Vepr 12 First Impressions
Oleg Volk 07.21.14
Vepr (“Wild Boar”) 12 is a Russian magazine-fed shotgun imported Mach 1 Arsenal. Based on the RPK light machine gun receiver, it improves on the original with the addition of a magazine feed tower enabling straight-line insertion.
Muzzle brakes, flash hiders, and chokes are available. I found that recoil level, even with full-power slugs and buckshot, was on par with the weakest birdshot from a pump shotgun. Autoloading mechanism and thick recoil pad make it a pleasant gun even for a recoil wuss like me.
The shotgun comes equipped with RPK light machine gun open sights. At first, I was confused by the decision to make 1,000-meter adjustable sight with fairly short radius on a shotgun, but range use showed it to be a brilliant idea. The gray rear sight makes it easy to focus on the front post. It is adjustable for windage without tools, and the machine gun and the shotgun have something in common: both are made for creating beaten zones, with the difference of one doing it over time with bullets and the other simultaneously with shot. Great range adjustability also comes in handy when regulating for slugs of different weight and velocity. For example, the lowest 100 meter setting works perfectly for 25 yards with Brenneke Home Defense slugs, which cloverleafed right at the point of aim. A 0.6 center-to center group fired over open sights from kneeling is quite respectable, to my mind. The soft cheekrest installed on a metal tube stock works well for open sights or optics, and moves from right to left side as needed. While fixed in length, the stock is short enough for most users and may be swapped for a telescoping or short model if needed.
Compared to Saiga magazine, Vepr’s has less spring pressure and is easier to fill. Loading with the action closed is easy. The bolt stays open on the last shot, too. There’s a reason why the “pig-herders” (the nickname of Russian Vepr users) dominate the magazine fed segment of competition shooting there, to the exclusion of Saiga and other box-fed shotguns.
Further improvement may be obtained by adding more US parts to make it legal to remove the welds holding the folding stock in the open position. I would highly recommend either altering the existing safety lever or replacing it. Whoever designed this sharp, poorly designed part was either an idiot or a sadist. It can still be operated as any AK safety, but the additional protrusions get in the way of the right hand. Fortunately, that’s my only complaint about this gun. It performs well in all other respects, being easy to point or aim, low of recoil and very reliable. I’ve tried it with everything from low-brass bird shot to full-power slugs and have yet to have any malfunctions.
This excellent performance may be why it is among the guns just banned by Obama’s edict. The domestic enemies aren’t even being subtle about trying to degrade the defensive capabilities of lawful Americans.