Pointer pulls no punches
As Ben Unten discovered, this straight-pull shotgun has several applications
I was looking forward to reviewing the Pointer straight-pull shotgun and it didn’t disappoint, impressing me as soon as I opened the box. It’s not at all what a traditional shotgun looks like with its synthetic stock, adjustable cheekpiece and enlarged thumbhole – but I couldn’t wait to put it through its paces.
The Model WS500 is a Turkish-made 12-gauge shotgun with a 4+1 tubular magazine which features a red follower to indicate when the magazine is empty. It has a 76mm (3″) chamber behind a 508mm (20″) barrel, comes with a fibre optic-type red front sight and a ghost ring on a Picatinny rail at the rear. While this isn’t traditional for shotguns, as a long-time rifle shooter I found acquiring the sight picture extremely easy with this set-up. The green anodised action is slotted to accommodate the black straight-pull bolt handle which features a Z-type offset, allowing it to be more easily reached by the shooter (the bolt handle is removable and can be reinstalled for left-handed use).
The supplied choke is an interesting configuration. The Pointer is equipped with a cylinder ported choke and what that means is it’s an extended choke with integral muzzle brake fixed to the front end. The Pointer muzzle has a Beretta Mobil choke thread pattern, making it easy to find a variety of alternative chokes that will also fit. This shotgun has a two-position safety and the butt comes fitted with a recoil pad with four spacers which can be individually removed if required to shorten the length of pull. The Pointer weighs approximately 3.2kg unloaded.
In the field
This shotgun swings easily due to its shorter barrel length and the straight-pull bolt-action comfortably handled all number of shells during field testing as the ejectors spat out spent shells smoothly. The Z-type bolt handle is easily accessible without having to remove the shotgun from your shoulder meaning that, depending on how good you are, your sight picture can be more or less maintained while the action is cycled for rapid follow-up shots.
For my two-bob’s worth the bolt handle design delicately rides the line between being large enough to ensure positive grip and comfortable to use, without being oversized and likely to ‘catch’ on things. It’s also easy to check the firearm is unloaded once off your shoulder by inverting your right hand to grasp the bolt and pull the action open. A further benefit of being able to change the bolt handle side without needing tools is shooters can configure the shotgun to work the action with either their trigger (rearward) hand or forward hand, depending on preference.
The muzzle brake does reduce recoil by a small-to-moderate degree and increases muzzle blast by a similar percentage. The adjustable cheekpiece means it’s quick and easy to set up for individual shooters but also comes with a brilliant additional feature: this type of shotgun really lends itself to a simple red-dot or low-powered scope for a variety of hunting applications. The Picatinny rail means the scope can be mounted via the rail and adjustable cheekpiece set to the correct height to allow for the adjusted eyeline. However, the genius of this set-up is that if something was to go wrong with the scope it could be removed, the cheekpiece lowered and open sights used with a minimum of fuss.
Although I love timber, if I’m being honest I actually prefer synthetic stocks on my field guns (let criticism from the purists begin) as their durability in all types of weather speaks for itself. There’s something about the oversized thumbhole and pistol grip which, aside from looking cool, is comfortable and intuitive to use. It did take a little while to become accustomed to the loading sequence for the 4+1 magazine but any glitches during loading were directly attributable to operator-error.
The ghost ring sight is clearly labelled and was quick and easy to adjust so I had the Pointer patterning spot-on at 25m. This turned out to be lucky for me as I had the Pointer close by when the family yelled: “Fox in the front paddock!” I grabbed the shotgun and a handful of shells and headed out front where I was fortunate enough to manoeuvre in to around 25m of the prowling cub. Confident of the distance and the Pointer’s ability I shouldered the shotgun, aligned the sights and pulled the trigger. The Pointer barked as the cub spun once and went down for the count – extremely satisfying.
There’s little not to like about this shotgun. Not that I ever rely on them but the safety is tucked just in front of the pistol grip and is fiddly to use. Also, it does have a red tell-tale indicator but this can only be seen if you roll the gun over so I’d prefer it to be more visible, making it easier to confirm the safety has been engaged. The Pointer doesn’t come with a rear swivel but I’m confident an aftermarket one could be fitted.
Like me, the Pointer WS500 straight-pull is unlikely to win any beauty contests. Also like me, it’s unlikely to care one bit. This firearm is impressive to use in the field and whether chasing pigs in the thick stuff or maximising feral pest control, the rapid follow-up shot capabilities of this shotgun, coupled with its reasonable price point, should suit you down to the ground. The Pointer straight-pull retails for around $700, comes with a five-year warranty and is available from most good gunshops. Visit www.osaaustralia.com.au for more.