AR-10.  This RAS-12 came with a DPMS lower.

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The upper and lower fit tightly, but it is still a very easy two-pin swap.  The buffer also needs to be changed out when swapping into the RAS-12 upper, but that only takes seconds.  In all, this shotgun will have great appeal to AR-10 owners.

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The RAS-12 comes equipped with a beefy but sleek railed forearm, as well as a breacher-style “Scorpion” muzzle device.

As you would expect, then, the RAS-12 has a near-identical manual of arms as the AR platform, from the charging handle down to the ping-pong paddle bolt release.  The trigger is the same as the AR-10 you swap this RAS-10 on to, likely a standard AR GI single-stage trigger.  Obviously, then, the lower can accept new stocks and all accessories available for AR-10 lowers (except buffers, as mentioned), and the RAS-12 upper can accommodate all pic rail accessories.

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Another view of the rail system.

Firing the RAS-12 is an absolute blast to shoot – I can’t place why it is simply more “fun” than a Remington 11-87 for example.  Recoil impulse may have been about the same as my 11-87 Police.  However, the standard, plastic M4 stock on my demo gun is not as comfortable compared to the hefty rubberized Speedfeed found on the common 11-87 Police, but a simple AR-stock swap would likely remedy this.  A Magpul stock with a thicker recoil pad comes to mind as an excellent substitute.  I allowed four other experienced shooters to fire a magazine each, and each of them was absolutely thrilled.  Also, this gun barks sound and flame, which certainly adds to the experience.

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Other than that, the shooting experience was exactly like shooting a 12 gauge shotgun from an AR-10 lower:  The ergonomics of the AR-10, but with that 12 gauge boom.  Brilliant, ingenious, and effective.

Negative Observations:

As a prefatory note, the model I received for evaluation was a prototype, and not a production model.  The first gun I received experienced three failures in 50 rounds, however, ITS updated the chamber specs based upon their research, and both myself and our T&E Coordinator, Phil White, fired 50 rounds each through two prototypes with the updated chamber specs, and these guns worked flawlessly.  Additionally, ITS has said that this shotgun needs a few range sessions to break in, and I did not have enough ammo to break in either of the guns I received (100 total rounds).  Further still, as I do with all test guns unless instructed otherwise, I did not clean or lubricate either the first or second guns before firing them.  So, for the sake of full disclosure, I’ll skim over the issues I had with the first iteration, but I re-emphasize that ITS has since changed the chamber specs and seems to have these running flawlessly now, so do not lend too much weight to the following failures:

The RAS-12 I had with the initial, smaller chamber spec experienced three failures in the fifty rounds I fired through it.  The first malfunction was a bolt-over-base when the first round from the magazine was loaded via the bolt release/ ping-pong paddle.  This can happen occasionally with an AR-style bolt release if the bolt did not fully retract, while still allowing the top round into the action, and this malfunction is typically avoided by charging the gun with the charging handle instead of using the bolt release.  Accordingly, I overlooked this malfunction at that moment.  That is, until it happened again, but this time in the middle of a magazine.  The gun failed to fire in the middle of a firing sequence due to the below-pictured bolt-over-base malfunction:

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One of two bolt-over-base malfunctions experienced in the 50 round session.

I can only surmise that the malfunction was caused by the bolt carrier’s failure to fully retreat.

Finally, the third malfunction came as a double-feed caused by a failure to extract, as pictured below.  The RAS-12 failed to extract a spent casing, but cycled and attempted to feed another round into the occupied chamber:

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Doublefeed caused by failure to extract.

Strangely enough, after clearing the weapon, the spent casing easily extracted by cycling the charging handle after allowing the bolt to fully close.  No defects were noted in the problem casing.

That said, however, two of the most recent, updated versions of the RAS-12 we received cycled 50 rounds each without an issue.  One of them was cleaned and lubed before firing, one was not, but both performed well, so it seems that these reliability issues with the initial prototype have been adequately addressed.

