Turkish replica up there with Italian original, writes John McDougall
In my role as an outdoors writer of more than 40 years there have been some truly joyous moments when a gun of quality and handling comes across my bench for review. In recent years we’ve seen an influx of shotguns from Turkey which I’ve described as ‘Turkish delights’ but the latest one forwarded to me for assessment, the Victory RT25 Sporting, more than fits that description.
For almost a decade various companies there have been replicating to the finest detail the firearms from a famous Italian gunmaker. The Turkish Government has provided support with substantial sums being invested in the best CNC machinery and with access to such state-of-the-art equipment, manufacturers in that country have produced remarkable duplicate guns and adorned them with quality walnut to further enhance their appeal.
The Victory RT25 Sporting is so well copied that its components are interchangeable with its Italian Master model, the only discernible difference being the price tag. An Italian version of the RT25 might set you back more than $10,000 whereas the gun under review is around $7750 for the equivalent base model and $10,750 for the impressive deluxe engraved which comes in a solid leather case with canvas cover. That represents excellent value for money and from those I shared the RT25 with to shoot, several who use the original Italian Master noticed no real difference except for the Turkish brand being a little heavier. So let’s have a closer look at this appealing firearm.
These are immaculately finished on the silver receiver model and with silver soldered together and expertly blued, there’s no sign of solder residue as may have been found on Turkish guns of 10-15 years ago. These are every bit as well-made as the Italian Master.
In the black version of the Victory RT25, all is black chromed for a harder and more resilient surface and with a selection of top ribs available upon ordering, the review gun comes with a 10mm parallel option standing around 7mm high and ventilated. Topped with a fluoro sight at the muzzle and white bead midway down the rib, it’s nicely completed for the competition shooter. The side ribs joining the barrels are not ventilated.
At the muzzle end the barrels are fitted with 51mm internal choke tubes, the supplied spanner of solid construction and a pleasure to use for changing chokes (don’t forget to apply a thin coating of tube grease before installing to facilitate the gas seal and make removal easier). At 760mm/30” the barrels are well suited to simulated field shooting or sporting clays and for shooters after 32” barrels or left-handed guns, both are available. The mid-rib bead is well appreciated to determine whether you’re canting the gun to one side or another and facilitate setting up the adjustable comb.
At the chamber end the gun is matched to 70mm/2¾” cartridges only (many guns nowadays are made to accommodate 76mm/3” shells) and you’d be right in thinking the Victory RT25 Sporting is designed as a dedicated clay target competition gun and not for hunting. The ejectors are quite solid and well timed but in use I had to break the gun fully open to cock the firing mechanism and eject empty shells.
Design here is relatively simple compared to the engraving on the deluxe version though the base model looks good and is every bit a copy of its Italian Master right down to the Boss locking system and drop-out triggers. I was impressed. The RT25 is so well reproduced the triggerlock components are interchangeable with the Italian model, removal done in a similar fashion. The safety catch is moved forward until a red dot shows beneath the trigger mechanism then the top lever is locked into position before the trigger set can be removed, all detailed in the instruction booklet provided. The top lever is well designed although the edges should’ve been smoothed over a little more and curved for ease of operation, though otherwise it works seamlessly.
The barrel selector-cum-safety catch works well but be aware the selector must be pushed fully to the side you want to fire firstly as confusion won’t allow the gun to fire, much the same as most other guns with a similar barrel selector mechanism. Design of the triggerguard and triggerfoot is superb, the former large enough to accommodate thin leather gloves while its shape and size don’t detract from the overall lines of the gun, the triggerfoot adjustable via the screwdriver provided. Triggerpulls are quite fine at 1kg (2¼lb) for the under barrel and 1.15kg (2½lb) for the over and well suited to a competition shotgun.
Stock and fore-end
Visually this is where the gun outstrips the Italian Master. The walnut on the basic model is stunning, equivalent to Grade 3 or above with character and grain only found on shotguns costing thousands of dollars more. The stock’s colour and character are matched to the fore-end with chequering around 20 lines/inch, the oiled finish applied to both stock and fore-end just sensational.
The adjustable comb meant I was able to tweak the stock to fit me perfectly. This has index markings so the comb can be returned to a previous setting and an ample set of washers are provided to modify for height with only one Allen key required for all alterations. Chequering is faultless though I’d prefer a little more on the fore-end for firmer grip and improved gun control, maybe something to consider.
Over the traps
This is where the Victory RT25 excels. I shot quite a few rounds of DTL at Beaufort Gun Club in Victoria followed by several sessions at Frankston Field & Game shooting practice simulated field targets. It had been more than 30 years since I shot DTL competitively but the Victory obliterated target after target with two characteristics I particularly enjoyed being its patterns and lack of recoil (a set of pattern sheets are provided with the gun). Being far from the 90mm chokes used by present-day gunmakers, the shorter 51mm internal choke tubes coupled with the lengthened forcing cones certainly destroy targets and while at 3.25kg this gun is no lightweight, there’s something in the design which helps softens recoil.
Given the Victory RT25 costs about 70 per cent of its Italian counterpart and is every bit a top performer, I’d have no hesitation in highly recommending it either in silver receiver, black chrome or deluxe engraved. The base model comes with a well-finished canvas-covered case and two sets of triggers, the deluxe boasts extensive engraving with full leather case and both carry a five-year warranty.
• While parts may or may not be interchangeable, anyone considering replacing parts should consider the long-term safety implications and always consult a fully qualified gunsmith before making any changes.
Manufacturer: Kizilkaya Arms, Turkey
Model: Victory RT25 Sporting over-and-under shotgun (base model)
Australian distributor: Hunt’s Shooting Supplies, NSW huntsshooting.com.au
Overall length: 1205mm/47½”
Barrel length: 760mm /30”
Overall weight: 3.25kg/7lb 2oz
Barrel weight: 1.60kg/3lb 6oz
Bore size: Under 0.735”, Over 0.732”
Forcing cones: 420mm
Chokes: (51mm tubes, fully internal). Cylinder 0.725”, Improved Cylinder 0.716”, Modified 0.709”, Improved Modified 0.700” and Full 0.695”
Trigger pulls: Under barrel 1kg/2¼lb, Over 1.15kg/2½lb
Stock dimensions: High grade Turkish walnut with adjustable comb. Length of pull: 472mm/14⅝”, drop at comb and drop at heel adjustable (Allen key supplied)
Warranty: Five years
Accessories: Canvas-covered case with straps and lock, instruction manual, choke tubes x 5 and second set of triggers.
Price: $7750 (base model), 10,750 (deluxe)