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    • Vic Harker recounts the development of shotguns adopted for clay target shooting over the sports history

      Relatively inexpensive and with a single sighting plane, for the Americans the pump ruled

      For some, the shotgun reached an apogee of mechanical design and aesthetics in the form of the best English sidelock ejector somewhere between the last decade of the 19th century and the first of the 20th. For those whose shooting is centred exclusively around driven game, its case is a strong one – however, it should be said the best sidelock game gun is as specialised as any.

      Weighing something between 6.5 and 7lbs, its fast-handling characteristics are best suited to deal with large numbers of game birds at moderate range as a single gun or a pair. As for the latter, the side-by-side’s shallow gape assists fast reloading and the automatic safety catch usually incorporated in this type of gun is also of obvious benefit. As a clay target gun, the side-by-side remained in common use with the British up until the 1950s.

      The popular Browning A5

      Although, to my knowledge, few if any guns of this type have been built specifically for clays, as the late Chris Cradock explained to me, ”We used what we had.“ This usually took the form of a long-barrelled gun with a raised rib and plenty of choke, at least in the left barrel.

      For the most part made in Birmingham by companies such as W. W. Greener and BSA, we can be certain that few were purchased as new for clay target shooting but were rather hand-me-downs that had previously been used for other purposes. As for their effectiveness, suitably stocked for DTL and Sporting (the international disciplines were in the future), the best shots hardly ever missed.

      All American Skeet with Model 12 pump

      The pump action

      Embraced by the Americans in vast quantities, its success reflected their ongoing affection for the repeater, although as with the British their clay target games never required more than two shots. As for ATA Trap shooting, with the exception of Trap Doubles, never more than one shot was necessary.

      Relatively inexpensive and with a single sighting plane, for the Americans the pump ruled for decades. From Winchester came the Model 12 ”the Perfect Repeater”, as its makers described it, and from Remington the Model 31. Each company had their own top guns in the 1930s – at Remington it was Fred Etchen and at Winchester, Herb Parsons.

      The British shooter eschewed the pump – unlike so many Americans, they had not grown up with the technique it required – although their judgment was tinged with just a hint of illogical snobbery: “Repeaters not quite the thing, yer know.”

      Joe Wheater with his trusty side-by-side

      Semi-autos

      The early semi-automatic shotguns were operated on recoil and the Browning A5 was the most successful. When the gun was fired, the barrel and the bolt moved rearwards, a fraction further than the spent shell case to re-cock the hammer. As the barrel returned forward, the bolt remained behind and the spent shell was ejected through a port at the top of the receiver. The bolt then returned forward and another shell from the magazine under the barrel was fed into the action.

      The Browning A5 sold in vast quantities but by modern standards, as a clay target gun, it had its disadvantages. The most prevalent was the disturbing movement of the long recoil action, which was relatively slow.

      Later semi-automatics utilised the gases expired from the first cartridge to cycle the subsequent round. The Remington Model 878 was the first auto of this type followed by the Model 58. The most popular were the 1100 and its successor the 1187, which incorporated refinements to the gas system.

      It is hard to imagine a major championship without the now ubiquitous over-and-under

      The over-and-under

      The most successful of the early over-and-under shotguns were designed and built by English makers, most particularly those in London. This was not mere chauvinism – having perfected the side-by-side sidelock in the form of the self-opening hammerless ejector, they began looking around for something new and another challenge.

      As the best London gun already attracted a wealthy clientele from around the world, cost was not a problem – although the design wasn’t without its challenges. These were overcome to most people’s satisfaction and so well before World War I, makers like James Woodward and Boss & Co were offering beautifully made, well balanced, sidelock over-and-under guns for the game shooter.

      The side-by-side is a rarity in the modern world of clay shooting

      It was, however, the Americans who first produced the affordable over-and-under. The great John Browning laid out the basic principles but it only appeared in significant numbers after his death.
      The Remington Model 32 was another firearm of this type introduced in the 1930s but its production ceased in the United States at the beginning of World War II. It was therefore well into a decade later that the over-and-under gun was adopted by clay target shooters in numbers.

      The Browning, made by FN in Belgium, was the market leader for a considerable amount of time. This position was further enhanced by Miroku in Japan making a copy of the firearm, first under their own brand and then Browning’s.

