Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe 28 Gauge Autoloader
The Weatherby SA-08 in 28 gauge with a 26 inch barrel is the fourth autoloading shotgun in the SA-08 series I've reviewed. With a 2014 MSRP of $849, its discount retail price runs about two hundred dollars less. Weatherby's basic specifications list it as 28 gauge, 2-3/4 inch chamber, 5-1/2 pounds, 14-3/8 inch length of pull, 1-1/2 inch drop at comb, 2-1/4 inch drop at the heel. Weatherby further states:
"Beautiful select grade walnut stock with high gloss finish, 22 LPI checkering on pistol grip and fore-end, lightweight CNC-machined alloy receiver. Chrome-lined, vented top rib barrel with brass front bead (26 inch or 28 inch), comes with 3 application-specific choke tubes (IC/M/F)."
The tested gun came with an unusually well-figured walnut forearm and buttstock for this price point: good enough to be called Grade III by others. Like the rest of the SA-08 line, the 28 gauge uses standard Invector style choke tubes, although these choke tubes are longer than the standard stubby versions.
The 28 gauge comes complete with two gas pistons, just like the rest of the SA-08 series. Some might be surprised at this, for at most sporting goods stores when you see 28 gauge ammo it is loaded with 3/4 ounce of shot. However, 1 ounce 28 gauge hunting loads have long been available from Winchester, so that's when the heavy gas piston would be used.
The SA-08 28 gauge weighs 5-3/4 pounds on the nose, which is 1/4 pound lighter than the already lightweight SA-08 20 gauge. The trigger breaks at a rather heavy 5-1/2 pounds, about the same weight as the gun, with zero take-up. The recoil pad has a hard plastic insert at the top to keep mounting the gun snag-free.
Why a 28 gauge? Good question, as there are relatively few ammo choices. Federal has a 3/4 oz. hunting load (P283) with size 5, 6, 7 and 8 shot at 1295 fps and a target load (Gold Medal Plastic) with 8-1/2 or 9 shot at 1230 fps. That's it for their lead loads, a not so grand total of two. Winchester has the 1 ounce, high brass game loads in 5, 6, 7-1/2 and 8 shot at 1205 fps.
28 gauge guns are fun to shoot, don't kick much and in skilled hands can be startlingly effective on upland birds or the skeet range. The most-used 28 gauge in the house, here, is an older Remington 11-48 autoloader, used by my Mom before a bunch of kids came along. It has introduced a lot of people to shooting and hunting and has taken many doves and pheasants over the years. Within the range-limits of the payload, it has always done well.
It is easy to recommend the Weatherby SA-08 28 gauge. It is one of the nicest 28 gauge autoloaders on the market, it sells for less half the price of the Beretta A400, yet is a better looking and flawless functioning shotgun. Blued steel and a good grade of walnut never go out of style. It is a sharp-looking gun that is a lot of fun to shoot.
Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.