Yildiz Eleganta 12-bore shotgun is more of a multi-purpose gun than a dedicated wildfowling piece.
A little bit heavy for a game gun, weighing 8lb, it would undoubtedly make a very suitable pigeon gun and would certainly be worth considering as a side-by-side clay buster.
The balance is a little forward biased, which tends to give a steady swing and aim. Again this would suit any of the roles I have outlined. At 14.5in, the length of pull to the middle of the tidy rubber butt-pad is a good average by modern standards and probably not too long for the shooter well dressed against the cold.
For some it might be a little too pretty for a wildfowling gun, as looks are usually low on the list of priorities of your average wildfowling type. Its intended purpose is clear, however, with duck adorning either side of the action bar and a very satisfied looking large dog and duck on the underside of the action body.
It also has very attractive laser-etched scrollwork. The hand-cut chequering is large and eminently practical, and the pistol grip is a good size and comfortable to use.
The low comb, set well back, is a little unusual. It would be something of a bonus when wearing gloves, as it would help avoid pushing the hand too far forward. It has enough drop to make it a fairly flat-shooting gun, with a modest amount of cast and plenty of toe out for right-handed use.
As for the oil-finished wood, it is fairly dense and straight-grained. The gun on test had an abundance of fiddleback (what some call tiger stripe) running right through the stock.
No doubts about quality
Having sprung ejectors that fit into the unusually wide one-piece barrel lump reinforces the view that this is a gun capable of meeting a variety of uses where ejection rather than hand extraction is regarded as desirable.
The lump also means that it has a single bite, more akin to over-under or early breechloader designs, though it hinges on a cross-pin in the traditional manner of the side-by-side.
The fore-end loop, an ancient term for what is really nowadays a form of catch, is truly massive. This sits against the bottom rib without the short keel rib in front of the monoblock and a matted, beautifully sunken top rib is finished off with a traditional brass bead. Barrel bores are chrome-plated and finished with a pleasing matt black.
The 30in tubes are fitted with interchangeable chokes. The modest handbook with quaintly phrased English translation does not go into great detail, concentrating on safety and basic gun use and maintenance.
However, for the record, chokes supplied with this gun measured, when compared to the barrels, cylinder, tight quarter, tight half, nearly full and extra full. Apart from the usual notch marking, the choke tubes bear no other identification, but seem very well made with visible signs of heat treatment.
That it is superior proofed for 76mm (3in magnum) at the Birmingham Proof House means one need have no doubts about the quality, finish or strength of assembly. The importer expects to see a 3.5in magnum version next year.
The Yildiz version of a modified triggerplate enclosed in a solid steel frame.
Good features are the solid dowel pins and screw pins, well-made parts and simple lockwork. Mechanical changeover between barrels.
The action of the model on test was steel. There are lighter-weight, aluminium-alloy bodied versions, but these still have a hardened steel plate let in to the face of the standing breech, which has become something of a Yildiz feature.
The lockwork is the neat and simple design that this company has developed, with screw pins or solid dowel pins holding everything in place. The mainspring power is provided by helical springs, as is the operation of the sears and top-lever.
The extractor cam is pressed into the front of the action bar, while the cocking dogs are both nicely shaped and well made. With a single trigger there is certainly room in the trigger-guard for a gloved finger, though having big hands I felt a little more clearance would not be amiss.
The safety button/barrel selector could be operated under the most extreme circumstances, but it is a pity it is not an auto-safe and the ?S? for ?On Safe? is hardly big enough to be seen at a glance.
In the field
The trigger-pulls are a touch heavy, giving a longish pull, though you probably would not think so when out on a bitterly cold foreshore with numb fingers.
The ejectors worked well, a bit more in the manner of an English gun than the wham-bang associated with over-unders. The firing pin (striker) strikes are good and deep, again an important consideration when operating in more extreme weather conditions where light strikes can result in misfires.
Capable wildfowling gun
The more I experienced the Yildiz, the more I appreciated its features. It will undoubtedly make a capable wildfowling gun with the added bonus of being equally useful for other tasks. This is an attractive idea for the owner who does not want a large collection of shotguns for specific purposes.
Yet I cannot help thinking what a good basis this would be for a dedicated wildfowling piece, especially in 3.5in magnum. How about barrels perhaps a little longer, a matt black action body, a bigger, deeply curved trigger-guard for those of us with fingers like sausages, and a wrap-around beavertail fore-end? That?s the sort of thing I used to daydream about out on the marsh.
What?s the score?
The gun is solidly built and has particularly good detail for a gun in its price range.
Handling is a little deliberate, but well suited to its likely use in cold weather conditions.
A tidy and practical appearance with attractive decoration and hand-cut chequering.
I found the gun to have a reasonable length of stock and a good grip shape.
A lot of gun for the price, good for those who do not want to buy a large number of guns.
The Yildiz Eleganta A3-T-ME is a medium-heavy side-by-side. It is a very capable wildfowling gun with the possibility of being used for other tasks with equal success.
Entwistle Guns, Tel 01772 718048