Tag Archives: shotgun

Tristar Arms Viper G2 PRO 12 gauge shotgun


Tristar is a manufacturer and importer of firearms. Their moniker of being the value experts suggests that their products offer a significant value over the competition.

I am more of a rifle junkie than a shotgun devotee, but like any true gun enthusiast, I do enjoy shooting them. Today I will be taking on the Tristar Viper G2 PRO, a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun designed for sporting and hunting purposes.

It seems over the last few decades, there has been a large influx of Turkish-made shotguns brought to the market. Being a rifle addict, as I mentioned, I have been mostly unaffected by this trend.

But I am happy to take on almost any firearm, and those brought in from the Turkish market definitely seem to bring value.

After just a few minutes handling the Viper, I expected I was going to like it.


tristar viper g2 pro bronze review

The Viper G2 PRO features a twenty-eight inch barrel and is operated by a gas piston to cycle the action. Like most every other semi-auto shotgun, it uses a tubular magazine to carry up to four rounds plus one in the chamber.

The Viper utilizes a handsome blend of beautiful wood for the stock and a bronze color finished receiver mated to a blued barrel.

A push/push safety in the trigger guard will be very familiar to shotgunners, as are the rest of the controls. The bolt release is on the right side of the receiver, just under the bolt charging handle.

I was impressed with the presentation of the Viper, it is a handsome-looking shotgun, and it was time to see what it could do.


Tristar presents itself as a value option in shotguns. I wanted to see if that meant it was worth the money or if that just meant it was cheaply made. There are plenty of cheaply made options out there, and I have no interest in them.

After handling the Viper I think it was safe to assume it wasn’t slapped together by unskilled hands, the fit and finish of the shotgun looked very comparable to the competitive price.

The MSRP for the model tested is $990.00, but in a cursive search of the market, various configurations of the Viper can be had for as little as $460 to near the MSRP price. The majority of the ones I found were around the $600 mark, which isn’t bad for a good shotgun in my estimation.

To be fair, a guy like me would probably do well with the Viper. If you aren’t one of those haughty shotgunners looking down their nose through a strange shade of amber shooting glasses at non-Italian shotguns, you could also benefit from the Viper G2.

With a price like this, it could definitely be a winner for those looking to scatter shot on a budget.

tristar viper g2 pro bronze review and disassembly

The Tristar Viper G2 is available in a bunch of different setups, colors, and even a left-handed version. This is great for those looking, as it gives you more options at a decent price. Make sure you look at all of the models, as there may be one better suited for you than this model. Whether you are dusting clays on a range or seriously seeking turkeys, you have got some great options.


Caliber 12 gauge three-inch chamber
Capacity 5 rounds max
Barrel length 28 inch
Caliber options 12g, 16g, 20g, 28g, .410
Color options Bronze, Silver, Black, and three different camo patterns.
Models available Right and left-handed
Weight 6.8 pounds
Length of pull 14.25 inches
Choke system Beretta®/Benell® Mobil
Chokes included Improved cylinder, Modified, Full


  • Very handsome shotgun
  • Reasonably priced
  • Functions excellent
  • Compatible choke system
  • Includes choke set
  • Feels very light
  • Cycled every kind of ammunition I tried
  • Not made in America (if that matters to you)
  • It bit my finger (obviously my fault)
tristar viper g2 pro bronze review and test in rocky mountains


Enough chit chat about numbers and prices, it was time to get the Viper into action and heat it up.

For this, my brother and I ventured into the springtime Rocky Mountains, which are currently still stuck in February mode. But with a gorgeous day before us and several boxes of shells and clays, I knew we were going to have a good time.

Hand-thrown clays add an extra layer of fun to shooting shotguns, unless you bring my nephew, in which case it becomes a very hazardous two-way range. We took turns throwing targets for each other, running an assortment of shells from Remington and Fiocchi.


I had accidentally glanced at the manual that came with the Viper, and in doing so, I noticed that they recommend a break-in process using magnum loads. I was a bit concerned thinking there may be a reliability issue since my inventory was currently barren of any three-inch shells.

tristar viper g2 pro bronze review and test in rocky mountains with clay shooting

With that in mind, I approached the first few shots paying close attention to the cycling of the action. Whether it be good luck or simply the sunshine, the Viper ran like a typewriter despite my complete disregard for the break-in.

We cranked through several different boxes of ammunition to see how the Viper handled them. There were some light-weight 1oz. Sporting loads as well as some 1⅛ oz. loads, everything we shot was either 7.5 or 8 shot size.

During all of our shooting, we had zero malfunctions. The gun functioned perfectly and locked back every time.


I usually don’t have much trouble hitting what I’m aiming at with shotguns. But it did take me a minute to get the flow right with the Viper, and once we did, we really hammered everything.

The fiber-optic front bead made it easy to see, and every time we lined it upright with the flight of the targets, we would be rewarded with a dark cloud of dust.

tristar viper g2 pro bronze review and test in rocky mountains with clay shooting 2


The Viper G2 felt excellent in my hands. Its lightweight made it quick to point and easy to keep on target. I say lightweight mainly because I am used to rifles; compared to those, the Viper is very light.

