Too many shooters – especially high-brow sport shooters – quickly write off Turkish-made shotguns. While it’s true that these guns’ reputations have been up and down in the past, there are some darn nice double guns coming out of Turkey these days. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but let’s face it, any low-dollar guns from any country can be questionable.
While not every Turkish-made shotgun brand is on our wish list, the following guns represent some of the best we’ve found, handled, shot, hunted with, and just plain enjoyed. They are attractive on the outside, durable on the inside, and legitimate choices for sport shooters.
One of the most affordable, if not the most affordable and available, side-by-side hunting shotguns on the market just added 16-gauge chamberings. TriStar’s Bristol doubles now include a full contingent of gauges: 12, 20, 16, 28, and .410 bore. Sporting shooters and hunters can choose from two basic families. The standard Bristol uses a straight, English-style stock and color-case receiver finish. The Bristol Silver wears an engraved nickel-finished receiver and walnut pistol-grip stock.
Regardless of model variant and chambering, Bristols are all built on true-sized frames, meaning guns like the 28 gauge and .410 bore are slim, light, and well-balanced instead of being jammed onto receivers from the larger bores. Features are useful, with a single selective trigger, chrome-lined chamber and barrel, five choke tubes, and auto ejectors. There’s a definite resurgence of 16-gauge shotguns and ammunition, and the Bristol is further evidence of that – Plus, it's a darn fine hunting shotgun to boot.
While the Bristol is a major winner in our recent testing and gets the nod as our new favorite Turkish-made TriStar, the Trinity O/U with its 24K gold inlay, acid-etched receiver, chrome-lined barrels, single selective trigger, and select-grade Turkish walnut is also well worth a mention.
While many shooters think American-made products with the Weatherby name, many of the company’s shotguns are actually built in Turkey. With the design prowess and quality control backing of the big W brand, we’ve been pleasantly surprised – especially recently – with the Orion O/U shotguns. The latest doubles, produced since Weatherby’s move to Wyoming, are marked “Sheridan WY,” denoting the company’s home, yet they are built in Turkey.
Orions look and feel classy, and just because they’re built in Turkey doesn’t mean they’re budget-priced double barrels. In fact, the Orion’s retail pricing begins at $1,049.00, a far cry from what many shooters come to expect from Turkish builds. While there are numerous Orion O/U choices, our favorite is the new Sporting model. There’s an adjustable comb, ported barrels, and a design tailored to clay busters. The sleek lines of the smooth-swinging Orion Sporting is a serious contender in the sporting market in both looks and performance.
Trap and clay competition-specific guns are almost always pricey – almost.
A very few Turkish-made shotguns make the cut as affordable and acceptable specialty guns. CZ’s All-American family of sporting guns is at the top of that list. The All-American is available in three configurations: an O/U with either 30- or 32-inch barrels, a single-barrel Trap, and a Trap Combo with two complete barrel sets.
All are 12-gauge sporting shotguns with fine Turkish walnut stocks, ventilated rib barrels, and extended choke tubes. They utilize a four-way adjustable comb and ship with adjustable butt-plate hardware for a custom fit. The guns are built for heavy use, with the availability of drop-in replacement parts after high round counts. The Combo is especially sweet, coming with both an over-under set and an unsingle with a dial-adjustable rib perfect for customizing those clay-busting sporting guns.
Retay is one of the names on this list that may not be as familiar to the wider American market. Yet the Turkish company with an American base in Easton, Maryland, continues to crank out shotguns for both sporters and hunters alike. Though they produce slide actions as well, it’s Retay's inertia-driven semi-automatics that drive the brand.
While both the Gordion and Masai Mara fit that description, the latter steals the show with innovative features like a quick-release trigger group, which comes free without tools and allows for both safe storage and quick clearing of debris. There’s also an Easy Unload system that allows the magazine tube to be cleared in seconds without racking live rounds through the action. In another improved bit of engineering, Retay’s Inertia Plus floating bolt system is intended to eliminate the misfires that have plagued the inertia systems from other manufacturers. The Masai Mara can be had in both 12 and 20 gauge for sporters, with ample camoed hunting options as well.
Though we haven’t yet had a chance to fire one, initial handling impressions are positive with Retay’s latest Antalya line of semi-automatic inertia-driven shotguns. A classy exterior matches proven internals along the line of sporting-specific repeaters.
The Stevens name is newer to the Turkish game. Yet, with the budget brand looking for ways to offer affordable quality imports through parent company Savage Arms, Turkey was the natural choice for this O/U shotgun. The Model 555 offers lightweight, aluminum-framed doubles in 28, 20, 16, and 12 gauge, as well as .410 bore – all scaled to gauge. The model has since expanded to include a 555E, an enhanced variant with upgraded wood, ejectors replacing extractors, and a laser-engraved silver receiver.
Since its introduction a handful of years back, the company has since added a single-barrel 555 Trap gun as well as Compact models with a shorter length of pull for smaller-framed shooters. Whether labeled Stevens or Savage, these Turkish-built shotguns are backed by the company’s reputation for mating affordability with quality. For the casual hunter and sporting shooter, the 555 line of stacked-barrel scatterguns is a solid choice in a crowded field.