TriStar Viper G2 T/W (Turkey/Waterfowl) Shotgun Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
May 7, 2011

TriStar Viper Shotgun Review

With today's economy, price and value are a big concern for many hunters and shooters and it is doubtful that the economy will pickup in the near future.  Because of this, there are many consumers taking their time to research their purchases so they can get the maximum value for their hard earned dollars. Luckily, TriStar, "The Value ExpertsTM", are here to help.  TriStar Sporting Arms, Ltd. (TriStar) is an importer of shotguns made in Turkey. As I was looking over the shotguns offered by TriStar, I came across the TriStar Viper G2 T/W (Turkey/Waterfowl) Shotgun.  From a value seeker's perspective, there were three things that really stood out about this shotgun.  The first was the attractive camo exterior of the shotgun.  The second was the dual length barrel configuration (24" and 28" with the 4" barrel extension installed) which easily allows the gun to do double duty in the field and the shorter barrel length also brings this shotgun closer to a home defense configuration.  The last thing that stood out was price.  This shotgun is a 12 gauge 3" semi-automatic with an MSRP of $580.  If you do a quick search on the web, you can find it online for about $480.  Considering that you can easily spend double that (or more) on a good semi-automatic shotgun, if this TriStar Viper G2 TW is a good shotgun, then it has to be a great value. 

Even though this review is of the TriStar Viper G2 T/W shotgun, you could consider this to be a general review of the basic Viper G2 semi-automatic shotgun platform.  The G2 in the name of this model (Viper G2) stands for 2nd Generation.  I have not reviewed the original Viper, but generally speaking, when a manufacturer comes out with a 2nd generation model, it is clearly a step up from the first.

 

The following text in colored italics was taken directly from the TriStar website on 4/20/11 and gives an Overview, Standard Features, and Specifications for the Viper G2 TW (Turkey/Waterfowl) Shotgun.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Overview

  • Whether you are heading to the blind or the field, TriStar Camo Patterned shotguns will enhance your hunt.
  • Reliable, smooth and extremely durable, TriStar has the hunter in mind.
  • Camo Shotguns come with a Fiber Optic Sight for better target acquisition.
  • Semi-Automatics come with 3 chokes (IC, M, F).
  • Affordable , durable and extremely hardworking.
  • As with all TriStar Guns backed with a confident FIVE YEAR WARRANTY. The instruction manual is outdated so refer to the TriStar website for details.

Standard Features

  • Manual E-Z Load Magazine Cut Off
  • Vent Rib with Matted Sight Plane
  • Fiber Optic Front Sight
  • 5 Round Magazine - Shot Plug Included 5 rounds in the magazine with 2.75" shells, 4 rounds with 3" shells, and only two rounds of either in the magazine with the plug installed
  • Chrome-lined Chamber and Barrel
  • Soft Touch on all Synthetic Models

Specifications

  • Item No.: 24120
  • Gauge: 12 gauge
  • Chamber: 3"
  • Barrel: 24" Barrel with a 4" barrel extension
  • 3 Choke Tubes (IC, M, F)
  • Stock Dimensions: 1.5" x 2.5" x 14.25"
  • Average Weight: 6.6 lbs. The shotgun I reviewed weighed in at 6.88 pounds without the 4" extension and 7.1 pounds with the extension.
  • MSRP (Buy Now): $580 Online price is about $480ish

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in the other sections of the review which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide for yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • I think you would have to agree that this shotgun is a great value considering what you get (camo overlaid 12 gauge 3" semi-automatic) and how it performed at the range.  Clearly value is the #1 pro.
  • Dual role capability (maybe tri role) - With the 24" and 28" barrel length capability in one purchase it does cover two roles.  With the 5 shot magazine and 24" barrel, this shotgun starts to approach a home defense configuration.
  • Performance - The shotgun cycled through 200+ rounds without a problem.
  • Fit & Finish - The Viper G2 action was smooth and the overall fit and finish of the parts was good.
  • Accepts aftermarket chokes.

Cons:

  • The 4" barrel extension seems to have a manufacturing issue on the finish inside the barrel extension, but this did not have any noticeable impact on the performance of the shotgun.  I reported this to TriStar and they may correct this for future shotguns.

 

Bottom Line:

I'm always excited and amazed by products that give the same look, feel and function as products 2 and 3 times their price.  This TriStar Viper G2 Turkey/Waterfowl Shotgun is one of those products.  With only 200+ rounds through the shotgun, I have in no way evaluated the durability of the shotgun, but I do have a good idea on how it feels, operates and "out of the box" reliability.  All were excellent.  The only issue I found was the  finish on the inside of the 4" barrel extension, but this had no effect on the function of the shotgun.  Would I recommend this shotgun? With everything I know as of today, most definitely yes.  In general I'm a very value minded person and try to do my research before making a purchase, which is probably the same reason you are reading this review.  There are three things you need to consider about the TriStar Viper G2.  The first is all the details I have covered in this review.  Study the photos and see for yourself the fit & finish of the shotgun.  The seconds is TriStar's 5 year warranty (make sure you always read the fine print).  Five years is a long time and a lot of shells to find any problem with a shotgun.  The third is your wallet.  If you're in the market for a shotgun or just checking out the racks at your local gun store, make sure you at least take a look at the TriStar Viper G2.


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