A touch of Elegance
John McDougall salutes the little Yildiz 20-gauge
Of the many Turkish brands now available in the Australian gun market, one that stands out for its quality and craftsmanship is Yildiz and while they make some very fine shotguns costing several thousands of dollars, they’ve kept their market open to less expensive models which cater to the everyday shooter.
Don’t get me wrong, the quality and finish on their more expensive offerings has flowed through to their more affordable models, which look to be finished to the same high standards. Industry sources tell me that of the countless number of guns which have come to Australia during the past 15 years, only a handful have been returned for adjustment after purchase, a bit tick for any gunmaker. So let’s take a closer look at the Yildiz Elegant 20-gauge with its stylish lines, walnut stock and single-trigger ejector mechanical action – I think you may be surprised.
At 720mm (28½”) these are exceptionally well finished in a deep lustrous blue and offer sleek lines to match the stock and receiver. Bored-out rather than hammer-forged, they’re chambered for 76mm magnum loads which make them capable of firing the same 28-gram loads as its 12-gauge stablemate.
The barrels weigh 1.25kg, quite a reduction when you consider a 12-gauge gun barrel set can top the scales at as much as 1.65 kg. This brings the overall weight of the Yildiz Elegant to 2.62kg (5lb 12oz) which is a significant reduction on its 12-gauge big brother at around 3.4kg (7½lb), making the former far more preferable for use in the field, especially during extended hunts.
The 7mm rib is raised at the receiver and remains several millimetres below the height of the horizontally configured barrels, an interesting design feature which offers a good view of the target at all times. A single brass bead is located at the muzzle and the rib itself has an anti-glare finish, the gun generally well assembled and finished to perfection with no residual solder marks or weeps from flux.
Bore sizes of the barrels look to be standard as do the forcing cones though sadly I don’t have a suitable gauge to measure them nor the five chokes supplied and a vernier, which I do have, doesn’t really tell the whole story. Bore dimensions are stamped on the monobloc as required for proof of the gun.
Made from a forged block of 7075 alloy to make the gun even lighter, this is skilfully finished and completed with light engraving along the sides featuring ducks in a swamp. Scroll engraving to the rear of the receiver is tastefully done meaning the gun looks good and is clearly aimed at the waterfowl hunter judging by those engravings. It’s interesting to note Yildiz has recessed a replaceable standing plate into the face of the receiver in the event of excessive corrosion should the original ever need replacing, a great idea if using highly corrosive primers.
Design and shape of the trigger guard is excellent with sufficient room to accommodate shooting gloves, fine-scrolled engraving on the underside adding a nice touch. The trigger foot isn’t adjustable and the mechanism is mechanically cocked rather than inertia, perfect for the field shooter’s follow-up shot should the first misfire.
A barrel selector is an excellent inclusion with the option of shooting left or right first, something which comes into effect when you have an incoming or departing target. For the latter the more open-choked barrel can be fired first while the tighter choke is preferred for an incoming target. Position of the barrel selector/safety catch is perfect and despite being scaled down from a 12-gauge gun, this is one feature which maintains a reasonable size.
The top lever is excellent, well designed and moves with just enough resistance to facilitate opening the gun without too much pressure. I enjoy shooting double guns because the gape as the barrels drop down is less than an over-and-under, meaning double guns can be loaded quicker when the shooting is fast and furious.
Stock and fore-end
Stocked with above-average Turkish walnut and complemented by an oil finish, the Yildiz Elegant 20-gauge lives up to its name with excellent metalwork and above average woodwork and if I sound impressed, that’s because I am. Fitted with a thin-line rubber recoil pad, the makers have seemingly thought of everything we expect of such an elegant sporting arm.
The gun is fitted with a Schnabel-style fore-end instead of the thinner ‘splinter’ which provides plenty of grip when using heavier field loads. Both fore-end and stock are checkered at around 18 lines/inch to enhance that grip even further, coverage more than ample with the fore-end conveniently released via a lever system on the underside.
In the field
Whether shooting quail or over the traps at clay targets, the Yildiz Elegant is a treat to use, unforgiving on clays which were reduced to dust using the ¼ and ¾ choke combination. A friend at my gun club on Phillip Island took his fine Italian superposed shotgun back to the 25-yard line where the little Yildiz matched its capabilities and even moving back to 50 yards, the odd target could still be demolished.
Shooting the same chokes in the Yildiz while hunting quail, I was amazed as birds out to 45 yards were dropped, some only requiring a single pellet of Remington 9 shot to achieve the outcome. It’s been a few years since I’d enjoyed the quail hunting offered last season with such an abundance of birds.
The Yildiz double with its awesome power using 28-gram loads of Remington 9 certainly performed beyond expectation and handled those brisk 28g loads like a 12-gauge. Its reduced weight for carrying around our hunting ground was much appreciated, while recoil resulting from that reduction wasn’t a factor despite having equivalent 12-gauge ballistics.
In conclusion I’d be quite confident shooting this gun all day in the field. It was a joy looking over two horizontally opposed barrels and at around $1550 at time of writing, the little Yildiz with its big performance and three-year warranty also fits my budget and represents excellent value for money.
Maker: Yildiz, Turkey.
Model: Yildiz Elegant A5E 20g side-by-side.
Overall length: 1155mm (45½”)
Barrel length: 720mm (28½”)
Weight: 2.6kg (5lb.12oz).
Bore size and diameter: 20ga, nominal 0.615”
Chamber: 76mm (3”)
Stock dimensions: Drop at comb 38mm, drop at heel 60mm, length of pull 370mm.
Chokes: Five choke tubes included with flat spanner.
Warranty: Three years.
Price: Around $1550.