Before I was assigned to review the Comrade Arms TAK-47, I had never considered owning an AK-based shotgun, nor did I ever expect to review one designed in New Zealand! Sure, I’ve seen the professional competitors with their tricked out Saiga 12’s, running foot-and-a-half long magazines, Mad Max style compensators, and wild paint jobs – but that’s not me. I prefer the look and feel of a classic Remington 870 or a Browning Auto 5 scattergun. Or so I thought.
My typical stance on personally owned firearms revolves around three categories: The first is utility; does this gun serve a purpose? The second is suppression; can I run a silencer and shoot subsonic ammunition in this gun? And the last category is ammunition availability and expense; can I shoot this gun all day and not feel guilty about all the money I just launched down range.
At first glance, the TAK-47 fits into none of my top three categories. However, after spending nearly four months romping around the woods with this Chinese made, 12 gauge AK, I was pleasantly surprised that the TAK-47 has utility, can be suppressed, and a days worth of shooting is not going to break the bank. Plus with a U.S. street price hovering around $500 to $600, this shotgun is very affordable.
So, if you are short on time or aren’t a fan of my reviews, I’ll sum up this Comrade Arms offering in one quick statement: A solid performer that is very affordable, customizable, a lot of fun and can be used for hunting, defense and competitions.
For the rest of you, on with the show.
COMRADE ARMS ORIGINS AND MANUFACTURING:
The Comrade Arms TAK-47 was designed in New Zealand. Famous for its mountainous deer hunting and spectacular scenery, it is the last place I would expect to find a new variant of the Kalashnikov being designed. PIgs, wallabies (small kangaroos) and rabbits are destructive pests in New Zealand and a tactical shotgun is one of the most effective way of clearing them from farmland.
The Kiwi’s worked closely with Wuxi BAM in a high-tech manufacturing facility in Jiangsu, China to have the firearm made to their exact specifications. If buying a Chinese-made firearm makes you cringe, let me attempt to put you at ease. This company manufactures many lines of guns for export around the world. This is not some t-shirt or trinket factory – besides civilian firearms Wuxi BAM (Jiangsu Xinsu Machinery Manufacturing Co) also manufactures airguns as well as military and defensive products.
Established 1965 as a state-owned Firearm manufacturer mainly making the 7.62 SKS and 7.62 Type 54 (tokerov) Pistols (both based off the Russian Military Versions). In 2001 it became a privately owned company. In 2007 they started making airguns and are now the largest airgun exporters in China exporting all over the world with their main markets in the USA and Europe working with some of the leading brands in the industry.
Listen, if you are a “never buy from China” consumer, I’m not going to convince you in a few thousand words to break from your preconceived notions. All I ask is that you remain objective about the TAK-47’s build quality.
TAK-47 Packaging and Initial Inspection:
Before we really start talking, here’s my standard review statement: I am not Zeus of the firearms world. I am a “regular” guy who mostly likes to pull triggers for fun and entertainment. However, I’d like to think that I can evaluate the real-world applications of a gun and pass on to you, the potential buyer, a general overview of fit, form and function. If there’s one thing I can’t stand in this internet-era of gun reviews it’s the “I’m a stud and you should/should not buy this blaster” attitude taken by a select few reviewers. I prefer to give you a short objective review that you can use to do a little more research and make an informed decision going forward.
The TAK-47 comes packaged in a sturdy, presentable box, padded with cut styrofoam, and inside corrosion and scratch resistant bags. Included is the shotgun, two magazines and an instruction manual.
As mentioned above, this gun is imported into the United States, meaning that it must meet certain “sporting purpose” definitions. Without getting into the weeds, the American buyer is limited to two (2) five round magazines and a “sporting” thumbhole/Dragunov style stock. Even though I pictured myself hating the TAK-47’s stock, the ergonomics are actually quite comfortable. Besides, if you decide you want a change, the receiver can accept standard AK-47 stock attachments without the need for a gunsmith. We will get into that a bit more below.
Here’s a basic parts list from the manual:
Missing from the list is a side-mounted optics rail on the left side of the shotgun.
