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Yildiz 20-bore shotgun review

Nothing stands still, and now at entry level we have a strong input from the arms manufacturers of Turkey, which appears to have a thriving industry and the willingness to provide products at the right price.

Some traditional virtues
The Yildiz 20-bore is that sort of gun, combining some of the latest manufacturing techniques with other quite traditional virtues.

It has pleasing, conventional styling, with clean lines and, at slightly less than 6lb, it qualifies as a handy gun. In spite of the gun’s light weight, some forward bias due to the point of balance being just in front of the fore-end knuckle gives it a good firm feel during the mount and swing.

This is enhanced by the deep, curved pistol grip and positioning of the front of the comb, ensuring the trigger hand falls readily and comfortably to the same grip each time. Sporting a drop at the tip of the comb a shade under 1½in and 2½in at the heel gives good average dimensions.

Add to that around 3/16in of cast and generous toe-out, it makes for a practical package. Even the comb is reasonably slim, in traditional style, and reflected in the matching shape and dimensions of the fore-end.

For a gun in this price range, the walnut is something of a surprise. A deep, reddish brown, with that important straight grain through the hand and some contrasting colour in the butt is more than one might expect.

Yildiz over-under 20-bore grip.The clean cuts of the gun’s hand-chequered grip complement the oil-finished walnut

The fore-end wood is a good match in colour and quality, and though not particularly dense, the hand-chequering has been achieved with fairly clean cuts.

Most of the stock shaping is machined, leaving the minimum of finishing by hand, but the tolerances produced by modern machine tools are such that even the important wood-to-metal fit is executed well.

The inletting from the head of the stock to accommodate the action is tidy and uncomplicated, while tradition still exerts a hold with the oil finish of the woodwork.

Aluminium alloy action body
The aluminium alloy die-cast action body and fore-end ram is no longer the surprise it might have been a few years ago. Those parts that are particularly subject to wear are treated differently, so all the pins are steel, as is the lockwork, cocking arm and the mating cocking piece in the fore-end.

This use of steel parts also extends to the trigger-guard, top-lever and safety/barrel selector. The hinge discs are hardened steel, screwed into the action body, which, being one of the parts most likely to wear on any gun, makes oversize replacements a fairly easy proposition.

A steel insert in the breech face is effectively fixed (unlike disc-set strikers), as with this gun, in common with many of its type, the strikers, or firing pins, are withdrawn from the rear.

Conventional lockwork
The lockwork falls into the category of either boxlock or modified trigger-plate action – there is no formal dividing line. With this design, however, the frame around the lockwork is one piece, so perhaps the former term is the more appropriate.

Whatever your choice, the investment cast lockwork is conventionally laid out in a neat and tidy manner. The use of screw pins between the trigger and lifter, and especially to retain the safety/barrel selector, shows good attention to detail.

The mainsprings are stronger than their size suggests, while the striker return springs are, I feel, somewhat heavier than actually required.

Interchangeable chokes
This test gun has 28in barrels built on the monoblock principle, with good jointing where the barrel tubes are spigoted into the breech. Externally, the black finish is similar in appearance to that found on many English guns.

The bores are clean, shiny and flaw-free, as they have to be to pass proof at the Birmingham Proof House. Chambered at 76mm for magnum cartridges, the bores were at a proof size of 15.9mm, at the more open end of the 20-bore size range.

Five screw chokes and a stamped steel choke key are provided with this model.

Yildiz over-under 20-bore lever.The top-lever is well proportioned, while the safety boasts practical, almost severe, lines.

As with any gun fitted with detachable chokes, there will obviously be some variation depending upon the actual bore size, which may vary from one gun to another within the proof size ranges.

With the facility to interchange chokes that does not actually matter too much; you simply select the combination that gives the required result.

Laser decoration
The laser decoration is minimalist yet tastefully done, and there is a similar model in the four-gun range, with overall coverage as an option.

Reliable features
In use, the Yildiz 20-bore has no surprises or quirks in store. The constantly sprung ejectors are nicely timed and throw spent cases well clear of the user.

Trigger pulls are set a little on the heavy side, but this is the norm for today’s market. They are not unduly long, though, and the break is quite clean.

For me, it threw the shots slightly high on the pattern plate, but this is not a problem for the shooter who appreciates seeing the ‘bird’ just over the foresight bead.

This is a gun that has been well thought-out by the makers, incorporating reliable features from proven designs while retaining that vital element of simplicity of operation. Times do change, and for an introduction to shooting or the person who wants an economically priced multi-choke over-and-under, this 20-bore appears be a worthy contender.

PROS:
Lightweight

Handling

Simplicity

CONS:
Stiff safety

Lack of choke information

Price:

£499

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