Three and easy
When I heard Akkar had released a triple-barrel shotgun with 20” barrels I wasn’t sure what to expect but certainly wasn’t ready to be taken aback on first viewing. I also anticipated the thing to ‘swing like a fencepost’ but was pleasantly surprised in that area too.
Made in Turkey, the gun comes in an attractive suede-look take-down case, the finish being Realtree MAX-5 camouflage which contributes to the ‘looking good’ part with any exposed metal surfaces of the action deeply blued, including trigger and triggerguard.
The shotgun is configured like a side-by-side with a third barrel sitting in the middle on top. It has a synthetic fore-end and buttstock which keeps the weight down, the fore-end a beavertail arrangement featuring some medium chequering also found on the pistol grip. There are mounting points for sling swivels towards the back end of the buttstock and just ahead of the fore-end under the barrels.
The Akkar features 76mm (3”) chambers with extractors and a recoil pad and comes with three screw-in chokes installed. All Akkar shotguns are steel shot compatible though the owner’s manual recommends steel not be used with any choke tighter than modified.
For such a revolutionary concept the Akkar is actually a fairly conventional shotgun in many ways, levers and controls located exactly where you’d expect them to be. For example, there’s a single mechanical trigger which works in the same way traditional shotguns do in that the recoil (or inertia) of the previous shot readies the next barrel for firing.
There’s a thumb-operated top-lever at the rear of the action to break open the barrels with the safety positioned just underneath within easy reach, and to break the Akkar down you simply pull the take-down lever under the fore-end, move out the fore-end and the barrels from the action.
But from there the Akkar begins to depart from tradition. There’s no rear sight or sighting-rib along the top barrel but that leads to one of the features I really like ‑ a red, fibre-optic front sight. There’s been talk in the gun world about fibre-optic sights being too ‘distracting’ to the eye, but I don’t agree as I found this one extremely easy to see and use, more like using a rifle sight which I found helped me ‘point’ at the target. Many experts, including SSAA columnist and Olympic champion Russell Mark, say you should ‘point’ rather than ‘aim’ a shotgun, preferably with both eyes open.
I was able to mount the shotgun where it felt natural then used the front sight to line up the target and once this was done I could work out where to position the sight in relation to the target. I found this to be an intuitive method of aiming (sorry, ‘pointing’) the shotgun.
This smooth-bore weighs approximately 3.4kg unloaded, surprisingly light considering my old Miroku over-and-under is 3.6kg. Without trigger pull scales I was unable to give a kilogram weight to the trigger which felt a tad on the heavy side (as many shotguns do) but broke cleanly with no creep.
I recruited a hunting partner of mine, Jamie, to do some field testing. Unfortunately the wind was howling but as I prefer to pattern a shotgun at around 40m, it wasn’t as big a handicap as I feared. We patterned it on butcher’s paper to get used to ‘point of aim’ and the barrels fire in the following order (from the shooter’s perspective): bottom right, bottom left then top.
The removable choke configuration from the factory is as follows: The first barrel to fire (bottom right) had a three strike (III) marking on its choke which according to the owner’s manual indicates a modified choke and measured approximately 17.9mm on my digital callipers.
The second barrel (bottom left) had a choke marked with four strikes (IIII) which is improved cylinder and measured roughly 18.15mm. The final barrel to fire (top) had a choke marked with five (IIIII) strikes which is skeet and measured approximately 18.4mm.
All of which means the first shot has least spread and final shot the most, although this can be modified to suit the shooter’s needs. For example, if I was using shot to hunt pigs I’d consider reversing the order of chokes, that way the first barrel might be fired at closer range at an undisturbed mob and the second and third fired as the pigs were running away.
We took our time on the patterning between shots and found all three barrels shot to the same point of aim, while extractors functioned flawlessly and made it easy to discard spent shells into your pocket or a nearby bucket instead of having to lift them off the ground.
Then we moved on to testing the real benefit of this firearm: its rapid follow-up shot ability. We started slowly, allowing time to reacquire the target between shots, then gradually increased speed as we became more familiar with how the gun behaved under recoil. Aside from being great fun I could absolutely see the potential for this shotgun in both clay target shooting and hunting situations where that triple-shot ability could prove invaluable.
Next up, I dragged out my spring-loaded trap thrower and a box of unbroken clays which proved problematic on three fronts: the wind was still howling, we were shooting BBs and it had been a while since I’d shot competitive Trap. Still, I wanted to know how it felt to track a moving target with the Akkar and was pleasantly surprised. It swung far better than I anticipated and while I was a fraction off a perfect score, we broke enough targets that I felt confident enough to take it hunting.
A fox had been hassling my chooks for months and I’d tried unsuccessfully to trap it in my new $400 animal-friendly cage. I considered staking out the bait station but, according to the time-stamp on my trail cam photos, its usual hours of activity were mostly between 1am and 5am ‑ far too unsocial for me.
Then one afternoon I spotted two foxes approaching from a distant paddock so I tracked their progress and watched them move closer. Eventually they sauntered along a boundary fence close to the house and headed towards our back paddock so I noted the time and decided to try again next day.
Sure enough I saw them in the distance heading my way. I went straight out to where I had the breeze blowing across me and hoped to have a decent shot if they continued to advance, which they did. The leader approached, I coughed quietly until it stopped then slapped the trigger on the Akkar, the fox barely twitching as it went down for good. I was thrilled and the young fox was in good condition considering the dry conditions we’d been experiencing.
About 10 days later I was sitting on the deck when I again saw two foxes making their way towards my place. Surely lightning couldn’t strike twice yet they kept coming so I retrieved the Akkar from the gun safe and waited. The pair separated and I saw the larger one hanging back, hugging the tree line, the younger one clearly more confident and heading for the henhouse. As I called “hey” he stopped and looked towards me and with one pull of the trigger down he went, the Akkar impressing once again.
Make no mistake, this firearm has the potential to divide opinion as purists may not fancy the triple 20” barrels and camo pattern while pragmatists might argue this is a revolutionary concept. The triple-shot ability of this shotgun carries extra significance in Australia as current firearm laws do not allow the average shooter access to pump-action shotguns.
There is some recoil and muzzle flip to contend with but I’ve never used a firearm with faster follow-up shot ability. If I owned one I’d opt for a thicker recoil pad and the option to select barrels would be a bonus, as would ejectors. The action and take-down process was a little stiff but Jamie and I agreed this would ‘wear-in’ given time.
This is one of those occasions where performance of the review product didn’t just live up to expectations, it exceeded them and as if to prove that point, Jamie is currently saving his pennies to buy one. The Akkar 3 triple-barrel shotgun 20” camo retails for around $2325. Visit nioa.com for dealer locations.
Overall length: 950mm
Barrel length: 508mm (20”)
Chamber: 12g, 76mm (3”)
Proof: For use with steel and lead shot
Chokes (supplied): Modified, Improved Cylinder, Skeet
Accessories: Suede-look case
Price: RRP $2325