Gun Review: Linberta SA01LSTAC20 Shotgun

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The Benelli M4 is a truly great shotgun. Reliable, enjoyable, and easy to aim — that’s the way to make ’em. The only problem is that it forces you to make a financial choice: do I want to buy the shotgun, or a small airplane? Benelli’s gear is top notch but it comes with a price tag that matches that awesomeness. For those of us who want both the shotgun and the airplane, the Turkish firearms manufacturer Linberta makes a smoothbore that has all the same bells and whistles as the Benelli M4 but without the jaw-dropping price tag. In theory. Is this another case of too good to be true? . . .

I fully admit that I had never heard of Linberta. In fact, there are quite a few firearms manufacturers sending stuff our way who are new to me. Apparently Linberta has been around since 1982, but they are just starting to stretch out into the American market.

The terribly-named SA01LSTAC20 Shotgun is, in every possible way, an M4gery. From the recoil system to the overal look and feel, this was clearly designed to be a poor man’s Benelli M4. I can’t fault them for that — there’s definitely a market for these guns, and offering them at a much lower price is a guaranteed way to move some boomsticks.

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Starting out at the muzzle, the gun ships with a selection of chokes as well as this muzzle brake-slash-door breaching attachment. It looks hilariously tacticool, but is very easily removed. The barrel is threaded for standard Benelli/Beretta chokes, which is something the Mossberg 930 SPX Tactical (almost identical features at twice the price) lacks. Interchangeable chokes are extremely important for those wishing to use this as more than just a nightstand gun.

Another great feature are the ghost ring sights. Ghost rings on a shotgun are basically cheating: put the front post on the target and pull the trigger to make it go away. The front sight post on these guns is a fixed solid piece of metal as opposed to the more preferable fiber optic front sight post. That’s a little disappointing, but I guess you can’t expect everything on your wish list, especially at this price.

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Moving a little further back we come to the forend. The gun is designed just like the M4 so it too has a 4+1 capacity and protruding magazine cap. The result is that the gun is still legal in laughable places like New York, but those of us who live in America can buy aftermarket extension tubes to raise that capacity to something a little more useful. I’ve seen people who have used Remington 870 extension tubes on this shotgun for that purpose but I was unable to conform that myself.

The checkering on the forend strikes the right balance of aggressiveness and comfort. You want it aggressive enough to grip with gloves or wet hands, but smooth enough that it doesn’t shred your palms. Linberta threads that needle quite well, and as a result the gun is very comfortable to hold.

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Just like the Benelli M4, the Linberta shotgun sports a long cylindrical charging handle. It’s very easy to wrap your hand around, and the length is just right so that it’s big enough to grasp, but small enough to not get caught on anything while cycling. There’s also a cross-bar safety, which I happen to prefer to Mossberg’s thumb safety.

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Up top we finally come to a difference between this and the Benelli. The M4 features a two-piece top rail and rear aperture sight where each piece bolts on individually. In Linberta’s case they just manufactured a one-piece solution and called it good. The rear aperture can be calibrated for both elevation and windage, which is a nice feature, but probably more than you need on a shotgun.

At first glance the rail section appears welded on, but in actuality it’s held in place by a couple screws. The top of the receiver and the rail section are grooved in such a way that they mate up to keep them from working free, but you can remove the rail section if you want to transition to a different barrel or sighting system. The Picatinny rail works just fine, but buyer beware: shotguns have a tendency to kill red dots.

The other side of the receiver sports a massive “PUSH TO RELEASE” button that is easy to hit in a hurry, but their version of the “Benelli Button” is a little strange.

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The ability to lock a shotgun open is essential in 3-gun matches. Not necessarily for running the stages themselves but instead for safety behind the firing line. With a normal short stroke piston operated shotgun like the Mossberg 930 you can simply rack the action on an empty magazine and the gun will lock itself open.

Systems like the Benelli and Linberta don’t typically work the same way. Unless you just fired the last round in your magazine you’ll need to push a button to get the gun to lock open. Benelli has their button located near the triggerguard, but Linberta puts theirs in a slightly more infuriating place. That little silver button you see protruding from the front of the triggerguard is their “Benelli button.” Depress it and the lifter slides a little further out of the receiver. Rack the shotgun and it now stays open.

