An all-rounder suited to high pheasants as well as clays, this competition gun represents good value says Lewis Potter
“Beware the man with one gun” is an old but valid saying. It refers to the shooter who uses one gun for every type of shooting. Now, it is not unusual for enthusiasts to have a dedicated shotgun for each discipline. Yet there is still a lot to be said for sticking with a favourite gun, even if just for a confidence boost. On that basis, I tested a Yildiz Sporter, a competition gun well suited to the clay circuit, but with a view also to potential use in the field.
First impressions of this Yildiz shotgun
First impressions were of a gun that is nicely packaged, with its ABS case, protective sleeves for barrels/fore-end and action/stock and accessories. Once assembled, it does not look particularly bulky like some Sporters. Visually, the most obvious giveaway to its purpose is the comb that can be raised. The colour and appearance of the walnut stock and fore-end are as good as on many game guns, and the traditional small diamond-pattern chequering adds a pleasing conservative touch.
It is only when you pick up this gun that its primary purpose becomes obvious. It sits at the shoulder with a solid, confidence-inspiring feel, balanced right on the action hinge point but with an all-up weight of 8¹⁄³lb. A dedicated clay-busting gun is, after all, a target shotgun. It is not meant to be flicked around like an ultra-lightweight game gun, but should have a more predictable response. This Yildiz has that by the bucketful. The high and fairly wide comb contributes to the overall impression and, even with the adjustable comb at the lowest setting, drop was a modest 1¼in to 2in.
A good length of pull of 14½in felt comfortable, aided by the ventilated, but still fairly firm, butt-pad. The grip has a reasonably tight radius, the addition of a palm swell that is adequate without any tendency towards over- exaggeration, and that long fore-end gives plenty of option for grip by the forward hand.
Lockwork and barrels
Lockwork is the familiar arrangement of trigger, hammer and mainsprings mounted below the sears, which are suspended from the top- strap, or in this case the top of the frame, as it is machined from the solid. While retaining the inertia-block system, it also operates mechanically, which is always a plus point in the reliability stakes. The action body is steel. It is wide and strong and undoubtedly contributes in no small way to the overall weight. While the safety button carries out the usual function of on/off safe and barrel selection, it is, as befits a Sporter, of the non-automatic variety. The only indicator for position is “S” for safe. As far as barrel selection is concerned, it is necessary to remember whether right or left is top or bottom barrel — on this gun, left is bottom barrel first. It is surprisingly modest in size, almost dainty when compared with the robust action body, but the domed, chequered button does provide a positive location for the thumb.
The barrels are assembled on the monobloc principle, with a neat joint where the spigoted tubes join the block. Ventilated ribs are very much the norm on a Sporter and the Yildiz is no exception, with a wide ventilated top rib complete with small red “caterpillar” front sight and ventilated side ribs. The sprung extractors are of particular interest as, in shape and the way they fit, they have some similarity to a well- known Italian make, which is not a bad thing.
Hingeing on hinge discs — or trunnions if you prefer the British description — the barrels are locked at the rear by a single wide bite just below the bottom barrel. Five screw-in chokes are provided with the standard notch marking and cover a range from cylinder-bored to full choke. Checking them with a bore comparator as a mechanical measurement against the barrel bores, the sizes were quite precise, though actual pattern performance always relates very much to the cartridge used and especially the type of wad.
So we have a shotgun built on well- established principles, strong and a little heavy: what could be its uses in the field in addition to clayshooting? That is where the practical testing comes in to evaluate the performance.
The Yildiz Sporter is steel shot-proofed with the necessary 3in (76mm) chambers so, in our search for a suitable field use, that extends the possibilities. I tested it with both lead and steel shot cartridges, including Eley First as an acknowledgement of its Sporting credentials and Lyalvale Express Super Game with its 36g No. 5 shot, a favoured load for extra- high bird shooting. In the steel shot category, I chose Eley VIP Steel, Hull Steel Game, Gamebore Super Steel, all 2¾in (70mm) cartridges and, with more serious wildfowling in mind, the Lyalvale Express Max Game (high performance) steel shot cartridge loaded with 36g No. 1 shot.
Shooting at 30 yards and attempting quick target acquisition — aka snap shooting — it quickly became clear that this was not the best use for the Yildiz for me, though for someone younger and fitter it might be an option. My thoughts were to treat it as a high bird or wildfowling gun, where a shotgun with good swing characteristics and a tendency to put the shot charge a bit high or forward of the target are useful attributes.
For the “high bird” tests I used the Lyalvale Express Super Game with fibre wad and the full choke fitted. The “wildfowling” test was conducted using the Lyalvale Express 3in shot with, of course, a plastic wad for this steel shot cartridge and using half-choke. Out of curiosity I tried the Super Game at 30 yards and concluded this was one way of producing pheasant pâté. Anyway, it was much more appropriate with those cartridges and the intended use to test at the greater distance of 40m, no further, only due to the limited size of my pattern sheets.
How the gun scores
A strongly consrtructed gun with sufficient weight to absorb recoil
Predictable, smooth and pointable giving a steady point of aim
A good finish, as you would expect from this maker
The length of pull is adequate for many potential users and the adjustable comb adds another dimension to set up the gun to suit the individual
A lot of gun for the price
The Yildiz is well suited to competitive shooting. Patterns were consistently good and, with light clay-busting loads, it soaked up recoil, making it very comfortable to shoot. As a potential high pheasant gun, it would cut the mustard and for wildfowling — rather than just duck shooting — it would do the job well, though the idea of wind-borne salt getting between those ventilated side ribs could make it difficult to clean. There is a growing number of multi-purpose guns on the market, but the Yildiz is more of a dedicated no-compromise option, though that does not mean it doesn’t have its uses in the field.
What you need to know
Gauge 12-bore, 3in chambered, steel shot-proofed
Barrels: 30in, five multi-chokes from cylinder to full, optional 28in barrels
Action: Break-open pivoting on trunnions, lockwork modified trigger-plate type
Features: Sturdy steel action body, adjustable comb, fixed comb stock an option
Maker: Yildiz, Turkey
Importer: S. Entwistle (Preston) Ltd 01772 718048
Price: £894 or £840 with standard (non-adjustable) stock
Well suited to competitive shooting