Some time ago, I watched a video on the Burgess folding shotgun and thought that was the coolest thing. As a shotgun aficionado, I thought the idea was fairly solid and wondered why I had never seen a more modern take with a standard pump action. Occasionally I’d search Google to see if I could find one and imagine my surprise when I ran across the Axor Arms Pump-Action Shotgun 12 gauge. Also known as the PAF12GA.
It’s a 12 gauge shotgun that opens right where the magazine tube meets the receiver. If you assumed it was a Turkish shotgun, you assumed correctly. Turkish shotguns are hit-and-miss, admittedly. Some are great, but others will fall apart on you. I figured I could gamble the 350ish bucks and see if the PAF12GA lived up to my idea of the modern folding shotgun.
The Big Gizmo of the PAF12GA
The gizmo and draw to this gun is the fact that it folds. Much like the Kel-Tec SUB 2000, the gun essentially folds in half. The hinge sits on the bottom of the gun, forward of the loading gate. To open the action and fold the gun, you pull rearward on a tab located on the top of the receiver. Pull the tab, and the shotgun will fold in half.
The PAF12GA folds very easily. It doesn’t resist or fight and locks up very solid when unfolded. I was worried about slop and fitment issues, but it seems to be well-constructed and smartly designed.
The Axor Arms PAF12GA has one beefy receiver too. A folding mechanism is an odd feature and seemingly has its own demands. The total overall length of the gun goes from 39 inches to 25 inches when folded. It’s not exactly concealable but could be easily and safely packed. When folded, the weapon cannot fire but can be quickly made ready when necessary.
The Rest of The Gun
The PAF12GA features a 3-inch chamber, and the capacity is listed across most websites as 4 +1. Depending on the round chosen, this can vary. Some 2.75-inch rounds are bigger than other 2.75-inch shells. I can fit five rounds of Federal Flitecontrol in the gun but only four rounds of 2.75-inch Rio buckshot.
Shooters get an 18.5-inch barrel that keeps things nice and handy. As mentioned, the overall length is 39 inches. The weapon weighs 6.5 pounds and has a 14.5-inch length of pull. It’s pretty stock standard for a pump action shotgun. Axor Arms chose Mobil chokes, and the weapon comes with four chokes total. We have improved, modified, full, and extra full extended for turkey hunting.
At the Range
Let’s talk reliability. I’ve been to the range for a few trips with varying shotgun rounds. So far, it’s eaten two hundred rounds of birdshot and about 100 rounds of buckshot. The buckshot is split between good Federal buckshot and cheap Rio and S&B loads. It’s not an even split, and most of the buckshot I fired was the cheap stuff.
My first impressions weren’t great. Within the first fifty rounds of birdshot, I had a few failures to fully feed. The rounds would not fully leave the magazine tube. This occurred half a dozen times, but whatever, the issue was cleared up. Maybe a teething or breaking-in issue? After those first fifty or so rounds, the gun never had another issue.
I did try mini shells, and they are a hard no-go. It’s not that they don’t occasionally fail to feed properly, but they get jammed into the receiver. For whatever reason, these mini shells get absolutely stuck in the receiver. It’s a bit of a shame because, for a bug-out gun, the mini shells offer some more compact shells, which allows you to carry more ammo. Oh well.
Turkish shotgun producers really love this spring-assisted pump, and I hate it. Essentially when you pump the gun, you are pressing against a spring. When you go to return the action back into battery, the spring assists you. It’s mostly useless and is a detriment to the PAF12GA. The spring is so strong that you are really working against it to open the action, and you can’t just have the action open.
This makes port reloads impossible and limits your techniques for slug-select drills. Plus, it’s just annoying. Luckily it seems like you can remove the spring and just have a normal shotgun. It’s still a confusing feature and one the Turks can get rid of.
