By Doug Howlett, Gun Digest
Whether talking home defense or ultimate survival gun, plenty of arguments can be made for the shotgun as the one type of firearm that will serve those purposes best. It also doesn’t hurt if it boasts a little visual intimidation factor and tactical attitude, something the Catamount Fury delivers in spades.
The Catamount Fury is a Chinese-made tactical shotgun imported by one of North America’s largest importers of surplus firearms, Florida-based Century International.
The Fury is a new offering by Century in 2013 and is similar in design to the popular (and pricier) Russian-made Saiga-12 (also imported by Century), a shotgun built on the even more popular and renowned AK-47 action, both guns operating in the same manner and assembling in much the same way—the parts obviously much bigger to accommodate 12-gauge sized loads rather than the AK’s 7.62x39mm.
The Fury is a gas-operated piston-driven semi-auto 12-gauge that is adjustable for both high brass and low brass ammo, meaning you can easily fire less expensive field loads for practice or practical use, but switch over to heavier-hitting magnum loads if the situation dictates and still get the gun to cycle as it must.
It is capable of handling both 2 ¾-inch and 3-inch shells and unlike any other semi-auto shotgun I’ve ever fired, most of them tube magazine fed, the Fury comes with two five-round detachable box magazines that slip into the bottom of the receiver in the same rolling fashion as an AK-47 magazine. It comes with a cylinder choke tube installed, along with a Full and Modified tube, and is designed for lead shot only.
The matte black composite straight stock offers a solid cheek weld for aiming down the notched rear and single-post front sight. A solid hold on the gun is enhanced by the checkered pistol grip of the stock and a narrow composite forearm with granular texturing to its feel. A rubber recoil pad mounted to the butt of the stock mitigates the kick a 12-gauge load can transfer to the shooter, particularly in frequent fire situations.
Both the design and overall weight of the Fury—8.7 pounds—make it stout without being cumbersome. For the possibility of lengthy carry or toting through the forest, I would recommend a quality sling, which the Fury is ready to accept with a threaded brass insert in the bottom of the stock and a front handguard rail that will accommodate a tactical sling attachment.
Additional features that round out the Fury is a side safety lever that prevents the gun from firing when rotated up to block the recoil of the bolt and all the way down to permit the locking open of the bolt. Enhancing the tactical nature of the Fury is the integrated Weaver-style rail along the top of the receiver, as well as the aforementioned rail mounted on the front bottom of the handguard.
The packaging of the Fury also includes a cleaning rod and brush that can easily packed in the field if needed. The modular nature of the gun allows it to break down in essentially seven main pieces (not counting the magazine) and it assembles and disassembles pretty easily once you have the system down.
Using a number of strategically placed target stands pasted with Birchwood Casey Shoot•N•C targets and loaded with Federal Vital Shok 3-inch No. 4 Buckshot, I moved down the line and shot targets at every distance between 7 yards and 40 yards. Even at the longer range and shooting through a Cylinder choke, I found the patterns to be sufficiently dense and even. At the closer distance, the pattern punched through the target about the size of a boxer’s fist.
Obviously, if regularly shooting at 30- or 40-yard distances or using heavier shot such as 00 Buck, I would recommend switching to the Modified tube and for even farther out, the Full. For most defensive situations, however, the Cylinder is more than ample, and if shooting standard slugs, you’ll definitely want the more open choke screwed in at the end of the barrel lest you could damage the gun and possibly injure yourself. That’s the case with any smoothbore shotgun with screw-in chokes.
As for the choke tubes themselves, my only beef was other than the Cylinder tube, I couldn’t find markings to distinguish what the others were, though it would be easy enough to shoot patterns through them at identical distances, determine which throws the tighter pattern and mark it, perhaps with a small notch on the outer edge. Perhaps this is something Century can address going forward.
Because the design of the gun is different from what many American shooters are used to, I’d love to see a little more detail in the manual explaining more fully the operation of the gun, such as the bolt release button (I had to figure that one out myself) and gas operating system.
I found the Catamount Fury an extremely fun gun to shoot and at a retail price of $600, it cost virtually less than half of what many semi-autos, tactical or otherwise, can be had for in today’s market. That alone is sure to attract an audience of gunowners looking for that scattergun that looks as tough as it shoots, the sight of which is often enough to send a threat scurrying away before the first shot ever has to be fired.
Century International Catamount Fury Specs
Receiver: Black anodized, detachable 5-round magazine fed
Chokes: Full, Modified, Cylinder
Stock: matte black composite
Overall Length: 42.5”
Weight: 8.7 lbs.
Options: two magazines, trigger lock, choke tube tool and cleaning rod and brush
Suggested Retail Price: $600
Editor’s note, this article originally appeared in the Dec. 16, 2013 edition of Gun Digest the Magazine. Be sure to take advantage of Gun Digest’s free downloads to learn all about Gun Values, AR-15 Optics, Glock Accessories and Concealed Carry Holsters.