Steampunk or retro? You decide. But the ST-601 12-gauge shotgun manufactured in Turkey by Sülün Arms and known in some Countries as the "Auslof" is definitely unique in bringing back the Alofs conversion from the 1920s!
There are some products of the international firearms industry that deserve our attention just because of the uniquely curious nature of the technical solutions they adopt. That's the case with the Sülün Arms ST-601 12-gauge shotgun, manufactured in Turkey and made available commercially in a handful of Countries (Canada, according to sources also Australia) as the "Auslof".
What makes this shotgun definitely unique on the global market is the feeding system: the Auslof shotgun comes from factory with a modern reproduction of the Alofs magazine system, patented in 1924 in the United States by Dutch immigrant Herman Gerrit Alofs and distributed commercially as an accessory for existing firearms for just a few years.
Covered by the famous YouTube channel Forgotten Weapons in a video published in 2022, the Alofs system was meant to convert existing break-open single-shot shotguns in 12, 16, 20 or .410 gauge into repeaters. As per Alofs' patent, an add-on magazine tube with its own follower and spring – along with a spring-mounted, pivoting rear tube that dubs as the feeder – would be bolted on to the left side of an existing shotgun.
With the shotgun's breech closed, pivoting the feeder to the left would give the user enough room to fill the add-on magazine tube like one would normally do with a shotgun tube. The last shotshell would automatically be pushed into the feeder. Once the shotgun was opened, the feeder would be pushed to pivot to the right, dropping a shell in chamber and going back to position as the shotgun breech was closed again.
The Alofs device was a success under the engineering point of view: if properly installed through the use of a set of factory-issued spacers to adapt to any shotgun design, it actually worked with very few or no hiccup.
Nonetheless, it was a convoluted contraption, and not a cheap one, coming at $6 back in the day – $90 of today adjusted for inflation – to convert existing single-shot break-open shotguns to do something that a pump-action or lever-action shotgun would do in a faster, smoother, simpler way.
The Alofs conversion didn't last long on the market, and the reason why Sülün Arms – which already manufactures numerous classic single-shot break-open shotguns – may have settled for a century-old contraption for their newest product may have to do more with legal requirements in certain Countries than anything else.
As of today, the ST-601 "Auslof" shotgun would find itself at home in Countries such as Australia, Canada or New Zealand, whose laws specifically target pump-action and semi-automatic long guns, along with other "rapid repeaters", so much so that Australia went as far as to restrict the commercial availability of certain brands of lever-action shotguns in the recent past.
A century-old magazine conversion of a break-open single-shot shotgun could thus allow Sülün Arms to circumvent such restrictions and provide hunters, sportsmen, farmers and cattle breeders, and other potential customers with a firearm offering a level of speed and magazine capacity that is as close to their needs as it can legally get.
Sülün Arms offers the ST-601 in four barrel lengths, with the user's choice of a 4+1 or 9+1 magazine, with a matte black or stainless finish, wooden or black polymer furniture, and various options in terms of sights.
In Canada, the Auslof is sold at a starting price of CAD$399.00 and goes up to a maximum of CAD$498.00: that's approximately 273€ to 341€ depending on the configuration. It will never be distributed in most Countries, but nonetheless it's interesting to note how the needs of certain markets oppressed by overly-restricted legislation pushed a company into bringing back a century-old feeding system design.