The PAF12GA Ergonomics
It’s pretty standard fare for a pump-action shotgun. The pump and stock are polymer, and the pump has a nice texture to it. The stock is textured at the pistol grip. It’s also entirely too long at 14.5 inches, but again, that’s standard for a shotgun. The pump release and safety are large and easily accessible near the trigger. The folds control is easy, but beware, the gun doesn’t lock in the folded position. It is very quick to back into a firing position.
At 6.5 pounds, it’s fairly light, and I do prefer a lightweight shotgun. If you are planning to use the folding PAF12 as a bug-out shotgun, you’d likely prefer it to be lightweight. The weapon is set up for a sling with swivels.
Even with the long LOP and silly pump design, I can work the action quickly and efficiently. I can fly through the four or five rounds in the tube and keep them mostly on target. It seems like it would be annoying with the string and LOP, but somehow it manages.
The PAF12GA comes with a nice high-visibility front sight, and the mechanism that releases the lock and allows the gun to fold also doubles as an open rear sight. It’s a neat idea that gives your shotgun a set of proper sights. The sight sits a bit off the barrel, and your point of aim and point of impact with buckshot and slugs is dead on. The sights can’t be adjusted, but for shotgun ranges, they work fine.
I could put a load of buckshot exactly where I want it without complaint. On the slug front, I went five for five at 50 yards and three for five at 100 yards. I need to work on my slug work, but it’s still accurate enough for most purposes. The trigger is fine. It’s not bad, but it isn’t something you’d find on a nice double gun.
Recoil is what you expect from a pump action shotgun. It can be stout if you don’t know proper recoil mitigation. The lightweight design doesn’t help either, but some judicious application of the push/pull technique will help tame the beast, even with those hefty 3-inch loads.
Is it Just a Gimmick?
Honestly, yeah, a little bit. If the PAF12GA didn’t fold, it wouldn’t have warranted a second look for me. Like most Turkish pump guns, I would have gazed past it as if it was invisible if it didn’t fold in half. Admittedly it gives me my Burgess folding shotgun in a more modern package and at a low price.
A shotgun can be a solid get-home or bug-out weapon for a lot of people. It’s not great in the western United States, but for most of us, it is a capable option. The versatile loads it fires and the brutality it offers make it a solid choice. A folding shotgun that can squeeze into a pack seems awfully handy. Sure, it won’t check everyone’s box, but extra options are always nice.
I’d love for a quality American or Italian company to deliver a creative shotgun design like the PAF12, but until then, I’ll take it with all its rough-around-the-edges downsides.
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What’s the use of a review without knowing if the product is $200 or $2000!
Pasted from the article above…
“I figured I could gamble the 350ish bucks and see if the PAF12GA…”
I’m no brain surgeon, but I’ll hazard a guess that your seemingly elusive “price point” is pretty close to $350.
I like that the Turks are making tons of guns and selling them in the USA at cheap prices. I also like that they try odd configurations like this. Probably its first generation will be a mixed bag, like the review suggests…but there is a nonzero chance they will crank out a Gen 2 and maybe even a Gen 3 and so on, fix the problems highlighted here, and end up with a low-budget gem.
I really like the concept of a “trunk gun” that is probably legal everywhere in the U.S. (possibly Canada, too). I would like to see a soft case that fits it when folded. I am looking for an ammo bag that looks like an innocent purse (not a range bag) to set beside my 12 ga in the trunk. Stay safe.
Thanks for an honest review that highlights the downsides as well as the upsides! Far too often, the authors come across as a salesman (er… salesperson 😔) for the item being reviewed, instead of offering an honest, nuts & bolts critique. KUDOS on a great review!
As much as I detest travelling to the Northeast ,yearly family obligations require me to. Not being able to legally bring a handgun a folding shotgun would fit nicely in the trunk of my Harley trike.Not a perfect solution but hey.
So… for the trips to the Northeast it’s “Mike on a trike” instead of “Mike in a truck”?
Very interesting Travis, thank you. A folding 12 gauge which can be back in battery that quickly is effectively something useful, especially when one lives in an area where carrying a handgun is prohibited.