Pardus LAX 12 Lever action shotgun – The journey.
So, you want to buy a shotgun. But which one?
With so many options and models on the market, how do you choose? Do you buy a single shot? A double barrel? A bolt action? A lever action? Pump Action? Or a Semi-automatic? Then there’s the choice of calibre also. 410 gauge, 20 gauge, 12 gauge, and so on. Finally, there’s the decision on what the firearm itself will be used for. Farm use, pest control, hunting, or sports use. With so many variables, one can be forgiven for feeling confused and flusted when it comes to making the decision.
With brand new firearms ranging from as low as $300 for single shot 410 gauge shotguns, up to a few thousand dollars for high quality semi-automatic shotguns in the 12 gauge calibre, it will always depend on how much you feel comfortable spending. When it came time for myself to purchase my first shotgun, I was one of those who had no idea where to start. Going online to seek the opinion of others didn’t help at all. With so many options and uses, the best advice I received from a fellow member of my Competition club was, “What do you want to use it for?”.
With such a simple question I had a place to start, and the ball was rolling.
Wanting a shotgun I could use in competition, as well as for some hunting and pest control, I had the first piece of information I needed in order to finally make a decision on which road I would travel. So the next decision was to decide on a calibre. With 410 gauge being so expensive in my state of WA, that was immediately excluded from the list. Being an IPSC handgun shooter, I knew I’d like to use the firearm for IPSC Shotgun matches as well. The lowest calibre allowed in such competition is 20 gauge, so that was one of my options. Unfortunately, there was not a large range of shotguns available in WA in the 20 gauge calibre, and those that were available were out of my budget.
Ammunition for such a firearm is also on the expensive side of the scale also, so this was another consideration. With 12 gauge being the most common calibre on the market, this was the most likely road I was going to take. 12 gauge ammunition is fairly cheap on the budget scale, and could be bought in bulk packaging, which decreased the final price even more. IPSC shotgun also allows the 12 gauge calibre in competition, and firearms in this calibre are abundantly available on the firearms market.
Now to decide on an the action. Wanting to use the firearm for competition, that ruled out a number of the actions on the market – Single shot, Double barrel, and bolt action were taken off the list – This left lever action, pump action, and semi-automatic actions to decide from.
Depending on the state you live in, the latter two of the above options is not available for purchase or registration. Being available for licensing in WA under club support for sports shooting (category C), this was a viable option worth exploring. However, searching for a NEW pump action, or semi-automatic shotgun in WA proved frustrating.
Most, if not ALL firearms dealers in WA do not stock these firearms, as it proves difficult to have these new firearms licensed in WA, due to the Police not wanting them readily available to the shooting community, you generally have to buy them from the second-hand market. Something I didn’t want to do. Wanting to use my new shotgun for some hunting on the side, meant that pump action, and semi-automatic firearms were now not a viable option, as pump action and semi-automatic shotguns for hunting are only available to those with a Primary Producer classification, and that is not a classification that I myself hold.
So the last option on my list was lever action shotguns in a 12 gauge calibre. This in itself left me with a number of firearms to choose from, and some tough decisions still had to be made. With the Adler A110 lever action shotgun having been the focus of attention for a long time leading up to my decision, this was one of the choices I was mulling over while trying to decide on my first shotgun.
With a ban on the 7 shot model, this left the 5 shot model, and this itself was in the crosshairs of the media, and the anti-gun lobby of Australia. So I decided to see what else was on the market, but was similar to the Adler A110. This brought my attention to a little known firearm (at the time) called the Pardus LAX 12 lever action 12 gauge shotgun.
Also made in turkey (as was the Adler A110), and being the same magazine capacity of 5 + 1, this indicated it was more than likely to be of a similar quality, and close to the same price. This indication proved to be accurate. With a number of models available, I now had yet another decision to make.
Do I go with the traditional walnut furniture on a black action? Do I go with synthetic furniture on a black action? Do I go for some synthetic furniture on a nickel plated action? Or do I go with a tactical black on black appearance?
The above options came in a number of barrel lengths too. A choice of 28 inch, 20 inch, and 18 inch barrel lengths, the choice would come down to the particular discipline of shooting in which I wanted to use the firearm in. Shooting IPSC, a 28 inch barrel seemed to be too cumbersome, and an 18 inch barrel would decrease the accuracy as a shorter barrel would increase the spread of a 12 gauge shot. So that left the 20 inch model.
Being one who doesn’t like the look of the traditional walnut furniture, this left me with the Pardus LAX 12 20 inch Marine version as my final decision. Having decided on what I wanted to buy, it was a case of going in to my regular gun shop here in Perth’s Southern Suburbs, to make my enquiries.
The guys at Barry’s & Sons Firearms & Military Collectables are always more than accommodating, and were definitely a help in my road to buy my first shotgun. They talked me through the process of buying the firearm, the additional firearm license application, and the particular ammunition I should use for each particular type of shooting I planned on exploring, as well has taking my pre-order and allowing me to pay for the product in a number of instalments.
After sending in my license application, it was simply a waiting game before I could pick up my newest addition to my collection. That weekend we planned on taking the firearm to my shooting club for testing, so I bought a selection of ammunition to try out on the range, as well as a bulk package of 4Shot shotgun rounds. Additionally, I bought some cleaning equipment, and a travel bag for the new shotgun.
