Magazine-fed shotguns are nothing new, but it’s tough not to be a fan of the design. Especially if you are a rifle shooter transitioning to shotguns. A magazine-fed option often retains all those skills you crafted on the rifle when it comes to reloads. Shotgunners might have fixed feelings on mag-fed shotguns, but they’ve proven to be quite popular. I’ve fired a great many of them, and my favorite so far is most certainly the SRM 1216 from SRM Arms.
The SRM 1216 looks like something that would be well suited as a game-breaking CQB weapon in Cyberpunk 2077 or whatever the next Halo we have coming out. It’s far from average, and its unique look certainly gives that bleeding edge sci-fi look we all know and love. I’ve long wanted to get my hands on an SRM 1216, and now I finally have. Boy oh boy, was the wait worth it.
What Is This Thing?
First and foremost, the SRM 1216 is a 12 gauge semi-automatic, gas-operated shotgun that utilizes a roller delayed blowback system that can fire 2.75 to 3-inch rounds. Yep, roller operated leaps out at you, right? Well, it should because, as far as I know, this is the only roller delayed shotgun out there. Roller delayed typically belongs to the HK series of rifles, pistols, and SMGs.
Two large rollers sit on the bolt and prevent the bolt from moving until the pressure has reached a safe level. Roller delayed systems are very simple and allow the construction of the weapon to be simple. Taking it apart to get a peak requires little to no time at all. Pop a single pinout, break it down shotgun-style, and remove the bolt and bolt carrier group. Ultimately, cleaning the system is super easy and takes no effort.
Most shotguns utilize a gas-operated system with some form of a piston or an inertia system. Both require a bit more complicated construction and the placement of parts that might make it tough to incorporate the unique magazine design.
The bullpup design also allows it to be quite short and handy. Not as short as something like the pump-action KS7 from KelTec, but it’s about 6 inches shorter than most standard shotguns and retains an 18.5-inch barrel. I know what you’re saying. Ahh, it’s a bullpup, and I’m a lefty.
Fear not, young man. You can order your SRM 1216 as a left-handed gun, or you can swap everything to make it left-hand friendly. This includes the loading port to allow lefty-friendly ejection. I won’t say doing so is simple, but the SRM Arms youtube channel documents how and what you’ll need to do so.
Inside the SRM 1216 Magazine
Let’s talk about that magazine a bit as well. The SRM 1216 utilizes a removable tubular magazine system. The magazine has four tubes that each hold four rounds. When the user goes Winchester with the first tube, they can rotate to a second, third, and fourth before needing to reload completely.
The tube can be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise on command. To rotate the tube you press a tab upwards to unlock the tube. The tabs are ambidextrous and very easy to use, and the magazine rotates without issue. What’s really cool to me is that if you run a tube dry, the bolt locks back to the rear. However, as soon as you rotate a tube into position, the bolt automatically loads the next round in the new tube and closes.
Removing the magazine and reloading is easy and can be done in the field. First, reach in front of the magazine and access the massive magazine release.
Press it in and then pull the magazine downward and out.
To reload, bring the magazine into the horizontal magazine well and then push the other end up until it locks in place. It’s not AR 15 fast but is damn sure a fast way to shove 16 more rounds of buckshot into a gun.
Another benefit of this tubular removable magazine is that the ammunition won’t deform over time. Shotgun ammunition left in a box magazine can deform due to the pressure from the magazine, which can potentially cause feeding issues. Here, this is never an issue since the ammunition is sitting in tubes.
Loading the magazine requires two hands. You have to pull back a shell retainer and slide in shell after shell. It’s easy but can’t be done with the magazine in the gun.
Blasting Away With the SRM 1216
Getting a grip on the gun isn’t tough. It’s got a short 13.25-inch length of pull and shoulders comfortably. The included recoil pad helps, and the only real downside is that the magazine acts as the grip for your non-dominant hand. It’s rather slick, and with a push-pull grip, my slide slides ever so slightly.
What happens when you mix a blowback-operated action, a bullpup shotgun, and make it 12 gauge? Well, you eliminate any and all recoil reduction you get from a pump action.
Alright, I’m being dramatic; however, the gun certainly has more recoil than most gas-operated guns. It’s not as rough as a pump-action, but when you start cooking off some hot loads, you’ll feel it. With reduced recoil tactical loads, it’s a kitten—the same with cheap game loads.
Reliability in Spades
The SRM 1216 feeds both reduced recoil loads and cheap game loads reliably and without issue. I often have a little fear of failure with a semi-auto shotgun and since this gun has such a novel blowback system I didn’t know what to expect. I was rather happy that it ran with everything I put through it.
High brass, low brass, buckshot, slugs, birdshot, and beyond worked without issue. The only load It didn’t cycle was the super low recoiling sub-1000 FPS trap loads I keep around. No semi-auto has cycled these successfully beyond one or two, and they are about the lightest load you can get for a 12 gauge outside of mini shells. Also, no, mini shells won’t cycle in the SRM 1216.
If you want a gun that cycles fast, then here you go.
Hot damn, does it fire, eject and load quickly! I can dump four rounds of buckshot out and on target in about 2 seconds from a low-ready position. Semi-auto shotguns also tickle me when it comes to tube dumps, and the SRM 1216 is no different. I can dump shells without tampering with reliability, and I did so for tube after tube of ammunition.
Running the Rabbit
For fun, I did a little drill where I loaded one round into each tube, set up four clay pigeons on the berm, and practiced transitioning from tube to tube. It’s simple, I set a Shot Timer up and hit go. At the beep, I went from right to left. Since only one round was loaded into each tube, I had to keep rotating the tube system.
I was quite slow at first, and his 7.48 seconds. That was an ouchy, and I learned that a forward grip on the tube made tube transitions much easier. As I practiced the drill over and over, I built a good rhythm in place and got much faster in just a few rounds. I got my time down to 4.8 seconds from the low ready with a hit on each target.
The SRM 1216 has a smooth rotating magazine that makes it easy to transition. Once I flip the tab up and start rotating the tube, the tab will relatch as soon as the tube finishes its rotation. You can’t accidentally rotate it too far. It’s very intuitive and simple to do.
The SRM 1216 has a sweet little trigger—roughly 6 pounds or so. A lot of rail lives at the top of the gun, and my HS510C is the perfect companion for this little shotgun. Like an AR rifle, it’s an ‘in-line’ design that makes AR height optics appropriate and easy to use. Mine didn’t include iron sights, but a rail section forward of the magazine is perfect for a front sight, and you’d have a long sight radius.
Personally, a red dot makes way more sense to me and allows me to engage rapidly. Semi-auto shotguns dominate close-range fighting, and red dots make it perfect for that specific use. I took some Hornady slugs out to 50 yards and range 6-inch plates over and over. With my favorite load, Federal Flitecontrol, I can absolutely put a load of buck right where I want it within 25 yards.
The SRM 1216 In Action
Do I have any complaints about the SRM 1216? Hmm, not many. The magazines are somewhat expensive at around 200 bucks a pop. There is a good argument that for home defense, you won’t be swapping magazines and are unlikely to need 16 rounds of 12 gauge. That’s all up to you, but I want at least one extra mag on tap just in case one fails me.
Other than that, it’s tough to hate the SRM 1216. It’s a very well-made, well-thought-out shotgun. Hell, the 16 round magazine doesn’t count as a ‘high-capacity’ magazine in less free states because it’s four tubes connected and not just a single magazine. The SRM 1216 is the sci-fi shotgun of my dreams.