This well-built Turkish over-and-under offers a lot of gun for your money, says Mark Heath
When the deputy editor told me he had arranged for an EGE 12-bore shotgun to be sent to me for review, I had to admit I had never heard of it. “It’s coming from ASI,” he added. It must be OK then, I thought, if it is coming from the main UK importer of AYA and Rizzini.
A little research revealed that EGE was founded in Istanbul by Ertugrul Saydamoglu and Berat Ozan Ozsahin in 2018, having spent 10 years working together in the Turkish gun trade. The company offers a variety of shotguns including single barrel, side-by-side, over-and-under, both inertia and gas-operated semi-automatics, pump action and a magazine-fed bullpup-style shotgun that it mentions can be used for “home protection”. Not sure we need that one in the UK.
The EGE 12-bore gun arrived at the shooting school and fortunately it was a 12-bore over-and-under rather than the one for home defence. Some of the instructors were trying to guess the retail price of the gun and were thinking between £1,000 and £1,500. To put their minds at rest, I made a quick phone call to ASI where I was slightly amazed to be informed that the full retail price is £599 and that it comes with a five-year warranty.
The test gun, a demonstrator 12-bore over-and-under, features a plain black action and Turkish walnut with some very straight grain through the stock. It weighs 7lb 7oz and has 30in multichoke barrels with five chokes and a choke key supplied. The barrels weigh 1,490g and come over-bored at 18.6mm with 3in chambers. The top and mid ribs are both vented and well finished both in terms of the blacking and the engineering.
The ejectors are similar in appearance to those on a Blaser and we shall see how they operate during the test. The auto safety catch is also selective and similar in operation to a Beretta or Rizzini, with the top button that slides across.
The wood-to-metal fit is good, and the wood, while plain, has been well finished.
EGE 12-bore Stock length
The length of pull is slightly shorter than I would expect for an off-the-shelf gun: 14 ¼in to the midpoint and 14 ½in at both the heel and toe. I would have expected a little more length at toe; however, the stock length, together with heel and toe measurements, can easily be adjusted by a capable gunsmith. The drop measurements are perhaps a little flat for some shooters at 1⅜in at comb, 2¼in at heel; again, this could be adjusted in a number of ways. The cast is standard at ⅛in cast-off at heel. A quick discussion with Edward King at ASI revealed that the gun is a pre-sale demonstrator and those for sale will have a longer stock and less drop.
The wood is very well presented for a gun in this price bracket — as is the rest of the gun. The fore-end has a comfortable feel and is fitted with a button release. The chequering is well executed without being too sharp to the grip of the hand.
The balance of the gun is in front of the hinge pin by around an inch due in part to the shortness of the stock, but again this is easy to adjust either by lengthening the stock or adding a few ounces of lead.
The other thing that we might mention is that assembly of the gun is super-easy, and we do watch and rescue some people from what appears to be a complete drama when putting their guns together.
It was time to put the gun to the test. We started at the 40ft tower at the school where it became immediately obvious that, while the handling is good, a change in the stock dimensions would be beneficial for the average shooter. The trigger-pulls were very good and the ejectors perfectly timed. Shooting quarter- and half-choke with a combination of 24g and 28g cartridges, the kills were very convincing.
Moving on to the 80ft tower, the gun did a good job on a variety of targets, including those at distance out to the sides. We finished off by shooting one of the FITASC-style layouts at the school, which presents some interesting and challenging targets. Again the EGE 12-bore was reliable, the ejectors excellent and the patterns very good, with no complaints about the triggers.
The question is where does this gun sit in the market? It is a great price representing a lot of gun for the money. There are probably quite a range of places it could end up, including the pigeon hide, rough shoots, the occasional round of clays, the keeper’s pickup or even the foreshore.
For many shooters, a few stock adjustments would be worthwhile to get the most out of it and this need not cost much. Having a proper gun fitting for your bespoke measurements will obviously be more beneficial than simply guessing. Though the gun is not overly expensive, you will still want to get the maximum performance from it.
The EGE is up against guns such as Kofs, Yildiz and ATA, all of which are established in the market as affordable and reliable guns. It will be interesting to see how EGE makes inroads into this area.
A lot of gun for your money,