Bizarre and presumably unintended consequences are something of a hallmark of gun control legislation. Even when the laws regulating legal civilian access to arms are relaxed, the complexion of the law tends to result in gun designs that simply would not have existed in a society that truly and fully respects civil rights.
The Saiga series of rifles and shotguns are a good example of this kind of effect. Designed to conform to the practical bounds of the Russian Federation's post-Soviet gun laws, Saigas are remarkably similar to the type of weapons produced here in the US during the Clinton Administration's Assault Weapons Ban. One oddity of Russian law not seen in the US (yet) is the relative difficulty in legally qualifying for the purchase of a weapon with a rifled barrel -- whether that weapon is a rifle or a handgun. One interesting consequence of this legal impediment has been the adaptation of the Kalashnikov rifle design family to include a variety of shotguns. The Kalashnikov 12 gauge, the Saiga-12, is now one of the most desired and most irrationally feared firearms on the US arms market. There is an entire cottage industry devoted to restoring Kalashnikov-based weapons of all types to approximately their traditional military configurations post-import here in the US, and these weapons are a favorite boogeyman in the minds of gun control advocates.
Despite the fact that the Kalashnikov shotguns are quite arguably no better than a broad selection of other shotguns on the US market for tactical applications, ill suited to hunting and competitive skeet shooting, and in general little more than a "fun" gun to take to the range, they loom large in the imagination.
But the diminutive .410 shotgun version of the Kalashnikov is really something else. It is a really odd duck. When I saw one knocking around in the used gun rack at Tiller and Lanier's, I tried to resist the urge to pick it up. But then it occured to me that despite the fact that the weapon was something akin to a Harley Davidson moped, it had redeeming qualities as a test bed weapon.
In brief, what I intend to do is use this Saiga 410 to develop accurate high sectional density high ballistic coefficient projectiles that will produce rifle-like accuracy from a smooth cylinder bore shotgun. I'm going to try to make this ammunition perform well enough to have good military grade utility out to about 225-250 yards. That is to say that I'll try to keep it shooting flat enough to be reasonably easy to hit a torso-sized target without sight adjustments out to that range. I'll have to use hold-overs based on man height beyond somewhere around 150 yards, but so long as the system remains practical, simple and fast, I'll be happy with it. As a side benefit, firing 300 grain (approximate weight) projectiles from the Saiga 410 will limit safe and practical bullet speeds to the subsonic range -- making the cartridge itself very amenable to use in suppressed weapons. As always, however, I have to discourage everyone from trying to replicate any KIR experiments unless they are a professional arms maker with standard industrial resources at your disposal. Any risks you take are yours and yours alone.