Low prices on the Saiga 20-Gauge start at Champion Firearms- Named for the Saiga Antelope, the Saiga series of shotguns are based on the AK-47 weapon system designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The Saiga semi-automatic shotguns are made by Izmash (Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, founded in 1807), who also manufactures the original Russian AK-47 military and SVD sniper rifles-- imported into the United States by Russian American Armory.
Like the Kalashnikov rifle variants, the Saiga shotguns are a rotating bolt, gas operated firearm that feeds from a box magazine. All Saiga shotgun configurations are recognizable as Kalashnikov-pattern guns by the large lever-safety on the right side of the receiver, the optic mounting rail on the left side of the receiver and the large top-mounted dust cover held in place by the rear of the recoil spring assembly.
The AK design is very rugged because it can still function after being exposed and submerged in water, sand, dirt, and mud. Just like the AK-47 rifle, the Saiga shotgun uses a very clean gas-piston operating system where propellant gases are captured into a tube near the muzzle and directed onto a piston, the gas pushes the piston back so it can drive the bolt to the rear, the bolt ejects an empty shell and then loads a fresh one. The Saiga 12 has a smooth bore and can shoot magnum shells and slugs.
Since shotgun shells are nearly twice as wide as rifle cartridges, the extraction port had to be increased in size. However, since the bolt had to remain the same length to fit inside the AK-47 sized receiver, the rear section of the bolt is covered by a sliding metal flap that rides on the recoil spring. This allows the Saiga shotgun to be sealed against dirt when the bolt is forward and the compression of the recoil spring during firing moves the flap rearward to clear the extracted shells.
The Saiga shotgun incorporates an adjustable two-position gas system to fire high power loads like slugs or buckshot. Otherwise. firing these type of shells generate too much force and the receiver would be damaged without such a recoil buffer system. All Saiga shotguns have a hammer-forged chrome-lined barrel, which influences the Saiga's accuracy and reliability by making the inside of the barrel more resilient to corrosion and enabling the gun to withstand more rounds to be fired through of the barrel.