In theory it works fine, but in practice it can be a little annoying. The button is hard to find if you’re in a hurry. Then again, in theory, you shouldn’t need it in a hurry.

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The loading gate has been profiled to make it easier to load additional rounds into the gun in fairly quick succession. Larry Houck of Team FNH USA in his typical West Virginia vernacular calls it “wallering out” the receiver and does it to his guns through judicious application of a Dremmel tool, Linberta saves you the time by doing it at the factory. Loading rounds is easy and effortless — I was even able to get some practice with the “load 2” technique and it ran like a dream.

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The stock is a synthetic polymer affair with a cheek piece just the right height for the ghost rings. The stock also features a pistol grip (again, just like the M4) which makes aiming the gun much more comfortable, and the rubber coating on the grip means I’m less likely to lose control when my hands are wet or oily. The stock features one more rubber component at the rear, namely a recoil reducing rubber pad. That’s not really required for things like light birdshot loads, but when you get into high brass one-ounce slugs you start to become very thankful for the person who decided to put that little strip of rubber there.

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Out on the range we threw everything we could think of into this gun. From pixie-fart-light bird loads to heavy slugs, it ate everything without a single complaint and required zero adjustment. I tried shooting a group with high brass slugs just for giggles and the above image is the result at 50 yards.

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Overall I’m pleased. The gun is as fun to shoot as the M4 with all the same general features. There are, of course, some differences that make the Benelli a nicer gun. From the bolt hold open to the extra material left on the rubber grip, there are some indications that the same time and careful attention that goes into the Benelli are missing here. Will I pay $1,200+ more for improved fit and finish? Nah.

The competition for this gun has been right around the $500 to $700 mark. Mossberg’s 930 SPX fits that bill nicely, and while I’ve been using that gun for close to three years in 3-gun competitions I have to admit that there isn’t much the Linberta can’t match. One-to-one, the Linberta does everything the 930 SPX can at a fraction of the price. Then again, there isn’t the same avalanche of replacement barrels and replacement parts aren’t widely available for Linberta shotguns. And if things ever do go bad, I think I would rather buy a new shotgun than even attempt a trans-Atlantic RMA.

Specifications: Linberta SA01LSTAC20 Shotgun

Caliber: 12 Gauge, 3″
Action: Semi-auto
Barrel: 20″
Magazine: 4 + 1 in the chamber
Street Price: $399

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * *
I was slaughtering steel plates without an issue. Ghost rings are excellent.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
The stock feels nice and fits the body well. The rubber on the grip is a great addition.

Reliability: * * * * *
Bang. Every time.

Customization: *
There might be some magazine extensions that fit this gun, but there’s nothing specifically made for it.

Overall: * * * *
For the money this is a great buy. Everything the Benelli M4 (and Mossberg 930 SPX) does, but cheaper.

comments

  1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    This is a Buds special. It looks great for the $-long-term would be the ?…

  2. avatar Joe ker says:

    Interesting. I suppose if I preferred a pistol grip config, this would be a pretty cool alternative to the 930 SPX (just because of the safety location). But I like to buy American if I can, and would also not engage in an overseas RMA if needed, so would expect no manufacturer support (or aftermarket options). But really, once you upgrade the feed tube, you’re not saving a ton over an SPX (but sure would be over an M4). Guess it all comes down to the pistol grip… and the chokes.

  3. avatar S_J says:

    “The result is that the gun is still legal in laughable places like New York, but those of us who live in America” …. can we knock this shit off, please? Upstate is packed with gun owners that are just as unhappy with the SAFE Act and NYC bringing down the rest of the state as you guys are. We are fighting a losing battle to be sure, but the chants of “lol gtfo then” aren’t exactly helping your case if you truly believe that the 2nd Amendment is the law of the land and not something opportunistic anti-gun homonculi should be able to ignore at their leisure as they spread their cancerous influence to the other blue/purple states.

