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Red Letter Industries Saiga 12

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by Raleigh Glocker, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Well, some here are certainly familiar with the sagas (not Saigas :)) experienced by a lot of former and current E-TAC/GoGuns customers. Long story short, E-TAC is known for building the best guns, but with the worst wait times and customer service along the way. In January, their chief gunsmith amicably parted ways to start his own business doing things the way most of us would expect them to be done.

    I was fortunate enough to basically be Craig's beta customer, so to speak. He's planning to go by Red Letter Industries, and those familiar with E-TAC quality will see the exact same attention given to RLI guns.

    I wanted a Saiga that could serve as a HD gun but also do well with the 3-gun that I hope to start doing this summer. I didn't want a full-on race gun, nor did I want to compromise the HD function just to make it more competitive.

    Craig came up with this design, which has a few neat features that serve both purposes. The coolest is the left side charge handle. Craig makes it two-fingers wide, which I've already found extremely handy for the "Iraqi reload" technique. It is easy to support the gun with my right shoulder and left hand holding the charging handle back while I grab a fresh mag, use it to knock out the old mag, then pop in the new mag, release the charging handle, and go back to business. I can already do this faster than it took you to read the description.

    He deleted the stock left side scope mount to give my knuckles extra clearance. I know that takes away from the traditional AK47 styling, but I am more concerned about function than looks.

    Craig of course shaped and polished the bolt, carrier, and hammer. It is smooth like glass, yet still makes all the right clicky sounds when hand cycled. :) Craig also ramped the barrel for better feeding.

    Craig welded on a mini section of rail for my Trijicon RMR sight, and it is perfect! He also cerakoted a Polychoke II to match.

    I have a cheek rest coming from MagPul for the CTR to give me a better cheek weld, and I plan to add either LaRue or GoGuns thumb rests on the handguard for better control.

    I don't know when Craig will be ready to start taking new orders, but if anyone is interested in contacting him, I can PM you his cell so you can give him a call.

    Check out the pics and let me know what you think!

    <a href=";current=IMG_1048.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Red Letter Industries Saiga 12"></a>

    <a href=";current=IMG_1049.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Left Side Charging Handle"></a>

    <a href=";current=IMG_1053.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Stock Folded"></a>
  2. chance3290

    chance3290 Fear Dli

    Feb 7, 2005
    COOL!!! Any idea the cost to have the left side charging handle put on an already modified S-12?

  3. stsai465


    Apr 17, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Does he have a web site up yet?
  4. I haven't heard anything from Craig since he called me a week after I got the gun. I don't know where he is on getting his company together, but if you PM me, I can give you his cell to call him.

    I wouldn't necessarily sent your bolt carrier and dust cover all the way to Hawaii for a left side charging handle. Besides, these Hawaiian gunsmiths aren't exactly known for their quick turnaround times.

    There are a few competent Saiga welders stateside who do this for about $150-200. I really, really like this modification and think I will get Pauly or Cobra to do this to my 109BHO which I converted myself. I prefer the stick-style charging handle to the stock style, which might add to the cost. Having room for two fingers makes charging a breeze.

    Craig also removed the scope mount, which you can do yourself. This will give your knuckles a little more clearance when charging.

    Google "Pauly's Steelin" and "Cobra's Customs" to see two respectable options for getting this done in a decent turnaround.
  5. stsai465


    Apr 17, 2009
    DFW, TX
    I don't have the money to buy right now; that's why I was wanting a web site to bookmark so I could pull it up when the money was ready.

    The big thing I liked about this setup was the left-side charging handle. To the best of my knowledge, neither Tromix nor Red Jacket (my other 2 candidates) have this, and I thought it was cool. I probably would want to add a quad rail like the Midwest or Krioss to put the red-dot, VFG, and a light.
  6. After going through this both ways (professional conversion and DIY), I'd pick DIY. I did get lucky with my base gun for my DIY conversion, since it was a beautiful S12 that ran cheap stuff out of the box. It didn't take me more than 30 minutes to make the action cycle just as smoothly from my own conversion as the one I got by Craig.

    The left side charging handle can be done by any competent welder with a milling machine to cleanly cut the dust cover. I saved about $700 doing things myself and will end up with basically the same gun functionally. One is welded and one is bolted together, but neither will EVER come apart.

    I will say that having my RLI gun as a guide made the bolt, carrier, and hammer profiling a lot less intimidating. Other than that, this stuff is very easy to get right.

    Quad rails look great, but they add forward weight on an already front-heavy shotgun. I went with the Trifuse hand guard because it has picatinny in the right places and is much, much lighter. There are other options for mounting a red dot that don't require a full picatinny rail up top, either.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011