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Yildiz over-under shotgun review

There is no shortage of good value over-unders – so what, if anything, sets the Yildiz apart?

It is certainly priced competitively, in basic grade at least. The black action SPZME on test comes in a choice of 12 or 20-bore and retails at £480 with fixed choke barrels, or at £499 with multi-chokes. This is a very keen price point. There is also a heavily engraved version for £755.

Perhaps what really makes the Yildiz stand out is that it’s built on a lightweight alloy action and is certainly the cheapest gun of its type currently available. The use of alloy brings the weight down considerably – to 2.7kg (6lb) or so for the 20-bore, and 3kg (6.3/4lb) for the 12-bore.

As a handy roughshooting gun, this makes it an attractive proposition. Only the action frame is completely alloy; the lock and ejector work is steel, while a titanium insert in the breech face protects against wear around the striker holes.

The insert is held in place by an exposed screw head, so I presume it is easily replaced. The action itself is similar to many of the cheaper Italian guns we see over here: the barrels hinge on stub pins in the action walls; there is a full-width locking bolt engaging a bite below the bottom barrel, and a substantial cocking rod runs along the floor of the action. Given this tried and tested layout, there should be few worries about the gun’s basic construction. The boxlock lock work is similarly simple and robust.

Barrels
Only 28in barrels are offered, as much for balance as anything, I suspect. Lightweight actions have most weight removed from between the hands, but the barrels are the same as on a normal gun. Weight distribution tends towards nose-heaviness as a result and would only be accentuated with longer barrels. Both 12 and 20-bore barrels come with 3in (76mm) chambers as standard, giving the owner a wide choice of ammunition – whether you would actually want to fire 3in magnum cartridges in a 6lb 20-bore is another matter. Incidentally, all the guns are submitted for proof in this country.

Top and mid-ribs are ventilated, the 8mm parallel top-rib having a plain cross-cut finish. A simple brass bead is fitted. The test gun came with multi-chokes and a full set of five chokes is supplied, of reasonable quality; I suspect most will consider them worth the small extra cost.

Finish
The machining is of acceptable quality, given the price, though the action is kept plain, with no attempt to relieve or disguise the rather slab-sided look. Instead, the plain black action is given some scroll decoration, filled in white. The white does rather leap out at you; on what is essentially a workhorse gun I would be much happier with solid black.

The woodwork is stained dark and finished with what looks to be synthetic semi-gloss oil. It is let down a little by the coarse chequering (about 18 lines per inch), which has noticeable overruns in several places. A solid and very firm rubber pad completes the stock.

On test
Beginning with stock dimensions, the length is average at 370mm (14.1/2in), but I felt immediately that the comb had been set rather low. A quick check with the ruler revealed 40mm drop at the nose, 60mm at the heel. Most off-the-peg guns now are set with a drop of 35/55mm, which might be a more suitable specification for the Yildiz.

The trigger – a manual design, not the more common inertia block system – will win few prizes. My gauge recorded pulls of 6.1/2lb for the first barrel and about half a pound more for the second. Moreover, they have a lot of drag, which might put off some. The same applies to the other ‘controls’, notably the top-lever and the manual safety. The ejectors work powerfully and are well timed.

As expected, the balance is slightly nose heavy, but not excessively so. I like the steadiness a weight-forward bias gives, so found the handling to my taste.

The semi-beavertail fore-end sits nicely in the hand, but I found it harder to get a comfortable position for my right hand. The measurement from the centre of the trigger blade to the nose of the comb is quite short, leaving the fleshy pad at the base of the thumb cramped for room. This will be even more of an issue for those with larger hands than mine.

The main selling point of the Yildiz is its weight, or lack of it. You will need to spend circa £800 for a similarly specified gun from one of the Italian manufacturers, but there is a tangible quality difference. My computer terms my mouse a ‘human interface device’, and it is precisely in this area of human interface, lacking the charm of its .410 sibling, that the Yildiz over-under falls short.

PROS
– Lightweight

– Price

CONS
– Stock dimensions

– Coarse and heavy trigger

Price:

£480 – £499 with multi-chokes

Read more YILDIZ shotgun reviews.

