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MAC 1014 Shotgun Review: Diamond in the Rough or Junk Benelli Clone?

March 25, 2024 - Blog

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It was the wood furniture on the MAC 1014 Wood that caught my attention when I was cutting through the SDS imports booth at SHOT show 2024. That’s kind of a bad-ass-looking shotgun, I said to myself as I paused to examine it closer. It was obviously a clone of the Benelli M4 tactical shotgun, but in walnut trim. The company MAC, which stands for Military Armament Corporation is a nominal revival of the defunct sheet-metal submachine gun company. Scatterguns generally don’t perk my interest — the only bird-appropriate shotgun that I own is my grandpa’s Winchester model 1897 — but I have a mild fascination with defensive shotguns that can serve as boat and truck beaters and up-close bear stoppers. Combined with my eternal optimism that many cheap guns are hidden gems waiting to be discovered, that’s what made me pause to look at the MAC 1014 Wood — I’m glad I did.

MAC 1014 Wood Specs

See It

Gauge: 12

Capacity: 6 rounds (2 ¾-inch)

Barrel: 18.5 inches, black finish

Receiver: Aluminum, anodized black

Stock: Turkish walnut

Trigger: 9 pounds, 10 ounces (measured)

Handguard: Turkish walnut, two-piece

Sights: Adjustable Ghost ring with white dots, white-dot front

Optic mounting: Picatinny rail on receiver

Gas System: Dual short-stroke piston

Weight: 7 pounds, 13 ounces (measured)

Price: $375

Review Highlights

Reliable: Only 1 stoppage in 500 rounds fired

Gas-driven system doesn’t recoil as sharply as some inertia-driven guns

Compatible with many Benelli Parts

Easy to maintain

Good Customer Service

The MAC 1014 Wood: A Poor Man’s Benelli?

There are generally two camps when it comes to clones of popular guns: the “just like the real thing, only shittier,” and the “why pay full price when I can get the same for a fraction of the cost” crowds. Neither is really wrong, and sometimes both are right. The nature of this shotgun’s design requires some comparison to the genuine Benelli M4 Tactical Shotgun, but I think it’s a disservice to not consider it on its own account. If you want an M4, save up and buy one of those. If you want similar characteristics, but aren’t dead-set on the real deal, clones can be a great option. There are numerous Turkish M4 clones on the market, with feedback that reflects varying degrees of satisfaction. 

The biggest question around any gun clones — and one I posed while examining the SHOT show display model of the MAC 1014 Wood — is whether the gun is well-built and reliable. For any practical application, that’s a fundamental requirement. I’d never considered shelling out $2,000 for a legit M4 to abuse in the woods, but I thought: if this thing is dependable, it would be a hell of a bear shotgun. A steadfast semi-auto 12 gauge can quickly pump out a lot of negative reinforcement onto a bear in the form of 602-grain rifled slugs. If it’s not reliable, though, it’s useless.

The old saying “you get what you pay for,” exists for a reason — it’s usually true. That said, there are great guns out there that won’t break the bank. I’ve seen mixed results with other Turkish-made guns. Some of them have been surprisingly good, others are poorly-polished turds. Where would the MAC 1014 fall? I’ll plug the other old saying, “there’s only one way to find out.” I wasted no time in ordering one. 

How the MAC 1014 Wood Works

The MAC 1014 wood is a semi-auto 12 gauge that has a rotating bolt and operates off a dual short-stroke gas piston system. The short-stroke piston was first used en masse on the famous M1 Carbine and later the SKS rifle. The 1014’s piston system is a copy of the Benelli Auto-Regulating-Gas-Operated system, which features a piston on both the left and right side of the barrel, just forward of the chamber. They divert gas from the barrel and, like the M1 Carbine, are designed to be self-cleaning. When driven backwards, the pistons strike the bolt carrier, knocking it back against the recoil spring and plunger housed in the stock. 

The MAC 1014 uses dual short-stroke gas pistons that drive the bolt carrier back with each shot.

This piston-driven design uses gas from the fired shell to cycle the gun, not recoil force like the inertia-driven Benelli M2. The MAC 1014 Wood has recoil that is relatively mild compared to some other inertia guns I’ve shot like the Browning A5, Stoeger 3500, and Benelli Super Black Eagle. It’s a 12 gauge, and heavy loads still kick pretty good, but the recoil isn’t as sharp with heavy buck and slug loads. Another advantage of piston-driven systems like the MAC’s is improved reliability. I’ve had inertia guns malfunction while shooting straight overhead or not being held tightly against the shoulder.

The chrome-lined bolt rotates in the bolt carrier and locks open on an empty gun. It’s set loose by the small bolt catch button below the ejection port. It has a pretty standard tube magazine that fits 5 2 ¾-inch shells and loads just like any other tube-fed gun — though shells require more force to lock them into the magazine than some higher-end shotguns.

Field Stripping and Maintenance

Just like the M4, the MAC 1014 wood is field stripped by unscrewing the magazine cap, then sliding the barrel off the magazine tube. As the barrel comes free of the receiver, the handguard shells can be pulled off or will fall off. The handguard is a two-piece design that clamshells together, closing around the magazine tube. They’re held in place by a lip on the barrel assembly at the front and another on the receiver at the rear. The bolt handle is pulled out, and the bolt and bolt carrier can be pulled from the front of the receiver. The trigger group is retained by a single drift pin and can be removed for better access to clean the receiver. This is the extent of what you’ll need to do for normal maintenance.

