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Riot Guns: Weatherby PA-08 TR and Weatherby PA-459 TR Review

by Patrick Sweeney   |  March 19th, 2013 9


When it comes to pump shotguns for defense, the list of usual suspects is short and populated with familiar names like Remington, Ithaca and Mossberg. But Weatherby? The last I remember of Weatherby pump shotguns was back in the mid-1980s. My then boss of the gunshop where I was employed decided to become the king of Weatherby in the Midwest.

He bought every Weatherby Model 92 that could be had. I was working early that day and was the only one at the shop when the truck arrived.

After I unloaded the truck, I was beat. Hey, the driver was a Teamster. Do you think he was going to unload the cargo? To treat myself for the work, I sorted the guns by wood grade and set the best one aside for myself. Alas, the boss decided that that particular 92 would be best used as a duck gun for a friend of his, and off it went.

Today, Weatherby offers a pair of new pump shotguns. The glossy receiver is gone, the beautiful wood is gone, and the Made in Japan is gone. The new guns are matte finished with synthetic stocks, and they are imported from Turkey. The Turks have been working hard to get themselves into the Western market as firearms makers. They have been building handguns, rifles and shotguns intended to fill the market segment of “I need a reliable gun and don’t want to spend a mint getting it.”

While the final details might be lacking in other firearms from Turkey, they are not skimping on build quality or features for Weatherby. They just (at least in this case) are not losing sleep on cosmetics.

The two guns we have to select from are the PA-08 TR and the PA-459 TR. Why those model numbers? Beats the hell out of me.

The PA-08 TR is a simple version of the Weatherby PA-08 Upland, and it’s an entirely traditional shotgun in layout. On the Upland you can have wood, but why bother? You see, the PA-08 TR, with its much more durable synthetic furniture, starts at $368. I blinked when I saw that, because in the gunshop I worked at, “$368” and “Weatherby” only existed in the same sentence when discussing accessories, not complete firearms. So what do you get for your three-and-a-half-bills at retail? How about an aluminum-alloy-receiver, plain-bead-barrel pump shotgun that holds five rounds in the tube (23/4 inch, the three-inch shells only come up to four) and weighs six pounds, 10 ounces?

The barrel is chambered for three-inch shells, so you can use all your favorite magnum shoulder-crushing loads if you wish. The bore is chrome-lined, so cleaning is a cinch, and you need not worry about the bore showing the effects of neglect or having been loaned to your brother-in-law. You do not, however, get the chrome-plated bolt, as the TR comes with an oxide-finished bolt for a no-glare appearance. The stock is proportioned for normal people, with 14 inches of pull and normal drop and pitch. The barrel on the TR is only 181/2 inches long, which is fine for a defensive shotgun, but the cylinder-bore choke would seem to be a tad limiting. This proved not to be the case, as patterning the PA-08 TR was quite informative. Typically, a cylinder-bore barrel will give you an inch of pattern spread for each yard of distance. With the PA-08 TR, I was getting not much more than six inches of pattern at 10 yards. That is entirely useful and even a bit on the tight side, which is fine by me.

The sights, a bead on a post front and the rear of the receiver, are traditional and a bit general if you plan to be using slugs very much. For launching buckshot and birdshot, the setup works just fine.

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