      Refinements have been made to the semi-auto since its shaky origins

      By then, the Italians were looking beyond their home market and this was reflected in the expanding product line that included clay target guns of increasing sophistication demonstrated in Beretta’s 680 series.

      Meanwhile, Perazzi were offering their drop-lock clay target guns with bespoke options. As a result of ever-improving methods of manufacture and appropriate specifications incorporated into the over-and-under, combined with mechanical reliability in a way no other category of shotgun could fulfil, it became the clay shooter’s natural choice.

      This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      Vic Harker recounts the development of shotguns adopted for clay target shooting over the sports history

      Relatively inexpensive and with a single sighting plane, for the Americans the pump ruled

      For some, the shotgun reached an apogee of mechanical design and aesthetics in the form of the best English sidelock ejector somewhere between the last decade of the 19th century and the first of the 20th. For those whose shooting is centred exclusively around driven game, its ... See more
      See more on line
      The development of sporting clay guns
    • Clay Shooting visits Eriswell Lodge Shooting Ground to find out how it is writing a new chapter for shooting in Suffolk

      Eriswell is owned by father-and-son team Nigel and Stuart Smith, both keen shooters with 12 years of experience apiece

      Head up the tree-lined lane from the gates of RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk and you’ll find yourself among the open skies and grassy fields of Eriswell Lodge Shooting Ground. After Barrow Heath’s sad closure, its regular competitions have been taken on by Eriswell, which was formerly the Lakenheath Clay Target Centre.

      Following its reopening in April 2015, the ground now has a new lease on life and is making a serious bid to become the centre of Suffolk’s shooting community. It’s recently become a premier ground and it’s entering a team to the CPSA Premier League in a bid to retain the cup for the county. What better time to take a tour of the ground and find out what it has to offer?

      Eriswell is owned by father-and-son team Nigel and Stuart Smith, both keen shooters with 12 years of experience apiece. Nigel is more of a game shooter, but his son Stuart is a competitive clay shooter, regularly shooting abroad at World Championship Sporting events and turning his hand to most other disciplines on the domestic scene, too.

      Nigel and Stuart haven’t hung about since opening and have hosted countless notable events including the National Inter-Counties Sporting Championship, the East Midlands Inter-Counties Skeet Championships and the BSSA State Championships (an American Skeet event) to name just a few. The also have lessons available from CPSA, BASC and APSI qualified instructors for beginners up to advanced levels of ability.

      Overall, Eriswell certainly feels more like a club than a commercial ground

      Facilities-wise, Eriswell has all the boxes ticked. First and foremost, there’s plenty of shooting to be done with four Skeet fields, two with DTL layouts on and two with ABT, plus a separate DTL/Sportrap/Compak layout. As if that wasn’t enough, there are two more Sportrap layouts on top. Sporting shooters have 16 stands to get around, including two raised shooting platforms and multiple traps on platforms and lifts. Shot restrictions are pretty simple and sensible – you can’t shoot anything bigger than a 7 shot or a load heavier than 28 grams. Plastic wads or fibre doesn’t matter.

      Over in the clubhouse, the café serves hot and cold food and drinks, while the shop has a wide range of stock from such names as Jack Pyke, Alan Paine, Baleno, Croots, Bisley and Napier. Disabled shooters are well catered for, with all access either flat or ramped and the appropriate WC facilities. All that said, the ground isn’t resting on its laurels and plans are in motion to construct
      a new clubhouse early next year.

      Sporting shooters have 16 stands to get around, including two raised shooting platforms and multiple traps on platforms and lifts

      Overall, Eriswell certainly feels more like a club than a commercial ground. Staff often get to know their members by name and when time permits, they’ve even been known to sit down and share a cuppa with them. Even at busy times, you can be assured of a warm welcome.

      The dynamism that has changed Eriswell’s fortunes hasn’t gone away, either; Nigel and Stuart are always developing and reinvesting into the facility. They regularly change the targets on their Sporting course and they’re now hosting two Sporting competitions each month with the targets set by Phil Moss, formerly of Barrow Heath Shooting Ground. The Skeet and Trap layouts aren’t neglected either, both being checked regularly to make sure the targets are up to snuff.