Because the recent iteration of this gun seems to be reliable, I don’t place much significance on the issues with the first version of the gun I received.  However, there are a couple of observations I have about the system generally:

First, this is not a cheap system.  In addition to the $3 rounds, the RAS-12 upper MSRP (including complete upper, one magazine, and buffer/spring) is $1,950.  We will see what the actual street price is when production is in full swing.  I will say that this is a similar price point for a piston AR upper of comparable quality such as the LMT MRP Piston or the H&K MR556.  So while it is pricey, it also seems to be a good value, nonetheless.

Second, this is a pretty heavy system, almost certainly due to the hefty .308 lower and the piston system added to the upper, however, a piston-based 12 gauge is going to have to be robust, so this is expected.

Third, while the manual has cleaning instructions, I did not see nor could I figure out how to remove the piston for cleaning.  While I am sure the piston won’t have to be cleaned every range session, someone will have to scrape it eventually, and I would want that someone to be me, not a gunsmith or the factory.

Finally, the RAS-12 rounds could be more robust.  While I did not have issues with them generally, the cone of the round that was double-fed into the back of the chambered round did slightly split, although it fed and fired all the same.  That said, it’s still a minor point of concern if one were to drop a full magazine on a hard surface.

Conclusion:

As said earlier in this review, it appears that this innovative and creative platform is an engineering success, and production models will presumably be even more improved than the current version of the pre-production prototypes.  The RAS-12 feels solid, drips quality, performs well, and is just amazing to shoot.  And even though this is a fun range gun, the tactical applications are apparent as well – this is a powerful magazine-fed semi-auto shotgun with the same manual of arms as the venerable and prolific AR-15, and the ability to put this upper on an AR-10 lower and use AR-10 straight-insert magazines (and, therefore, AR-10 mag pouches and gear) will obviously make this upper very easy to transition into any program.

But will it succeed in the market?  Many will balk at the proprietary ammo, although ITS would likely argue that this ammo is a necessary advancement in the semi-auto magazine-fed platform.  And while that may be the case (and I agree that it is), even a revolutionary round may have a hard time catching on at three dollars a pull.  The aforementioned partial mutuality with the AR-10 will certainly make the RAS-12 much more appealing to the gun-buying public, will that be enough?  And though we have tested two RAS-12s that performed without issue (at least after the modifications to the earlier prototype), our experience was limited to 150 total rounds, which, though a positive start, hardly cements reliability.  Time will tell on this front.  All things being equal, I certainly believe that that the present version of the RAS-12 solidly outperforms the Saiga 12, however, the cost of admission to the RAS-12 club will also get you two converted SGL-12s, and moreover, you can feed both of those Saigas for the same price as the ammunition for only one RAS-12.

In closing, the RAS-12 is an excellent performer.  Any complaints I have about this gun are very minor.  This is a top-end machine, and fit and finish are as good on the RAS-12 as they are on any premium AR manufacturer’s products.  Moreover, I believe that, while it won’t replace the 870 anytime soon, the RAS-12 is an advance in technology that should be welcomed and adopted by the shooting public, if anything, to advance the round so that the RAS-12 shells might find their way onto other platforms.  The RAS-12 round is truly the next evolution in shotgun ordnance, and I think that the more prolific it becomes, the better for the shooting industry and market as a whole.  That said, Intrepid Tactical Solutions has an uphill battle in front of it – to get this RAS-12 in our safes, next to our Mossbergs, Remingtons, and Winchesters.  A tough battle indeed, but the RAS-12 likely represents the best shot to meet this lofty goal.

Related

James Reeves is a licensed and practicing concealed weapons instructor, the winner of Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior 2011 civilian challenge, a graduate of Front Sight and Tier 1 Group, and is an Appleseed Rifleman. James previously owned and operated a gun shop in Tallahassee, FL and worked as a regional sales representative for Interstate Arms Company, a distributor, before he began practicing law, his present career. James likes traveling with his wife, boating, America, photography, guns, gear he doesn’t really need, cold beer, and a little exercise here and there (James is also GORUCK Tough). Above all, James enjoys performing product evaluations for The Firearm Blog and posting his reviews for TFB readers. Follow James on Twitter and Instagram @PelicanHandgun.