  • Dean Hill

    I bought my son a yildiz 410 shot about 700 shots and stock snapped straight threw the grip wish id bought a beretta dont buy one

  • Tod Alday

    I purchased a Yildix 12ga. SP ME Special at Academy a few months back, it came with 5 chokes and I took it out to the field for test firing, had no problems with it, ejector worked fine, trigger has a bit more take up than I like but it took only a few shots to get used to. The following week I bought a thrower, went back out and fired more than a 100 rounds through the shotgun, with no problems. I just recently participated in a fund raiseer for the boy scouts and fired another 100 rounds also with no problems at all. The only thing that I found was the folding latch rubbed on the stock to cause a slight mark. It is slightly nose heavy, which I like for a better controlled shot, even though this is my first over and under I am very pleased with it and intend to do a lot more skeet shoots in the future with it. Also, another Shooter I was with has a 20ga, and over the last four shoots he has fired over 400 rounds, buying his second hand, with no problems also. We are both very pleased with the product.

  • John Maxey

    I’ve owned an o/u Yildiz in 12 gauge since Academy first started selling them – I’m guessing 7 years ago and I haven’t had any problem with it. I shot quite a bit of skeet with it when I first bought it but now I use for upland hunting. I will say that any load 1 1/8 oz. kicks like the devil.

  • duck man

    I bought the mid priced 20 ga. for my wife. We have shot 200+ rounds through it and we both love the gun.A good $500 spent.

  • Georgina D

    What would anybody recommend for a lady shooter looking for a lightweight O/U 12G for under a £1000?

  • don dial

    I purchased a Yildiz 410 SBS recently. It has 28in
    bbls., extractors, a nice straight walnut stock that fits left handed, and screw in chokes. Briley
    does the warranty work, which is great, and price
    was $486 American. I shot several doves and two
    rounds of skeet. It is 6lbs and a very good gun
    for the price. Triggers were good, however, the
    chambers were tight for my old reloads. But the
    shell shot in i previously seem to reload and fit.
    Quite a lot of the bbl. black rubbed off, but did
    not adversly affect the appearance. I did oil and
    rub out the rear stock several times to tighten the
    grain. I expect it will be a great little gun for
    training my pups…..Don

  • Simon C

    I bough mine 6 mths ago purely on the feel and balance. The light weight is brilliant for the field and i have put over 2500 shell through mine at both clay targets and game (small and medium). I have used many differnt shell types including no.8, no.4, OO/SG, solids and 3″ shells. Being my first shotty i wasnt sure what to expect not knowing how much i was going to use it but i absolutely love it and use it far more than i though as it is so versatile out to 50+ yards. Easy to clean, light to carry and it shoots well. the interchangeable chokes are handy and i use them a lot mostly full and 3/4. A friend has a high end japanese target gun and the quality isnt up to the same par but i hit more stuff with the yildiz possibly due to a larger pattern. Seems like if you get a good one it is a keeper mine is definately a keeper and at the cost $865 AUD i dont care if it cops a scratch or two in the field as i almost bought a beretta for 3.5 times the price. A good first 12 bore O/U.

  • David Warren

    I bought a yildiz over and under back in 2004.It’s the best gun to use for rough shooting.For anyone starting shooting,i’d recomend a yildiz..DW.

  • Steve Gallion

    I went hunting on Sept 1st 2010, I have a Yildiz over and under I purchased at Academy. I shot about 10 shots through the gun and then the bottom barrel blew completly off the shotgun. I was amazed it didn’t take my hand with it. I’m sure you can imagine the expression on my face when I am now standing there with a single barrel left on my gun and the bottom barrel and forestock about 30′ away stuck in the ground. I have had a lot of problems with mine – – – – Buyers beware

  • jay mayfield

    I purchased one of the lower end 12 ga side by sides,at an Academy Sports store near my home. I fired the gun less than 50 times when it malfunctioned. I dont know what the part is called but when I broke the bbl over to eject the spent casings, it would not close back. Since the gun was new I took it immediately back to the store. The guy behind the counter turned the gun upside down and shook it, and two pieces of steel fell out of the breech. We sent the gun back to Yildiz, apprx 3.5 months later Yildiz shipped it back unrepaired. Academy shipped the gun back to Yildiz and we havent heard a word since. So granted the gun is not a $1000 piece of equipment, however unless you dont mind losing your $400 bucks to a foreign company I would not consider a Yildiz at all. Mine has costs me $400 and I dont even have the gun anymore, I guess I am expected to forget about my money and walk off. However just in case a rep from Yildiz is reading this, I have managed to foil at least four purchases of your products by simply standing at the Academy gun counter and telling everyone who acts interested in your guns my story. Until I hear back from Yildiz that is where i will be. Spend the extra money and get a decent gun made by a decent company.

  • david dumond

    Will yildiz ou shotguns hold up to heavy usage