      With all this on offer, it seems fairly safe to say that Suffolk’s shooters can rest easy in the knowledge that they’ll have access to a quality shooting experience for years to come. Shooting is a sport, but in the end it’s also community, and that’s why it’s so important that the team at Eriswell have stepped into the breach to keep the flame of that community alive.

      It’s tempting to describe it as a phoenix rising from the ashes but although it exists on the grounds that were once Lakenheath and preserves an important part of the spirit of Barrow Heath, it’s really something brand new. The future isn’t more of the same, it’s yet to be written – but it’s looking bright.

      The team at Eriswell have stepped into the breach to keep the flame of the shooting community alive

      Who’s who?
      Erswell Lodge is owned by father-and-son duo Nigel and Stuart Smith. Richard is the grounds manager, Melissa
      is the catering manager, and Melissa and Jon are the shift managers.

      What’s on offer?
      All Round, Automatic Ball Trap, Compak, Down The Line, Engish Skeet, English Sporting, Fitasc, NSSA, Olympic Skeet (pre-booking required), Skeet Doubles, Sportrap

      Why Eriswell?
      A warm welcome, friendly atmosphere, frequently changing Sporting targets and, most importantly, Eriswell Lodge welcome and act on feedback from their shooters.

      When is it open?
      Monday: Closed
      Tuesday: Closed
      Wednesday: Shooting from 9.30am (10am in the Summer) Sporting closes at dusk Skeet comp 4.30pm to 8.30pm
      Thursday to Saturday: Shooting from 9.30am to 3.30pm (10am to 5.30pm in summer)
      Sunday: Shooting from 9.30am to 3.30pm (10am to 3.30pm in summer)

      Where is it?
      Eriswell Lodge, Brandon Road, Eriswell, Brandon, Suffolk, IP27 9FB
      Contact: 01638 534 045/ info@eriswell-lodge.com
      www.eriswell-lodge.com

      How to get there
      Situated just off the A1065 between Mildenhall and Brandon, opposite RAF Lakenheath’s main gates.
      The postcode will take you right to the door.

      This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      Clay Shooting visits Eriswell Lodge Shooting Ground to find out how it is writing a new chapter for shooting in Suffolk

      Eriswell is owned by father-and-son team Nigel and Stuart Smith, both keen shooters with 12 years of experience apiece

      Head up the tree-lined lane from the gates of RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk and you’ll find yourself among the open skies and grassy fields of Eriswell Lodge Shooting Ground. After Barrow Heath’s sad closure, its regular competitions ... See more
      See more on line
      Destination shots: Feel at home at Eriswell Lodge
      Stuart Mathieson Such a shame that they were broken into over the last couple of weeks ☹️
    • Issue 118 is out now! Don’t miss it out, subscribe and save!

      Suffering from a mince-pie induced rustiness after the Christmas period? Get back to basics with the February issue of Clay Shooting magazine. We bring you the ultimate beginners’ guide to getting started in the sport, while gunsmith Kristian Reilly breaks down the anatomy of a gun so you can really get to know your gunfit and Ben Husthwaite teaches you how to recognise different target types.

      Bad boy Ben is back with even more top tips

      In our cover feature, Mark Winser opens up about his shooting background and his advice to youngsters coming in to the sport. Plus, we’ve got a complete guide to booking your shooting holiday this year, from legal tips to top destinations. And back in the UK, we check in on Northall CPC, one of the south-east’s hidden gems.

      Exclusive chat with Mark Winser

      We’ve got a Beretta 690 Black Edition on test, along with Kath Bright’s customised Perazzi Elle. And if you’ve ever fancied yourself the next Spielberg and wanted to film your shoots, we list all the kit and techniques you’ll need.

      We tested the Beretta 690 Black Edition

      Finally, we announce the details of the hotly anticipated Clay Shooting Classic 2018. Coming to the nation’s favourite shooting ground Southdown on 30 May – 3 June, the event builds on its trusted format with a finals day, adding more atmosphere and more chances to win.

      Subscribe today at myfavouritemagazines and never miss an issue, or pick up and current issue and have it delivered straight to your door.
      Issue 118 is out now! Don’t miss it out, subscribe and save!

