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Buying a Saiga?

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by american lockpicker, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. If I buy a Saiga 12 ga and its banned can I keep it?
  2. RED64CJ5


    Jul 7, 2003
    Your hypothetical question comes with a hypothetical answer: Maybe

    In the past, some 'banned' guns were made NFA items requiring a stamp and registration. I'm not aware of, in recent times, where a banned was confiscated...But that doesn't mean it hasn't happened. I'm just not aware of it.

  3. Reswob


    Mar 8, 2009
    You can keep it, but you'll probably have to pay $200 and jump through the hoops to register it is a DD.
  4. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    It is unlikely under a Republican congress that we will see another ban. However, the ATF may further restrict "non sporting" type shotguns from being imported. On the other hand the Saiga shotgun as imported does have any banned features.
  5. There are no "banned" features, per se. They are features the ATF considers to be not of a sporting use. What is banned is the import of shotguns not of sporting use.

    As expressly stated in the recent ATF study, sporting use is limited to hunting and clay sports. "Military shooting sports" (e.g., 3 gun) are being evaluated but not currently included in the definition of "sporting use."

    The real problem for Saiga owners is not a ban on further importation, but on the classification of the Saiga 12 in "converted" configuration as a destructive device. It doesn't take too much reading between the lines to see this is where the ATF may be headed. In fact, the photo used as an example of a non-sporting drum magazine is the MD20, a 20 round drum magazine for the Saiga 12.

    If the ATF rules Saigas in their most common converted form to be DDs, many will have to unconvert or sell what they have because of state laws prohibiting DDs. Others will likely be given free NFA stamps during a registration grace period.

    This can all happen with a conservative Congress. However, such a change can be challenged in court if someone has enough money to do so.
  6. stgha


    Aug 26, 2007
    Pataskala OH
    Hard to say what will happen to the Saiga. I know my Distributor is now out of stock since the "scare" of them being banned.
    I called my local ATF agent (he's a straight shooter) and he has heard nothing through his superiors (he said they get advanced notice on things that are "pending" or they are likely to do) on anything to do with the SAIGA.
    He did say there is something comming down for MFR's of firearms... but didn't say exactly what.
  7. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    They're banned! No wait, they're not banned. Everybody's out of stock! Maybe they will be banned before they're back in stock? Rediculous.

    If you have the money and you want one, buy it now. Why wait?
  8. KB2MBC

    KB2MBC NRA Life Member

    Nov 18, 2009
    I checked with a dealer, he had one in stock with a $899 pricetag!
  9. rjrivero


    Apr 23, 2009
    WHAT? A stock Saiga-12 for $899? I picked one up this week for a 'project' for a $450. That came to about $477 with tax.

    $899 is CRAZY!!!
  10. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

    Jun 20, 2004
    Mississippi, CSA
    I saw one at a gun show a few weeks ago for $999.00.

    It came with a drum magazine.

    Like many gun show sales, it was around twice what it was worth.

    Not sure if it was new or slightly used.

    That was before the current scare.
  11. OK. There are Saigas and there are Saigas. Saiga 12s are imported in a sporterized version with a 5 round magazine. Those are currently hard to find, but had been retailing for $499 from most online sources before the ATF scare. These do not have a pistol grip or any picatinny rails, etc.

    Before you can legally use a magazine that holds more than 5 rounds in any imported shotgun, you must convert it with US-made parts so that no more than 10 major parts remain from the original imported shotgun. You will recognize these converted Saigas by their pistol grips, primarily, but anything "mall ninja'd" got the conversion treatment. These vary greatly in price, ranging from $900 all the way to $3500, depending on what all was done to the gun and who did the conversion.

    If you saw a Saiga with a drum magazine, then either the vendor was in violation of 922r (which is highly possible), or you were looking at a converted Saiga, which may or may not have been worth $999.

    Interestingly enough, the new Saiga design with the automatic last round bolt hold open (LRBHO) has now become available from K-VAR, retailing for $630. These are already selling like hotcakes since the Saiga market has been patiently waiting for the availability of this feature.
  12. NRA_guy

    NRA_guy Unreconstructed

    Jun 20, 2004
    Mississippi, CSA
  13. Reswob


    Mar 8, 2009

    An "assault shotgun" subject to 922(r) must be semi-automatic, and possess 2 or more "evil" features from this list:

    Folding or telescoping stock
    Pistol grip
    Fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds
    Detachable magazine

    A Saiga 12, as imported, has only 1 feature, a detachable magazine. Regardless of magazine capacity, this is only 1 "evil" feature. Unless you intend to put a folding stock or pistol grip on it, it is not subject to 922(r) and requires no US-made parts to be legal.

    A Saiga with any magazine of a capacity greater than 5 shells violates the last two. A 5 round magazine has a "fixed capacity" of 5 rounds. It does not mention a "fixed magazine."

    From the ATF:
    "A shotgun having a magazine capacity of more than 5 shells is prohibited from importation as a sporting firearm under Title 18 United States Code (U. S. C.), § 925(d)(3). Therefore it is a violation Title 18, U. S. C. § 922(r) to assemble such a shotgun from imported parts as provided in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 479 (formerly Part 178) § 478.39."

