The Russian Saiga-410 semi-automatic shotgun comes in five major production forms, each differentiated by their barrel lengths and a few other notable features.
Authored By: Dan Alex | Last Edited:
While automatic firing shotguns are slowly entering the firearms forefront, there is something to be said for the power inherent in the self-loading shotgun. The Saiga-410 from Izhmash of Russia is one such implement that supplies the firer with a steady repeating-fire quality seen in battle rifles the world over and this from the tried and true Kalashnikov lineage. As such, the 410 series retains some visible similarities to the famous Soviet-era assault rifle design, particularly at the receiver, and comes from a proven pedigree that most other weapons would envy. Essentially, the Saiga-410 series melds the Kalashnikov firing action with the .410 cartridge - hence the designation of "410". The Saiga-410 can fire both buckshot and slug type ammunition from a 2-, 4- or 10-round ammunition supply through a detachable box magazine. The .410ga barrel is smoothbore in its design and is designed to accept various chokes at the muzzle as required for different spread effects. Overall, the weapon is intended for small-to medium-sized game hunting as well as defense and security while proving a highly robust and reliable firearm since its inception in 1995.
Outwardly, the Saiga-410 certainly takes on a distinct appearance when compared to traditional shotgun designs. The AK-receiver appearance is more or less retained with its right-side ejection port, charging handle and large fire selector lever. The prominent magazine release-catch found on the AK series is also identifiable in the Saiga-410 design, this just aft of the magazine well. The trigger sits within a near-rectangular ring while magazines are of a straight design. Depending on the production model, the stock can be wooden or polymer in its construction and fixed, solid or hollowed-framed (additionally folding in some versions). The forestock can also be finished in wood or polymer depending on the model in question. The gas-cylinder is mounted atop the barrel under the handguard shrouding to which the barrel extends a distance ahead - this arrangement being very typical of Kalashnikov-inspired firearms. Some 410 models also retain the AK-style forend, to which the end of the gas cylinder is clearly visible in its connection to the barrel and even an AK-style front post sight is clearly identifiable. While iron sights are standard, specialized optics can be affixed to the rear portion of the receiver top via an accessories rail system for more accurized fire. In all, the Saiga-410 exhibits very clean lines while not hiding its devastating intentions.
The 410 is marketed in five distinct forms beginning with the base Saiga-410 and its fixed solid buttstock with 570mm barrel length (483mm and 612mm available through special order). The Saiga-410S features a folding butt and a ergonomic polymer pistol grip as well as a 570mm barrel length. The Saiga-410K has a folding polymer buttstock as well as a polymer forend with a shorter 330mm barrel length. The Saiga-410K "Version 01" maintains a folding buttstock and sports a 404mm barrel length with a 3.1kg unloaded weight. The follow-up Saiga-410K "Version 02" has a hollowed out folding frame buttstock (polymer or metal construction), the same 404mm length barrel, a 3.4 unloaded weight and plastic forestock. The Version 01 and Version 02 variants both feature a "universal iron sight" that allows for ranging out to 25mm and 50mm depending on ammunition type being used (buckshot and slug respectively). The front sight is adjustable. K-models also sport a unique feature where the buttstock is folded, locking the trigger to prevent it from firing.
Standard range for the basic slug ammunition is approximately 100 meters.