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Drennan Kederdine takes on the mammoth task of reviewing five guns from the Yildiz Pro Black range; distributed in the UK by Raytrade, Yildiz shotguns offer great performance at a very acceptable price point.
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Yildiz guns are being talked about and seen more and more these days; I’ve certainly noticed a visual increase in representation on the shooting grounds and in the field. Raytrade, the UK importer, brought the Pro Sporter range – which is Yildiz's competition line – to our shores, and there are three variants to choose from: Yildiz Pro Black with a black action; Yildiz Pro White, which has a silver action; and the Yildiz Pro Case Hardened action.
I have five Pro Sporter guns, all with the black action, on test this month. Raytrade sent me four 12-gauges and one 20-gauge for review, and I can inform you now that the differences between each of them are vast. Yes, they share the same action, but that’s where the similarities end! Below is a list of the models I was sent, and I will cover each of them in turn throughout this review:
This is what I call a Hybrid gun, meaning it’s neither a game gun nor a full clay smoker. The reason I say that is because this particular set up shares characteristics of both field and clay line guns. The explanation will be made clear further on in this review.
The gun comes with a flight case, finished in a green velvet to give it that plush look. Internally, the case has plenty of room for storing the gun, and the choke case fits within the designated compartment. There is also a separate internal section within the case for extra storage to put what you would like in there.
The grade 4 wood is, without doubt, excellent quality. This particular 30” model has double ventilated barrels with a hatched rib to eliminate glare. The rib is 7mm wide from action to muzzle, which is a set-up more suited to a field gun than a clay gun, in my opinion.
The stock has a swept back pistol grip, and the comb height is set to that of a field design which, when combined, makes the stock feel like a more traditional game-style setup. The hybrid title I have given it comes from the barrels being double ventilated, which is a feature you would generally find on a competition clay gun (having said that, it’s not a rule that game guns don’t have double ventilated barrels!).
I shot this both on clays and in the field and it handles really well. It is able to find good footing on both clays and on live quarry. Being non-adjustable, the lightness certainly provides quick and easy handling, and I found that carrying it across the estate wasn’t any great hardship.
As I said above, it’s capable of doing both clay and field work, but in my opinion if you’re looking for a podium finishing gun, this is probably not the way to go. If you’re after a decent gun that will do a bit of everything... well, it’ll do that for you very nicely.
Applications: A hybrid gun ideal for use on clays and in the field
This gun comes with the same plush green flight case and chokes as the non-adjustable gun above. The moment you assemble this gun you can feel its vibration – this one is built for clay shooting!
The grade 4 adjustable stock looks opulent, and the feel of it is just stunning. The pistol grip has a tight radius and palm swell that sets the hand and trigger finger into a perfectly aligned position, eliminating poor hand placement on the pistol grip area. The laser cut checkering on all the models is placed perfectly in the areas you need it, to aid a firm but controlled grip of the gun.
The adjustable stock is child’s play to use. Adjusting it to suit your needs and requirements is very simple to do, and I actually managed to set all three of the adjustable stocks up for my preferences in less than five minutes.
The barrels have a 10mm tapered hatched rib, with a red sight, and these elements combined give a great sighting plane. For me and my style of shooting, this is a fast attack gun; I would certainly use it on Helice where speed is needed! It’s a comfortable gun to shoot and its attack value is certainly desirable for those who shoot in this style, or for those needing to add a little more purpose to their shooting.
Applications: A competition-grade clay buster
The 32” adjustable grade 3 gun comes with a plastic case, while the grade 4 once again comes housed in a plush green velvet flight case (you might have clocked by now that the grade 4 guns get the snazzy velvet cases, and the grade 3s come in the slightly less snazzy, but still perfectly functional, black plastic cases).
Ostensibly, they are both the same gun. Both feature 32” barrels with the tapered rib of a competition grade shotgun. Both feature a tight radius pistol grip with palm swell for that perfect hand to trigger placement. Both have beavertail fore-ends with the stock and fore-end featuring well-placed laser cut chequering.
So, other than the grade of wood, they are identical, but they do shoot slightly differently, and that’s down to the density of the wood. The grade 4 is heavier, and you certainly don’t need a set of scales to prove it! Changing the chokes from extended to flush and vice versa also alters the way the gun behaves by altering the balance.
The grade 3 felt more nimble and an altogether faster machine to operate (which it was), whereas the grade 4 gave that solid, controlled swing which certainly favoured my style of shooting on long distance targets. Which one you go for will depend on your style of shooting – so, try not to get too caught up by the pretty wood if you prefer shooting something a bit livelier!
Applications: Two competition grade clay busters, with different handling characteristics
SRPs: Grade 3, £1,675; Grade 4, £2,099
Yildiz 20-gauge Pro Black Action 30” grade 4 non-adjustable
This neat little 20-bore comes with five flush chokes and two extended. It is housed in the same green velvet flight case as all the grade 4 guns in this review. As 20-bores go, this is one that just gels with the shooter. It certainly has the looks and characteristics of a well-known Italian maker, and honestly it shoots really, really nicely. It features double ventilated barrels, a hatched 7mm top rib, a multi-choke system, 3” chambers, and a piece of timber to be proud of!
You could, however, be forgiven for being a little confused by this gun. The pistol grip has a tight radius, but it’s in-between the 32” and the 30” hybrids I mentioned above. I would have preferred the 7mm rib to be a little wider, like some of its big brothers, because the stock certainly has the configurations of a true clay grinder.
As mentioned, I really liked this 20-bore. It’s a gun I would use both in the field and on a clay shoot. It’s one of the nicest gliding 20 bore guns I have shot. If this had an adjustable trigger to alter the length of pull it would be so much more desirable, but even as it is, it would give many more expensive 20s a run for their money.
These guns are so different in appearance, looks, handling and characteristics that to compare them in some cases is like apples and pears. The 30” hybrid and the 30” clay gun bear no resemblance at all to each other in how they shoot. The hybrid will out-perform the clay gun in field scenarios, but the clay spec gun will leave the hybrid standing if you’re looking for something with the characteristics required for competition shooting.
Both 32” guns share so much in common that they are essentially twins. But – and it’s a big but – the grade of the wood does alter their handling, and which grade to choose must be weighed up by the shooter. I wouldn’t be pulled into thinking that the grade 4 is better just because it looks better. These guns are well-defined competition guns, and they require respect and understanding from the shooter of their individual abilities and handling traits. I’d be more than happy to shoot the grade 3 over the 4 because its speed and lightness provide a more aggressive disposition; but having said that, the 4 gives a steadier, more stable platform, which comes into play on those long-distance targets.
The 20-gauge... well, to compare that to a 12-guage is like comparing apples with oranges! As I said above, this 20-gauge is one of the best out there in terms of its handling and price. If it had an adjustable trigger to alter the length of pull, it would elevate this gun significantly. Not having this function could possibly put some shooters off, and in my opinion, guns of this level should be fitted with adjustable triggers so that the user can alter the length of pull.
Overall, Yildiz have done one hell of a job of putting together a variety of guns under the Pro Black Action series that provide serious competition shooters the chance to achieve high level shooting... without having to sell the family heirlooms!
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