It was 2008 when I first reviewed a Turkish Huglu shotgun which was well-made, highly serviceable and tuned to the needs of the hunter. Since then I’ve assessed two other Huglu models and found them equally reliable. Having changed distributors from their earlier days and now supplied by Winchester Australia, I haven’t heard an adverse comment about these ‘Turkish delights’.
The Huglu HT-14 Trap in black on review is actually better than a base-level gun for the addition of an adjustable comb. A selection of five choke tubes coupled with Turkish walnut on the stock and fore-end should give the shooter access to numerous Trap shooting disciplines. With overall weight around 3.94kg (8½lb) and barrel weight of 1.5kg (3lb 3oz) the HT-14 swings smoothly, feels well balanced and will give newcomers or established shooters a pleasant step up to a gun of good quality promising proven service. Costing just more than $2000 and with a two-year warranty, it’s a very reasonable buy.
It was hard to know whether the barrels were black chromed or blued until confirmation from Winchester revealed they were indeed blued, the colour of the blueing matching the receiver. Both the top and side ribs are ventilated, the top fitted with a 10mm parallel, anti-glare rib which has a red fluro filament for the front sight but surprisingly no mid-sight bead. I thought a mid-sight bead would be mandatory for a Trap gun as it’s fired from the mounted position and such a fitting enables the shooter to check their gun mount is correct and the barrels not canted (tilted from vertical). A mid-sight can be fitted later but it would have been more complete to have one already installed.
At the muzzle end are five internal, interchangeable choke tubes supplied along with a propeller-style choke tube spanner. These are much like the older Mobil chokes supplied by a prominent Italian gunmaker as they also measure 50mm and have similar threads.
At the chamber end the gun is suited to 76mm/3^ magnum loads. These are obviously not permitted in Trap shooting but it appears the maker has chambered the HT-14 so it can also be used for hunting. Further information is contained in the choke section of the instruction handbook which outlines the various chokes and their purpose, additionally for waterfowling as well as general steel shot applications.
Jewel polishing about the monobloc and ejectors is great to see for the retaining of lubricants, while the significant ejectors are well-timed and sent empty cartridges flying clear of the chamber when the gun was fully opened. Timing of the ejectors is perfect, testament to quality assurance at the factory to ensure everything is working as it should.
Jointing of the gun is via bifurcated lugs in each side of the receiver walls which mate with slots in the monobloc. These lugs are replaceable should the gun ever need to be tightened and, due to their location in the receiver wall, enable the HT-14 to have a lower centre of gravity with improved swing and balance. This type of gun jointing, whereby the barrels are connected to the receiver, is popular with European and especially Italian gunmakers and it appears the Turks have adopted this method of jointing.
Turkish gunmakers are not affiliated with CIP, the European organisation responsible for the uniform proofing of guns to universal standards, but all Turkish guns I’ve reviewed are guaranteed by the Turkish Government (check the instruction booklet for further details).
Design of the receiver is stylish in its lines and wood-to-metal fit well completed, the black colouring to match the barrels quite excellent with the raised side walls highly polished. The model number is engraved into each side of the receiver and highlighted in red against the black background, otherwise the receiver sides are fairly plain. On the underside of the receiver the Huglu name is etched into the forward surface and there’s an engraved company motif just forward of the triggerguard. It’s a plain receiver but practical and uncluttered.
The triggerguard is generous and complements the overall lines of the receiver and gun, sufficient in size to wear thin leather gloves if desired. An adjustable triggerfoot is fitted to enable comfortable reach from the pistol grip of the stock and to this end length of pull is flexible – a useful option. Trigger pulls are around 4½lb for each barrel.
Design of the top lever is positive and reasonably smooth to operate. I found the top lever itself just barely large enough to comfortably operate for opening. The distance from the barrel selector-cum-safety catch is perfect and the catch is not raised so proud as to affect opening of the top lever, the selector working positively for all selection purposes. Two dots to the left of the barrel selector indicates the under barrel fires first when left uncovered, and it would have been an improvement if these dots had the same red coating as on the side of the receiver for easier identification.
It’s nice to use a good set of mechanical triggers and no matter how fast I operated them I couldn’t cause them to lock up, so top marks to Huglu for this. Most Trap guns operate on inertia cocked firing systems but with a mechanical set, the second barrel fires regardless of whether the first barrel discharges.
Stock and fore-end
I was impressed by the character and stock dimensions, especially the inclusion of an adjustable comb piece. The walnut wood used for the stock and fore-end is well figured and has good grain structure and character for a gun of its price.
The palmswell for right-handed shooters is quite full in its grip and the additional treatment of the pistol grip to the rear is unique, as I’ve never seen such on a stock in more than 40 years as a gun writer. I’m still undecided as to whether it contributed to increasing the hold about the pistol grip and whether additional lined chequering is sufficient or could have been expanded for improved grip.
It’s comforting to find a reasonably ventilated recoil pad fitted to the butt of the stock. With lengthy trap breaks the rubber pad alleviates some recoil and additionally enables the shooter to adjust gun mount each time for a perfect set on the shoulder.
The inclusion of an adjustable comb piece for the stock on a competition Trap gun is almost imperative these days unless you opt to have a customised stock made. I was fortunate the Huglu HT-14 fitted me quite well straight out of its case, though others may require small adjustments so it’s always good to have a flexible comb for that reason. Just make sure if making any modifications you seek advice from someone who knows what’s required.
Over the traps
During evaluation I found the 3.94kg weight of Huglu HT-14 Trap gun to be quite reasonable and the balance and swing was good. I was impressed by the interchangeable chokes as I shot with ¾ and full choke, smashing targets with the sprightly Winchester 28-gram Trap loads supplied. Travelling at 1290fps they demolished targets well, with some distant second barrel successes. Patterns seemed to favour the Huglu which I’m sure will delight Winchester, distributor of both gun and ammunition.
In conclusion there’s not much on the market around the price of the Huglu HT-14 specifically for Trap shooting. Winchester back the product with a two-year warranty and I believe the gun offers great value, especially for Trap shooters restricted to one shotgun who may also want to go hunting. The Huglu HT-14 would service a Trap shooter well and can also serve as an entrance level gun for those starting off in the clay target games of DTL and other disciplines.
Model: Huglu HT-14 Trap (black)
Maker: Huglu Arms Company, Turkey
Action Type: Boxlock, single selective ejector system with bifurcated jointing and mechanical operated/cocking hammers
Calibre: 12-gauge, 3^ chambered. Bore size: over-bored to 0.735^. No proof marks evident but comes with Certificate of Guarantee as per Turkish law and reported to be proofed to 1370 Bar (HP steel shot proofed)
Barrel length: 760mm (30^)
Overall weight: 3.94kg (8lb 8oz)
Overall length: 1200mm (47¼^)
Chokes: Cylinder 0.725^; Improved Cylinder 0.715^; Modified 0.705^; Improved Modified 0.695^ and Full 0.685^ (five in total). HP Steel Shot compatible to half choke
Stock: Stock and fore-end are walnut. Drop at comb and drop at heel adjustable. Length of pull: 15^. Chequering complete at around 18 lines per inch
Price: RRP around $2255 with ABS case, instruction booklet, gun socks, all choke tubes and spanner
Distributor: Winchester Australia. www.winchesteraustralia.com.au
Warranty: Two years