The Shame of Retay Shotguns

Opinion by Randy Wakeman

I've not discussed Retay shotguns with Penn & Teller, but I have a good idea what their take would be.

I'm always hopeful when firearm companies begin their new ventures, but sometimes it doesn't work well. For example, it is hard to tell if Ithaca Gun Company is making much of anything these days. RemArms, since their formation about three years ago, seems stuck in reverse. Initially promising resumption of production in a matter of weeks, it has been essentially a dial tone ever since.

Retay of Turkey has been a toy manufacturer of sorts, making replica blank pistols, air rifles, and a few spear guns. Copying is part and parcel of what they do, for that is what the pseudo firearm business is all about. Retay's first attempt at a real firearm was the Masai Mara shotgun, largely a copy of the Benelli Ethos genre with a couple of twists: the push button release trigger group and their “Inertia Plus” action which was added a bit later and is very good.

Retay also attempted to copy the Benelli Crio Plus choke style, but stuffed it up. The result is the Marachoke, a bastardized version of the Benelli Crio Plus, now also called the MaraPro choke. Again Retay tried to copy the Benelli style in 20 gauge, they got a bit closer, but it is still a failed copy, requiring Retay-specific chokes. Though the Masai Mara was originally touted as being able to cycle 7/8 oz. loads in 12 gauge, that brag didn't last long. Even the 20 gauge models, formerly promised to cycle common target loads, have been extremely fussy.

Retay USA changes their load recommendations constantly, but what they say now is some sort of an incoherent word salad:

Not only is this a confusing mess: it also is not accurate. A 1 oz. 1200 fps 12 gauge load is 1235 fps, not the 1200 fps misstated by Retay. It is hard to take a shotgun manufacturer seriously when they do not comprehend dram equivalents. Again, Retay says, “The Masai Mara 20ga requires a ( 3 DRAM ) load to reliably cycle the bolt. An example of this is 7/8oz shell with a minimum of 1250FPS.” “A Retay Gordion 20ga 3? requires a minimum of ( 2-3/4 DRAM ) an example being 7/8oz shell with 1250FPS.” Only in the bizarro world of Retay would 3 dram equivalent and 2-3/4 dram equivalent 20 gauge 7/8 oz. shotshells yield the very same velocity.

Over 20% more pellets in the kill zone. 

Retay later on decided to copy other's ad brags as well, making such ridiculous claims “over 20% more pellets in the kill zone,” an insultingly bogus, fraudulent claim that doesn't remotely begin to pass the sniff test. Wait, there's more: “At Retay, we factory lengthen (and polish) the forcing cone in every barrel we make which, by reducing friction, increases shot velocity . . . “ If you believe the shot velocity increase, then Retay is an extremely high recoil gun compared to others. P. T. Barnum would be proud of the snake oil.

I suppose some frantic, feckless bluster is to be expected. What actually makes Retay non-competitive is their greedy, rip-off level price increases.When introduced, you could get a 3 inch 12 gauge Masai Mara for $750 or so, a solid deal. Now, even though the Turkish lira has plummeted in value vs. the U.S. Dollar, a 12 gauge Masai Mara has an obnoxiously offensive $1499.99 MSRP price, with their Cerakote and plastic models at $1699.99. An Istanbul Impala Plus walnut cerakote model, for example, with an Invector-Plus barrel currently sells for about $450. 

"Just pull it."

This is a total misread of the market for Turkish inertia guns, considering you can get an Impala Plus or a Weatherby Element in the $550 range, or get an Italian-made CIP proof-tested 7 year warranty Franchi Affinity for $850 - $1000. It is indeed a shame. I never thought I'd see the day when you can get a Benelli Montefeltro, a Benelli M2, or a Browning A5 Hunter for less dollars than a Turkish spring gun, but that day has arrived. Apparently it didn't cross anyone's mind that the only reason most would so much  as consider a non-proof tested, non-CIP Turkish clone gun in the first place is that they want value, leaving some pesos to squander on food, shelter, gasoline, and ammo. No one wants to overpay, much less triple-pay for this stuff. This basic truth has suddenly eluded Retay. 

Retay, now the “Milli Vanilli of Shotguns,” has managed to create a poor reputation for themselves in Turkey as well, with one Turkish enthusiast commenting, “Retay has attracted our attention with its aesthetics in the country. We thought it was a very good brand, but most of our weapons did not work and did not hit where it was thrown at least once, some of them went to the factory 3 times and the spell was broken. I am very sorry for this situation on behalf of my country, but this is the truth.”

When you introduce a new brand, you have a blank slate to work with. The great shame here is that, unfortunately, Retay has decided to offer the consumer the worst value ever in a Turkish autoloader, and that's quite an accomplishment. The Masai Mara is likely the best $300 shotgun you can buy, for $1400.

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Copyright 2023 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.