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Weatherby SA-08 Upland

Weatherby SA-08 Upland

Weatherby may be synonymous with magnum rifle cartridges, but the company has been turning out some mighty fine shotguns lately. The line started in 2008 with the PA-08 pump-action and the SA-08 semi-auto. It just so happened my wife needed a new shotgun around that time, and the SA-08 Upland caught her eye. I bought her one for Christmas, because I couldn't argue with her choice. Here's why.

Kristen's up for hunting anything: pheasants, ducks, geese, rabbits, squirrels, turkeys. A 12-gauge with a 3" chamber works wonderfully for all those. While it may be a bit much for the smaller stuff, it's better than being under-gunned for the big birds. The gun uses a dual-valve system that handles everything from 7/8-ounce loads to 2-ounce magnums. Switching valves really isn't a big deal when that kind of versatility comes with it.

My wife doesn't like recoil any more than the next person. The operating system in a semi-auto gas gun like the SA-08 cuts recoil as compared to a pump or double-barrel gun. So, she can hammer birds and furred critters with a 12-gauge without getting hammered herself.

Being petite, Kristen doesn't get along with heavy guns. Weighing about 6 3/4 pounds, the lithe SA-08 swings nicely in her hands. She's whipped my butt on the skeet field more than once, and a crossing cottontail is as good as barbecued when she points the barrel of the SA-08 in its direction.

Like many women, Kristen appreciates aesthetically pleasing objects. I think that's what attracted her to the SA-08 Upland in the first place. It's a pretty shotgun. The walnut stock has rich tones, while the matte-black finish on the metal is understated. The two go well together on a field gun. Touches of chrome on the bolt and bolt release, and a gold-colored logo add some pop. The gun has svelte lines, and it just looks lively.

Weatherby has expanded the SA-08 line to include synthetic-stocked and youth models in a variety of finishes. The company just released a 28-gauge version, too. But the Upland is the workhorse of the bunch that looks like a show pony. And don't let its name fool you; the Upland is for hunting more than just birds on the wing. Kristen put it to good use on a boss gobbler last spring (see the April 2014 issue of American Hunter). She now considers me the best husband ever.

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