There has been a long and proud history of gunmaking in Turkey dating back to the Ottoman Empire
In gunmaking terms Turkey is famous for its wood – in particular its walnut.
Better than the French
Many people talk about French walnut but in fact the French imported it from Turkey during the Crusades. It might spark some comment and a bit of controversial chat but Turkish wood is equal to, if not better than French.
Over the past 15 years more Turkish-made guns have been seen in the UK.
The surge in popularity and success of Italian guns in recent history has no doubt had an effect on the Turkish industry, and you can see much influence of the likes of Beretta in the output of firms such as Huglu or ATA Arms in terms of form and construction.
Improvements in the build quality
Until recently Turkish shotguns looked alright but fell short in standards of build. However there’s been a recent trend towards good quality, much as has been shown with Spanish guns and the likes of AYA.
Most people will be attracted by the low price
Semi-automatics, like Hatsan’s Escort, are the Turkish guns you are most likely to have come across.
Although the price is likely to be an attraction, many potential buyers may be put off by worries about reliability. This seems to be quite a divisive matter. One owner might rate his gun and another individual say they’d never touch a Turkish gun.
We haven’t seen a problem with many Turkish guns
We have a large and busy workshop here in Spalding, and we haven’t seen that many Turkish guns which have needed sorting out.
This is due to the upwards trend in quality previously mentioned and the good warranty provided by English importers.
Turkish semi-autos going under the names Webley and BSA were the first to be commonly seen in the UK, followed by side-by-side guns.
About four years ago we began to see the first best Turkish sidelocks.
They had taken the London nine pin design and copied it, and the finish of the gun and quality of the internal components such as the intercepting sears, hammers, bridle etc. were very good. However you are unlikely to see these good examples in the UK and they are probably being exported elsewhere.
Best sidelocks on the way
Ladd’s Guns have imported Turkish guns by the name of Jenson.
They have an over-under sidelock gun in the Holland & Holland five pin style for £1,950 on their site at the moment and a boxlock side-by-side. Both are good looking guns with very high grade wood and very good finishing. With scroll engraving and a colour case hardened finish, they certainly look the part.
The wood to metal fit looks very good and the internal parts are beautifully polished.
Check the gun has been through an English proof house
Whenever buying a gun from a Turkish maker you must make absolutely sure it has been through one of the English proof houses, as we do not accept Turkish proof in this country, only our own or that from Germany or Belgium.
There are a lot of independent manufacturers in Turkey, so it is difficult to say if there is one name you should look out for in the future.
Once any of these firms have the support of a large importer the quality of their guns and the size of their output will grow exponentially.
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