    On that note the Farrago article a couple weeks back depicting Dannemora residents as a bunch of scared sheep in the face of the prison escape was pretty tone deaf, seeing as you’d be hard pressed to find places in the Northeast that have more private-owned guns than Clinton County.

    /sidebar

    Excellent review. I’m not entirely sold on Turkish-made clone shotguns after watching vids like this though (apparently Winchester recalled the SXR line recently): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsDfBmLqnio

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      I grew up in Westchester County, but spent the summers working up near Lake George. I know exactly what you mean and how you feel.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I grew up in The Bronx. There were many legal deer rifles and twenty-twos and lots of illegal handguns. Lots.

        1. avatar Jeremy S says:

          That’s funny… my grandparents & parents lived in Westchester Co — Tarrytown, White Plains, Mt. Vernon — as well as in The Bronx before I was born, which was a year or two after their move to the Boston area (Natick).

    2. avatar RocketScientist says:

      Damn bro, no need to get so butthurt over a joke (Joke [jōk/]: noun; 1.a thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline. “she was in a mood to tell jokes”; synonyms: funny story, jest, witticism, quip). Awww, did the mean man say something that hurt your feewings? Bet mommy will give you big huggy-wuggies and you’ll feel allllll better.

    3. avatar R Lutz says:

      Well stated; I was born and raised in NYC; and to be sure the gun laws are REDICULOUS. I moved to Rochester NY Monroe county…. THIS IS GUN COUNTRY …. we didn’t like any part of NYC laws OR politics…. time to STOP lumping all of NY into the same bag…. get the hint?…

    4. You are EXCELLENT for posting the Winchester safety-fail video!

  4. avatar El Mac says:

    Home built vs. Beechcraft. They both do the same thing…uh, just a bit differently.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Some homebuilts will out-preform a factory Beech.

      And cost a whole lot less…

      1. avatar El Mac says:

        @Geoff PR, well of course…home builts rock! That’s why commercial operators and military operators fly home builts… (Sarc on)

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “And cost a whole lot less…”

          ZERO sarc.

          It must be nice to have that kind of money…

          Something tells me Nick doesn’t have that kind of money.

        2. avatar El Mac says:

          @Geoff PR, yep. It do pay!

  5. avatar William B. says:

    Obviously, the military contract proved it to be a wise decision for Beretta, which owns Benelli, but it’s always been the Beretta brand that’s famous for it’s gas shotguns, and Benelli for its recoil operated shotguns, so why build the gas-actuated M4 as a Benelli, rather than a Beretta?

    A recoil-operated M2 tactical is my bedside gun, but I shoot Beretta gas guns for clay target sports when I want to go semi-auto, instead of O/U (if you REALLY want to talk about a shotgun vs. an airplane and not be hyperbole, try pricing an upmarket Beretta O/U at one of their “Galleria” stores–’bout 25k and waaaay up from there, and no, I don’t own one, because I’d rather make my mortgage payment and drive a nice car).

    As for the Linberta, I’m not familiar with this particular gun, but I’m not surprised. While the many brand names of their American-sold products have changed over the years, Turkey is well-known amongst us scattergunners for producing well-made shotguns at a fraction of the price of American and Euro brands. If it’s a shotgun, and it’s made in Turkey, it’s probably a darned fine gun, and an even better deal.

  6. avatar Chadwick P. says:

    Thanks Leghorn! I saw these a few months ago and was wondering what was up with them. Looks like my Norinco Hawk gun might have a Turkish clone as a buddy.

  7. avatar Red In Texas says:

    My M4 has the A.R.G.O system.

  8. avatar Larry says:

    Thanks S_J ! Being one of those upstaters I too am a little confused when I see the screw those New Yorker, California and a few other state comments . Um ok NY has more gun owners than several Western or southern states combined perhaps those of us in the” f those stupid gun owners for living there”states should sit out the national gun debate .

    Then those in the free states can soon know what it’s like to lose gun rights too .

    Oh nice shotgun .

  9. avatar achmed says:

    Their “Benelli button” is kind of like how the Beretta A400 does it.

