Savage/Stevens 320 security review.


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rugerdude
February 3, 2013, 10:30 PM
There doesn't seem to be a whole lot out there about this shotgun currently, so I figured I would report my impressions of it for those who are potentially on the fence about getting one.

http://www.savagearms.com/firearms/model/stevens320pump
http://i.imgur.com/bP3NsUU.png


I recently bought the Stevens 320 security 12ga with ghost ring sights. I paid $239+tax which seems to be somewhat high for these guns but this model was somewhat elusive and I was happy to help support the LGS that I bought it from.

OVERVIEW This is a Chinese imported clone of a Winchester 1300. Mag capacity is decent at 5+1. I think that a Winchester magazine extension would work but since the capacity here is one more than the standard Winchester there may be an issue with the supplied spring not being long enough. (base Winchester is only a 4+1 gun). Barrel is 18.5", and has a sling stud at the end of the magazine tube and a slot for a sling in the stock.

Gun is very light, and admittedly the stock feels cheap when you knock on it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall feel of it at my shoulder. The pistol grip is very nicely shaped and sized, and the fore end has just the right amount of texture and is also really long which allows users with shorter arms to comfortably cycle the action. Overall I think the gun looks really nice. It reminds me of the Benelli tactical guns (i.e. Supernova tactical) Length of pull feels just right for me, and I'm 5'10" with average arm length. It could probably be a half inch longer or shorter and still be just fine.

Action

I'm sort of torn with regards to the action. To me (I've owned 3 mossbergs and shot remingtons) the action feels pretty good. There's less fore-end wobble than I recall having with my mossbergs and the slide is consistent. On the other hand I know how much this gun costs so I almost don't want to believe that the action feels fairly nice. If I had to describe it in one word: solid.

The shell elevator stays down when the action is closed like most shotguns (excluding mossbergs) but did not hinder loading or cause any sort of pinching effect on my fingers. I did notice a sort of "step" when loading the first shell into the tube. This did not hinder loading but was noticeable when inserting that first shell.

Sights

The sights are superb. The fiber optic front post is icing on an already delicious cake. The sights looks good, allow for a nice cheek weld, and are adjustable. My front sight is canted by a barely discernible amount, but it does not affect function in the least. I did not even need to adjust them to put the center of my 00 buckshot pattern right on the tip of the front sight.

Trigger

The trigger is...well...a trigger. Neither exceptionally good nor bad. Hardly matters to me on a shotgun anyway. I believe it compares well to my other shotguns in terms of weight and crispness.

Finish

Finish is actually pretty nice as well. It is even and attractive. There are tiny parts where the finish was worn or not put on around the front sight and barrel ring but these are not glaring eyesores, at least not to me.

Initial range time

I fired roughly 50 birdshot rounds through it today with no problems at all. Cycling was consistent and recoil was so-so. It is a somewhat lighter gun and the recoil pad is not squishy in the least, but most factory pads on mossbergs are no better anyway. One big plus was that the recoil is not directed into my face like it is with my pistol-grip stocked mossberg. Something about the geometry or not needing to get my face as far down on the stock to sight down the barrel. Anyway, very comfortable to fire, safety placement is great (I do have somewhat large hands). The slide release does not work as well because of the pistol grip (it is mounted in the same place as a mossberg's) but I knew that going into this. I'll take that trade off to have a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing pistol-grip stock.

Expect to have the action unlock upon firing. This has been the case with my mossbergs so I'm not sure this is abnormal with other brands. I don't recall it being an issue for me while firing though. I "rode the recoil" with the slide to do quick follow up shots and I also shot with definite pauses between shots keeping the action closed immediately after firing. Neither method gave me any trouble.

Overall I couldn't be more pleased with the gun. It is everything I wanted it to be, which in my case is just a simple fun range toy to make use of readily available 12ga birdshot. I went in looking for faults and while I did find some, the overall package reflects a level of quality and features that is IMO above this shotgun's price point. I almost feel like adding that maybe it shouldn't be considered as a serious duty gun, but honestly so far I have not seen anything that would give me cause to think that other than the lack of a long-standing reputation. Perhaps time will tell.

Future planned mods

I plan on chopping a bit of the rear portion of the forearm off in order to allow me to mount a shell saddle. I'm also throwing around the idea of painting it because heck, it was cheap so why not?

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lobo9er
February 4, 2013, 08:35 AM
good review.

miles1
February 4, 2013, 03:42 PM
Nice review.

What made you decide on the stevens 320 vs the H&R pardner or Maverick88 out of curiosity?Are you able to swap out barrels?Is the extractor single or dual like the mossy?Does it have a single or dual action bar?And finally..does it have any kind of warranty?Sorry for all the questions.

rugerdude
February 4, 2013, 04:30 PM
Warranty is 1 year from date of purchase. The slide uses dual action bars, and the bolt is rotary-locking and has a single extractor.

From looking at the website, I'm confident that barrels will interchange.

I picked this gun because it had the two main features that I wanted which were ghost ring sights and an attractive pistol-grip stock. Tri-star makes a model with similar features to this one but I didn't think it looked as good. My next choice was a Benelli Supernova tactical so I wasn't necessarily looking for a budget shotgun as I was one that combined features and aesthetics.

I once owned a Mossberg 500 18.5" that I tried to make like this setup. I put an aftermarket ATI PG stock on it and I had to settle for a fiber optic bead since I couldn't seem to find any place that stocked mossberg ghost rings. This gun however, is far better than my similarly set up mossberg. The Stevens 320 safety works well with the PG, the stock looks better and is shaped better, and it has factory ghost rings. Mag capacities are the same.

Baron_Null
February 4, 2013, 08:01 PM
Great review, Ruger.

I own the same model of shotgun, albeit with the traditional semi pistol-grip stock and brass bead sight, and have had pretty much the same experience you have had.

I know you weren't asking me, Miles, but I was in the situation you describe where I had the choice between the Stevens and other brands when I was looking to buy a shotgun.

To be honest, the thing that encouraged me to get the Stevens was the price, as it was on sale at my local sporting goods store. I looked up what reviews I could find on it before I got it, and liked what I saw. I was also lusting after the similarly priced Stevens 350, but it didn't fit my girlfriend, and that was a deal breaker.

Walking into the store, I was ready to buy a H&R Pardner Pump, but the lower price of the Stevens at the time plus the package that included two barrels sold the Stevens for me. I couldn't find a Maverick 88 in-town, so the Stevens was the gun I chose.

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