Remingtons Spartan Shotgun: A Keeper at an Economy Price
By Dave Workman
Wingshooters on a budget looking for a solid shotgun ought to give the Spartan line, imported by Remington (870 Remington Drive, Dept. GWK, Madison, NC 27025; phone: 800-243-9700; on-line: www.remington.com), a serious look.
Ive recently had the opportunity to run one of these guns through its paces, and it proved to be a comfortable carry, when it came up it shouldered well and quickly, and even with 3-inch magnums, it didnt pound my shoulder to a bruised pulp.
Spartan Gunworks is a division of Remington that manufactures rifles and shotguns in Russia. The Spartan break-action shotgun line features checkered walnut stocks, machined steel mono block receivers, deep blue finish on the barrels, single selective triggers on most models (double triggers available on some models) and screw-in chokes. Models are chambered in 12-, 16-, 20- and 28-gauges, and .410 bore.
My test gun was an over-and-under (O/U) SPR310, chambered in 12-gauge with 3-inch chambers, and I tried both 2-1/2 and 3-inch shells in this gun with nary a hitch. This shotgun was equipped with automatic ejectors that kicked empty hulls out with gusto, and the vent-rib barrels closed up tight. The top tang safety is engaged automatically when the action is closed, but a smooth forward press puts this stack-barrel model into action. I should note that the ventilated recoil pad on my test gun was rather plain looking, but it definitely soaked up the magnum recoil.
I did not have the opportunity to actually hunt with this gun, but my guess is that it will perform like a winner against grouse, woodcock, quail, chukar, pheasant, wild turkey and waterfowl with complete satisfaction.
Lets be up front about this: Spartan shotguns are designed and built for budget-minded hunters. There is no fancy inletting, and the matte-finished stock is basic walnut and the checkering is rather basic as well; functional, but not fancy. That said, what a shooter gets with a Spartan is a shotgun with chrome-lined, hammer-forged barrels, a crisp trigger pull that is sharp and sure, and a pretty decent fit. For what theyre asking as a suggested retail price, with models ranging from $419 to $615, youre going to get a workhorse shotgun that is not unappealing to the eye, and can shoot all day long.
Ill be just as frank here. I never in my life saw scrollwork or a fancy pattern on a stock make a shotgun more accurate, if you get my drift. Sure, that stuff is pretty to look at, and I even own a rather handsome side-by-side that has a chrome-finished receiver, and that gun has accounted for a lot of grouse and pheasants. Id honestly have been able to make all of those shots equally well with the plain-Jane pump-gun in my closet.
But dont misunderstand about these Spartan shotguns. My guess is that a shooter taking one of these models afield will find that he can stack one of them against the competition and still come home with birds in the bag. What else really matters, eh?
From the box, youll certainly want to give this shotgun a bath in Hoppes No. 9 or Outers solvent before ever taking it outside to the range or woods. My O/U test piece came disassembled, with barrel and forearm in one section of the shipping box, and the buttstock and receiver in another. My gun came with choke tubes and a wrench.
After soaking it down with solvent and wiping off all the shipping oils, I gave it a drop or two of gun oil in the right spots, wiped it down and set it aside in preparation for my field test. A combination of rather crummy weather, a flu bug, and production schedule actually delayed my foray outdoors for some weeks over the month of December, and it was not until after the holidays had passed, and we turned the presses on a couple of big editions of Gun Week that I finally managed a trip to the range on a remarkably mild mid-January afternoon.
Spartan covers all the bases, with both O/U and S/S double guns, and an autoloader. There are also single-shots in the lineup.
The SPR100 single-shot is an entry level model in 12-gauge, 3-inch magnum with 28-inch plain barrel and fixed modified choke, 20-gauge 3-inch with 26-inch plain barrel and fixed modified choke, or a .410 bore youth gun with 24-inch barrel and fixed improved modified choke.
Spartans two S/S shotguns are the SPR 210 single-trigge r and SPR 220 double-trigger models. The 210 is available in 12-, 16-, 20- and 28-gauges and .410 bore. The 220 comes in 12- and 20-gauge.
Spartan O/U models include the SPR 310 single-trigger and the SPR 320 double-trigger shotguns. The 310 is chambered in 12-, 16-, 20- and 28-gauges and .410 bore. The double-trigger 320 is chambered in 12- and 20-gauges only. Barrel lengths are the same on both S/S and O/U models, at 26- or 28 inches, depending upon the specific model.
There are two models for sporting clays or other clay bird competition; the SPR310S in 12-gauge with 29&Mac251;-inch barrels, or 20-gauge with 28&Mac251;-inch barrels. On both models, the barrels are ported, and they do appear to have some roll engraving on the receivers not found on the field guns.
The SPR453 autoloader comes with a synthetic stock and forend in matte black or camo, 26- or 28-inch vent rib barrel and screw-in Spartan choke tubes.
One thing that should be noted is that the Spartan choke tubes are not interchangeable with Rem Chokes.
Overall fit and finish on my test piece was certainly better than some of the Russian and Turkish imports Ive seen over the past few years, and this shotgun functioned flawlessly. My guess is that it was fairly representative of the Spartan Gunworks lineup, so it gets my seal of approval for shotguns in that price range. I would not be one bit hesitant to take that gun anywhere in the fields or forests.