When I arrived back home, excitement got the better of me, and I opened up the packaging and proceeded to assemble my new Pardus LAX 12 lever action shotgun. Once finished, I spent an hour or so dry firing the firearm and working the action, hoping to loosen the components up a little and “break in” the action a little. This also allowed me to get a feel of the action and how it would function when on the range.
With a thorough cleaning done to clear the barrel and action of any excess oil and grease (used for storing the firearm for long periods of time), it was packed away in the safe until it was time to take it to the range for its first shots. So that weekend I packed up the car, and made the drive to the range for testing.
I arrived at about 9:30am, and set up a number of targets to use in our testing, with a friend arriving at about 10am. Having bought a variety of rounds to try, it was a simple choice of deciding what to try first. We had a bulk “slab” of 250 4shot rounds, a box of BB rounds, a box of MagnumBB rounds, and a few boxes of low recoil target loads (generally used for clay shooting). So after considering the options, I proceeded to load the magazine with 5 BB rounds. Being free to work the action via the lever, with the safety still engaged, meant I could chamber 1 round, leaving room to load a 6th into the magazine (5 + 1 capacity).
Shouldering the firearm with a solid shoulder placement, and a strong grip, I leant forward into the first shot, disengaged the safety, and squeezed the trigger softly. Having only ever fired a shotgun once before in my short life, I wasn’t quite prepared for how much kick the shot would put into my shoulder. Being BB rounds, I was expecting them to be a “lighter” recoil than I was told a 4 or 6shot round would be.
Nonetheless, the recoil was like wrangling an anaconda. I engaged the safety, and lowered the firearm. Looking to my friend (a regular shotgun shooter) all I could muster up was, “Wow, that’s a rough one”. Thinking more use would improve my conditioning to the recoil of the firearm, I proceeded to work the lever with a “flick of the wrist” forwards, and was immediately stopped by the spent round not ejecting from the ejection port on the right side of the receiver. Having done some extensive research prior to picking up my newest addition, this was a regular problem that a few new Pardus owners had come across. Much of the feedback that had been given to users of the Pardus was that the firearm was basically a farm gun, and should be treated as such. With comments such as, “Don’t be a Bit#h with the lever and you won’t have any problems”, fresh in my mind, I manually removed the spent casing, and pulled the lever back into the firing position.
To test the “Don’t be a Bit#h” theory, I then shouldered the Pardus yet again, and cycled the lever a number of times to eject the remaining 5 live rounds from the gun. Cycling the lever with quick strong movements, the Pardus had no issues whatsoever, and the theory was proven to be the only way to cycle the Pardus successfully. Loading the magazine again, with one round chambered, and 5 in the tube, I again shouldered the Pardus and proceeded to fire the entire capacity of the firearm in a semi-quick procession. Working the lever correctly, again there were no issues with ejection of the spend casings.
So we then decided to try the remainder of our ammunition selection, with no problems, besides one obvious “elephant in the room”.
The Pardus Marine version is made of a lightweight nickel plated alloy, with even lighter synthetic furniture attached. With a hollow plastic stock and a light plastic fore grip, additional to the lightweight nature of the receiver/action, the Pardus doesn’t really have much weight to absorb the recoil of a 12 gauge round. This is definitely felt during firing, and is the only major drawback in regards to the function of the firearm.
Being a farm gun, the Pardus is perfect in regards to weight, when having to carry the shotgun over long distances while hunting feral pest species, as well as the recoil being “endurable” when it comes to a smaller number of consecutive shots being made. Although when it comes to any type of range, or competition shooting, the consistent and regular firing of the Pardus can be quite painful for the operator due to its lightweight nature. The attached recoil pad isn’t much to be desired, as it seems to be quite solid, and doesn’t give any relief to the operators shoulder during use.
Modifications to the stock recoil pad could be made to give more recoil relief to the user, but in all honesty, an after marker recoil pad such as a well-supplied “Limbsaver” pad, would be the owners best option when it comes to gaining more recoil relief. When it comes to a multipurpose firearm such as the Pardus LAX 12 lever action shotgun in the 12 gauge calibre, the positive aspects outweigh any negatives I came across during testing.
The lightweight design, coupled with the simple and smooth action of the lever, when used correctly, makes the Pardus LAX 12 the perfect firearm for anyone exploring their options for their first shotgun. The price tag of my Pardus Marine is slightly higher than the base models at $1099, with the others coming in at a reasonable $945, but even so is a price I was willing to pay for a relatively well built 12 gauge lever action shotgun.
After testing, I would definitely recommend the Pardus LAX 12 to anyone in the market for a lever action shotgun.
Being suitable for hunting, as well as competition, the Pardus is a firearm that provides more bang for your buck (pardon the pun), when it comes to shooting options. With 12 gauge ammunition being relatively cheap compared to other calibres, especially when buying in bulk packaging, you will be able to use the Pardus on regular occasions without hurting the hip pocket.
That simply means you will have more opportunity to use the Pardus for a multitude of shooting scenarios.
(All words written and belong to Jake Bowman)