Stevens 320 Review – All You Need to Know
If the Stevens 320 shotgun looks familiar to you, it should. It is an unashamed and freely admitted copy of the venerable Winchester 1300 shotgun. High on the list of “guns I wish I’d never sold” my 1300 was as basic and solid a pump shotgun as I’d ever owned.
Needless to say, when the Stevens 320 hit the market, I was crazy excited. Here was a gun based off of that grand old classic, but with a seemingly never ending array of options and configurations. At last count, Savage-Stevens has over a half dozen different variations, ranging from dedicated combat ready shotguns to models suitable for hunting and sport shooting.
Most Stevens 320 shotguns are designed with home defense in mind, and come configured either with a traditional looking polymer stock or a tactical model with buttstock and pistol grip that is reminiscent of the AR-15. They are available with or without ghost ring sights, and two 20 gauge models are also available.
One of the best things about the 320 is it’s almost unbelievable low price. With an MSRP as low as $276, there is little reason not to be looking at this fine gun. While some may dismiss “Made in China” as proof of something being junk, the reality is that China has some of the most modern and state of the art manufacturing facilities anywhere on the planet, and this as much as lower labor costs helps drive affordable priced products, and the Stevens 320 is no exception. Built with exacting standards and high quality materials, this is a fine entry to mid level shotgun.
Handling the 320 is like handling a modernized, updated Winchester 1300. The dual locking bars make each cycling of the action feel strong and firm, while the addition of a pistol grip stock and ghost rings, make it very plain that this shotgun is all about business.
And speaking of being all about business, rare is the gun that is out of the box ready for whatever use you may have for it. The Stevens 320 is a fantastic gun, and yes, it is out of the box ready if you want a bone stock gun. For some that is fine, for others, it is simply a start. I like to add a few carefully selected extras to my guns, and these are a few of my favorites.
Let There Be Light
There is little point in having a self defense shotgun if you don’t put some sort of light on it, and there are none better than those made by Streamlight.
There are a great many options, including those with strobe functions, lasers and varying degrees of brightness. Pair with a rail adapter that will give you a Picatinny rail on your magazine tube, and you’ve got the makings of a top notch combat ready self defense shotgun.
The Softer Side
There are three other key accessories you’ll need for your Stevens 320. First off a high quality sling such as this Blackhawk shotgun sling designed to hold 18 rounds just where you can quickly reach them, this clever sling combines a bandoleer to give you maximum utility.
Speaking of utility, if you don’t want a sling, or use a different sort of sling system, a buttstock shell carrier is a must have item. This holds 8 rounds in easy reach on your shotgun’s buttstock without making it ungainly or unbalanced. Lastly, you are going to need some sort of carrying case for your shotgun.
I like these padded carrying cases as they have pockets for storing accessories like a cleaning kit spare ammo, or what not, and can also be fitted with extra tactical pouches and carried like a backpack. Done properly you can create an entire bugout bag around your shotgun, and carry emergency supplies and your gun together.
The Most Bang For Your Buck
Really, no matter how you slice it, the Stevens 320 is the ultimate low cost, hard working shotgun. It’s time honored design ensures a lifetime of reliability, and it’s quality construction means your children and grandchildren will be enjoying this shotgun well into the 21st Century.
Savage-Stevens has long been dedicated to providing affordable, high quality firearms for the general public, and have certainly hit a homerun with their recreation of the Winchester 1300.
While it is somewhat unfortunate they could not make it in the USA and still reach the price point they wanted, if I’m going to buy an imported shotgun, I’d rather buy one from a US based company, which ensures the profits stay at home, instead of going back overseas.
In today’s interconnected global marketplace, there is no shame in buying imported goods, and there is no shame at all in owning a Stevens 320 shotgun.
If you are a rank traditionalist, this polymer and black finished shotgun isn’t for you, but if you demand a utilitarian, hard working shotgun, you’ve found it. The addition of a few well chosen accessories will make it into the perfect home defense or even law enforcement shotgun.
There is always the temptation to burden yourself with all manner of gear and turn your shotgun into some sort of tactical cliché. Examine your needs and wants carefully. You’ve already picked your shotgun. Are you keeping it loaded for self defense?
Then add a light and some way to carry extra ammo and call it good. Is it hiding in your safe waiting for trips to the range and for hunting? Toss a sling on there and call it good. This is a highly refined, simple and elegant shotgun, and each item you purchase for it must balance that simplicity with utility.
Regardless of your final configuration, a good pump shotgun is a grand American tradition that hearkens back to the time when a single gun might be called on to protect the home, put food on the table and serve for sport purposes. The Stevens 320 does just that.