The TAK-47 is compatible with standard Saiga chokes and magazines, meaning that additional capacity and muzzle device options are only a few internet clicks away. I’m especially interested in the SilencerCo Salvo 12 silencer Saiga mounts. The TAK-47 comes standard with an Improved cylinder choke.
- Comrade TAK-47 Semi Auto Shotgun – Imported by Cherry’s Guns, NC
- 12 Gauge 3″ Chamber For 3″ and 2 3/4″ Shells
- 19″ Barrel
- Two 5 Round Magazines
- Accepts Saiga magazines
- Synthetic Thumbhole Stock
- Polymer Hand Guard
- Fixed Sights
- Matte Black Finish
Shooting the TAK-47:
On my first trip out into the woods with the 12 gauge Kalashnikov variant I took about 200 shells of a mixed variety ranging from light field loads to low recoil buckshot to full powered slugs. The manual states that the minimum shot weight for reliable functioning is 32 gram (1 1/8 oz) shotshells and that after firing 1,000 rounds, the gun may function reliably on 28 gram (1oz) shotshells.
So here’s my Mea Culpa: I broke one of my own rules of always reading the manual before fielding any firearm. Sure, most manuals are half full of basic safety warnings and liability disclaimers, but reading it from front to back is an important piece of any review.
The first loads I shot were light target, and I was getting several failures to extract – like almost every shell. Perplexed, I decided to take a step back and review the gas settings:
My gas settings were locked in on ‘Position 2’ for light loads, however, to get there from ‘Position 1’ I had turned the selector clockwise, closing the gas port even further. What I should have done was turn the selector counterclockwise, opening the gas port for additional flow for light loads.
Sure enough, back in the field, I was able to pummel five straight magazines into steel targets without a single hiccup.
Transitioning to back and slug, I moved the gas selector back to the first position (clockwise this time) and continued pounding my poor steel targets without fail. Ejection was a perfect 90 degrees out of the port.
The trigger is about what you’d expect from any modern AK: it is not a match trigger by any means, but it gets the job done efficiently and reliably. I’ve read reviews of other Saiga 12 shotguns where authors were able to modify the Tapco or Geissele AK triggers to work in their guns. Although I’m a competent tinkerer, modifying a trigger to fit a non-standard gun is a task I would leave to a reputable gunsmith.
Charging the shotgun was no more difficult than charging a quality AK47 variant. Inserting full magazines was a bit of a strain at first, but got easier over the course of the 100ish shell break-in period. The bolt hold open feature worked great (similar to the way a Ruger 10/22) functions.
Recoil of the TAK-47 was comparable to any other semi-automatic shotgun I have ever shot – manageable. Although admittedly I have never been to recoil shy when it comes to shotguns. A firm placement of the stock into the shoulder pocket and a slight lean forward and the majority of shooters will have no issues with recoil on this shotgun.
Gas from the ejection port was minimal and even after a few hundred rounds, the action was fairly clean. A good sign for sure.
Overall, this is a fun gun that will bring a smile to your face. Almost as if you had a shoulder mounted canon. I’d love to pickup a 10 or 15 round magazine just to see how fast I can launch a lot of lead.
I mentioned above that the TAK-47 can accept more traditionally styled stocks. Here’s one that has been modified prior to import into the United States. I really like the looks of this setup.
And if you have access to a helicopter and some invasive kangaroos (feral hogs) the TAK-47 can be your copilot.
As I said at the beginning, I did not expect to like this gun as much as I did. Pulling the trigger as fast as I could and having five shells feed from a box magazine flawlessly really gets the blood pumping.
If this were my gun to keep, I’d be switching out the stock and forearm for a more traditional look. I’d look into having a good AK gunsmith modify a Geissele AK trigger or a Tapco trigger to improve performance. And the absolute first purchase I’d make would be the SilencerCo Salvo Saiga choke mounts to see how quiet I could run some subsonic buckshot.
For the price, the TAK-47 is an easy recommendation for the pure enjoyment factor alone. With practice and maybe a few minor modifications, it could easily find a home in the field for hunting, in the house for defense or at the range for competitions.
- On the heavy side
- Tigger could be better
- Magazines tough to insert
- Very affordable
- Fun to shoot
- Functions well
- 12 Gauge AK!