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Santa Rosa Slinger

Charles Daly 512T Coach Gun: First Impressions and Sporting Clays

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The Charles Daly 512T seems to be relatively obscure compared to other hammerless coach guns in its price range such as the CZ Sharp-Tail. When you search for it, it's actually not easy to come across much besides Deuce Stevens' video review on Youtube, Captain George Baylor's article in the Cowboy Chronicle, and various posts/replies about it here on the SASS Wire. You can get a couple more hits by searching "Akkar Churchill 512 HD" (which is what it is called in Turkey, where the shotgun is manufactured) but many are not in English and don't necessarily show the gun how it is ultimately configured upon importation to the USA by Chiappa.

 

Despite that, after reading several positive recommendations about it and seeing a new one available for sale here on the SASS Wire last month, I bit the bullet and got one. Without even seeing (let alone handling) the gun in its stock setup, I had it sent to Doc Noper to be slicked up and he turned it around in just over a week. I just took delivery of the final product at my FFL on Friday. The resources I linked above were very helpful in convincing me that I might like the gun, but still somehow don't quite give it as much credit as it probably deserves.

 

The factory 20" barrels, interchangeable chokes, single selective mechanical trigger, manual safety, and lack of ejectors make it versatile but seemingly designed with cowboy action shooters in mind. The shotgun itself is quite light (5.68 lb on my scale) and the receiver is noticeably compact (just over 2" at its widest point behind the two barrels) which lends itself nicely to someone of shorter stature like me. It is balanced and points/swings nimbly. The pronounced pistol grip is comfortably contoured and brings the barrels up to my line of sight easily. The fit is solid and feels high-quality. I can best describe its design (box lock without any case coloring, engraving, scalloping, false side plates, etc.) and finish (walnut hardware, white receiver, blued barrels) as "plain but handsome." Simply put, I'm happy to report that it is actually even better than I expected.

 

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608024189_IMG_37302.thumb.jpg.30e757956331b2c2632059f42414f3fa.jpg   542986614_IMG_37312.thumb.jpg.db59ea7468685046d626e78b182e82a4.jpg

 

Some friends of mine wanted to bring me to shoot sporting clays with them that next day (Independence Day) since I'd never done it before, so I decided to use that opportunity to also try out the 512T for the first time. My buddies warned me ahead of time: "You've never shot sporting clays or that shotgun, and it's a 20" side-by-side? Good luck with that! Are you sure you don't want to use my shotgun?"

 

 

All things considered, I had a fun first time and hit just under 50% of the clays using the 512T exclusively. Its interchangeable chokes definitely came in handy to reach some of the farther targets, which was reassuring since that feature was one of the reasons why I picked the 512T over the CZ Sharp-Tail. Understandably, tight chokes won't be necessary for how close our shotgun targets are in typical CAS stages, so I'll likely stick to cylinder and improved cylinder for them unless there are other recommendations.

 

Doc Noper's action job is sublime, as expected, and I couldn't resist trying a couple of "speed stages" towards the end of our range day. (Any hangups were due to my inexperience, not the gun. :P) I look forward to getting more experience using the Charles Daly 512T as my main cowboy action shooting shotgun going forward!

 

Edit: I shared additional notes and photos after my first cowboy match with the 512T below, in this post.

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Nice review.  Keep us updated after your matches.

How many matches do you plan on shooting a month?

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May I suggest you submit the review to The Chronicle?  They need better articles.

thanks for the review, and congratulations to the gunsmith who didn't take six months ( sinister laughing for sarcastic effect)

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I also just received a 512T with an action job by Doc Noper. Shot it yesterday in a match. Great gun

 

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I have more of these on back order, I wish there was a more steady supply. I waited almost a year to get the two I sold. I’m glad they are working out, SKB’s & Browning BSS’s are getting hard to find and prices are reflected in scarcity.

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2 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Nicely presented evaluation :excl:

Thank you.....

OLG 

 

7 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

Nice review.  Keep us updated after your matches.

How many matches do you plan on shooting a month?

Thank you both, and I'll certainly let everyone know of any major updates after I start using it at CAS matches! In the first few months after I started doing CAS in December 2019, I was fortunate to attend a match (and sometimes even two) every weekend because of the number of clubs within reasonable driving distance from me. Currently, due to work and other scheduling conflicts, I will consider myself lucky and satisfied if I can attend 1–2 matches a month.

