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UTAS XTR 12 RacknLoad

UTAS XTR 12 RacknLoad

The UTAS XTR 12 is a BEAST of a shotgun and if you like that sort of thing could be the gun for you! As you can see, it’s an AR15-styled box mag semi automatic shotgun, actually based on the AR10 platform. Now, before we go any further, as a reviewer, I need to tell you that the first batch of these guns that arrived in the UK had a few little issues, with some internal parts breaking after only a few shots. But this has been rectified now and the tester I had ran reliably!

First, a bit of history! UTAS is a Turkish company who seem to be more Americanlead, which offers two practical/tactical shotguns. Most unusual, is the UTAS 15, which is a compact pump-action that feeds from twin, selectable, over-barrel magazines and you can bomb up each tube differently and select the ammo as to what you need. Its Bullpup-style layout makes for a short and radical looking design! Whereas the M16-looking XTR12 is a far more conventional build, and being a semi-auto, will have a lot more appeal to the UK Practical/Action shooting community.

Closer look

Now, let’s have a closer look at this beast in detail and then I can tell you about how it did on the range. The butt is the classic CAR15- type telescopic-type, so good for storage and adjusting length of pull (LOP)! The rubber recoil pad soaks up quite a bit of the kick, which is needed because you have to run this shotgun with fairly heavy ammo, or else it won’t cycle, but more on that later. As it’s an AR platform, you can swap out the butt for say a Magpul or other similar manufacturer’s furniture; the same goes for the pistol grip, which to be fair is not bad at all. It shows finger grooves and gives a decent, non-slip hold, which on a system like this is useful!

The trigger is just right for a gun like this and on my scale, it was breaking at around 6lbs. Plenty of room for a gloved finger inside the guard too, so ideal for cold days. Moving along, the upper is made from 4140 steel, as opposed to the more usual aluminium found on the other M16-based guns like the Akdal 1919, Bora Borak and HDM Escobar. It also has integral case deflectors, one behind the ejection port and another under that; interesting! The finish looks and feels quality and my tester came in tungsten grey, other colours are available, black, FDE (flat dark earth) and burnt bronze.

Full length

In usual AR-style, the receiver is a flat top with a full-length Picatinny rail extending onto the round handguard. So loads of room for red dot sights etc, I fitted a Shield Centre Dot, which was perfect for shooting slug at fairly long distance. UTAS supply adjustable iron sights but they are not part of the package, but any AR15 irons compatible with the base will fit, such as Magpul’s MBUS design! The handguard has plain sides, with just short sections of rail front and back, which makes for a much more comfortable grip. Up front, is a section at 6 o’clock too, so you could fit a bipod, though I doubt you would bother! The forend is ventilated to stop heat build up, probably useful on long courses for fire (COFs) like jungle runs etc.

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The lower is also a quality build and made from 7075 t6 aluminium alloy and shows the usual and familiar AR control layout. There’s an ambidextrous safety catch, always useful for Practical-type shooting. The mag release sits rear right of the mag well and forward of the trigger, so nice and easy to use without breaking your firing hand position. Primary loading is by the familiar rear-mounted T-handle, which is unusual for an M16-type shotgun, which tend to use reciprocating, bolt-mounted cocking handles like a sporting semi. To be honest, I prefer this to the T-handle, as it’s easier and faster to get on to and use! On the left side of the upper is the automatic bolt hold-open/ bolt release catch.

Boxing clever

Feed is from a steel, 5-round box mag (one supplied) plus UTAS also offer 10-rounders as extra; typically, the hi-cap unit is large, heavy and bulky by comparison, but pretty much mandatory for competition work! Like I said, a COF like a jungle run, might need 50-rounds minimum, so you would need 5 x 10-rounders, which would set you back £250 at £50 a hit, as you have not got time to be bombing up empty mags as you go! Good news is you get automatic last round hold open function, which does speed up reloads.

The barrel is 24” long to comply with UK law about overall gun and barrel length on shotguns and is threaded to take chokes. In rapid fire drills you do get a lot of muzzle climb and UTAS does offer what they call a flash hider as extra, but it’s really a sideslotted brake and I reckon it’s worth getting for improved control! Operation is by gas/ piston rod and the XTR 12 takes the M16 build a stage further with its rotating, multi-lugged bolt head. Again, a departure from the Akdal1919 etc. which use a more shotgun-like, single, rising locking lug!

Looks familiar

The XTR breaks open in typical AR fashion, by pushing the pin out located just above the safety catch. The upper then hinges open and you grasp the T-handle and pull it, and the bolt assembly, out. Frankly, you might as well leave the operating system in place. You can of course push out the front pin to separate the upper and lower receivers, which makes barrel cleaning easier.

So how did it perform on the range? I fed the XTR a variety of different flavour cartridges, ranging from light clay busting to heavy game loads, buck shot and good old 12-gauge rifled slug. The light clay loads jammed up on more or less every one! I knew it would too, after the stories that I had been hearing about this shotgun, no surprise there then. I then ran some 36-gram Super Game and it ate them up no problem; in fact, I chucked about 200 through it and it digested all but for the odd stove pipe! Buck shot ran perfectly, apart from battering my shoulder! The same could be said for slug, if not more so! Accuracy was quite impressive with the solids, as it was hitting the mark on my 80 yard target!

So, all in all a cool looking shotgun; if you like this sort of thing! Compared to the Akdal clones, build quality is better, as is fit and finish, OK you’re paying a bit more, but you are getting a better made gun in my view. Like any semi-auto shotgun, feed it the ammo it likes and you should have no problems! It should prove popular for Practical/Action-type shotgunning, but remember a box mag offers both plus and minus features, not the least of which is the extra cost of magazines has to be factored in and you’ll need at least 5 x 10-rounders to be competitive! Plus, I’d recommend putting some day glow tape around them, as they are not the sort of thing you want to be losing…

Safe shooting! - Rack.

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  • UTAS XTR 12 RacknLoad - image {image:count}

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  • UTAS XTR 12 RacknLoad - image {image:count}

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  • UTAS XTR 12 RacknLoad - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • UTAS XTR 12 RacknLoad - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

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gun
features

  • Name: UTAS XTR 12
  • Type : semi-automatic shotgun (Section 1)
  • Calibre: 12-Gauge
  • Capacity : 5 and 10 (DM) 1 x5 supplied
  • Barrel: 24”
  • Weight: 3.8 Kg
  • Finish: Cerakote Coating Options in ODGreen, Flat Dark Earth, Burnt Bronze and Tungsten
  • Price : £995
  • Spare : mags 5-shot £42 10-shot £50
  • Contact : [email protected] www.wallaceagencies.com www.utas-usa.com
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