      Suffering from a mince-pie induced rustiness after the Christmas period? Get back to basics with the February issue of Clay Shooting magazine. We bring you the ultimate beginners’ guide to getting started in the sport, while gunsmith Kristian Reilly breaks down the anatomy of a gun so you can really get to ... See more
      See more on line
      Get back to basics with new Clay Shooting issue out now!
    • If you’re struggling to figure out the best combination of cartridge and chokes for your Trap shotgun, Richard Atkins might have some answers for you…

      Different cartridges for different disciplines have been developed with the benefit of many years of experience in what works best and less well

      The choices we have today comprise a broad range of guns and cartridges for clay shooting – we have never had it so good.

      Different cartridges for different disciplines have been developed with the benefit of many years of experience in what works best and less well. Choices were minimal when I started clay shooting, even plastic wads were in their infancy so most Trap cartridges in UK were still loaded with felt or fibre wads. Interchangeable chokes weren’t common either so the chokes in your barrels had to be decided when you purchased your gun. That may seem odd today, when you have to search to find a gun without multiple chokes, but some fixed-choke guns still find a market.

      Anyone who follows shotgun forums on social media will have discussed the evergreen topic: “What chokes do you guys use for Trap/Skeet/Sporting?” Fairly well represented among the responses will be: “I just stick to ¼ and ½/½ and ½/½ and ¾” or  “I never change them, I can’t see the point.”

      When I read these comments I cannot help thinking what wonderful marketing it is that makes shooters buy a gun that has a set of interchangeable chokes that they neither want nor intend to use. It also tells me that a great many shooters have little idea what difference choke and cartridge choices can make.

      Full choke is overkill for first barrel DTL, as the dense central sector shows

      Having choice is good, but if those commenting really do not change their chokes then all they have done is bought a gun made more expensive by the work involved in making it suitable for multi-chokes. Cleaning is made more difficult by the need to remove and grease the choke tubes after shooting and if you don’t bother then they could corrode in position and cost a lot to put right.

      But it goes beyond this: gun muzzles are usually made thicker, hence heavier, to accept choke tubes and this inevitably adds some weight right at the front of the gun where it is least wanted. It may not make too much difference for the slower Trap targets like DTL but for the faster disciplines, such as Universal Trench and Olympic Trap, a more swift-handling, better balanced gun can be more of an advantage. For these disciplines there is a lot to be said for a gun with fixed chokes.

      Given that people were shooting and breaking clays, including Trap disciplines, long before plastic-wad ammunition came along, makers had to use other means of ensuring their ammunition could produce reliable clay-breaking patterns. They did this by several methods: better quality true felt wadding or harder shot and reduced velocity being two.

      Today, these factors work just as well now as they did then. We have the universally available and widely used plastic wad to replace the fibre wad, a wider range of progressive powders and higher levels of antimony in the lead shot. This results in the hardest lead shot clay shooters have ever had the opportunity to buy. The patterning potential of today’s best OT and FITASC Sporting cartridges has reached levels barely dreamed of 50 years ago.

      Improved Cylinder is too open with 7.5 shot, though distribution is good

      It’s worth noting that the official shot load weight for Olympic Trap was once 36 grams, but is now down to just 24. Despite its faster targets sent out at the higher speeds, Olympic Trap is made all the harder by having the smallest shot load for the toughest discipline, which means cartridge makers have had to work hard to develop loads that will reliably smash the fast retreating, edge-on targets at considerable distance with fewer pellets. It’s worth considering what goes into producing cartridges that these shooters have come to rely on, because nobody wants to shoot a budget load at the Olympics.

      The wad situation is simplified by the fact that Olympic layouts allow for the use of plastic wad ammunition (as do most, if not all, domestic Trap layouts). Some successful OT cartridge makers, Clever Mirage for one, go to extra lengths to ensure that wad cups will have separate petals. They cut the petals of the plastic wads they use even though they have moulded in petals anyway.

      After many years of pattern testing, the one feature all top-grade ammunition has is the quality of the lead shot used. Shot samples in some of the Olympic-medal winning Trap cartridges reveal the most exquisite shot pellets you could find in any cartridge. The grading for size will be at least a double or triple-stage process, ensuring that the pellets are all round and uniform size. Such refinement isn’t as necessary in easier Trap disciplines where target speeds and angles vary less, especially as they can use 28-gram loads.

