Retay Masai Mara Semi Auto 12ga Shotgun ReviewOct 19, 2023
Today we're finally getting around to one of the highest requested shotguns for review on the channel - The Masai Mara by Retay. This is a super sharp shotgun that falls into that modern semi-auto inertia category. Retay is gaining traction in the corner of the market that Benelli has dominated. We were super excited to see if the Masai Mara can run with the big dogs. Today we're going to be diving in deep and seeing if this is a gun that may be a good fit for you!
If you have experience with Retay Shotguns please let us know on the TFL COMMUNITY!
The Masai Mara comes with a lot of unique and modern features. It's more tailored towards waterfowl hunting but could certainly be a great all-around gun too. Retay's marketing materials say that this gun is "packed with features that make it go bang every time" - to that we will see! They also claim that the Masai Mara features make it the most field-service-friendly shotgun.
RETAY MASAI MARA 12 GAUGE
- This is a 12-gauge "inertia plus" system (20ga available)
- This inertia system is unique as it has a spring loaded battery lock meaning that if you have a shell in the chamber, no matter how softly you close the bolt, its spring action will always keep the the bolt in battery.
- MSRP: $1,669 in this "bold" series (which means it is Cerakoted)
- All 12ga models are 3 1/2" chambers - not our preference
- The length of pull is 14 3/8" - Word on the street is that Retay will soon be adding a way to adjust the length of pull.
- Drop at comb, heel, and cast is adjustable with shims/spacers - This one is set up with 1 1/2" comb drop, and 2" heel drop.
- We appreciate that Retay has put a bit of effort into their manual, and kit when you get the gun to help get it properly fit for you.
- 28" barrel
- 7lbs 6.4oz
- 5lbs 4oz average trigger pull weight
- This Retay has a 'microcell' recoil pad - It has a little bit of give but not much - A FalconStrike would be a nice addition to this shotgun
- Standard polymer stock
- Unique straight-line texturing on the grips (pistol and forend)
- Moderately sized trigger
- Cross-bolt safety is rear mounted and kind of small
- One of Retay's proudest features is a trigger group that can pop out with a single button located on the bottom. With this newer gun, it was a bit difficult to get used to but the trigger did indeed come out as one piece independently. This makes the Masai Mara extremely serviceable in the field.
- The bolt handle and bolt release are just fantastic with great tolerances
- The loading port is milled out too!
- Another modern feature of this Retay is its unload feature. If you have shells in your magazine, you'd typically have to remove them via the chamber. With this design, if you pinch and pull the tab-like bolt release away from the gun, the shells will come out through the loading port. Super slick!
- This has a flat hunting-style rib that is swamped over the receiver
- This Retay comes with 5 flush mount chokes - Looking for aftermarket chokes? Check out Carlson's Chokes
- Balance-wise, it seems to be a bit rear-leaning due to the lack of components in the forend (inertia)
- The biggest issue we experienced was the backward grip angle that made it hard to get on the trigger without the trigger finger rubbing on the receiver.
Recoil and Reliability
- Our experience during this test, and even shooting it off camera have confirmed that the Masai Mara can indeed hit clays well!
- From what we could tell, the recoil of target loads through this gun was a bit more than we expected (with 1 1/8oz target loads)
- With that said, this 3 1/2-inch chamber didn't have any trouble cycling these lighter loads so that's a plus! (except for when we shot it upside down)
- As they advertised, the bold never came out of battery.
- Federal black cloud shot just fine from the shoulder and over the head
- If you can speak to the reliability of a Retay Masai Mara please let us know how it's held up on the TFL COMMUNITY!
Breakdown/Quality of Build
- The top half of the receiver is integrated with the barrel. Just might be one of the easier guns to break down
- For total breakdown is literally 3 steps: Forend/barrel, bolt, and trigger group. It's THAT simple
- Another quality factor that Retay promotes is its deep-bore-drilled barrels. This is essentially the process of taking a piece of solid steel and drilling all the way through vs hammer forging which creates stress and irregularities. Their claim is that opting out of a hammer-forged barrel will result in a straighter barrel that shoots more true. We actually tested this on paper against a competitor's gun to see the results for ourselves.
- Although you won't be trying to shoot down 3 birds as fast as possible, we like to see how fast we can get on target with every gun we review. This sheds light on the overall functionality of the shotgun, testing how well it instinctively mounts, how reactive the trigger is, and how the gun feels overall.
- As we ran this Masai Mara through the speed test, the obvious downsides of a 3 1/2 inch inertia began to show. In the field, you're not going to have a problem. But trying to shoot this big bolt with no gas system to help it cycle took a bit more time than we'd like to see between shots, resulting in slower split times than usual. (usually looking for .16-.19 splits)
- With this Retay we consistently saw .23, .24 splits, with our fastest time being a 1.15 (which is not fast but it is fast enough)
In conclusion, this Retay Masai Mara is a well-built gun, that feels and shoots very good and is certainly packed with unique features. We really liked the overall design and build of this gun, and think it can certainly compete in its modern inertia-gun corner of the market. If we were to use this gun for its intended purpose of waterfowl hunting and shooting bigger loads, we'd definitely put a FalconStrike on it to mitigate some of that felt recoil. Gun fit could also play into the felt recoil so we're stoked to hear that Retay will soon offer shims for length of pull. The breakdown of this shotgun is most definitely a highlight.
Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on, so live the #targetfocusedlife
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