Another intrepid Turkish manufacturer’s wares have reached British shores. Can they compete against their own in a crowded foreign marketplace? Alex Flint takes a look at the latest over-under challenger.
Even the most casual observer of the shotgun market in the UK cannot fail to have noticed the increasing appearance of Turkish guns on gunshop shelves up and down the country. With the seemingly endlessly popular and desirable Italian and Japanese-made guns from the likes of Beretta and Browning firmly sticking to their £1,500-plus price point, a number of importers have spotted a gap in the market for a basic, reliable over-under shotgun for less than £1,000. The last few years have seen large numbers of products from a variety of Turkish manufacturers attempting to break into the UK market and secure this coveted spot.
Clearly, someone at importers Edgar Brothers has a soft spot for Turkish guns, as Akkar becomes the latest addition to their stable alongside Armed Guns and Hatsan. For an importer the size of Edgar Brothers to get behind a product they must believe in it; Akkar Silah San certainly seems a serious outfit and has been making waves in Australia and the USA. Established in 1989 in Istanbul, Akkar produces a range of shotguns from pump-actions and semi-autos to the more common over-and-under and side-by-sides, with all design and manufacturing processes taking place entirely in-house.
For the more adventurous types, it also produces the spectacularly huge and exciting-looking pyramid- style Mammut triple barrel shotgun, known as the Triple Crown in the UK.
Formerly known as the Churchill, the (thankfully) renamed Double Crown is not quite as exciting as its triple-threat cousin, with lines reminiscent of a gun from Brescia, though with essentially no ornamentation and perhaps carrying a little extra weight. Were it not for the attractive matte black finishing on the barrels and the very light engraving of the model name on our test gun, one could almost mistake the gun as being in the white.
It is by no means unattractive thanks to excellent construction with very good wood to metal fit and some good oil finished Turkish walnut on display, but the variant with blacked hardware is a little more striking to my eye. In terms of detail, the gun really is a bit of a mixed bag. Chequering has been well executed and provides a feeling of security in the hand. Unlike other cheaper guns there appears to be very little excess wood leftover in construction, with the tell-tale step down from the wooden parts of the gun to the metal action absent.
The trigger guard and trigger, however, are both rather large and bulky – though they are quite comfortable in the hand and pleasingly have the same steel finish as the rest of the gun. The soft rubber pad looks poorly matched with the hard plastic butt plate on the stock and the safety catch is a little brutish, yet when the gun is opened one finds a good engine tuning style finish on the barrel block.
The most puzzling aspect really is the total lack of engraving on the action, as the gun really is crying out for a little decoration and Akkar do produce a variant of the gun with some basic engraving work present. Perhaps this would push the price up, however one suspects Akkar would sell more guns in the UK for a little more money with more ornamentation present.
As basic guns they certainly look about as good as the price point would suggest, though it’s a shame we in the UK are as yet unable to get hold of these same guns with higher quality walnut, or the absolutely lovely Orcap colour case hardened finish.
The reality, of course, is anyone looking to buy a gun at this price point is probably not all that concerned with its looks. Certainly, the Akkar 206 Double Crown would be at home for almost any form of shooting since all are 12 bore with 3” chambers, available with 28” or 30” barrels and are available for left- handed sportsmen and women.
The gun has a single selective trigger, is autosafe as standard and comes with a set of five multichokes, meaning it is impressively capable and flexible for a gun of this price. The only real negative is the gun’s weight; though it reaches 7lbs 4oz on the scale – reasonable for a 12 bore over-under – it feels very heavy in the hand. While this does mean the gun mounts cleanly and deliberately, it is not exactly ideal for instinctive shooting and one suspects it would be quite wearing in use on a day’s rough or walked-up shooting. As a low cost entry into the world of shotguns, however, the Double Crown seems like a decent proposition.
Akkar 206 Double Crown in the field
The Akkar 206 Double Crown had the chance of a test against some challenging pigeon on a very windy day on the farm and certainly proved a capable companion. The gun does mount consistently well and thanks to the balance of the weight being felt clearly in the front hand allowed for some very smooth swings.
The safety catch was very easy to find and positive to operate, and cartridge ejection was very powerful; overall the gun performed pretty well. As previously mentioned, however, the gun felt considerably heavier than its figure on the scales would suggest and I found using the gun during quite a busy session required effort and concentration. While the gun performed well, it never quite felt like a natural extension of my body as the best guns often do.
There was also a little too much play in the trigger for my liking, with little early resistance leading to a rather spongy pull at the point of firing. Muzzle flip was handled well but felt recoil was surprisingly punchy though nonetheless manageable.
In spite of these criticisms the gun did perform well. When one considers the price of the Double Crown it is easy to see the attraction.
View from the gun shop. By Bill Elderkin
This sub-£1,000 section of the market is getting increasingly competitive with guns from the likes of Bettinsoli, Lincoln and Silma facing up to an influx of Turkish guns from Revo, Yildiz and now Akkar. We are now looking at a very crowded marketplace, and one has to wonder just where they are going to fit. The Akkar 206 Double Crown is quite a large looking gun overall, though the action is quite slim – similar to a Caesar Guerini or Rizzini. The ejector mechanism bears many similarities with these Italian manufacturers, and it is clear it has been built very much in this style. The action itself is reminiscent of a Winchester Supreme and is mechanical, rather than inertia-based.
Overall the gun looks good with a pleasant matte black finish to the demibloc barrels. Though the wood used is good and has been given a good seal and polish I would like to see a little more work being done to it, as is common with many cheaper guns. Given the construction of the gun it will be very easy for any good gunsmith to maintain and carry out any repairs where necessary. It is difficult to say how reliable these guns are since they are such a new addition to the UK market and as such there are so few of them out there. They have proven very popular in the USA and Australia, however, and the gun being imported by Edgar Brothers does give you some protection since they offer a no-quibble three-year guarantee. For a new gun in a crowded market place the Akkar 206 Double Crown looks a good bet.