Go with the Pro
ATA’s 12-gauge shotgun made Paul Miller a happy man
Turkish firm ATA builds a huge range of affordable firearms, producing a wide array of shotguns from reasonably basic over-and-under models and self-loaders to quite elaborately engraved side-plated versions. They also make sporting bolt-action rifles including a long range option as well as an impressive-looking air rifle.
But the shotgun we’re looking at here is their 12-gauge competition model and from the outset I must say it performed extremely well and punched above its very reasonable recommended retail price. Some years ago we reviewed an ATA 20-gauge over-and-under which also performed admirably and was lots of fun in that smaller but most capable gauge.
Stock and fore-end
The 32” Pro 12 features a Grade 2 walnut sporting stock with dimensions of 1.5” and 2.4” which is pretty low nowadays and more in line with the dimensions of classic American field stocks. It measures 14.37” (365mm) which is a tad short to my mind but was nevertheless comfortable to shoot. There’s minimal cast for right-handers and these are dimensions which suit people with long necks and encourage a comfortable upright head position and for many people are less tiring to shoot.
For those who prefer a higher comb or ability to change the gun’s point of impact to higher shooting then this stock can easily be adapted via the adjustable comb installed at the factory, the mechanism pretty basic compared to many others out there but simple to adjust, does the job perfectly and certainly appears robust.
The stock and fore-end are laser engraved with a colour and figure of walnut which is most pleasing. The fore-end has a push-button release under the barrels like the English Anson & Deeley system with disassembly and lock-up being positive, the fairly full semi beavertail/sporting fore-end again reminiscent of the Beretta 686 series and comfortable in the forehand.
The stock is nicely contoured and pistol grip full enough for a competition gun so it aligns the trigger finger with the trigger to ensure consistency of pull. The recoil pad is reminiscent of the excellent US Pachmayer Decelerator sporting pad with a black plastic tip at the heel to avoid hang-ups when mounting the gun, the rubber compound also similar and does an excellent job of absorbing recoil.
This gun is available with 30” or 32” chrome-lined barrels and 3” chambers, the one on review here being the 32” model. I’ll say up front I’m a real fan of longer barrels for Sporting Clays so long as they’re not too heavy or the shooter too short or not strong enough to handle them effectively. I find longer barrels steadier to shoot and for some reason they seem to require less perceived lead on longer targets, which is hard to explain with only a slightly longer sighting radius and essentially the same sight picture as 30” barrelled guns. We’ll put it down to one of life’s little shotgunning mysteries and get on with the business of looking hard at every target in flight and having the courage to pull the trigger when your brain tells you.
The barrels are nicely blued and the 10mm wide rib ventilated and with a red fore-sight to assist in pointing the gun (the ribs between the barrels are also ventilated). Three colour-coded chokes are supplied with this gun in quarter, half and three-quarter and are more than adequate for 95 per cent of Sporting targets, while the Skeet targets I shot with the two more open chokes were destroyed as you might imagine with my favourite 1250fps 28g of No.8 shot.
This is milled from a solid piece of steel and looks remarkably like the earlier 686 Beretta. There seems to be a suggestion these guns are an exact copy of the Beretta when its patents ran out after 30 years but without becoming too technical there are more than a few subtle differences between this gun and the 686 Beretta we previously reviewed recently – not badge engineered so we’ll just say ‘similar’.
The silver steel action is smartly adorned with ‘Pro 12’ in an upward swirl (dare I say) rather like a shortened version of that on the prestigious Beretta DT11 so I’ll leave readers to draw their own conclusions as I’ve heard it said imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Again, not the same but very similar.
The triggers are selector are pleasant to use, breaking at around 4lb each. The combined safety and barrel selector is tang-mounted as you might expect and worked perfectly, lock-up achieved by two bolts into recesses centered on either side between the barrels. Another nice touch is jewelling on both sides of the chambers, something usually only found on more expensive shotguns and pleasing to the eye.
For all the talk of this gun looking like a Beretta I have to say it also felt like a Beretta and handled every bit as well as the 20-gauge we assessed a few years ago. I was pleased to learn I was being sent the 32” version and wasn’t disappointed when I put it together and gave it an initial ‘living room’ swing.
On the Skeet range it handled just the way I like a long-barrelled gun to do, smooth and precise with targets destroyed. Covid complications meant I couldn’t try it on Sporting Clays but I’ve no doubt it would handle these equally as well. My friends thoroughly enjoyed shooting it – one of them owns the 30” Pro 12 and shoots some of the best Skeet and 5-Stand Sporting scores at our club.
The price point of this gun is pretty remarkable considering its features, handling and little extras like jewelling and excellent bluing. It’s certainly an economical competition sporting shotgun and would be ideal as a first or second choice that would last a lot longer than an entry level gun. It comes with a smart soft case of industrial foam inner and suede leather outer. I thoroughly enjoyed shooting it and appreciated its feel and balance – highly recommended.
Manufacturer: ATA Arms Turkey
Model: ATA Pro 32”
Gauge: 12-gauge, 3” chambers
Action: Box-lock inertia cocking
Trigger: Single selective, tang safety
Barrel length: 32” with 3” chambers
Chokes: Three colour-coded extended in quarter, half and three-quarter.
Stock and Fore-end: Walnut (Grade 2) with satin finish, full pistol grip and rounded beavertail fore-end.
Stock dimensions: 38mm at comb and 55mm at heel, cast 3.5mm for right-handers, 14.5” length of pull
Weight: Just under 8lb (3.7kg)
Accessories: Choke wrench, instruction manual
RRP: About $1850 but shop around