After about 250 rounds, I wiped down the bolt and receiver and lubricated the bolt, bolt carrier, and bolt carrier rails with gun oil and some Lubriplate 130-A grease. That’s pretty much it as far as maintenance was concerned. 

The MAC 1014 field strips easily and is compatible with many Benelli and aftermarket M4 parts.

Testing the MAC 1014 Wood

I didn’t set out to break this shotgun per se, but I was going to muster every mix-and-match coffee-can full of 12-gauge shells I could scrounge from the recesses of my garage. Like the display model I first handled, the shotgun I received had good-quality coatings, and seemed to be well-built. Some Turkish guns have poorly overdone coatings and features — trying to be something they’re not. That wasn’t the case here. It came with three Benelli/Mobil-pattern chokes, and I installed the modified cylinder one. Everything looked to be on the up-and-up, so I took it to the range to start blasting. 

Good Customer Service 

You should be skeptical when someone is too enthusiastic about a company’s customer service — I want something that won’t break in the first place — but shit does happen sometimes. After firing the first magazine through the gun with some high-brass number sixes, I noticed a long crack in the thin portion of the starboard-side handguard shell. I kept shooting, and the gun ran without the crack getting worse. Wood foreends on semi-auto shotguns generally seem to crack easier than eggs, but it was still a bummer. 

Back in the shop, I epoxied the crack back together — a repair that held — but I also emailed MAC’s customer service contact from their website. Normally, if I have questions or an issue, I’ll go through PR or marketing channels, but being a budget-priced import, I wanted to get the regular customer experience. They promptly replied and sent me a new set of handguard shells that have held up fine. I think that in the pursuit of cost savings, some budget import guns have scarce support in the replacement parts department. It was nice to see MAC quickly get those out, even though this is a pretty new release for them.

Pointing and Shooting

The military model of the M4, the Breacher, features a pistol grip and MAC offers a variant like that. However, I prefer the feel and look of the MAC 1014 Wood. With a regular stock, it feels like a traditional sporting shotgun, points quickly, tucks in a regular soft case, and isn’t bad to carry on a sling. Whether using the iron sights or adding a red dot, this is exactly the configuration I’d want in a shotgun for the woods or to keep in the truck.

This is a shotgun that’s meant to shoot buckshot and slugs, and the ghost ring rear sight is fully adjustable to zero your pattern or slug impact. Both the rear and front sights have protective wings on either sid, and after all my shooting, the hardware remained perfectly tight — I’ve had parts rattle off of other Turkish-made guns during heavy use.

As part of my testing, I cleaned up all my 30-plus-year-old 12 gauge shells.

The MAC 1014 Proved Reliable

When I said I wanted to throw everything I had at this shotgun, I meant it. I emptied every old coffee can of 12 gauge shells I had, plus a .50-caliber ammo can brimming with old pre-lead-ban duck loads. I shot 2 ¾- and 3-inch shells of every shape, size, and age through the gun without issue. I fired different kinds of new and old slugs, buckshot, high-brass upland game loads, and low-brass field loads —including a case of Federal Top Gun Clays ammo. I made it through about half of the 100-plus-round break-in period MAC recommends, using high-brass stuff, then started throwing everything at it. I was amazed that it cycled old, off-brand, light field loads as well as 3-inch-magnum buckshot. 

I try to be intentional about each round I fire through a rifle or pistol, but this was one test in which I happily dumped ammunition as fast as I could stuff it in the gun. I wanted to see how it loaded (not quite as smoothly as a Benelli), and how it cycled when hot. At about round number 486 I had a hull stovepipe in the action — my first and only malfunction. I’m now over 500 rounds fired and plan on continuing. For me, that’s enough to say that this is a pretty damn reliable semi-auto 12 gauge — especially for less than 400 bucks.

Not only was the recoil impulse softer than impulse-driven or pump guns, the MAC was pretty easy to keep on target through quick mag dumps using a modern-style stance, and the laser-etched grip texture prevented slipping. Unlike some other slug guns I’ve shot, it didn’t knock me off target by much at all. Hulls ejected at different angles depending on their power level, but the gun spit each load’s shells at a consistent angle.

The adjustable rear ghost-ring sight allows fast shooting, but also accurate shots with slugs.

What the MAC 1014 Wood Does Well

I think that the MAC 1014 Wood is a good-looking shotgun with nice coatings and is quite reliable for its price. It’s a great option to fill the truck gun role or act as an entry-level three-gun shotgun.

Where the MAC 1014 Wood Could Be Better

I’d like the MAC 1014 Wood to load a little bit more smoothly. Shells require a bit of force to lock them in the magazine tube. I’d prefer a bit lighter trigger, but it’s not a precision rifle.

Final Thoughts on the MAC 1014 Wood Shotgun

I think that for the money, this is a great value for a semi-automatic shotgun. I would always test them first, but mine has been reliable enough that I would use it for potentially dangerous work like bear defense. I think that there are ways a genuine Benelli M4 would beat it out, but it’s genuinely a great-quality gun for the price. That’s a testament to how far manufacturing has come. Sure, it could always have better coatings and some upgrades, but you’ll have a hard time beating it for the price. 

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