- 3 Comments
- Last updated: 22/10/2018
There is something very appealing about our smallest practical shotgun shell, the .410-gauge, as it transcends the learner shooter to expert clay buster alike. I like it because it’s more like a rifle cartridge! I shoot more .410 than any other shotgun load.
Until now, in real terms for sporting use, there has only really been the Remington 1100 or Sporting .410 gauge available as a semi-automatic shotgun. I use a Remmy .410 and its excellent; so, when this new Armsan A636 410 semi dropped in, I was really keen to put it through its paces.
I tested the 20-gauge Armsan last year, and it was one of the best little semi auto twenties I have shot; this A636 was no different, offering very good value for money and are probably the best Turkish shotguns on the market.
For only £595, the A636 is a light weight, fast handling, reliable and overall good quality for what is realistically a budget gun. You have good quality walnut stock, a multi choke barrel and reliable gas operated system and comes complete with three chokes and a sling.
Think of Turkey and you think, (well, I do!) of lovely walnut groves, where some of the world’s best walnut emanates from. It’s one reason that Turkish guns, except their low prices, are popular, as you get good wood for less.
This A636 was no exception, apart from the standard, practical matt lacquer finish, but I would remove it to oil it, because case underneath is some great figured walnut. It’s a good colour overall, with figuring and tiger striping that changes shade in differing holds and perspective.
It’s a simple field/sporter type stock, with little cast and low comb that can be changed with inserts between stock and action. Length of pull is 14.25-inches and the pistol grip is quite short and upright with generous panels of what looks like laser cut chequing; they actually grip well, so it’s not just decorative.
There is a small black rubber recoil pad and plastic tip to aid speedy shouldering and you have the addition of sling swivels. I like this, as the A636 comes with a sling and for me its nice to sling a shotgun like a rifle when trekking into position.
The forend is very slim and quite long at 11-inches with gentle sloping sides and long chequering panels of the same quality as the pistol grip. There are also four ports at the top to allow escaping gases from the gas piston operation.
A set of three chokes and key are supplied in a plastic wallet covering ¼, ½ and full choke. These chokes fit flush from the main barrel, which I prefer to those that are extended. On a .410 they just look better shorter, although longer chokes do have their benefits.
They are proofed with 3-inch chambers and so magnum 3-inch loads can be used with no problem. Remember a .410 works at a higher pressure than a 12-gauge.
The barrel is 28-inches long with a very slim, 5mm vented rib and a single Day-Glo red element to the muzzle with a full length serrated/grooved rib top to avoid reflections.
Because the .410-gauge is slim in profile. the rib sits high on the barrel and has nine generous vents to allow a very good cooling action and it looks very nice too. The external finish is very good; highly polished with blueing that really looks good with the polished black areas of the action, altogether a very pretty and trim little 410.
The action is a gas piston system with large twin ported barrel vents and a sliding, stainless steel piston ring that seals on firing and engages the operating arms that cycles the bolt. You also have a dovetail cut into the top of the action for red dot or scope use, so further making the little Armsan more versatile. I will be testing some .410 slug loads later.
The action is machined from an aluminium block with matt black anodised finish to the sides and polished black to top and above the trigger making a nice contrast. The bolt has a polished or chromed finish, with a large, single claw type extractor and reliable ejector spur in the left-hand action wall.
Its operating rods and spring are powerful and effort is needed to pull the ribbed bolt handle rearward but everything feels very well made and put together. The trigger is slim, chromed and smooth with a little creep but broke cleanly. The safety is your typical cross bolt, trigger guard mounted type, pushed left is fire with a red warning ring visible and to the right blocks the trigger movement. The trigger guard has a nice scallop to it for visual appeal and is a moulded polymer, so won’t rust – good idea. There is a single polished bolt release button to the right wall of the action, as most semis, and the vented magazine follower is well polished too. I really like the red anodised magazine spring cup that allows a speedy loading of two rounds of .410-gauge. This is further aided by the lower action being cut away and polished to allow an easy access. The whole fit and finish is really good with no slop and everything is well thought out and made in my view.
Being a .410 and semi, its light at 5.25lbs and balances perfectly where the action joins the forend. Its straight cast and lower comb allow a really good handling and shouldering action, so that the serrated rib guides the eye right down the barrel. I fitted the ½ choke and set up 30-inch pattern boards at 25-yards with an array of 2.5- and 3-inch ammunition to test.
As with the Remmy .410, semis prefer the 3-inch fodder and the A636 was no exception, as expected. I did try the Eley FourLong 2.5-inch cartridge, which holds 12.5-grams of No. 6 shot. I had a total of 80 strikes at 25-yards, which were spread 17 pellets in 15-inches and the rest, 63, in the outer 30-inches. I also tried the Game Bore Hunting 2.5-inch load that had a payload of 11-grams of No. 6 shot. Again, a total of 80 pellets on the boards, with 18 inner and 62 outer strikes with more spread than the small Eleys. Both failed to cycle fully, as expected.
Next up were the 3-inch loads. The Fiocchi 3-inch are always good performers and more pellets on the boards with a better density too from the ½ choked barrel. 99 total pellets spread with a 26 No. 6 pellets to the inner sector and nice and even too. The outer sector of 30-inches held the remaining 73 pellets.
The Hull High Pheasant are also excellent performers and the Armsan shot them very well. This had a payload of 19-grams of No. 6 pellets and that translated into plenty of pellets on the board. Total of 122 pellet strikes, with a whopping 41 inner hits and 81 outer strikes, superb!
The Lyalvale Express 3-inchers held 16grams of No. 6 shot and felt softer, as it did not eject fully. Pellet strikes were sparse too, at a total of 73 pellets with 15 inner and 58 outer strikes
Game Bore Hunting cartridges shot well, with 16-grams of No. 6 shot and I had a total of 100 pellets exactly at 25-yards with 24 inner, a bit sparse and 76 outer hits.
A really good performer are the Remington 3-inch magnums and I had 86 total No. 6 pellets from the 11/16th oz load, with 26 good even hits within 15-inches and 60 pellets around the outside. I also tried some Eley and Lyalvale Magnasonic subsonic loads that shot nice patterns, but as one would expect, did not cycle the action, fair enough.
Yet again, Armsan has produced what is quite simply a superb semi-automatic shotgun with really good features for next to no money! I liked the 20-gauge, which I bought, and guess what, this A636 410 version is staying with me too. Its great fun to shoot, is reliable when fed the correct loads and throws really decent patterns. Recoil is neglectable, I liked the fact a scope can be fitted too and I will be removing that lacquer finish, to bring out that lovely walnut. Overall, superb value; there is space in everyone’s gun cabinets for an Armsan A636.