Retay Arms Masai Mara Camo 12 Gauge Autoloading Shotgun
The tested example is the synthetic edition of the Masai Mara 12 gauge inertia autoloader with a 28 inch barrel. While the previously examined walnut Masai Mara was the first Retay Arms shotgun to be imported into the United States, this example is a complete standard production item that was not handled, over-handled and marred by the ATF.
This gun weighs 6 pounds 15 ounces with a 28" barrel. Barrel lengths of 24", 26" and 30" are also available. It (thankfully) has a single front bead and the red, TruGlo fiber optic tubular bead is an improvement over the first example, as it is smaller. Far too many hunting shotguns have annoying, worthless center beads and excessively large front beads. I am glad to say this shotgun is not so afflicted.
The only area that is out of whack from the published specs is the weigh; this is not a 6-1/2 pound shotgun, as specified in the catalog. It weighs just under 7 pounds and it is about a quarter pound heavier than the 26 inch barrel walnut model previously tested. It is just a tad lighter than the Franchi Affinity 12 gauge (plastic) that weighs 7 pounds, the Benelli Vinci at 7.1 pounds and a bit more than1/4 pound lighter the Weatherby Element Max-5 camo model that I tested at 7-1/4 pounds.
The Masai Mara is a well-made autoloader. It assembles easily and comes apart easily. The camo coating is nicely applied and is suitable for both the woods and the marsh. This gun comes with a well-designed plastic hard case, five choke tubes, stock shims and a sling.
It does not rattle and the recoil pad, unlike many of the contemporary wedge and curved designs, has a flat interface with the butt. If you want to switch to your favorite aftermarket recoil pad, the process is straight forward.
The chokes are dedicated Retay Arms tubes and they are not interchangeable with the similar Benelli Crio Plus tubes. George Trulock has been working on replacements and I should have some soon to review. The crest width and root width on the Retay threads were several thousandths different than Crio Plus threads, although the lead did seem to match.
The trigger pull is about average for a repeating shotgun, breaking at 5-1/2 pounds. At least for me, a lighter 4-1/2 pound hunting trigger is about right.
Where the better quality of the Masai Mara is most easily spotted is the trigger assembly itself. It is all machined aluminum alloy, as is the trigger guard, and it comes out with the push of a button. I am not completely certain at this juncture, but the Retay Arms five-year warranty is apparently being handled by Briley.
While, fundamentally, the Civolani action is a Civolani action and yes, an inertia gun is an inertia gun, the Masai Mara is a distinct upgrade in quality over most inertia guns. The trigger assembly is the clearest example of this, but this gun is also extremely easy to load and comes apart easily into just four pieces. If you are the type of individual who grades products on their merit, not just the sticker on the box, you will appreciate the Masai Mara.
The Retay Arms Masai Mara is also not a nose-bleed priced autoloader. It runs from around $850 for the basic synthetic, a touch more for camo finish and the knockout walnut / polished blue editions are priced at roughly $1100. For a do it all, workhorse, inertia hunting shotgun, the Masai Mara camo model at the $850 - $900 retail price point is about as good as there is on the market today.
Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.