But it is lighter than some of its competitors, like the Beretta A300 or the Stoeger M3500.

I mentioned before that the fit and finish of the gun was great. It looks better than I expected it to, knowing that it was a “value” branded shotgun.

tristar viper g2 pro bronze review loading shotgun

The trigger and other controls were perfectly familiar and easy to operate. Almost too easy as I managed to get my finger bit by the bolt when I got too close to the bolt release.

The gun goes together easy enough, though I did have a bit of an issue getting the barrel seated properly. This was likely more my struggling than anything.



The Mobil choke system used by both Benelli and Beretta is extremely popular, which makes it an easy choice for most folks to use. This will allow you to upgrade to aftermarket choke tubes if you’re into that kind of thing.


tristar viper g2 pro bronze parts

The orange fiber-optic bead at the end of the vented rib gives an excellent point of aim while wing-shooting.


The soft rubber recoil pad made the Viper feel great on the shoulder. We didn’t shoot any particularly heavy loads, but I am sure the recoil would have been soaked up by the Viper’s action and recoil pad

tristar viper g2 pro bronze walnut stock


The beautiful Turkish walnut shows through the glossy finish on the Viper. The checkering gives great purchase for both hands to keep a good grip on the Viper.

tristar viper g2 pro bronze hands on test


For several hours, we ran the Viper through rounds of clays.

To make it fun, we changed position frequently, as well as the direction of targets. Switching back and forth between throwing and shooting made for great practice. Swapping chokes did seem to help somewhat for the different target presentations and distances. But it’s also likely that it was simply my perception that made it seem that way.

We shot three different types of ammunition during all this shooting, and for the most part, we didn’t notice any difference in operation or the ability to hit targets.


In addition to the Remington Gun Club target loads and the Fiocchi dove loads, we also shot some Fiocchi Shooting Dynamics target loads.

tristar viper g2 pro bronze review with fiocchi ammo



I experienced no malfunctions during testing of the Viper G2


As far as shotguns can be comfortable, this one certainly was. The only way I would improve it is perhaps with an adjustable cheek-riser.


Other than the included shims for the stock, and the Mobil choke system, I’m not sure what you would customize on this gun. Perhaps additional beads or something, but it’s fine as is.


I found the Tristar Viper G2 to be quite handsome. The contrast of the Cerkoted receiver and the blued-barrel matching the glossy finished walnut made a very handsome gun.

VALUE (8.5/10)

I think the Viper is a good buy for many of the prices I saw during my internet search. The less expensive models appear to be an outstanding value.


The Tristar Viper G2 PRO actually surprised me. I was expecting something a little more economical. Something cheaper I guess, is a good way to describe it.

But it turns out I quite liked the shotgun, and at no time did I ever really feel like it was a cheap alternative to something nice. Keep in mind I am no shotgun aficionado; that would be my father.

And as such, I have been exposed to plenty of ostentatious and extravagant shotguns, I’m not suggesting that the Viper can stand alongside them but I think it is still a perfectly suitable alternative.

Fine shotguns seem to last a very long time. That is the only thing missing from this review.

A year or two of hard use or a couple of seasons in a duck blind would certainly give a better indication as to the Viper’s long-term durability. I wish I had a time machine to do exactly that, but for now, you’ll have to just gauge the Viper off what we know and have shared here today.

That said, I would happily take the Viper G2 into the field again; it’s grown on me.

Winchester Model 12

I don’t find every old firearm to be interesting, but there are the occasional ones that grab my attention for any number of reasons. The Winchester model 12 just happens to be one of the few that did pique my interest, and today I’m here to tell you a little bit about my experience with it.

The Model 12 is a pump action twelve-gauge shotgun, iconic in that it has the classic features that make a pump-gun so appealing. And it may not be the first, but it certainly trained generations how to shoot airborne game among many other things. The Model 12 was also used by the US Military, making it an actual war weapon unlike your AR 15.
My father grew up shooting an old model 12, barely a teenager when it was given to him by my grandfather he used it for hunting pheasants and ducks in the marshy wetlands beyond grandpas pasture. As a child I remember seeing Dad tinker with it amongst his other guns.

The model 12 uses traditional wooden furniture, with an easily identifying ribbed front grip. A shallow rib runs the length of the barrel, with a targeting bead on the muzzle end. The barrel itself is a thirty-inches long and has a three-inch magnum chamber. It features a familiar safety at the front of the trigger guard, and an action release just behind it. The tubular magazine holds six 2-3/4 shot-shells, and it is clamped to the barrel at the front of the tube.
I looked up the serial number and if the internet is to be believed, this gun was manufactured in 1917, making it a hundred and five years old.