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  • Nick

    As cool as this is… I see no advantage over a VEPR 12 for $999. I hope it succeeds and I can eat my words, but that entry price is just way too high.

    • displacer

      Just got one of those $999 VEPR-12s and yeah, couldn’t be happier with it. Works great with Walmart Federal bulk pack, bolt hold-open functions as advertised, comes optics-ready, and recoil is plenty manageable even though I’m all of 5’6″.

  • Nathaniel

    What does it do that an AR-15 doesn’t?

    Oh, right, qualify as a “shotgun” for 3-Gun…

    • Giolli Joker

      Uhm… it shoots 00 buck?

      • Nathaniel

        So?

        It’s not cheap, it’s not good for shooting birds on the wing, and it’s too heavy for breaching. It doesn’t even have compatibility with less lethal or specialty ammo.

        Everything that’s left, you can do better and with less weight with an AR-15.

        …Except shoot the shotgun portion of a 3-Gun match.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          It would make a good combat shotgun if the round count could be increased.

          • http://postmodernpulp.com/ Jack Badelaire

            Someone needs to call Carl Lyons and tell him his new toy is ready…

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Yea and what’s the question ? Slugs will be along.

        • Giolli Joker

          No question at all, actually… just an ironic reply to Nathaniel. ;-)

    • Phil Hsueh

      If you read the article this upper isn’t designed for an AR-15, it’s meant to fit an AR-10 lower. If they can bring down the price of both the upper and ammo then this will potentially have a lot of appeal to people who already own an AR-10 since it will allow them to convert their AR-10 from a .308 rifle to a tactical shotgun with the swapping of an upper.

  • Black_Viper

    They were at shot show last year with working prototypes. Doesn’t look like much has changed in 12 months besides maybe the magazine design. I’d hope to see Remington selling this round by now. I’d say give royalty free licensing for orders over a certain size, this way it’ll get bigger players the ability to get the market going and build a demand (like mentioned about the 300blk)

  • Esh325

    I glanced over the review, but what it seems like is that it’s an innovate concept that needs more testing and refinement. The success of these types of firearms is largely based on their adoption by military or law enforcement. If they can achieve that, then they might secure themselves a place in the market. If not, they will probably fail.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Allowing for the fact that the military and LE have also had their share of mismanaged weapons selection and acquisition programs.

    • http://RenderRanch.com/ Zermoid

      Exactly what I was going to say, these guys need to get some military interest going first, then go to the civilian market. Also, do they have any plans for a belt fed version? A SAW type weapon that’s belt fed would be great for fire suppression and perimeter defense I would think. A 12 Ga Machinegun spraying lead my way would sure as hell get my attention and get me to go to ground fast!

  • Giolli Joker

    Very interesting review.
    Looking at the failures to extract/reload I wonder if ITS solved a problematic feature of the shotshells (rim) by replacing it with an only slightly less problematic design: the rebated rim.
    However, although the most instinctive comparison is with the Saiga, considering the seemingly intended market of this system (and its price) I’d ask: would you prefer it over the Benelli M4? Does it give an edge over it?

  • patrickiv

    Is that 1st gen follower 3D printed?

    • Giolli Joker

      No, it’s a machined piece of micarta or similar composite material.

      • bbmg

        Nope, I think it is 3D printed. You can see the gaps.

        • Giolli Joker

          Nope.
          I made some micarta myself (for knife handles, from denim strips) and i can recognize it, what you see is the texture give by the woven material (linen, canvas or others) impregnated with resin.
          Besides, 3D printing such a component would be a waste of money, if you machine it in a rather though but easily to work with material (as micarta) you can modify it (even by hand filing) until it suits your needs.
          3D printing is not the solution to all manufacturing needs. ;-)

          • bbmg

            3D printing is a poor choice for manufacturing, but it is stated in the article that the gun being reviewed is a prototype.

            The “woven” texture would be familiar to anyone who has handled a 3D print closeup, and the ridges from the manufactured layers are more consistent with FDM than CNC milling.

            Besides, micarta would be an odd choice of material if it was machined, Delrin would be an obvious first choice if I had to make it myself.

