Retay Arms Super Mara Super Waterfowl
This is one of the new-for-2019 shotguns that I personally have looked forward to testing the most, since its introduction at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas in January. What I shot in Las Vegas was a 28 inch barreled example, I requested a 26 inch barrel for review, and now six months later . . . well, I was sent a 28 inch barreled example.
Retay Arms calls this the “MASAI MARA REALTREE TIMBER BRONZE SP.” Well, it is available with a 3 inch or 3-1/2 inch chamber, the 3-1/2 inch chamber is the new 2019 model, I really don't care for the name which does nothing to differentiate the new model, so I've dubbed it the “Super Mara Super Waterfowl,” or “Super Mara” for short.
These are the Retay factory specs:
12 gauge, 3-1/2 inch chamber
Action: Inertia System with Inertia Plus Rotating Bolt
Barrel: Precision Drilled Bohler Antinit Steel
Chokes: Removable Marapro Chokes S-IC-M-IM-F
Recoil Pad: Sculpted Ergonomic Microcell Polyurethane
Length of Pull: 14.37” - 365mm
Drop at Heel: 2.16”±.04” adjustable to 1.77”-1.96”-2.36” 55±1mm adjustable to 45-50-60
Drop at Comb: 1.45”±.04” - 37±1mm
Lower Receiver: Aluminum (Anodized, Hydrographic or Cerakote Finish)
Upper Receiver: Barrel Monoblock Milled Bohler Steel
Stock: Molded ABS With Adjustable Fit Plate and Shim System
Magazine capacity: 4+1-3 Shells, 3+1-3-1-2’’ Shells
Safety: Cross Bolt Push Button Intercepter and Removable Trigger System (RTS)
Trigger Group: Milled Aluminum Housing and Trigger Guard
Trigger: Push Button Removable (RTS) System, Automatic Anti-Repeat System
Sight: Single Bead TruGlo Fiber optic (Red)
Now, on to the 3-1/2 inch chambered test gun. My example weighs 7-1/2 pounds (7 lbs. 7.2 oz. to be exact), a full three quarters of a pound more than the 24 and 26 inch 3 inch chambered walnut / blued models I've covered. The Cerakote finish is what I would call Flat Dark Earth, and that's a good thing. Some of the burnt bronze / Wicked Wing type colors are too darn shiny and metallic looking for my tastes. The barreled action is all Cerakote, the stock set is Realtree Timber.
The Super Mara retains the renowned “no Benelli Click” Inertia Plus action that makes the Masai Mara shotguns more reliable than most all inertia shotguns on the market. The Super Mara has the same push-button release trigger group and it is all machined alloy: not the usual thermoplastic. The Super Mara adds an enhanced charging handle and over-sized bolt release.
The trigger is excellent, breaking at 4 lbs. 4.2 oz., putting factory Benelli and Browning autoloading triggers soundly to shame. The Super Mara is also remarkably soft shooting for an inertia gun. There are no gimmick springy stock things to accomplish this, just a good recoil pad and and extra half pound of weight or so compared to the typical inertia gun.
The over-sized bolt release deserves special mention, for it also gives you Speed Unloading Plus-- the best shell-handling of any repeating shotgun on the market. To unload the rounds from the magazine, you lift the shell elevator, push on the bolt release, and viola! … the shells in the magazine are instantly delivered into your hand. In a hunting situation, it is just push a button, your magazine is instantly unloaded, and all that remains is to jack out the chambered round. You'll absolutely love this feature, and no other shotgun has it. I'm impressed.
As far as I know, the MAP on this shotgun is $1399, putting it about $400 below the Browning A5 and Benelli SBE3 . . . and, it is a significantly better and higher quality gun than either. The five-year warranty is handled by Briley, although I'm told that only a couple have ever been sent to Briley in Retay USA history. This model is also available in all-camo, for those who prefer that to Cerakote, at a bit lower minimum advertised price ($1199) as well. The Super Mara comes very well-presented in a hard case with shims and five chokes. Additional chokes are in stock and available from Trulock: https://trulockchokes.com/ .
The proprietor of Retay USA, Chris Handy, has been busy. He has moved into a larger warehouse to meet demand and also bought a new home in Easton, Maryland, moving himself and his family to be closer to his new center of Retay operations. These shotguns have already been shipping to Retay dealers. If you don't have a Retay dealer in your area, your local FFL can order one for you from Sports South or Hicks. See https://www.retayshotguns.com/ for their dealer locator in the United States.
To the best of my knowledge, the current stance of Retay is that their 3 inch chambered guns cycle 1200 fps 1 oz. loads and up and their 3-1/2 inch shotguns cycle 1-1/8 oz. loads on up. This is not to say that that all of their shotguns will not cycle lighter loads than this, many do, but out of the box this is what you can reasonably expect.
The main factor controlling this is the mainspring. With a wimpy mainspring, the bolt can close sluggishly, and with 3-1/2 inch guns, that mainspring has to be able to feed a heavy round (up to a whopping 2-1/2 oz. payload for some turkey loads) without fail. The mainspring is also what mostly slows the bolt after it is propelled backward by the inertia spring: too light of a mainspring, you can expect your gun to take some unwanted pounding. That's not the approach anyone would take if they want their autoloader to last for years. It is the old, “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it” story.
The 3-1/2 inch Super Mara is Retay's best effort to date. It is currently available in the U.S. In your choice of 26 or 28 inch barrel lengths, in camo or Cerakote / camo. Retay Masai Mara models have been available in the U.S. for a couple of years by now. In all this time, only two shotguns have been sent to Briley for warranty work, and that is a track record that should give you confidence.
With a machined alloy trigger guard, not plastic, that has a push-button release for easy cleaning, Bohler steel barrels, the no-click patented Inertia Plus action, adjustment shims included, the new Speed Unloading Plus shell-handling, it all combines to make the Retay Super Mara the best inertia-actioned hunting shotgun on the market regardless of price.
No one would be anything less than massively delighted with this shotgun. Congratulations to Retay Arms.
Copyright 2019 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.