Weatherby PA-459 12 Gauge

A 21st century scattergun designed from the ground up for tactical operations!

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The PA-459 from Weatherby offers LE operators a fully tricked-out tactical shotgun for a very reasonable price. It is shown fitted out with a Viking Tactical SPARC red dot sight and a SureFire X400 light/laser WeaponLight.

Although the patrol rifle has been gaining significant ground in law enforcement circles in recent years, the tried-and-true pump-action 12 gauge shotgun is still an important police weapon. This is due in no small part to its many strengths, 
including staggering stopping power and the good old-fashioned intimidation factor of that roughly .70 caliber gaping maw of a muzzle pointing in someone’s direction.

Another element that makes the pump-action shotgun such a highly capable LE tool is its ability to fire specialty loadings such as beanbag, rubber buckshot, OC tear gas, and marking rounds, to name just a few. As a result, with a simple ammo change, the LE operator has access to one gun capable of performing both lethal and less-lethal roles.

That being said, the plain-jane pump-action shotgun regularly seen in cruisers for the past five or more decades is arguably getting a bit long in the tooth, in many cases sporting traditional wooden stocks, polished blue finishes and simple bead sights.

However, the modern tactical shotgun has been receiving a bit of a makeover in recent years. With the widespread use of synthetic stocks, ghost ring sighting systems and radically enhanced ergonomics, the modern LE scattergun bears little resemblance to its older siblings.

An excellent example of this new style of tactical shotgun is from a somewhat surprising source—Weatherby. Although this name is undoubtedly familiar to many, it is most likely associated with the company’s history of producing ultra-high-powered hunting rifles. However, the company has recently been making moves into the tactical market with a line of precision tactical rifles and now the subject of this article, the PA-459 12 gauge shotgun.

Weatherby makes it clear from the get-go that this shotgun means business. The PA-459 model designation of the shotgun refers to California’s Penal Code 459, which covers “burglarly in progress.” And the shotgun has more than simply its name going for it, featuring an ultra-modern all-black look, a full set of tactical enhancements and cutting-edge design cues.

I recently had an opportunity to test one of the new 12 gauge PA-459 shotguns for myself. Although it is the company’s first tactical-style shotgun, it shares some ties with the company’s more traditional sporting line. In fact, the same company that produces its popular SA-08 semi-automatic sporting shotgun manufactures the PA-459 in Turkey for Weatherby.

As is often the case with Turkish-made firearms, the PA-459 exhibits robust construction and obvious attention to quality control. It also shares another common characteristics with Turkish arms—an extremely reasonable price point. Despite its full complement of enhancements and features, the PA-459 is priced at $469.

The PA-459 is a handy shotgun with excellent ergonomics. It is chambered for 3-inch 12 gauge shells and has a capacity of 5+1 with 2¾-inch shells or 4+1 with 3-inch shells in its tubular magazine. Controls of the shotgun are simple, made up of a crossbolt-style safety located behind the trigger and a large, crosshatched slide lock lever located on the forward face the triggerguard.

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The author fitted out a SureFire X400 combo light/laser unit on the forend’s integral accessory rail.

The fit and finish of the gun is excellent. The shotgun features a polymer stock set that has a matte black tone and exhibits very clean seams and molding marks, as well as a cleanly fit rubber recoil pad. The matte-black finish of the metal parts was equally attractive and well done.

The receiver of the shotgun is anodized aluminum alloy, contributing to the shotgun’s light weight of 6.5 pounds. The steel barrel of the shotgun is chrome lined, and the triggerguard is of lightweight polymer. The overall length of the shotgun is 40 inches.

To reduce the risk of the action binding, the PA-459 employs twin action bars. Both of the robust bars, each of which measure 0.25 of an inch tall and 0.13 of an inch thick, are combined into a rectangular-shaped single plate unit roughly 9.5 inches long that is mounted directly into the forend.

The PA-459’s barrel is 18 inches long and topped off with an extended choke tube that protrudes roughly 1-inch, bringing the overall barrel length to 19 inches. Sharing the Beretta/Benelili thread pattern, the choke tube included with the gun features a cylinder bore choke (no constriction) and two rows of circumferential cylindrical ports. Interestingly, the choke also features “birdcage-style” recesses in it that are not machined through.

The stock of the PA-459 is a well-designed pistol-gripped unit with a 1-inch-thick non-ventilated recoil pad and a very comfortable rubberized pistol grip sleeve. The sleeve sports a generous beavertail grip extension where it meets the body of the stock and horizontal grooves on its rear face. A slight “bump” of the front of the sleeve acts as a very broad fingergroove. To accommodate smaller-statured LE officers or those wearing body armor, the PA-459’s stock has a short 13.5-inch length of pull.

