Saiga 12 prices have skyrocketed lately, leading many prospective buyers to look elsewhere for a magazine-fed shotgun. While some companies have tried to uproot the Saiga’s tactical shotgun dominance, most designs are inferior or too costly. China, with its endless supply of cheap labor and manufacturing might, has entered the fray with its own interpretation of the AK-based shotgun: the Catamount Fury II.
Imported by Century Arms, the Fury II is a gas-operated, rotating bolt, self-loading, magazine-fed shotgun chambered in 12 gauge. With the controls and operating methods being nearly identical, the Fury II borrows much from the Saiga’s design.
Saiga 12 owners typically make certain modifications to their guns and decided to standardize those features, hoping to corner the military-style magazine-fed shotgun market by lowering the cost of entry. But with the Fury II, buyers no longer have to modify the gas tube and hand guard retainers to get AK-47-style hand guards since they come preinstalled.
The combined stock and grip, however, come in sporting configuration and require a little work to modify into AK configuration. The Fury II, unlike the Saiga 12, has a barrel threaded for chokes, an adjustable gas system, a railed dust cover, a railed gas block and a bolt release. The cost of having these features added to a stock Saiga 12 would increase its price by at least $400.
How the Fury II compares
On paper the Fury II is a superior weapon to the Saiga 12. Out of the box, it features many popular aftermarket modifications that would cost extra on Saiga shotguns. Arguably, the deviations from the Saiga platform make the Fury II a better purchase, but they prevent the Fury II from outright replacing the Saiga. These aren’t limitations of the platform per se, but rather alternative approaches to design. Consequently, these differences limit the aftermarket parts selection and thus the versatility of the Fury II. Additionally, the Fury II is configured differently than the Saiga, so parts and instruction for modification are not fully applicable.
On the plus side, one of the best additions to the Fury II is its adjustable gas tube. For years, Saiga owners have had to deal with the frustration of finding a load that works well with their Saiga that isn’t overly expensive. It’s not uncommon for Saiga owners to install a custom adjustable gas system, or manually opening their gas tube. With the Fury II’s adjustable gas system, the gun can be tailored to the load, which is invaluable for shooters who want to run reduced recoil or bird-shot loads through their auto-shotgun.
The railed dust-cover of the Fury II is low enough to allow shooters to utilize a traditional cheek-weld, as opposed to the chin-weld that most AK shooters have to employ. The Fury II also includes a soft cheek riser that aids in dampening the pain when shooting with optics. This riser actually looks flimsy, but it’s secured with two traditional screws, which wold make replacing it easy if it ever broke. In fact the only part of the Fury II’s ergonomics I didn’t like was the grip. The grip’s angle for shooters, like myself, who automatically assume as high a grip as possible, will cause the receiver to strike the inside of the trigger-finger’s large knuckle during firing. I don’t usually have this issue with pistol-gripped shotguns.
The Fury II’s reliability is great, as long as you remember to adjust the gas system. I was testing high-brass defensive buckshot and slug loads and left the gas tube half-open. Needless to say, when I tried to run bird-shot the Fury II had a difficult time cycling the rounds. When I adjusted the gas tube it ran flawlessly.
The Fury II’s MSRP is $585.95, which is an excellent deal considering all the features it includes. The railed dust cover and gas-block increase the amount of aftermarket options shooters have.
Also, the generous iron sights make rapid target acquisition seamless. The inclusion of an adjustable gas tube and bolt release make for an impressive platform.
If flattery is the truest form of admiration, the Fury II’s designer must have been enamored with the Saiga and Vepr shotguns. The Fury II includes many desirable features from both, but falls just short of perfection due to the exclusion of a pistol-grip.