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Semi Auto Shotguns

Weatherby SA-08 28-Gauge Deluxe Review

by Skip Knowles   |  August 21st, 2013 1

The roundabout journey I took to becoming a fan of Weatherby’s new flyweight 28-gauge auto ran parallel with my budding skeet obsession. At first, my motives for getting into clay target shooting were pure — I just wanted to kill more ducks and upland birds. I had zero interest in subgauge guns but quickly developed a lust for busting clay for its own sake.

Become halfway good at it, however, and — fun as it is — it gets a bit repetitious. Long bored with trap, I found that even the relatively fast action of skeet left me wanting to mix things up a bit. With no sporting clays range nearby, it seemed the thing to do was switch from my goose-stomping 12 to having a go with one of those pretty little guns the older guys sometimes carried at our local skeet club. CZ makes some nice little double 28s, but nobody whom I’m aware of offered a 28-gauge auto for under a grand — until the Turkish-made Weatherby SA-08 28 Deluxe was introduced last spring.

After hunting quail and pheasant in Texas with a 20 gauge, I had little interest in .410s after constantly batting cleanup for guys who were knocking feathers off birds but rarely putting them down. It became apparent that the .410 is a little toylike for my tastes, except for dove (unless they’re hauling ass with a tailwind above the Russian olive trees). But it did seem that a little subgauge challenge would be fun.

“The SA-08 line has really taken off, and a 28 gauge seemed like the next logical step. We wanted to build the gentleman’s shotgun that anyone could afford,” says Weatherby’s Tim Frampton. “You simply can’t find the same features at this price anywhere on the market.”
It is a lovely little shotgun, with 22-lpi checkering, glossy walnut and a 26-inch barrel (you can also have it with a 28-inch tube). Best of all, it’s built to scale, with a proper 28-gauge-size machined aluminum receiver. The result? It comes in a full half-pound lighter than the feathery, six-pound SA-08 20 gauge. But does it shoot?

A friend of mine who shoots a 28 bet lunch that if I spotted him four birds to level the playing field, he could beat me and my old Beretta A-390 12 gauge. I accepted, but we never made it to the range that day. Turns out he was smart. “G&A”’s Payton Miller told me that it was too much of a handicap and that if you do your job, the little 28 will. He was right.

My wife, Breanna, hadn’t shot in almost two years. Our jaws dropped when she smashed the first three of the first four birds she shot at, then went on to shoot her best round ever, blasting six straight from the far end of the course. She liked the flashy little SA-08 28 much more than the 20 I bought her last year.

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