      At 30 yards, 8 shot put 23 per cent more pellets in the outer 20-30in sector

      Hard shot

      Shot must be hard for two reasons: it deforms less under the acceleration of firing and patterns more closely than softer shot, which deforms more under the same acceleration. And Olympic Trap shooters often prefer a fast cartridge to help cope with the target speed. The extra speed will lead to extra acceleration forces and this can work against the need for close patterns. This is why cartridge manufacturers want to use the best plastic wad possible to help cushion the shot from acceleration crushing, as well as finding a propellant powder that will accelerate the shot load a fraction more progressively.

      Being a relatively light shot load, recoil is not a major problem. Pellets in Olympic Trap shells are frequently nickel coated to ensure they don’t stick together – it also produces a slightly more even pattern. Nickel plating hard shot helps because the plating is not thick enough to add any hardness, but it can make it shoot a shade more evenly. Only pattern testing with the gun and choke to be used will reveal how well this works out.

      Selecting chokes and cartridges

      Selecting the chokes and cartridges likely to be best suited for each Trap discipline produces quite an array of options. However, thinking about the target speeds (hence distance they are likely to be engaged at) also the height and angular variations, it soon becomes clear that some situations are more demanding than others. With DTL still the most popular Trap game in UK, I will concentrate upon that.

      Light Mod chokes are more than adequate for first-barrel DTL

      DTL

      You are allowed to use a heavier shot load for DTL than OT, even though target speeds and spread of angle are lower. Logic says that if 24 grams in Olympic Trap competitions will smash a 40-45-yard target then that’s all you need for DTL.

      However, as you are allowed more shot you may as well take advantage of that option and so I suggest thinking about making the best use of the extra shot. Something worth thinking about is using a more open choke because you have more pellets to fill the pattern. With 7.5 shot breaking OT targets, this shot size is evidently up to the task. After much testing over many years, 8 shot has proved a good shot size for DTL – particularly in the all-important first barrel.

      DTL target speeds and angles may be less demanding but, if any second shots are required, these cost a point. Therefore, if you can add a few inches to your effective pattern by using an open choke, then it really is worth experimenting to see if a smaller shot size and more open choke works for you.

      If you are recoil sensitive, you might wish use 24-gram 8 shot for your first barrel. This may require going back up one choke restriction to ½ choke but a pattern test check and then some practice on the DTL layout will tell you if this is good for you. Some find the substantially lessened recoil, aids maintain form and concentration over a 100-bird competitions, plus a ahoot-off.

      If you prefer to have more back-up pellet energy in the event a second barrel, then use 7.5 in your top barrel. I would use no more than ¾ if interchangeable and probably.

      I shoot a variety of things, including some DTL. I don’t have the concentration to excel these days but a couple of years back I entered the 100-bird County Championship. Having shot only a few practice rounds after a long time away from Down The Line, I put choke in my Browning Citori Trap gun’s bottom barrel, and after missing the first target out I went on to shoot 98/289 with a 25/75 and 25/74 round to top score my class. This indicated to me that more open choke was certainly beneficial for me in opening the pattern up for the first barrel. The odd point makes all the difference in DTL with second barrel shots punished. Each shooter who is really interested in maximising their performance might well find it by taking a closer interest in the cartridges they use and their performance.

      A good way to confirm how your gun/choke/cartridge selection is performing is to spend some time on a pattern plate and practice range

      With concentration key to success, note that velocity need not be so high for DTL as the first target will be taken quite quickly and at a shorter range. This too has benefits: recoil will be less and patterns more dense. Patterns can be perfectly good with less hard lead rather than is required for OT ammunition: this helps keep the cost down, because high antimony shot is more expensive.

      As we have different techniques and some shoot much faster than others, no-one can state what is best for anyone else without working with them, but these hints and tips might help show why that bit of extra effort can be valuable.

      Having concentrated on DTL, space is short for comment on the other Trap disciplines. The principles discussed here apply, it mainly requires the target speeds, angles and any shot load differences to be considered in the same way.

      Speed and angle in ABT have been trimmed back since 2 October 2016. This brings speed and angles closer to DTL and so the difference in any choke restrictions required could be lessened for those who shoot both.

      Olympic and Double Trap are specialised disciplines with fast targets and weight restrictions. They require particular thought and experiment to fine tune the shooter and the gun/cartridge/choke combination. Universal Trench has the speeds and angles of OT but fewer traps and a heavier shot load restriction at 28 grams. A good coach familiar with the disciplines is likely to be a benefit to anyone tackling these disciplines as progress without can be difficult.

