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Month One

First Impressions

The A612 is an entry level semi-automatic shotgun made by Turkish makers Armsan. It comes in a variety of stocks but we are testing the black synthetic stock with a 2 plus 1 magazine. The gun comes in a cardboard box supplied with a couple of sock-style slips, three chokes at full, half and 1/4 with a key. It also comes with some stock spacers and the gun itself has a rather handy fibre optic to help get the eye in. It’s fairly light compared to some guns at about 6.6lbs and the stock is solid, albeit a little heavy on the front. It is nice and easy to take apart for cleaning – generally, semi-autos tend to like being dirty so cleaning once in a while is advisable every 200 rounds or so (according to the manual). Loading is a straight forward process; though the operating handle requires a little more oomph than initially thought to pull it back and the release button needs a hard push to close it again.

Field Testing

Our first gun reviewer, Fliss had the Armsan A612 for a month, testing the gun in a variety of different situations and terrain (and weather!). Fliss competes and rough shoots with her spaniels so a lightweight, easy to use gun is essential. Her personal preference is for a 12g and she was using Gamebore Black Gold Game cartridges in 28, 6’s. For her, the gun performed well in each, coping well with rough shooting and was lightweight and easy to operate when snap shooting through the trees, bagging Fliss a pigeon and some pheasant.

It was subjected to the cold and rain of wildfowling where it was light enough for a good few hours out on the grounds, wrestling through bramble and bracken in pursuit of an elusive pheasant or rabbit flush. The gun itself fired nicely; the kick was a little hardy, so a shoulder pad would be advantageous in lieu of thick clothing. The gun was ready at all times, and the fibre sight very helpful in the dim light of first flight. The result, a lovely little Teal about 40 yards out.

Fast forward a few more days to some clay shooting – for this, Fliss used a much lighter load – 21g 8s. They loaded nicely, went through the gun well but from time to time would get stuck on ejection, On occasion there were a few cartridges poking out the side which hadn’t been fully ejected so do be wary of that. It was most likely the lighter load which was the cause, as there was no issue using 28g 6’s for rough shooting and 32g 5’s wildfowling.  The Armsan was also tested on a walked up day, shooting on pheasant and duck, where it fared well again.

Any negatives?

The downside; once loaded, unloading requires a little more effort than the usual O/U or S/S which became a little tedious at times. As well as this, Fliss wasn’t a fan of the safety catch placement and operation, which she found a little awkward and clunky. The bolt release was quite stiff at first and probably takes plenty of operation before it eases up – and once pressed, it closes at quite a speed. Lighter cartridges can get stuck when ejected but apparently this gradually fades.

What’s the overall verdict?

“It’s not going to break the bank – it’s easily under £500 brand new and comes with some nice extras such as a fibre sight on the rib, stock spacers and three chokes you can change easily. It’s lightweight, coming in at around 6.6lb and it’s great for those wanting something that isn’t going to be too heavy on the arms if you’re out walking through the woods or swinging on clays for hours at a time. It doesn’t have a cheap feel to it – the black synthetic is really nice, but you can drop it or scrape it and not cry about it! You can put lead and steel through it comfortably and its easy to clean, so overall it’s a great entry level gun which is at home both in the field and at the clay ground. I’ve recommended it to some friends who are new to shooting and I even quite fancy one for myself!”