Weatherby Element Deluxe 20 Gauge Autoloading Shotgun
The Weatherby (www.weatherby.com) Element Deluxe inertia action autoloading shotgun was announced at the 2015 SHOT Show. It is offered at a $1099 suggested price and is made in 12, 20 and 28 gauges. The discount retail price appears to be right at $900 for this model. The 28 gauge's price is fifty dollars higher than the 12 and 20 gauge guns.
Inertia actions, pioneered by Benelli, require less cleaning than gas operated actions, as the residue from powder gasses is not vented back into the action. However, they require extra long receivers and the inertia (recoil) operation does not soften kick the way gas operation does.
The receiver is manufactured from "aircraft grade" aluminum with a gloss black finish. The actual alloy is not specified.
The bolt release is a round button located toward the front of the right side of the receiver. The bolt release button can also be used to unload the shells in the magazine without running them through the camber. A triangular safety sits just above and at the front of the trigger guard's finger hole.
"Weatherby" is stamped into the side of the receiver in gold letters and the trigger also has a gold finish. The shiny silver bolt is chrome plated. The barrel wears a polished, blued finish. Overall, the metal finish of the Element Deluxe is far more attractive than the dull matte finishes so common today on repeating shotguns.
The available barrel lengths are 26 inches and 28 inches. Barrels come with a ventilated rib and a chrome lined bore. Three flush mount choke tubes are included: improved cylinder, modified and full.
The gun reviewed here sports a 28 inch barrel. However, I would have preferred a 26 inch barrel, due to the long length of the inertia action receiver.
The Element Deluxe comes with AA grade walnut, which is at least a couple of grades above the walnut supplied on most standard grade guns. It has a glossy finish and is about as beautiful as anyone could hope for in a medium priced autoloader. There is 22 lpi laser cut, three panel checkering on the pistol grip and forend. The wood to metal fit is good.
In shape, the stock has a fluted comb and a very sharply curved (abrupt) pistol grip that unnaturally cramps the hand. The forend slopes away from the barrel in the manner of Euro-trash style guns. A large, rounded metal cap protrudes from the front of the forend. (The latter reminds me of a suppository. -Editor.)
The supplied choke tubes are standard Invector style and they deliver adequate patterns. The test gun weighs six pounds, seven ounces and balances between the hands. The trigger pull is on the heavy side, breaking at five pounds.
The Element is generally a well furnished, competent firearm that functions smoothly and reliably, but with a few niggles. I personally do not care for the sharp edged, triangular safety. I also do not like the green, light-pipe front sight. The fairly generous, but solid, recoil pad fits the Weatherby's curved buttstock, making aftermarket pad replacement more problematic.
This gun drops doves and break clays, but it is not nearly as soft shooting as the gas operated Weatherby SA-08 20 gauge. The SA-08 is also substantially lighter, at six pounds.
The Weatherby Element Deluxe should appeal to high volume shooters who prefer an autoloader, want to save a few dollars vs. the Benelli Montefeltro and enjoy some dramatically upgraded wood in the process. For those on a budget, though, a better choice is the Weatherby SA-08 walnut that currently sells for $650 and is both lighter and more pleasant to shoot.
Copyright 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.