      A good way to confirm how your gun/choke/cartridge selection is performing is to spend some time on a pattern plate and practice range. You can count the pellets in the 20 and 30in circles with a selection of chokes and cartridges to see how they perform.

      Be sure to count the pellets in a couple of cartridges to be tested to check pellet size and count. Do not assume a notional count because the cartridge box says they contain 28 grams of 7.5 shot. I have recently seen well-known brands marked as containing 28 grams of shot size 7.5 that should have around 392 pellets actually contain 319, closer to 6.5. If I’d not checked actual shot size and pellet count, the apparent pattern percentage would have been only 55 per cent (or ¼ choke) pattern result from the Imp Mod (¾) barrel. It is pellets that break targets, not percentages, and that is where the balance between shot size/target distance and choke comes in.

      I know it is too much hassle for many, but those who make the effort are better placed to make a judgement. It will not make up for poor technique but, especially when you are starting to shoot well, it can mean the odd extra target that makes the differences between a top placing or not.

      This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      If you’re struggling to figure out the best combination of cartridge and chokes for your Trap shotgun, Richard Atkins might have some answers for you…

      Different cartridges for different disciplines have been developed with the benefit of many years of experience in what works best and less well

      The choices we have today comprise a broad range of guns and cartridges for clay shooting – we have never had it so good.

      Different cartridges for different ... See more
      See more on line
      Caught in a trap: Finding the right chokes and cartridges
    • Time to change… Matt French explains why he’s ditching Trap and pursuing a career in Olympic Skeet

      “I knew from the outset that this wouldn’t be an easy process”

      No one likes change. We like the familiar – change brings uncertainty. But if there is one thing we can be certain of in this life, it’s that nothing ever stays the same. Change also brings new opportunities and the possibility of new exciting adventures, and maybe in my case the chance to carry on the pursuit of a long held dream to compete at the Olympic Games.

      After 12 years of pacing up and down Double Trap ranges, the inevitable prospect of change has come knocking. The ISSF’s decision to remove Double Trap from the Olympic programme has been devastating for countless shooters around the world and has left everyone with the same conundrum: change disciplines or retire.

      For me, the initial decision to carry on and focus on a new event was easy. At 36 years old, I still feel like I have a lot to give, and without a doubt, I’m still improving as a shooter and competitor. Most of my Double Trap friends have moved over to Olympic Trap, which does seem the more natural choice, but for me it wasn’t such a straightforward decision.

      I tried Trap on and off over the first few months of this year, but when push came to shove I jumped ship to Skeet. I shot Skeet many years ago in the early days of my competitive career, and with training facilities close to home at EJ Churchill, it eventually became the obvious choice. With a busy full-time job and a young family at home, spending hours on the road travelling to train just wasn’t an option, especially after spending years doing a four-hour round trip to Nuthampstead every time I wanted to shoot Double Trap.

      Last hurrah? Matt in the Double Trap Final at the World Championship 2017 in Moscow

      I knew from the outset that this wasn’t going to be an easy or quick process but I can take encouragement that it has been done before.

      The greatest female shotgun shooter of all time (in my opinion), Kimberly Rhode, has claimed six Olympic medals. The first three were in Double Trap – a gold in Atlanta in 1996 and Athens in 2004 and a bronze in Sydney in 2000. After Athens, the ISSF pulled the plug on Women’s Double Trap, so Kimberly turned her attention to Olympic Skeet with amazing success. Silver in Beijing 2008, followed by gold in London 2012 and then bronze in Rio 2016 has sealed Kimberly’s place among the world’s sporting greats.

      Then there are two other great American shooters, Todd Graves and Dan Carlisle, both now team USA coaches who successfully switched between Trap and Skeet. Dan Carlisle was a world champion at Olympic Skeet but also won world championship silver in Trap along with an Olympic bronze. Todd Graves won World Cup golds and Olympic bronze in Trap but also won multiple World Cup medals in Skeet and a bronze in Double Trap, making him the only person in history to win medals at all three ISSF shotgun events.

      My own achievements pale into insignificance against these giants of the sport, but my own personal goals still drive me on to make the switch.