In the Field
After some inspection and thorough familiarizing myself with the gun I decided it was time to see how it shoots. I loaded up some clay targets and a few boxes of shells and headed to the hills. The family and I spent a good part of the afternoon shooting the model 12, smashing clays and pumping fresh shells through the gun.
This model 12 in particular appears to be in pretty good shape, and yet we did have just a few hiccups with it. The trigger on the gun doesn’t reset when pumped, you can literally hold the trigger down and pump shot after shot like the old western revolvers. A couple times it felt as though the trigger followed the bolt home and didn’t go off, leaving a dead trigger. This is likely as much a result of my children’s inexperience with shotguns as anything. On a couple occasions the bolt felt stuck in battery, requiring an extra shove from me to extract the spent shell.
Despite these hiccups, we still had a great afternoon on the mountain. The barrel was made way before interchangeable chokes, so you get what it came with as far as that goes. I imagine it is set fairly tight, as the shot pattern seemed much smaller than I expected. This made shooting the hand-thrown clays a whole lot more challenging. We were shooting one-ounce loads from Winchester and Fiocchi, both using 7.5 shot.
I am certainly not the best wing-shooter, but I did feel like I was cheated out of a few hits by the model 12. Shots I am very confident I’d of made if I were shooting one of my guns. Continue Reading Here…


Beretta A300 12 gauge shotgun

Its hard to imagine a good lineup of autoloading shotguns that doesn’t include something from Beretta, the European manufacturer is one of the oldest pillars in the firearms business. The firm is well known for many notable firearms, but they are known in these parts for their shotguns, and the A300 Outlander is the one we are playing with today.

Autoloading Beretta’s

My Father is a bit of a shotgun junkie. Being things as they were when I was younger, I was exposed to some very nice shotguns. I also got to shoot many of them, Dad wouldn’t let me bring my two-hundred dollar 870 when he had a couple fancy Italian’s on standby. And whether it was a fancy double barreled gun or a handsome auto-loader, I was happy to give it a go.
Beretta makes a broad assortment of semi-automatic shotguns, whether it is an M9 for tactical scenarios, or todays A300 field gun, there is a Beretta to fit your needs.

The Outlander

The A300 Outlander like many of Beretta’s semi-auto guns is a gas operated system. The action is operated by gas pressure vented from the barrel to a piston, which pushes an operating rod disengaging the bolt and cycling the action. It sounds pretty simple, because it is. Perhaps the reason why it is such an effective system used by so many. The gun is fed from a tubular magazine that can hold up to three two and three-quarter inch shells with the plug removed.
This model came with dark wooden furniture, but the gun is also available with synthetic options and camouflaged coatings. The twenty-eight inch barrel features a three-inch chamber which allows you to shoot any two and three-quarters or three-inch loads. And the muzzle utilizes an assortment of replaceable chokes to adjust your shot pattern to the ammunition and expected shots.

The controls of the Outlander mirror most semi-auto shotgun patterns, so whether you are learning on the A300 or coming from a different model you will find the controls familiar and easy to operate.
I grabbed a few boxes of Winchester and Fiocchi ammunition, both of them with one-ounce loads of 7.5 and 8 shot. And with a couple cases of clay targets my Dad and I headed out for an afternoon of bustin’ clays.

In the field

Of course Dad was going to bring a couple of his own guns, something we could compare the A300 to. A Benelli and A Winchester SX3 would make great company to the Outlander, as well as something we were both familiar with to compare it to.
We started throwing targets to get a little warmup going, and before long we switched over to throwing doubles and report pairs.

The Beretta felt great in my hands, I felt a little bit of a squish on the cheek to get a good view down the rib. As I continually swung the gun after targets I found that old familiar feel of pacing the flying target with the bead. To my surprise I did quite well shooting the A300, better than I had done with the other guns present anyhow. A good bit of time passed before I managed to miss a target, and as it invariably happens the gun wasn’t at fault.
Following the faster targets that came from the side I was able to maintain a good sight picture down the rib, and it felt great to watch those clays turn to dust. The modest recoil from the one-ounce loads was easily manageable, and follow-up shots were quick to get on target.

Proper shooting with any shotgun requires a proper setup, we did change out the full-choke for something a little more open. Hand thrown clays can often be more challenging to hit than mechanically thrown targets, and many of the shots we made were fairly close. So before we started, I swapped the choke out for a modified for a little broader pattern.
I managed to talk my Dad into putting his gun down for a minute, to see how what he thought of the Beretta. He too was able to make good hits with the Outlander, and his old guy hmm haw of approval was well deserved. Continue Reading Here…


Beretta Silver Pigeon

If your lucky enough and work hard you can become one of those financially secure adults that we all imagined becoming as children. And its about that time in a firearm enthusiasts life that he or she decides to start buying up guns that they want more than they need. While that statement could describe nearly any firearm, today we are discussing one in particular. Beretta is well known for making excellent shotguns, many of which I’ve been lucky enough to play with on the range. The Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon is yet another fine example of Beretta’s prime production, but this one brought up some interesting reflection. Continue Reading Here…

Browning Superposed

I’ve known for years that the Browning Superposed is a dream shotgun, a real clay buster if there ever was one. Maybe it’s because my father has always been a shotgun aficionado, much the same way I geek out with rifles. It was many years ago now, but I remember when dad brought home his Superposed 12 gauge. I thought it must have been something fancy because he was pretty excited. So when I got the chance to play with one myself, I was expecting to be impressed. Continue Reading here…