Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe 28 Gauge Autoloader

The Weatherby SA-08 in 28 gauge with a 26 inch barrel is the fourth autoloading shotgun in the SA-08 series I've tested and reviewed. Retailing at $849, its street price runs about two hundred dollars less. Weatherby's basic specifications call it out as 28 gauge, 2-3/4 inch chamber, 5-1/2 pounds, 14-3/8 length of pull, 1-1/2 drop at comb, 2-1/4 inch drop at the heel. Weatherby further states, “beautiful select grade walnut stock with high gloss finish, 22 LPI checkering on pistol grip and fore-end, lightweight CNC-machined alloy receiver. Chrome-lined, vented top rib barrel with brass front bead (26" or 28"), comes with 3 application-specific choke tubes (IC/M/F).

The tested article came with an astonishingly well-figured walnut forearm and buttstock for this price point: good enough to be called “Grade III” or better by others. The 28 gauge comes complete with two gas pistons, just like the rest of the SA-08 series. Some might be surprised at this, for at most supply shops when you see 28 gauge ammo, it is any payload you'd like, as long as it is 3/4 of an ounce. However, 1 oz. 28 gauge payload hunting ammo has long been available from Winchester and it is excellent, so that's when the “heavy” gas piston would be used.

The SA-08 28 gauge weighs 5-3/4 lbs. on the nose, one quarter pound lighter than the already extremely light SA-08 20 gauge. The trigger breaks at about the same weight as the gun, with zero take-up. The recoil pad has a hard plastic insert at the top to keep mounting the gun snag-free.

Weatherby SA-08 20 gauge (left) compared to the SA-08 28 gauge.

Why a 28 gauge? Good question, as there are relatively few ammo choices: Federal has a 3/4 oz. hunting load (P283) in 5, 6, 7, and 8 shot at 1295 fps and a target load (Gold Medal Plastic) in 8-1/2 or #9 shot at 1230 fps . . . and that's it for their lead loads, a not so grand total of two. Winchester has the 1 oz. high brass game loads in 5, 6, 7-1/2, and #8 shot at 1205 fps. They are fun guns to shoot, though, and have their niche . . . quail, for example. The most-used 28 gauge in the house, here, is an older Remington 11-48 autoloader, used by my Mom before a bunch of kids came along. It has introduced a lot of people to shooting and hunting, and has taken a lot of dove and pheasants over the year. Within the obvious range-limits of the payload, it has always done well.

It is easy to recommend the SA-08 28 gauge: it is of the best looking 28 gauges on the market, it actually sells for less half the price of the Beretta A400 28 gauge ($1400 or so street) for example, yet is a better looking, and flawless functioning shotgun. Blued steel and a good grade of walnut never goes out of style. It is a sharp-looking gun that is a lot of fun to shoot.


Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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