First Look: Weatherby PA-08 Upland Twenty Gauge Pump Shotgun


The Weatherby PA-08, 26 inch barrel, 20 gauge slide-action shotgun is a great-looking shotgun, to be sure. It features a very nice grade of walnut and a well-fitted recoil pad. The receiver is alloy, the shotgun is imported from Turkey. It is not made by ATA, the Turkish manufacturer that serves as the OEM for the Weatherby SA-08 autoloaders. Most likely it is Armsan as the OEM and that might be part of the problem.

This shotgun weighs 6-1/2 pounds, a full half-pound heavier than the excellent Weatherby SA-08 20 gauge autoloader. The basic specs are conventional: 46 inch overall length, 1-1/2 inch drop at the comb, 2-1/4 inch drop at the heel. Three standard Invector style choke tubes are supplied. While Weatherby publishes a 14 inch length of pull, it is actually just over 14-1/8 inches.

The loudly obvious problem with the test shotgun is the trigger, for it breaks at an absurdly ridiculous 11 – 12 lbs., rendering this shotgun unusable as far as I'm concerned. A trigger this bad should never leave any factory. There isn't much else to say at this juncture except to suggest that before you pull the trigger on a PA-08, you might want to make sure that you actually can. Weatherby was immediately advised of the trigger problem, last week. More information when it becomes available.


This shotgun was returned to Weatherby. According to Weatherby, their spec on their autoloading and slide action shotguns is a 6 - 8 lb. trigger pull. However, all four SA-08 autoloaders previously tested had better triggers than that with the SA-08 28 gauge breaking at a crisp 5-3/4 lbs. : . The SA-08 12 gauge waterfowler broke at 5 lbs., the the SA-08 12 gauge Deluxe was a bit lighter than that, and the SA-08 20 gauge had a 4 lb., 1 oz. trigger: .

Weatherby adjusted the trigger on this PA-08 and shipped it back. However it remains unacceptably heavy breaking at 8-1/2 - 9-1/4 lbs. Moreover, it has an excruciatingly long take-up with false stops and is a very poor trigger even beyond the heavy break weight. The last thing I want is a 6-1/2 lb. shotgun with a two pound heavier trigger than the entire gun weight to try to fight.

There is little denying the good looks of the PA-08, nor the enticing price-point of about $350 street. However, the ergonomics of this pump are way off, for in a normal carry position the gun compels you to hold the forearm near the receiver end, well away from the finger grooves, quite a problem for an upland trombone action that you need to instinctively operate, with no hesitation.

The action is exceedingly rough, full of start and stop "stick-slip," and not remotely acceptably smooth. Whereas a good slide action almost shucks itself, this example is remarkably shoddy. Combined with the poor trigger, this shotgun isn't at what I could call at the useable, much less enjoyable, level. Based on these significant functional problems, even after a return to Weatherby, it isn't possible for me to recommend the Weatherby PA-08.



Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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