    However, this does not seem to be a high enforcement priority for the ATF.

    Ironically, if you put a US-made folding buttstock on a Saiga AND use a US-made magazine, you are actually COMPLIANT with 922(r). A handy checklist can be found here:

    Really, none of this is new information for Saiga owners who do their homework. Admittedly, most people don't even know there is such a thing as "922(r) compliance." You can see that by all of the Benellis sporting aftermarket tube extensions (and stock Saigas displayed with aftermarket mags at gun dealers).

    Because of this, the fine people over at have put together everything you need to know in one place. You can read all about Saigas and 922(r) compliance over at Feel free to take your debate over there and argue with the people who deal with Saigas for a living.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  15. Reswob


    Mar 8, 2009
    Yes, a 5 round magazine has a fixed capacity of 5 rounds, but a detachable mag-fed shotgun has no fixed capacity, unless the magazine is permanently attached to the shotgun. The "fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds" feature indicates a shotgun that has a fixed capacity, i.e., a tube fed shotgun.

    The code you referenced, a shotgun having a mag capacity of more than 5 shells, is clearly referencing a tube-fed shotgun, since a mag fed shotgun by itself has a capacity of one, the chamber, and the code does not say "A shotgun capable of using a 6+ round mag" or "a shotgun when used with a 6+ round mag" is prohibited. Any mag fed shotgun is capable of accepting any magazine made for that shotgun, from 1 to 100 rounds. If that were prohibited, the Saiga 12 would never be imported in the first place.
  16. Did the actual position statement from the ATF not sink in!?! No matter what you want to believe on the matter, it is VERY clear what the ATF thinks. What I am telling you is a FACT not open for your poorly educated opinion on the matter, but let us cover that anyway...

    Whether or not a shotgun has a TUBULAR magazine or a DETACHABLE magazine, the chamber is still the same +1, so that has no bearing on anything.

    A TUBULAR magazine is no more fixed in capacity than a DETACHABLE magazine. You can add a larger TUBULAR magazine or a larger DETACHABLE magazine to a shotgun after import to get greater than 5 rounds in the magazine. Both are in violation of 922(r) PER THE ATF.

    "Fixed capacity" only refers to the magazine capacity at import, not the shotgun's potential. If it were otherwise, then NO magazine-fed shotguns could be imported for the reasons stated above. You CANNOT add capacity above 5+1 rounds to a shotgun in its imported form. Period. You must convert it with enough US-made parts to make it comply with 922(r).

    Conversely, if the capacity of a DETACHABLE magazine did not matter, then the Saigas would be imported with the factory 8 rounder that everyone pays beaucoup bucks for. Izhmash had to make 5 rounders to comply with US import laws. That is the only reason they even exist.

    Now, the ATF isn't going to go busting in your door at night because they saw you on YouTube with an MD20 hanging from a stock Saiga 12, but please, don't spew garbage that you know nothing about as advice for others.

    Again, you are welcome to take this discussion over to the 922(r) section of the Saiga forum where people who deal with this every day for a living hang out, but I'm sure you already know how that will go.

    For anyone else who is interested in Saigas (shotguns or rifles), that is where to go to learn everything you need to know before buying one. They can be finicky pains in the butt requiring a LOT of effort to get running right, but anyone with a drill and a dremel can get the job done using the videos and guides referenced there. Saiga shotguns are great pieces of equipment, but unless you only plan to use magnum loads, you need to know what you're getting into before rushing out to buy one.

    Plus, you need to learn about 922(r) from a source other than GT.
  17. DaGroaner

    DaGroaner Anti-Socialist

    You are correct. I don't know if or how this would be enforced but a violation is a violation and it certainly could be enforced. I wouldn't want to be the guy trying to tell the ATF that when they said "magazine" that what they really meant to say "tubular magazine" and when they said "fixed capacity" they really meant to say "fixed magazine". :whistling:
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  18. Reswob


    Mar 8, 2009
    Did your grade school english classes not sink in!?! Perhaps you need to brush up on your reading comprehension.

    Here's what you wrote is from the ATF:

    "A shotgun having a magazine capacity of more than 5 shells is prohibited from importation..."

    And you're right, it is VERY clear what that statement says. The only type of shotgun that has ANY inherent magazine capacity is a tube-fed shotgun. A SPAS-12 cannot be imported unless the mag tube is crimped. A Mossberg 590 clone could not be imported if any foreign company made one. Those are examples of a shotgun which have a magazine capacity of more than 5 shells.

    A Saiga 12, or any detachable magazine fed shotgun, has no "magazine capacity", since the shotgun by itself, has no magazine. If the ATF meant what you claim, they would have prohibited:

    "A shotgun magazine with a capacity of more than 5 shells..."
    "Any shotgun capable of accepting a magazine holding more than 5 shells..."
    "A shotgun when used with a magazine holding more than 5 shells..."

    But they didn't, because it is perfectly legal to load a 8, 10, or 20 round magazine into a Saiga 12 without it needing to be 922(r) compliant.
  19. DaGroaner

    DaGroaner Anti-Socialist

    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011