Gun Review: Kalashnikov Saiga 12 Model 340 Shotgun

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I recently wrote about the Shotgun 2015 World Shoot was held September 13-19, in Agna, Italy. With about 700 competitors it’s the largest IPSC Shotgun competition ever. It is no secret to the readers of this blog that the Kalashnikov Group is looking at competitive shooting and also developing models more focused for this sector.

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A recent example is the test shoot we did with the Saiga 107 “AK-15” in .223 Remington at the European Rifle Championship in Hungary. You can read our review here: Kalashnikov AK-15 (Saiga 107) Review.

Apart from the competition itself, large Championships like this are a great way of meeting old friends and meeting new ones. Getting to shoot the new Kalashnikov 340 and then sharing about it on TFB is a great example of this.

The Saiga-12 model 340 features a stronger receiver and is said to have an improved and quicker recharge system.

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The owner had added some personal modifications, and not having a stock example side by side it’s difficult to know exactly how a stock 340 would shoot and exactly how it compares.

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For instance the owner changed the hand guard. It’s actually not made in carbon fibre, but rather aluminium with cosmetic tape. Looks great, but got pretty hot while shooting. Gloves are highly recommended, but that goes for most shotguns. The magazine release has also been modified.

 

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We tried a mixture of bird, buck and slugs with no malfunctions. The buck shots created a lot of smoke, as can be seen in some pictures. Good thing is you can see how the compensator works, and where it pushes the hot gasses upwards and to the sides.

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The gun moved to 2 o’ clock while shooting, and felt a bit unsteady as you get a circular movement getting back on target. I would prefer it to recoil backwards, and perhaps a little upwards, only.

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The sight is made by C-More Railway Systems with a very small dot, felt like a 2 MOA. To each his own, but I prefer a slightly larger dot in a shotgun. Having tried the 9 MOA Aimpoint, it’s not a bad experience at all. Don’t say no until you have tried, I’m sure it would work great on rifles too.

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The shotgun seems to have worked fine in competition, and helped the owner to a Top 40 position out of 166 in the Open Division.

Story and photos: Erik B – IPSC competitive shooter in pistol, rifle and shotgun. Usually also armed with a camera and a sharp lens. Likes fast cars too, and has two FIA International standing start acceleration records. Ended up at 32:nd place in the World Shoot and 4th in Team for the Swedish Open Team.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Giolli Joker

    Cool photos.
    I hope we’ll still be able to see similar things in Europe in the future…

    • Alex Agius

      Let’s just hope that new EU wide gun law doesn’t go anywhere.

      • toms

        +1, Funny how they were able to draft such a long document in only 48hrs. It seems european citizens have absolutely no say in their countries on legal issues. Some unaccountable committee decides what is best for you.

        • Giolli Joker

          The haven’t written it in 48hrs… it was ready since January, they were just waiting for an excuse…

  • Sianmink

    Is it just me or is that C-More mounted waayyy far back?

    What did they do to the safety switch?

    • Giolli Joker

      Considering the position of the empty shell being ejected, maybe the sight is there to avoid any interference with ejection.

    • iksnilol

      Having the sight close to the eye increases field of view IIRC.

      • All the Raindrops

        Shoot both eyes open like you’re supposed to with a red dot, and FOV doesn’t matter at all.

  • Phillip Cooper

    I keep wanting to get a SAIGA. Then I read about the issues with longterm storage of the rounds in the mags and it doesn’t seem viable.

    • iksnilol

      Store the rounds short term then 😉

      • Phillip Cooper

        Fair point, but if I’m buying one it’s for home defense mostly. As with my pistols, the “duty mags” are loaded with what I hope to never need to use (hydrochocks) and left loaded. Range trips are with ball, and I’ll download the defense ammo, fire ball at the range, then reload with defense ammo. So the defense ammo stays loaded pretty much for the duration.

        Comments on problems leaving a spring under tension go to /dev/null. You don’t replace the springs on your car, do you? Leaving a spring under tension isn’t a problem.

        • iksnilol

          It isn’t problematic to leave regular ammo loaded. But shotgun shells under pressure might be deformed. Espiecially if heat is involved.

          I can see how you wouldn’t want the Saiga for home defense then.

          • Phillip Cooper

            Yes that was my point, could have sworn I edited my post to point it out.
            Going with brass shotshells and handloads might be the answer- but god help you if you have to use them. You’d be like Harold Fish all over again with the wrong lawyer on the other side.

          • Hyok Kim

            I read that in U.S., many police officers load their tube loading mag less than full for the same reason, even though tube loading puts less pressure on the shells where vulnerable than the mags used in Saiga.

            Like I had said earlier, reload is pretty much a moot issue for HD scenario. If one can’t take care of the problem with either birdshot or 00 bucks at CQB distance with HD, with 5 shells or a little more, one has serious problem with marksmanship or one likes making too many enemies.

            Btw. I am a convert to shogun for HD.

          • iksnilol

            I am thinking the problem with the reload is if the shells in the mag are deformed.

          • Hyok Kim

            Yes, as far as box mags are concerned. Now, there are speedloaders for tube mags if one is really concerned about one’s poor marksmanship, or people skills. They don’t put any pressure on the shells while in stored.

        • All the Raindrops

          The 80’s called, they want their Hydra shocks back 🙂

          There is much better stuff out there.

          HST, gold dots, etc.

          • Phillip Cooper

            They work, and work well.
            If I was still a doorkicker, I’d use the modern stuff. There haven’t been major changes made to human anatomy in 30 years.

    • Phillip Cooper

      For clarity, it seems the issue lies not with the mags, but with the construction of the shells. The plastic deforms over time and this leads to cycling issues.

      Of course this is hearsay, but I can’t afford a thousand dollar gun that might not work when it comes time to defend me and mine.

      – and yes, I know brass shotshells are available. But that is just asking for some Attorney to hold up the weapon if I ever have to use it, capitalizing on the “Evil black rifle” mindset… and then clinch it by pointing out I made my own “extra lethal” ammo.

      Don’t believe it would ever happen? Lookup Pat Fish.

    • Justice

      Easy solution: rotate your ammo every few months. check the shells for any deformity. Its a good idea to have multiple magazines, as you should with any firearm. Makes it easier for ammo rotation.

  • Edeco

    I like the tapered trigger guard. Would like to know more about the receiver updates.

  • USMC03Vet

    I was expecting more lead photo and less beardo. You got me good TFB.

    • Giolli Joker

      Youtube’s strategy.

  • toms

    I hope they work better than my saiga 12 did. Only Russian POS gun I have ever seen.