With so many Turkish guns on the Australian market it’s difficult to discern which brands are most reliable. The good news is Yildiz shotguns have been coming here for more than a decade and for the past couple of years, importer Spartan Global of Melbourne has introduced the high-grade and impressive ProStar series. These shotguns are spectacular to look at and on internal assessment by respected Australian gunsmith Ian McGeoch have been given a clear stamp of approval as excellent value for money.
Pedro Da Silva and John Gilopidis are behind the ProStar grouping and have been inundated with enquiries so are busy keeping up with orders as the guns become increasingly popular as discerning shooters see their worth. I have to say the gun on review is stunning, extremely well made and assembled and unlike many Turkish guns on the market, the ProStar stable uses an inertia trigger system while the engraving and quality of the woodwork is hard to beat for the price at $7450.
This is the complete gun, left or right-handed with adjustable comb piece, hard case, gun socks and all accessories making it a buyer’s delight. Coupled with a five-year warranty and sophisticated Turkish stock work, the ProStar is destined to become a winner in value and on the podium. Stock dimensions have had input from noted stock maker Kevin Wright of Ballarat and with complete interchangeability of stocks, fore-ends and barrels, a superb gun can be assembled to the shooter’s specifications.
These are silver soldered together for optimal strength and faultlessly blued. The side and top rib are ventilated while the latter can be ordered in either a parallel or tapered configuration, extra barrel sets also on offer for around $1900. At the muzzle end is a single sight and the distributor also offers a mid-sight. Barrel sets can either be ordered with interchangeable choke tubes, both extended or fully internal, with extra choke tubes costing another $25 - a bargain. For the gun on review the barrel set measures just under 32” at 810mm and weighs 1.56kg.
The Yildiz ProStar is chambered for 76mm cartridges and supplied with a proof guarantee from the Turkish government. Design of the ejectors is robust and their timing is perfection as empty cartridges were thrown well clear from the breech or, selectively, unfired loads were gently raised for removal.
All around the monobloc is highly polished to the point where it almost looks as if it’s been chromed. I was impressed by the groove cut in the bottom barrel to avoid hitting the firing pins, the finish on the monobloc and barrels sheer perfection and the quality assurance before these guns leave the factory is clearly to a high standard.
Yildiz incorporate a Boss locking system with their ProStar chain, a time-proven method usually reserved for more expensive guns. A Boss locking system can be described as two lugs coming out either side of the receiver face and fastening on to two bites milled from the monobloc on either side of the barrels, jointing via bifurcated, replaceable pins in either side of the receiver walls. Circular mating recesses are milled into the monobloc and the barrels pivot on these and should wear occur after years of service, the pins are simply replaced with oversized pins.
Engraving about the receiver, triggerguard and top lever and top tang is exceptional, the scroll work tastefully designed and the ProStar label coming with either scroll engraving (as with the gun on review) or with game scenes. I was impressed with both options as viewed at the distributor’s premises in Melbourne when I collected the gun.
Design of the top lever allows for plenty of purchase as the gun opened smoothly. Placement of the safety catch-cum-barrel selector is tremendous as the top lever can be pushed open without interfering with the barrel selector - top marks to Yildiz. Being an inertia-operated trigger mechanism where the first barrel must be fired before the second can be selected (unless the barrel selector is operated), I’d have preferred a mechanical trigger but most guns these days operate on inertia firing mechanisms and Yildiz appear to be no different.
The size of the triggerguard is generous and enables wearing of thin leather gloves. Although not adjustable, the triggerfoot is sufficiently raked to be a comfortable distance from the pistol grip, making its use very direct. Trigger releases are around 4lb for the bottom barrel and 5lb for the top, a little too firm for the top but still reasonably comfortable to release and I’d have favoured them both to be around 4lb but this can be adjusted by a competent gunsmith if desired.
Stock and fore-end
Made from magnificent Grade 5 Turkish walnut, the stock and fore-end are well suited to the quality of the Yildiz ProStar with its stunning engraving, the oil-finished woodwork complementing the gun well. Fitted with adjustable comb piece as standard, the gun can be ordered in either left or right-handed stock and for those who prefer a customised stock, inletted blanks can be supplied with exceptional quality wood for the same price as a standard stock. It’s then up to the shooter to have it shaped from the blank.
Ballarat stock maker Kevin Wright usually does this for the distributor for around $750 and completed additional stocks can be ordered in Grade 5 walnut for $990. The avid shooter has the option of choosing a standard fitted stock for hunting along with an adjustable comb stock for competition clay target shooting.
Walnut on the Schnabel fore-end is sensational with great character and grain, release via a lever under the fore-end which is also heavily engraved, operation easy but firm to maintain the fore-end in a rigid position. Chequering on both stock and fore-end is around 18-20 lines per inch and is faultlessly completed and sufficient in coverage to provide a good, firm grip. An adjustable comb is fitted to the stock, complementing the engraving, and all tools and spacers for the adjustable stock are supplied.
It’s pleasing to see a significant recoil pad fitted to the butt of the stock for consistent gun mount and recoil reduction, always an appreciated addition as to have one fitted aftermarket can cost in excess of $200. The stock is easily removed with an extension tool and this can be done smoothly if the shooter has two stocks and may wish, for example, to change between field shooting (where the stock might be flatter) to a higher stock for the various clay target disciplines.
Over the traps
Removing the Yildiz ProStar from its fitted case, it not only looks good but shoots well and I was fortunate to test it at my local gun club as target after target was demolished. I was impressed by the performance of the choke tubes and while the 32” barrels took a little time to get used to the gun balanced well, swung effortlessly and the chokes did their job as targets were reduced to a puff of smoke.
In summary Yildiz ProStar shotguns are striking, well built, superb value for money for what they offer and their configuration is a recipe for success. There will be those with reservations about Turkish guns but these firearms are well put together and I have no hesitation in recommending Yildiz ProStar competition shotguns for clay or field.
Model: Yildiz ProStar Sporting (scroll engraving)
Manufacturer: Yildiz, Turkey
Distributor: Spartan Global, Melbourne (Pedro - 0409 726 949 for inspection by appointment)
Overall length: 1260mm/49¾”
Overall weight: 3.68kg/8lb 3oz
Barrel length: 810mm/31¾”
Barrel weight: 1.56kg/3lb 6oz
Bore and chamber: 12-gauge, 76mm/3” chambered. 18.6mm bore/0.732” for both barrels
Forcing cones: Extended
Chokes: Interchangeable choke tubes or fixed barrel chokes upon order. Internal and external choke tubes optional. External chokes 73mm long including collar. Dimensions ‑ Cylinder: 0.735”, Improved Cylinder: 0.725”, Modified: 0.715”, Improved Modified: 0.710”, Full: 0.700”. T-bar-style choke tube wrench supplied. Extra chokes available for $25
Trigger pulls: Under barrel: 4lb, Over: 5lb. Non-adjustable triggerfoot with inertia trigger set.
Stock configuration: Gun on review supplied with Grade 5 walnut as standard, stock fitted with adjustable comb as standard. Left-handed, custom stocks and inletted blanks available on request. Drop at comb adjustable, drop at heel adjustable, length of pull 382mm/15 1/8”
Warranty: Five years.
RRP $7450 with lockable hard case, choke tubes, stock Allen keys and spacers, gun socks and basic instruction booklet