          • patrickiv

            I have an FDM printer and it looks just like the parts my low-res printer makes.

          • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

            It’s not 3D printed–

          • Giolli Joker

            Thanks Phil for closing the debate… just next time wait for the betting to start! :-)

            @ bbmg
            Just to clarify a few points:
            I used the term manufacturing with the broader meaning of “making”; 3D printing is a way to manufacture a prototype.
            I did handle 3D printed samples (FDM, SLS, DMLS).
            Given that that follower is NOT 3D printed, I’d still state that it’s some kind of micarta (BTW, layers from FDM are generally more uniform in color): http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/images/handles_mic_bklin_125_312_6.jpg
            I can’t tell if it’s micarta or another composite material (it doesn’t seem to be Delrin, though), maybe they just experimented with what they had readily available.

            Looking at the way this magazine design has been approached by ITS I’d guess that after taking a production magazine (Magpul), they tried different (machined) followers to be modified even by hand filing until they finally found the reliability they were looking for… moreover the “final” prototype looks like a .308 production piece (is it the original P-Mag one?) hand filed to shape; in such an approach, 3D printing would have been a waste of money.
            Once they’ll finalize the design they can 3D print a final prototype (maybe of the full magazine, I doubt they’ll sell magazine carrying .308 denomination) to help defining the “mass” production of the part.

          • bbmg

            The layers visible certainly suggest it was made by a machine, I would be glad if Mr. White could elucidate the matter by specifying the exact material used.

          • bbmg

            I stand corrected then – is it possible to know the material in that case?

  • noob

    I really hope that a true rimless auto 12ga round is offered widely, just so that we can see it used in a belt fed shotgun that someone creates as a dealer sample for TV.

    • Giolli Joker

      …and discharges it on exploding targets floating on a pond in Louisiana swamps…

      • gunslinger

        it’ll be a game changer because it’s ‘never been dun ba-fore’

    • iksnilol

      You can make a belt fed using a rimmed cartridges. Just look at the PKM, no complaints regarding reliability there.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Yes, still one of the very best, if not the best, and most reliable GPMG’s in existence, period.

  • vamtns

    $1950.00 for the upper and $3.00 a round for non reload-able shotgun ammo? In this economy? Lotsa Luck to you…..

    • gunslinger

      the $3/rnd is high, but if enough people make it, the price will come down. how much was 300bk when it first started? now?
      what about reloading on this 12? would that help? i don’t see an issue with ammo.

      now the 2k upper. that’s pricey. if they could get it sub 1k id bite (but i need an AR10…not like it’s a bad thing)

      • tts

        You’re not going to get a lot of ammo manufacturers jumping in on this due to that high price.

        Cool concept but its DOA if the ammo price doesn’t come down dramatically and soon.

        • http://RenderRanch.com/ Zermoid

          Exactly, and if you can’t readily find ammo, and ammo at a reasonable price, what good is a 2 grand weapon system?
          Nobody is gonna shell out that kind of dough for what may be a wall hanger or curiosity a few years down the line.
          Bottom line is they need to get some major ammo companies on board to produce ammo for their gun.

          I do think this is a great idea, but the tough part is getting it accepted and used by enough people to make it viable. At that kind of price I really don’t see it happening.

          Also, I read nothing about reloading components, and alot of the cases in your picture looked unusable after 1 firing, what is the potential for reloading? Also, have they considered a slightly more conventional brass base and plastic top type of case? Or even an all brass case? Just some thought to throw out to them.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Very good point, but keep in mind it’s not just the price and range of available ammunition — it’s also a matter of the viability of the weapons system as a whole.

        • gunslinger

          the viability goes without saying. but all things being equal (a viable system) it comes down to price. and everyone was going on about the price, so it’s assumed the viability is there.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      It does come with the EoTech

      • gunslinger

        Save 500 by not shipping with it.

  • mechamaster

    I like the rimless shotgun shell, more friendly with detachable magazine. Very nice modern shotgun invention.

  • iksnilol

    The problem I see is that they dont have doublestack mags for it, and the big AR magwell would still add some length to the mag. Just look at the Surefire quad stack.

