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Mike Yardley puts this light, affordable 410 Yildiz over-and-under to the test, and discovers a gun that is perfect for introducing youngsters to shotgun shooting
WE LIKE: The value for money; The handling qualities; Sound basic engineering
WE DON’T LIKE: Very little at the price, though my preference would have been a plain action and longer barrels.
Imported by: Entwistle Guns of Preston)
Chamber: 3” (70mm)
Barrels: 26” (28 and 30” options)
Action type: Perazzi style
Weight: 5lbs 5oz.
RRP: £425 (ejector model £525)
This month’s test gun is a Yildiz .410 over-and-under. It has 26” barrels and a single trigger and was bought by a friend to teach his boys to shoot. The little Yildiz’s have become popular guns for teaching young people as well as for vermin control. They have been coming into the UK via Mike Entwistle of Entwistle Guns of Preston since 2002. Mike Entwistle has, remarkably, imported more than 10,000, so it’s clearly been a great commercial success.
The test gun has an alloy action and weighs in at 5½lb – so, it is a true lightweight. First impressions are good, especially when you factor in the price which (most unusually) has been reduced recently: £425 for the non-ejector as tested, £525 for the ejector. The silver-finished action is laser-engraved with game and scroll. The embellishment looks adequate if a bit thin, I would have preferred border engraving only, but this is a bit picky considering the price point.
The shape of the action is quite square and quite angular with flat side walls. This is not a Purdey or Holland, but it is a serviceable gun made to sell at a very reasonable bottom line.
The general form of the Yildiz is pleasing. The stock is a reasonable length at just over 143/8” (a special juvenile model is available with a 13” stock). The barrels – which bear British proof marks and are 3” (76mm) chambered – appear well finished both inside and out. They are also remarkably straight. They are, of course, monobloc. The joins appear sound too and the satin blacking is competent and practical for what is intended essentially as a work horse. The barrels are multichoked, and five small tubes are supplied with the gun.
The stock of the Yildiz especially impresses. Wood-to-metal fit is very good, exceptional at the price and better than some much more expensive guns (I presume it is achieved by CNC on wood as well as metal). The stock wood has not much figure but the wood – Turkish walnut – looks dense and of better than average quality. It is well finished with neat chequering (which appears to be hand-finished) and a competent oil finish. The grip is nicely radiused – not too big nor small. Again, full marks.
Forward, the lipped schnabel fore-end is of classic style which suits the gun although normally it is not my first choice (the potential issue is impeding the front hand position, but that is unlikely to be an issue here).
The length of pull is a sensible 143/8” as noted. The drop dimensions are 1½” and ¼”, which is a little low (most kids would certainly need a comb raiser). There is slight cast-off for a right-hander. The butt is finished off with a thin black heel plate, which, with its straight vertical cut, would allow for easy fitting of a recoil pad (and thus the easy addition of 1” or so of length). Adults shooting light small bores, it might be noted, often need more length than they would for a 7 or 8lb (the reverse is also true, a very heavy big bore gun will need a shorter stock).
These are fun little guns to shoot and this one was no exception. I have used them with both 2 ½ and 3” cartridges and recoil was never a problem. My advice would be to stick with 2 ½ (65mm) shells for any instructional purpose or for vermin control. The Yildiz, like any lightweight is quick to start and quick to stop. On crossing targets considerable control and some extra muscular effort is required to do good work. The short barrels on this one also required a little more perceived lead. The capabilities of the gun on mid-range crossers is, however, surprising once you have mastered the technique of shooting with a light, shorter barelled, gun. On close going away or driven birds it is a very enjoyable wee thing to shoot and will bring a smile to young or older faces. I liked the narrow rib. the trigger pulls were adequate and everything functioned perfectly. At the price, it is a bargain for a new gun made with integrity. If I was to buy one it would be a 28 or 30” because there is no issue with the modest weight increase and they make the gun more pointable. It is a very nice little gun nevertheless.
TEACHING YOUNG PEOPLE TO SHOOT
Safety first! Instill good, muzzle-aware, habits from the start. “Don’t point a gun at anything you don’t want to destroy. Make sure it is unloaded every time you pick it up, put it down or pass it own.” Good ear and eye protection is a must, a hat is a good idea too (essential for clays). Check eye dominance before shooting and proceed accordingly. During any basic instruction only load one cartridge. Make sure you are in a position closer enough to physically intervene at any point. With regard to teaching basic technique, show your charge how to mount the gun well and don’t let anyone proceed to firing with a poorly mounted gun.
If you are teaching or supervising a young shot, or just shooting with them on a regular basis, make sure that their weight is kept well forward (front shoulder over the front foot usually), that their feet are not too far apart (shoulder width), that the head is down on the stock (but not forced down) and that the front hand is not extended too far. It is important to make sure that they do not arch their back excessively in compensation for the weight of the gun (arching may be an indication of an unsuitable gun and/or poor technique). You must show them how to use the front hand/arm well (which may take some effort for youngsters and ladies of petite physique). Most important, bar safety, is that a good time is had by all. Confidence and competence must be instilled but, shooting must be a happy experience from the start.
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