Retay Masai Mara Twenty Gauge Mossy Oak Bottomland
I've long lamented the lack of innovation and new semi-auto models chambered in 20 gauge. My favorite eight twenty gauge repeaters that I own and use the most are all out of production: every single one.
Twenty gauge ammo has never been better and it keeps getting better every year. Announced at the 2020 SHOT Show, the Retay Masai Mara 20 gauge is now available in the United States. I did spend some quality time with a Masai Mara 20 gauge earlier this year, but in my normal persnickety view, it wasn't quite ready for prime time. None of the early prototypes were ever sold in the United States, so whoever picks up a Masai Mara is getting the real, refined deal.
As is the case with the Masai Mara 12 gauges, the 20 gauge is extremely well-built with a machined alloy trigger group that is push-button quick release, the barrel is made from Bohler steel, the five supplied choke tubes are made from the same metal as the barrel, and the trigger is quite good: it breaks right at 4 lbs. as measured by calibrated electronic gauge, with very little take-up, no grit, and a crisp, clean break. No one would need or want a trigger job with this 26 inch barrel MM 20: it is excellent right out of the box. The tested model is synthetic-stocked Mossy Oak Bottomland, with an over-sized bolt release and speed unloading. It weighs right at 6-1/2 lbs. unloaded with a factory choke tube installed: 6 lbs., 9 oz. to be exact.
While the Retay 12 gauge chokes use a proprietary thread style, available from Trulock chokes, this 20 gauge uses the Benelli Crio Plus style. I measured the bore at .625 inch and installed a Trulock Precision Hunter .605 inch PHCRP20605. Just like the 12 gauge Masai Mara, the 20 gauge uses a two-piece receiver with a goodly portion of the upper receiver machined from the same Bohler steel. This makes the 20 gauge Masai Mara superbly well-balanced. The action is the same, patented, 'no Benelli click' Inertia Plus Action. The MM 20 gauge loads extremely smoothly, I'm glad to say. The thumb buster problem of several 20 gauge autos is not present here.
The Retay Masai Mara is also extremely soft-shooting, rivaling several 20 gauge gas guns, such as my trusty alloy B-80. There is no real magic about this: my B-80 has a rubber butt plate, but the Retay has a generous recoil pad and weighs 3-4 ounces more. The MM 20 gauge ejects 7/8 oz. 1200 fps loads with authority and very little recoil, the same is true with 1 oz. loads, and it handles 1-1/4 oz. 3 inch loads with surprising less recoil than I anticipated. The Retay Masai Mara 20 gauge has a rock-steady solid feel with no rattles as found on other inertia guns.
I've been hunting with 20 gauge autoloaders for over fifty years, starting with a miserable High Standard Supermatic Trophy that was a single shot, more often than not. Browning Auto-Five Mag Twenty's have been out of production for a good long while: I enjoy them, but when production moved to Japan in 1976, they became real heavyweights. The fall from grace of the A-5 Magnum Twenty was due not just to cost, but trouble with light loads, adjustments required when changing load intensity, no adjustment shims and no field strip ability.
I've enjoyed B-2000's and Browning B-80 / Beretta 303 models for a good long while. As gas guns, they need a bit more cleaning than recoil-operated guns and to go from target loads to 3 inch loads, you need to change barrels. The thumb-busting loading and Benelli click has been present in my Franchi Affinity and Benelli M2 20 gauge models. Even the Remington 11-87 Sportsman 20 is gone from any production, as are all Remington firearms presently.
The Retay Masai Mara 20 gauge is a breath of fresh air. It is the only 20 gauge repeater that you can strip quickly without any tools, not even a punch is required. It is the only autoloader with a push-button release trigger group and the only autoloader with an all metal, machined trigger group and guard as well. The ventilated rib is carefully hard-soldered to the barrel and no plastic is involved . . . even the forearm cap is machined alloy.
Retay Arms can be very proud of their efforts, for the Masai Mara 20 gauge is the finest autoloading twenty gauge on the market today. You can find this camo model at https://www.retayusa.com/masai-mara-waterfowl and the walnut models are at https://www.retayusa.com/upland .
Copyright 2020 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights