Retay Arms Masai Mara Satin 12 Gauge Autoloading Shotgun
Retay Arms is ten years old, which is very young as firearms companies go. They are located in Konya, Turkey and have been manufacturing a diverse array of products, such as spear guns, air rifles and blank replica semi-auto pistols. Over four years ago, Retay Arms decided to enter the semi-automatic shotgun market with their version of the Bruno Civolani inertia, or kinetic action, shotgun.
Retay wanted a better Benelli than Benelli and they also wanted to produce a shotgun that was a clear upgrade in materials and finish than is associated with many Turkish brands. One of the worst kept secrets in shotguns is that many companies produce shotguns in Turkey, import those guns into Italy, run them through the Italian proof house and bingo, they have an "Italian" shotgun. Browning buys Turkish shotguns and re-boxes them. Beretta manufactures in Turkey, extensively.
It was not all that long ago that the so-called "Made in USA" Beretta 3901 was shipped with Turkish barrels, so stamped right on the barrel. The Vursan plant in Turkey was purchased by Beretta eighteen years ago and is now known as Stoeger Silah Sanayi, A.S.
With age comes wisdom, or so you might think, but not always. As Oscar Wilde wrote, "With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone." The implication of an old company is they do things better, but sometimes that has proven to be "500 Years Unmarred By Progress." With a new company, new manufacturing centers and new tooling there is at least the opportunity to avoid the same mistakes made over and over again.
NEW FOR 2018
What is new for 2018 with the Retay Arms Masai Mara? While not affecting the quality of the shotgun, Retay USA offers a five year warranty with every Masai Mara shotgun. A warranty isn't much good if you do not know who actually handles it, though. Briley Manufacturing, Inc. of Houston, Texas handles the warranty work and repair work. The Masai Mara is a simple, efficient design and even though it is unlikely to need any repair, it is good to know that warranty and repair arrangements are in place through a reputable firm.
The Retay Masai Mara captured the interest of George Trulock and family. Trulock Chokes are in the process of developing a full line of extended choke tubes for the Masai Mara, with availability estimated to be July or August of 2018.
As for the gun itself, the most significant change is the addition of the Inertia Plus Action to all guns shipped to the United States. This is the practical and affordable solution to Benelli "click pollution." The advanced Inertia Plus Action comes at no additional cost over the standard inertia action that came with the Masai Mara Dark Black and Masai Mara Camo models that I have previously reviewed.
The Benelli click is well known and it means a less reliable gun. It hardly happens all the time, but if the bolt is jostled out of battery, a Benelli will not go bang. That is actually a good thing, for no one wants a shotgun that fires out of battery. However, the Benelli click has been unfortunately at the forefront of unintended waterfowl conservation too many times. All it has to do is cost you one duck or one pheasant and you will not be happy about it.
I have a tremendous disdain for center beads on hunting shotguns. Thankfully, the Masai Mara does not come with one. I also resent Christmas Tree size globes on the muzzles of shotguns, as they are distracting and serve no purpose. The first MM shipped in this country that I reviewed had an excessively large front bead. This has been changed for the better, with a significantly smaller bead. It is a practice among some competitive shooters to take the front bead off of their O/U shotguns and then move the smaller center bead to the muzzle.
It is not rational to seek MOA accuracy with a 70 MOA bead, even though the front bead on a shotgun is just a peripheral reference point, with your hard focus always on the bird. A big front bead encourages the shooter to hold low.
2018 Masai Mara shotguns are shipped with Truglo Starbrite Deluxe front beads, which is Truglo's smallest front bead. It is .060 inch in diameter. That is a good thing.
The 2018 oil finished Masai Mara walnut stocks are beautifully done by Minelli of Italy, with what they call "extra oil." Extra oil is just a way of saying properly oiled, with no open pores. Many oil finished stocks today are far too dry and that means they are prone to water spotting and so forth. Additionally, dry stocks sometimes have a rough, almost sandpapery texture that makes them less comfortable to shoot. They can give you "razor burn," for lack of a better term.
A properly oil finished stock is smooth against your face and extremely comfortable to shoot as a result. Recoil and compression of the recoil pad means there is some sliding of the comb against your cheek and with all the pores filled in walnut, it is a pleasure to shoot the gun.
THE BASIC GUN
The Masai Mara for 2018 retains the machined alloy trigger group, which is removed with the push of a button; no tools required and no pins to knock out. A full battery of stock shims is supplied for adjusting cast and drop.
The ventilated rib is 8mm wide, wider than the standard 6mm hunting rib. The gun has a three inch chamber. Available barrel lengths are 24, 26, 28 and 30 inches. As tested, this Masai Mara Satin with a 28 inch barrel weighs 6 pounds, 14 ounces.
This 2018 Masai Mara Satin is a far better looking gun than the poor catalog photo (above) suggests. I like it better than the bright silver receiver. The Bronze Pure and Satin models, which are both Cerakote finished, along with the flat black anodized and oiled walnut models are all strikingly handsome. They come with polished blue barrels.
The trigger is much too heavy, releasing at six pounds. While the bolt charging handle is oversized, the cross-bolt safety is too small.
This gun positively ejects one ounce, 1180 fps shells. As for lighter loads, I do not bother with them, so I will leave it to others, who want to shoot 20 gauge target loads out of 12 gauge guns, to discover. You can include me out on that.
I prefer a 26 inch barrel for upland hunting, but others may well opt for the 28 inch, particularly if they enjoy some clays and do more dove hunting than anything else. The grouse and quail aficionados may well want a 24 inch barrel.
In times past, Turkish made autoloaders have largely ranged from the wonderfully adequate to the truly tragic. New to the American market, the Masai Mara has already been well-received in Canada, Russia and in various parts of Europe.
Right now, the Masai Mara oiled walnut and polished blue shotguns are the best-looking semi-auto shotguns that you can get for under a thousand dollars. The estimated retail price of this premium Masai Mara Satin is around $950.
With its Inertia Plus action that is more reliable than a standard inertia action, it is not just the best looking and best finished repeater you can buy for the dollar, it is also the most reliable inertia gun for the dollar. That is what I call a winning combination. To order yours, contact Chris Handy at Retay Arms.
Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.