REVIEW: Weatherby Element Deluxe 20 Gauge Autoloading Shotgun
The tested article is the new Weatherby Element inertia action autoloader, that was announced at the 2015 SHOT Show. It is offered at a $1099 retail price and comes in 12, 20, and 28 gauge. The 28 gauge's retail price is fifty dollars higher. Although the tested gun sports a 28 inch barrel, I would have preferred a 26 inch barrel due to the long length of the inertia action receiver. The street price appears to be right at $900 for this model.
Weatherby has this to say about their new Element line.
"AA" grade American walnut stock
Aircraft grade aluminum
Drop-out trigger system
Dual purpose bolt release
Ventilated top rib
Integral Multi Choke System with three application specific tubes (IC, Mod, Full)
The published specifications for the tested article are:
20 Gauge, 28 inch barrel, 3 inch chamber, 4+1 magazine capacity, 48-3/4 inch overall length, 2-1/4 DAC, 1-5/8 DAC, 6-1/4 lbs.
The example Element comes with truly gorgeous walnut, about as beautiful of a stock set as anyone could hope for. The supplied choke tubes are standard Invector Style. The test gun weighs 6 lbs., 7 oz., with a trigger that is a bit on the heavy side, breaking at 5 lbs.
The Element is generally a well-furnished, competent firearm with a few niggles. I personally don't care for the sharp-edged triangle-shaped safety, I don't like the green light pipe tubular front bead, and the fairly generous but solid recoil pad fits the Weatherby's curved buttstock, making aftermarket pad replacement more problematic. This gun does indeed drop doves and break clays, but is not nearly as soft-shooting as the gas-operated Weatherby SA-08 20 gauge that is also noticeably lighter, at 6 lbs. even, for the 26 inch barrel version.
As to the appeal of this gun, it would be for those who want to save a few dollars vs. the Benelli Montefeltro and enjoy some dramatically upgraded wood in the process. For those on a budget, though, the better choice is the Weatherby SA-08 walnut that currently sells for $650 and is both lighter and more pleasant to shoot.
Copyright 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.