Matching the buttstock of the PA-459 is an equally impressive forend of black polymer. Although it is a pump action, the forend of the shotgun extends fully back to the forward portion of the receiver and measures 11.5 inches in length, giving it the appearance of a semi-automatic forend. This offers the advantage of increased purchase area for the shooter’s support hand and added protection for the steel magazine tube. The forend features deep grasping grooves its whole length.

A particularly interesting feature of the forend is an integral strip of Picatinny rail molded directly in to the bottom forward face of the forend. In this day of accessorizing weapon systems with lights and lasers, this is an extremely welcome feature. The strip measures roughly 2.75 inches long.

To enhance the shooting characteristics of the PA-459, the shotgun comes equipped from the factory with both a set of excellent ghost ring sights as well as a strip of Picatinny rail for equipping an optic. The Picatinny rail is manufactured from aluminum with a matte gray anodized finish and measures roughly 5.75 inches long.

Attached to the rail is a heavy-duty ghost ring rear sight assembly also of aluminum. The sight features thick protective wings that are 0.13 of an inch thick each, and the unit is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. Elevation adjustments are made with a Phillips head screw located on the top face of the sight. Windage adjustments are made with a small slotted screw accessible through a slot cut in the right wing of the sight. The sight assembly is affixed to the rail through a large knurled screw on the left side of the sight.


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  • Matt R,

    Great Article, Just picked one up and It is the most comfortable shotgun I own. One question, What mag tube extensions fit on this?

  • Joe Darlington

    I bought one recently and shot it last weekend. The handling is great, as are the sights, but I wish the trigger were positioned just a bit farther forward in the trigger guard, like the Mossberg M500.
    Loaded with 3-inch magnum slugs, this lightweight gun kicks like a mule, but I would have no qualms about lurking around bear country slinging this thing. It’s a beast!

  • Steve M

    Did you find out what extensions will fit?

  • john hayes

    I bought the PA 459 last week. Initially I loved the weatherby name and I figured the product would be good.

    The front sight came loose on the front of the barrel. I tried to tighten it and found the threads were buggered up. I broke two flat head tips trying to adjust the adjustment screw. So I wind up drilling it out and calling Weatherby.

    No aftermarket parts right now that I can find.
    The front sight and screw come together for 17.00 and are not available yet. I am first on the list to get one as they come in. No big problem. I take the sights off and use a red dot scope for now until the parts come in.

    I asked the lady at parts about another barrel. They are 211.00 each and are a restricted item. You must send the gun to Weatherby so they can check head clearance, then they give you an new barrel and your old one.
    Not a good thing at all. I can see 2 weeks to a month down time. Shipping to California round trip and the barrel plus labor equals another gun almost.

    I can imagine what happens if you buy a used barrel and install it yourself without having to check HEAD CLEARANCE.

    I can see a serious issue here up the road. I have interchanged barrels so much on the Mossberg and Remington. Never a problem. Thanks Weatherby. You made me realize how great it is to be able to help myself and have some thing ready in one day to two. Such as a barrel change over.

  • BFF

    Just put my first 400 rounds through the gun. 50 buck, 20 slugs, rest 7.5. Love the gun but the buttstock came loose, twice! And the front site came lose as the person earlier mentioned. I am headed to the gunsmith this week. Hopefully some lock tight ont the stock screws and hopefully they can figure out the front site. I tried to tighten it but felt like the screw was snug already and didn’t,
    Want to strip it.

  • BC Bob

    Just me and this old betty ran clean through bulletproof glass from eight feet after a fiver of 00 Buck. This shotgun was my Christmas present from my father in law. What a piece of hardware, pleasant to hold, fire, clean and with the digi camo print it is slightly bad ass. Plenty intimidating for my daughter’s new boyfriend.

  • Phil

    Matt and Steve:

    The thread pattern on the magazine cap is the same as what’s used on the Benelli Nova, so mag extensions made for the Nova will fit (TacStar makes a +2, there may be others.)

    The problem is, on this shotgun, the end of the magazine tube is crimped–which would not allow shells into your extension. You will have to file or dremel off about 1/8″ from the end of the tube, until it’s straight. It’s not difficult, just go slow. I recommend taping off the threads.

  • mike

    Mine required no mods to install a tac star 2 round extension and holds 7 rounds of 3 inch shells . There was no crimp on the tube.