 

2 hours ago, T-Square said:

May I suggest you submit the review to The Chronicle?  They need better articles.

thanks for the review, and congratulations to the gunsmith who didn't take six months ( sinister laughing for sarcastic effect)

That's very flattering, thank you! I honestly hadn't even thought about it, especially given how new I am to CAS. Plus, George Baylor's article seemed recent enough and with a much more "professional" take on the shotgun than I could offer. However, if @Skinny or anybody else from the Cowboy Chronicle might find my perspective interesting, I'd be happy to submit it.

 

23 minutes ago, Uncle Ethan # 94321 said:

I also just received a 512T with an action job by Doc Noper. Shot it yesterday in a match. Great gun

 

I'm glad that you also enjoy it! I know that there are a handful of people here who also shoot them and love them, but I'm just surprised that the 512T hasn't yet gained quite the reputation (or at least publicity/marketing) as some of the other newer doubles.

 

Just now, John Barleycorn, SASS #76982 said:

I have more of these on back order, I wish there was a more steady supply. I waited almost a year to get the two I sold. I’m glad they are working out, SKB’s & Browning BSS’s are getting hard to find and prices are reflected in scarcity.

Thanks for the smooth transaction with mine! ^_^ Yes, here's hoping the supply holds out. I get the impression they were more prevalent even just a few years ago. The 512Ts definitely seem to be a reasonably-priced but capable alternative to the SKBs and BSSes from what you and everyone has said.

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I got a CD 512T about 2 weeks ago from Lassiter. Haven't shot it in a match yet, but the box of shells I put through it in practice was very promising. Good idea about the round of sporting clays, I might try that next week! By the way, for anybody interested, Lassiter had several of these slicked up and ready to go when I bought mine. A good buy for the price.

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I had Run N Iron get me a regular 512, cut the barrels off to 22 inches and do an action job, it doesn't have choke tubes, but I'm very pleased with it...

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On 7/5/2020 at 2:31 AM, Chief Rick said:

Keep us updated after your matches.

 

I used the Charles Daly 512T in a cowboy match for the first time today and had a blast. I'll be the first to admit that Doc Noper's action job makes this coach gun slicker than I can even work yet — so I'm certainly not using it to its full potential at the moment — but I'm still very pleased with the purchase and hope to "grow into it" over time. Here's a clip from today's match which demonstrates how Winchester AA shotshells practically jump out of the chambers themselves:

 

5APewPA.gif

 

I also wanted to share a few more photos that I took after I got home, along with some miscellaneous notes in case anybody else is curious.

 

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Left: The lever in the "closed" position. In addition to bending the end of the lever up and to the left to make it easier to reach with your thumb, Doc Noper also lightened its spring. He also lightened the main springs. While it is easier to open the action and cock the internal hammers, the gun requires a deliberate motion to open or close which is helpful when carrying the firearm vertically (e.g. muzzles-up to/from the loading and unloading tables) without the action closing unintentionally.

Right: The lever at the point where it actuates. Doc short-stroked the lever and re-timed the action so that it breaks open sooner and wider, respectively. The lever can still travel a few more millimeters to the right but it doesn't seem to have any additional function once the action is open. (The serial number is inscribed on the tang under the lever, but I edited mine out of these photos.)

 

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Left: Another angle, looking straight down the barrels. In addition to honing and chamfering the chambers, Doc also sculpted the extractor to be less intrusive, particularly at the 12 o'clock position.

Right: A view of the flush Rem® Chokes and factory brass bead. The Charles Daly website advertises that the 512T comes with five interchangeable chokes and even specifies SK/IC/M/IM/F, but mine actually came with a Cylinder choke instead of a Skeet choke. That worked out for me anyway since for cowboy action shooting, I already considered getting a Cylinder choke to put in the right barrel (which I typically fire first) and using the Improved Cylinder choke in the left barrel.

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Nice article SRS ... thks ..

I was curious what the LOP is on your 512 ...

It "looks" factory in the photos. 

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1 hour ago, Patagonia Pete said:

Nice article SRS ... thks ..

I was curious what the LOP is on your 512 ...

It "looks" factory in the photos. 

 

Thanks! I measured the LOP to be 14" including the recoil pad (which came like that from the factory as far as I'm aware).

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