    Of course, budget shotguns are great. However if you are serious about competitive shooting you’re going to burn that much in shells anyway. Isay just save up your dimes and get the Benelli.

  10. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “The only problem is that it forces you to make a financial choice: do I want to buy the shotgun, or a small airplane?”

    Nick, ever heard the expression that boats are like a hole in the water you pour money into?

    Airplanes are like that but in *multiples*.

    “Virginia vernacular calls it “wallering out” the receiver and does it to his guns through judicious application of a Dremmel tool”

    FYI, it’s spelled ‘Dremel’, not ‘Dremmel’…

    Anyways, nice review on the shottie…

  11. avatar John says:

    Is this gun inertia or gas driven? If it’s inertia it’s a long way from the M4 because that is a gas system. Good review otherwise.

    1. avatar Joe ker says:

      Good point. I’m curious now too. But it probably doesn’t matter anyway, with no aftermarket forearm/rail to hang a bunch of stuff from(?) (the only reason Benelli went from Inertia to ARGO on the M4).

    2. avatar NDS says:

      I was also confused, as my M4 is gas operated. This looks like a nice shotgun, just not the M4 clone as stated.

      Also shotguns kill *cheap* red dots… Trijicon, Aimpoint, etc do just fine.

  12. avatar Jim says:

    These are great. All this Turkish stuff is based off of French and Italian designs and they are fantastic bangs for the bucks. Check out the Hatsan Escort mpa. It’s a Turkish made Fabarm and is a wonderful piece.

    1. avatar SonnyRoofy says:

      …or the Escort MPA-TS, with telescoping stock. They are readily available in Canada but no US import.

  13. avatar J_K says:

    I’ll pass.

    I have a sign in the front of my Gunsmithing business that reads “Turkish firearms to stay away from” Below that is the word “ALL”

    Nice wood and case colors on the doubles and cool tactical or tactical looking features like on this model are all good and well until they break or a small tolerance opens up and they start to act up. Its almost always the unknown and inconsistent metallurgy and heat treatment that make the Turkish guns fail eventually. That also makes them difficult to repair economically, as the owner never has a lot into the gun, etc.

    And yes, I know of the long proud history the Turkish craftsmen have pounding AKs and Lugers out of tank treads but that’s not what I’m talking about here. Maybe I just have a different definition of value in a firearm.

    Cheers

    1. avatar Jim says:

      Really? That’s surprising. The MPA I like is made on Italian and German hardware and I don’t know anyone that has an issue with it. Even after several thousand rounds in tough conditions. Which particular ones have you been seeing in your shop?

    2. avatar Matt SARAC says:

      This shotgun has 4140 barrels inside and outside chromed, all parts are top notch, receiver made out of 7075 aluminum, internal parts are good quality and sold world wide for last 20 years.
      Not all Turkish guns are same. There are very good ones out there today. In the beginning it was not very good but today most shotguns are imported from Turkey under big brands … That shows Turkish shotgun industry has really been improving in last 10 years especially with the engineering and with suppliers’ efforts on making better components for gun industry. Yes accessory is a problem but it will be solved in the future somehow..
      Just my knowledge…

  14. avatar Jodas says:

    Umm….I have one these and an M4. The recoil system is totally different. The m4 uses the dual piston Argo system while the linberta uses the same gas system every other Turkish built beretta clone seems to use. The m4 uses a rotating bolt while the linberta…does not. It’s bolt is a monolithic bloc of steel that cams over the operating rail similar in shape to a Remington. It’s a fine shotgun for the price but there is really no mechanical comparison.

  15. avatar Dust says:

    Apparently Linberta changed the design a bit when they developed the second version. I bought one recently and the Remington magazine extension tube (ATI) does not fit. The thread cut/type and pitch seem to be the same, however, the diameters are different. The extention tube diameter is too small/tight to thread on down. Does anyone have a solution to this? Do any of the aftermarket extention tubes fit? I don’t want to cut the “lip” off the Linberta magazine tube to make it compatible with an extention if none will fit anyway.

  16. avatar Rem870 says:

    It is too good to be true. I’ve seen many copies of the Benelli shotguns but they weren’t even close to the original.

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