Yildiz Eleganta A3TM magnum shotgun review.
A couple of years ago I reported on the Yildiz Eleganta 12-bore 3in magnum that was available as a wildfowling gun.
My conclusion at that time was that it was really a worthy multi-purpose gun rather than a dedicated wildfowling piece.
I envisaged its role covering wildfowling, pigeon shooting and also as a capable side-by-side clay buster.
However, the maker has listened to feedback from, among others, the UK importer and now produced much more of a wildfowling version, the non-ejector 3.1⁄2in magnum A3-T-M variant.
There is an option of an ejector gun but to me a non-ejector makes sense when out on the salt marsh, that truly wild and lonely place under a big sky, an unforgiving environment where unnecessary complexity can prove a nuisance.
My personal specification is for a basic gun that should be strong, simply constructed and capable of firing a big shot load quite comfortably.
EYE-CATCHING SCROLL WORK
So, does the new Yildiz fit the bill? Well, my suggestion of a matt black action to match the barrels did not bear fruit but, to be fair, this was a personal preference.
It is also necessary to appreciate that good looks are important to catch the eye when racked up in the gunshop.
Needless to say, the matt silver action body with duck in flight on the action bar, decorative scroll work and the smug-looking retriever with dead duck are still part of the package.
In fact, it remains overall quite a handsome gun in a chunky sort of way, obviously economising on parts common to the game gun variant.
The action body is steel, now without the separate plate let into the face of the standing breech, while the fore-end iron (if this is not a contradiction in terms) is an aluminium alloy.
The matt black monoblock barrels remain at a nominal 30in, fitted with multi-chokes and the unusual wide and sturdy single-bite barrel lump is still a feature.
While a single bite may appear unorthodox in a modern side-by-side it is, in principle, very much the sort of layout used on many over-unders.
This gun is superior proofed at the Birmingham Proof House for 3.1⁄2in (89mm) magnum cartridges and steel shot.
From its bolted butt stock fixing to its hanging sears and helical mainsprings the design, especially of the lockwork, has more in common with a modern over-under than a traditional side-by-side.
True to the Yildiz principle, the layout is remarkably simple and uncluttered with an economy of parts, yet it still incorporates a single trigger, safety with barrel selector and a mechanical changeover between shots.
Out on a day when the estuary wind is particularly bitter the latter could prove to be a useful feature.
In keeping with the theme of simplicity the safety is the non-automatic type, though being something of a traditionalist, an autosafe is a small complexity I would find quite welcome.
For barrel selection it is safety button to the right for the right barrel and opposite for the left.
A single selective trigger and choice of chokes gives you the best of all worlds.
A GOOD FIT
Stock fit and shape is especially important with a gun where recoil can be substantial.
This Yildiz fitted me quite well and, even though I normally shoot with a slightly longer stock, the position of the well-shaped pistol grip made this, with its 14.3⁄4in length of pull, feel right.
As for the fore-end, it is both deep and straight-sided, which is an advantage when holding on to a gun operating under a smart bit of recoil.
The reasonably large and deeply cut chequering also comes into play when a good grip is needed and, after all, this is what it was designed for ? to enhance one?s grip.
The walnut is oil finished, which is what one expects from this maker, and the stock is fitted with a slim, but what turned out on test to be an effective, rubber butt pad.
The grade of walnut on this gun was not as fancy as some Yildiz guns I have seen, but eminently suitable for its intended role.
Both stock and fore-end showed good straight and tight grain, indicating plenty of strength.
An important factor with all aspects of shotgun sport is a suitable degree of choke for the job in hand.
Barrel bore sizes do vary and, as these are relative to the choke constriction, I tend to gauge multichokes against the barrel they will be used in, especially where steel shot is likely to be used.
This gun is provided with the, by now, normal complement of five choke tubes. The barrel bores measured .724in, a little on the tight side for 12-bore but often a better bet when using fibre wads.
The choke tubes provided measured full, three quarters, a rather tight half, quarter and the last was exactly cylinder bored.
Quite good results for an economically priced gun and for testing I chose full choke to use with lead and the tight half for steel.
Externally this wildfowling gun appears little different to its predecessor.
Changes are in the internal detail with the main benefit being 3.1⁄2in chambers and a plain extractor rather than ejectors.
The simple design including safety with barrel selector makes it ideal for wildfowling.
A SWINGER, NOT A POKER
Handling has a distinct forward bias, making the gun feel somewhat heavier than its all-up loaded weight of 8lb.
It came up to the shoulder well and the stock drop and cast meant, for me, seeing the target centre just on top of the brass foresight bead.
As you would expect, it is not a quick handling gun but has a good solid feel to it, or as one might put it, a swinger, not a poker.
Proved to be a touch on the heavy side with a bit of creep indicating deep sear engagement which many modern makers tend to favour on a gun made for heavy recoiling cartridges to avoid double discharges.
As for that recoil, with this gun?s comfortable fit and reasonable weight, it was not especially unpleasant.
Indeed, with the cartridges used on test and the gun mounted firmly into the shoulder, kneeling shots, much as one might take from a muddy gully, were a quite practical proposition without any real discomfort.
Steelshot loads and leadshot cartridges were used as it is still legal to shoot wildfowl inland, such as over stubble, in Scotland.
A gun that could be used in other roles but its forte would be out on the foreshore.
On the face of it what we have got is the previous model with a few detail changes but without sprung ejectors and the addition of 3.1⁄2in chambers.
Yet that is not the whole story, as this is one of those rare instances where the result is more than the sum of those changes.
What we have is no longer a multipurpose gun but a proper wildfowling tool, even if it is a bit pretty for my taste.
Yildiz Eleganta A3TM magnum shotgun