Spandau Arms S2 Review: Field Testing a $500 Semi-Auto Duck Gun
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Depending on your tastes, shotgun prices can run sky high — but you don’t need to drop a paycheck (or a couple of them) to drop ducks. In the spirit of affordability, I went duck and dove hunting with Spandau Arms to test out their first semi-automatic shotgun: the Spandau Arms S2. This inertia-driven scatter proved to bring decent reliability and performance at a bargain-bin price.
Spandau Arms S2 Specs and Key Features
- Gauge: 12
- Action: Semi-automatic (inertia-driven)
- Barrel Length: 24 or 28 inches
- Overall Length: 44.5 or 48.5 inches
- Weight: 6.2 or 6.5 pounds
- Front Sight: Fiber optic
- Price: $400 (black), $500 (Realtree APX and MAX-7)
The S2 is the first semi-automatic from Spandau Shotguns, a division of SDS Imports. It’s manufactured in Turkey which keeps these shotguns affordable. Quality is maintained by a boots-on-the-ground Spandau engineer. One miss in the reliability department is the grip cap; mine fell off during the first hunt and is likely still sitting in the swamp grass somewhere.
I put about three boxes of shells though the S2 and didn’t have any issues with feeding, cycling, or ejection. The S2 comes in four configurations: two turkey guns, one waterfowl, and one upland. The two turkey guns come in 24-inch barrels and the waterfowl and upland versions come in 28-inch barrels.
Luckily for turkey hunters looking to grab their gun and go, the Spandau Arms S2 will start shipping in April, just in time for most turkey seasons. It ships with five chokes, a plug, and a lock in the box. The S2 also accepts Benelli’s pattern extensions and choke tubes.
The enlarged loading gate and easy to operate controls make this gun simple and efficient to use even when you’re gloved up in cold weather. The textured grip keeps you in control in wet and slimy conditions.
I also appreciated the fiber optic front sight, which was easy to spot in low light conditions.
Testing the Spandau Arms S2 in the Field
I wasn’t tender with the S2 as I mucked through some mud and wet grass toward the bow of the boat that was barely-there in the morning moonlight. The synthetic stock comes in black, Realtree APX, and Realtree Max, which means it’s great at hiding dirt, and easy to clean off. It was late September in Louisiana so I didn’t bother with gloves, but the loading gate’s extra space meant I wasn’t pinching my fingers to lodge three shells of Hevi-XII into the magazine tube in the low light either.
Less than a minute after the guide threw out the decoys, a gullible bird landed among his fake friends. Though a bit long for my frame, I was able to shoulder the S2 quickly and line up behind the red fiber optic bead to make an easy shot.
After getting my first-duck jitters out of the way, I was able to bag my first doves and more waterfowl during my time at the plush yet rustic Honey Brake Lodge, located in Jonesville, Louisiana. I realize that one of the finest duck lodges in the country is an odd place to test a bargain semi-auto, but I figured if the shotgun can fit in here, it can fit in anywhere. Easy to acquire, assemble, and shoot, the S2 is a simple solution to getting after game. It’s sturdy, yet not too heavy to lug around or shoulder continuously for clays.
I took the trusty S2 for a round of shooting clays in between hunts; it felt manageable and I didn’t have any issues besides my own aim. When it was time to take down some doves, the S2 performed admirably once again, firing Federal’s HOA target loads.
What the Spandau Arms S2 Does Best
The S2 is an affordable, no frills shotgun that will get you afield fast. The fiber optic sight is a great feature for birds arriving just as shooting light breaks. I also enjoyed the easy to use controls and expanded loading gate for loading in dim light.
Where the Spandau Arms S2 Can Improve
While this gun certainly grounded some doves and ducks for me, the fit was ultimately wrong for my 5-foot, 7-inch female frame. The length of pull was too long and it took some adjusting to shoot accurately. A larger-bodied shooter might have better luck. While the semi-automatic offers a lighter recoil than Spandau’s break actions, I was still wincing on the latter half of the sporting clay’s course because of the gun’s less-than-optimal fit. Hunters in my group continued to return to the lodge without their grip caps, indicating that mine falling off wasn’t a fluke and it likely needs a stronger connection. This brings into question the overall quality of the gun’s build. Will this gun survive a season of serious duck hunting in wet, frigid, muddy conditions? Only time will tell. But hey, it’s a $500 Turkish-made shotgun, you get what you pay for.
Read Next: Best Affordable Pump-Action Shotguns
If you’re anxious to get hunting and want a budget gun that performs reliably, this is a solid option. Women, however, might struggle with the out-of-box fit.
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