    Regarding the shell, can’t it be 3D printed? I know I saw some all plastic (except for a washer as a base) shotgun shells.

    • TheSmellofNapalm

      Haven’t the Surefire mags been having some crippling FTF

      • iksnilol

        From what I heard they are suppossed to be reliable.

        My problem with them is that theyhave a considerable doublestack portion due to the long magwell.

    • Giolli Joker

      I quote myself:
      “3D printing is not the solution to all manufacturing needs.”
      And while it can easily be the best choice for prototypes (it was born for that), it’s by far the worst for mass production as shells manufacturing is supposed to be.
      There are way cheaper and well tested options.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    Great review. I bet it’s awfully front-heavy….

    • Suburban

      Remember, it’s not a .22cal bull barrel, it’s a 12 gauge barrel with a fairly thin wall.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Actually I didn’t find the weight distribution bad at all. IT sure is made well.

  • dan citizen

    The Saiga 12: “based loosely upon the Kalashnikov operating system”

    Seriously? How is a weapon made by Ishmash (kalashnikov) using part-for-part the exact same design “loosely based” ?

    Agreed their are extremely small changes, akin to the differences between AK, AKM, AMD65, or Krinkov, but these are not significant and the basic design of the receiver, BCG, FCG, gas system, etc, etc are functionally the same.

    • iksnilol

      It uses a short-stroke piston if I remember correctly it functions more like a M1 Carbine.

      • dan citizen

        The Saiga 12 has an adjustable gas system with a puck to accommodate both high and low brass. Other than that arrangement, design, function, and appearance of the two gas systems is nearly identical.

        The Saiga 12 is an AK, made at the primary AK factory, with only the changes necessary to operate with shotgun shells.

        It is not “loosely based” on anything,

  • DGR

    Ammo price is the killer, you cant sell $3 a shell 12ga ammo unless it shoots fairy dust (well tactical fairy dust that is). Get within a dollar a round and you have something, but get something even cheaper in the $.75-.50 for cheap shooting or its doomed. Nobody but the professional gamers have a use for a shotgun that only shoots $3 a shell buckshot rounds. Meanwhile, I can walk into any local wal-mart and pay $5.50 for a box of 25rds of birdshot or pay $.75-$1 for buck or slugs. Not to mention you can buy a nice pump action gun to shoot that cheap ammo for under $200 and its going to run perfectly for several decades of hard service…… Really cool idea, but the cool isn’t worth the high cost to play the game…..

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      They are working on the price of ammo as well as it being able to fire standard ammo.
      My prototype had the larger chamber and I did lube the one I got before going to the range. It was flawless. I also had the one with the slightly larger chamber.

  • Lance

    Looked promising till you say it shoots its own overpriced ammo. Forget it if they made a model to shoot regular 12ga then its fine but no on this morphidate round it shoots. Get a good Benilli or Saga over this.

  • Alex Nicolin

    Akdal MKA 1919 is about $600, looks like an AR, and shoots normal, $0.40 shotshells.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    An interesting, attractive design and a very good effort, but it falls far too short in too many areas, the most significant of which are adaptability and versatility, especially when it comes to ammunition. It is far too easy to base the comparison on the existing Saiga 12-gauge conversions without taking into account a multitude of factors, including the fact that properly-built and blueprinted Saigas would hardly be inferior to this product ( just as there are some very good, high-quality AR builds and a whole lot of sub-standard, inferior AR builds out there vis-a-vis the competition ).

    It’s equally interesting that no real comparison has been made to what most knowledgeable users regard as the ultimate semi-automatic military-grade 12-gauge shotgun — the Molot VEPR-12, and straight out of the box at that, with no modifications.

    The need for special ammunition which performs no better than regularly-available rounds at that price, and with the attendant lack of variety suited to different applications, is another negative strike against the ITS RAS-12 as far as I’m concerned, because it directly impacts the weapon’s versatility.

    As for the supposed advantages of straight-insert magazines without the rock-and-lock action — to begin with, neither is better than the other. They are just different but equally effective ways to insert and remove a magazine, and the best use thereof is really driven by user preference and training. Before anyone starts in on this, please note that the VEPR-12 has a magazine well that is designed specifically for straight insertion anyway, and that it works exactly as designed.

