Impala Plus 12 Gauge Semi-Auto: Still the Greatest Bargain?
Last year, I rated the walnut / grey Cerakote Impala Plus “Emerald” semi-auto shotgun as the best bargain, by far, available to the American consumer. Istanbul Silah is celebrating 20 years in the industry this year, long the manufacturer of many Winchester shotguns and also a primary manufacturer of Browning-Portugal shotgun components as well.
Shot Show 2023, I admired two particular new Impala Plus models, one
a walnut model in dark charcoal grey Cerakote, the other a synthetic
rich forest green Cerakote model. Unfortunately, to this date (Sept.
2023) neither of these models are available yet in the U.S. Neither
is the Impala Plus 20 gauge, which is now rumored to be formally
introduced at the Shot Show 2024, with availability to be determined.
Instead, I'm left with reviewing this MOBUC camo model, with a 24
inch barrel and a horrific screw-on plastic comb riser.
I could scarcely contain my contempt for the miserable cheap plastic comb riser, which renders the shotgun useless as supplied for shooting flying targets: it does not fit humans. Sadly, all recently imported synthetic Impala Plus shotguns were shipped with the nasty comb riser, a huge mistake. The importer for Impala Plus is KFI Firearms: https://kfifirearms.com/ . The KFI website is still a work in progress, full of typos and incoherent information. Impala Plus shotguns now have a five year written warranty, up from just two.
This nasty comb riser can be removed. You remove three screws, insert a plastic spacer into the butt stock, and reinstall the recoil pad. You are left with an unsightly, nasty gap between the recoil pad and the buttstock. An O-Ring is supplied that you slip over the recoil pad to fill the gap, but it does not completely do so and looks both slipshod and amateurish. The walnut model has an O ring as well, but the end result is much more pleasing.
After you get rid of the truly stupid comb riser, you are left with a hole on top of the buttstock. It makes the gun appear unfinished, for that is what it is. I called around hoping to find a normal MOBUC buttstock, but with no luck. Yes, I'm disgusted. Apparently, the reason for the comb / cheek riser was for use only with a cantilevered slug barrel model, not available in the United States. If you are getting the idea that I have great disdain for the comb / cheek riser dirty trick, it is only because I do.
Functionally, as before, this Impala Plus shotgun was flawless, merrily cycling 1180 fps 1 oz. loads right out of the box with zero prior cleaning or lubrication. The loading is smooth and easy, the cross-bolt safety is better than most, as is the trigger that still breaks on the heavy side at 5-3/4 lbs. or so. Dave at Precision Sports can take care of this for you, https://www.thefirearmsspecialists.com/contact , as he did so well for my last Impala Plus as well as heavy-triggered Brownings, Retays, Mossbergs, etc.
The Impala Plus shoots to point of aim (as shown above), five choke tubes are included along with a sling, and the “Full Choke” is steel-shot rated. Shims are included for cast and drop adjustments. The barrel and chokes are Invector Plus. The Impala Plus has a very clever turnkey charging handle, making it effortless to remove. The safety can be changed to a left-hand safety with the addition of a LH safety kit. This example weighs 6 lbs., 12 ounces: the same as the walnut. The street price on the Impala Plus is breathtakingly low, as low as $350 on some models, although the walnut / cerakote is well worth the $450 or so it currently sells for.
Yes, the Impala Plus remains the best deal on a 12 gauge semi-auto on the market, making the ridiculously overpriced Retay and other models look quite sad in the pants by comparison. However, there is no way I can grade the irritating comb riser array as anything but an unforced error. Until that situation is rectified, I'm far more comfortable recommending the walnut Impala Plus models, but of course the choice is yours. Either way, the price is a screaming deal and the function is superb.
Copyright 2023 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.