I have on hand quite a few capable firearms. Some are for specific missions- like squirrel hunting, deer hunting, or upland birds. The defensive long guns include a .308 Scout Rifle, Springfield Saint AR, and a handy double barrel shotgun. Perhaps the most versatile and effective are the self loading shotguns. These firearms offer the greatest wound potential of any shoulder fired weapons. They handle quickly, point straight, and offer excellent hit probability on moving targets. While the shotgun handles mostly by feel there is a certain science to hitting with the shotgun. I also like a shotgun that is accurate with slugs. Slugs are sometimes underrated. Slugs are terrific game getters and more accurate than folks realize. If I could have only one long gun—it just might be the one you are reading about.
The Toro Copolla T4 isnt a new design but it is from a new maker. The T 4 is based on the Benelli M4. I told the guys at Benelli they would wish one day they had not farmed all that work out to Turkey— well I will if I get the chance. The T4 is big on the big R and little m. Reliability is good, maintenance is seldom needed. The T4 is a direct copy of the M4, down to the fact that all parts are interchangeable. The piece is well made of good material. The fit is good and the finish, well, it isn’t quite Benelli but the shotgun cost closer to eight hundred than eighteen hundred dollars. The Benelli M4 is the result of a US military contract. The M4 is gas operated. The military demanded gas operation as the system they wanted would include a shotgun with mounted lights and other hardware. The marvelously reliable inertia drive of the previous Benelli shotguns was less reliable when combat lights and heavier accessories were mounted. The ARGO gas system is clean and reliable.
The T4, like the Benelli, features Ghost Ring sights. These sights makes for very fast target acquisition. They are well suited to fast moving combat. On the other hand if you need pin point accuracy with a slug load these sights allows centering the slug on a man sized target well past 50 yards. These are versatile sights well suited to combat use. The light rail allows attaching a red dot or shotgun scope. The stock and forend are well designed. The shotgun handles quickly and has proven reliable. I also own a Benelli M4. I have no complaints with the M4 but after a fair evaluation beginning in October of last year I find the T4 fully equal to the Benelli. The finish, as I mentioned, isn’t quite up to Benelli standard. On the other hand the trigger is actually a bit lighter with a rapid reset. the trigger guard is elongated to allow gloved hand use. I don’t know if I will need this option but it seems a good idea. The shotgun comes with three choke tubes. Buckshot doesn’t follow the same rules as birdshot and a tighter choke tube doesn’t always result in a tighter pattern. Just the same I like the full choke option. The pistol grip makes for good control. When moving the shotgun may be carried with the pistol grip alone. A good sling is mandatory for all around use.
This isn’t a sporting gun but it would be as good as most for hunting boar, deer sized game at modest range, and turkey with the proper choke. Well perhaps it is a sporting gun! If you own only one shotgun you could do worse that the Toro Copolla T4. The bolt handle is well designed for rapid use. The loading port in the receiver is enlarged to allow rapid loading and the ejection port offers the option of quickly stuffing a shell in the chamber if you run empty. The shotgun may be topped off a shell at a time if needed.
I have tested the T4 extensively. With all types of slugs and buckshot and most full power sporting loads the shotgun is completely reliable. A word on buckshot- don’t use anything else for home defense. Birdshot will not penetrate a single six inch wide water jug. Birdshot is intended to throw a cloud of shot and bring down a small fowl you could easily carry in one hand. Buckshot is designed to stop an animal about the size of a man and about as hard to put down. Buckshot selection isn’t as critical as you may think despite reams of paper written on the subject. #1, #4, #00 or #000 are all fine for home defense. At seven yards the shotgun will form a tight cluster and do a tremendous amount of damage. As an example a 27 pellet #4 buckshot load may make a rather large pattern at 10 yards or so but there is a tight cluster of shot in the center. The outliers may snag an adversary as he runs or ducks behind cover. On the other hand if there is a reasonable chance the shotgun will be used at a longer distance one of the more advanced #00 buckshot loads is needed. Hornady Black , Federal Flite Wad or Remington Managed Recoil keep a tight pattern and may be counted on to keep most of the buckshot in the chest area at 20 yards. As for slugs- this is a huge chunk of lead in the air. For stopping a mountain lion, bear, or feral dog at longer range a slug is a good option. I have a very few Fiocchi Aero slugs left. In this shortage I sacrificed a few to confirm the T4’s accuracy potential. With both reduced recoil and full power slugs the Toro Copolla T4 will put three slugs into four incheBS s at 50 yards. That is plenty of accuracy for personal defense or animal defense. The Toros Copolla T4 is more than a reasonable alternative to the Benelli and may be the better choice in some regards.
Aztec International Inc
dba Ocala Armory
6855 W Hwy 40 Units A&B
Ocala FL 34482
Chamber 2.75 and 3 inch 12 gauge
Barrel Length 18.5 inches
Overall Length 40 inches
Weight 7.7 pounds
Magazine capacity 5 shells
Caliber 12 gauge, 2 ¾ and 3 inch
Length of pull 14 3/8 inch
Average retail $895