    The bolt-hold-open feature and ability to charge reliably and consistently from a closed bolt are already standard features on the VEPR-12, as are the external bolt-release and BHO buttons. The VEPR-12 also does not require stripping and cleaning after only 100 rounds per manufacturer’s recommendations. This article mentioned how the author was unable to figure out how to take down the RAS-12′s gas piston system for servicing — in the VEPR-12 ( and Saiga ), it is as naturally intuitive without a set of instructions as it would be for the venerable AK-47, which is to say, ridiculously simple and easy. The VEPR-12 gas piston is, in addition, a self-regulating design that has long since been proven to function reliably with everything from low-pressure birdshot loads to high-performance magnum slugs and buckshot. A bit different from the rather particular needs of the RAS-12.

    The good point about the ITS offering is that it has the advantages of modularity that it shares with the AR-10 ( and, by extension, the AR-15 / M-4 / M-16 ). It is relatively simple to take down via the standard two-pin system between the upper and lower receiver. However, the VEPR-12 shares a much simpler and quicker takedown system with its AK ancestry and, like most modern AK’s, has a fairly wide range of after-market accessories that should satisfy most tactical junkies, although this selection is not as far-ranging as those available for the RAS-12 / AR platform.

    Finally, the VEPR-12 has an excellent fit and finish ( the ITS is not the only weapon to excel in this category ) and is made entirely of solid, good old-fashioned high-end Mil-Spec machined gun steel with a military-grade Russian-made hard chrome-lined, cold hammer-forged barrel, and chrome-lined chamber, gas chamber and piston assembly. as well as a heavy-duty RPK-type receiver — all components long since proven on the battlefield. It won’t break. it won’t wear out, and it will keep on functioning reliably when choked with sand, mud, water and debris. Recoil management is very good for a shotgun, thanks to the long-stroke gas-piston system, and accuracy is excellent too. And it does all this and more, at a market price of roughly $1000-$1300, give or take a little.

    In spite of my doubts, I honestly hope ITS succeeds as a company. They seem to have some great concepts and it would be good to see them gain a decent market share. It’s just that I think they are possibly limiting themselves by going this route with the RAS-12, and that their innovative approach and attention to detail could be better served by a different design.

  • Pauld D. Mitchell

    My fiend Adam L. liked the idea of a new 12g round. He thinks its time the shotgun was upgraded. The reason we don’t have any many hi cap mag based shotguns is because of the ammo. I hope it takes off and other companies adopt the idea. Thanks.

  • Garrett

    Am I the only one that thinks this begs for a Colt LE901 adapter?

  • Andrey Martim

    I have a small idea over this gun… Why not do a CM901-Esque two piece lower receiver with a 12Ga Capable magwell? As I see, the problem with this design is the ammo, so a 12Ga Magwell would be perfect… That way you can still swap it back to .308, 7.62 or even 5.56…

  • gunsandrockets

    I would think the whole RAS-12 concept would be more economically viable based on the AR-15 lower instead of the AR-10. True that would mean a smaller shot cartridge but maybe that’s a good thing for a semi-automatic firearm.

    • gunslinger

      the issue, i think, is that they want the round to be as close to 12ga as possible. i don’t think a 12ga shell would work in a ar15 lower. i don’t have anything on hand to verify though

  • dan citizen

    This cartridge will likely later be ruled by BATFE to be an NFA item, it’s riding a fine line already, slug loads will likely be over that line.

    • gunslinger

      if it fires from a smooth bore, then it should be a shotgun.

      • dan citizen

        Shotguns, rifled or smoothbore, are exempted from the “over .50 bore” limitation under a “sporting use” designation. AN exemption they have revoked previously (remember the striker 12?). This cartridge in it’s current form is a very thin line from being a frangible solid round vs shotshell.

  • Ace

    Interesting, but expense, ammo availability, and weight makes it DOA. None of the large manufactures of ammo are going to bother if this is the only consumer for that ammo type, especially if it comes with a royalty.