      Matt in 2014 training for the Commonwealth Games

      My next issue was the gun. The only gun I’ve owned for years is my beloved Perazzi MX2005 high rib Trap gun, and I could not afford to just go out and buy a new Skeet gun. We all need a bit of luck from time to time and, happily, I got a slice of it, courtesy of Edgar Brothers.

      What started as a simple conversation about switching cartridges to NSI eventually ended up with them sponsoring me with a beautiful Zoli Z gun. From this moment on, the transition from Double Trap to Olympic Skeet has been making steady progress.

      I have been keen to not put any pressure on myself in terms of scores, but with the success of some of my team mates, namely Steve Scott and Matt Coward Holley in Olympic Trap taking joint High Gun at the last GB trials at Nuthampstead on 123ex-125, I could feel the pressure building for me to throw my hat into the ring at the last GB Skeet trials of the year at South Wales 2000. I did so, and 115ex-125 tied me for sixth place – a great result in my book, especially at this early stage, and better than I had expected.

      I still have a couple of Double Trap shoots ahead of me before my attention fully turns to Skeet, and with plenty of time now through winter to hone the new techniques, I’m quite hopeful that next season will bring with it some early success to my very long-term plans.

      This article originally appeared in the December issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      Time to change… Matt French explains why he’s ditching Trap and pursuing a career in Olympic Skeet

      “I knew from the outset that this wouldn’t be an easy process”

      No one likes change. We like the familiar – change brings uncertainty. But if there is one thing we can be certain of in this life, it’s that nothing ever stays the same. Change also brings new opportunities and the possibility of new exciting adventures, and maybe in my case the chance to ... See more
      See more on line
      Interview: Matt French
    • The oversupply of game meat is a hot topic on shoots this season, and rightly so. Phil Moorsom looks at what efforts are being made to better utilise this healthy food source See more on line
      Food for thought - the over-supply of game meat
    • The art and science of gun fitting is entirely benign and its practitioners’ only wish is for their clients to be able to shoot as well as they possibly can

      When Italy’s Luciano Giovanetti won his second consecutive gold medal at the 1984 Olympics he was asked what was the secret of his success. His reply was “gun fit, gun fit, gun fit”.

      There was, of course, much more to it than that – but I believe he meant that his carefully fitted gun had been a key ingredient. In the past some excellent shots have treated gun fitting with scepticism, having never experienced its benefits. However, I would suggest they had an instinctive feel for what suited them in terms of weight, balance and dimensions. Very often they were practical people who had worked with their hands and had an innate skill and a deftness with tools of any kind. I believe there is now enough evidence, both documented and anecdotal, to suggest that gun fitting based on well understood principles is of real benefit to most clay target shooters.

      Gun fitting is not an exact science, rather it’s a matter of interpreting the shooters’ requirements dictated by their physical characteristics

      Gun fitting is not an exact science. Rather it is a matter of translating the requirements dictated by a person’s physical characteristics into a gun stock so they can point their gun more accurately and manipulate it more easily and comfortably.

      My intention here is to highlight how gunfit relates to the different forms of clay target shooting, and hopefully persuade more clay shooters that accurate gun fit is fundamental to successful shooting at any level.

      If any mystery still surrounds gun fitting and gun fit, I hope this piece helps dispel it. The art and science of gun fitting is entirely benign and its practitioners’ only wish is for their clients to be able to shoot as well as they possibly can.

      Measuring for drop

      Made to Measure

      Clay guns may have different requirements in terms of their specifications, but their stock dimensions are calculated in the same way as they are for game guns.

      Length of pull: This is a measurement taken from the centre of the trigger to the centre of the butt. Too long a length of pull and the stock may sit out on the upper arm, causing discomfort and inaccuracy. Too short and the shooter will almost certainly experience excessive recoil.

      A gun fitter will also take measurements to the heel and toe. This determines the amount of pitch – the angle of the butt as it meets the shooter’s shoulder. By adjusting these measurements, a skillful fitter can ensure evenly distributed pressure on the shoulder. This creates stability for the stock in the shoulder pocket, preventing vertical or lateral movement under recoil.

      Drop at comb determines the elevation of the eye above the rib

      Drop at comb: A particularly critical dimension, as it influences where the centre of the shot pattern will be placed in relation to the point of aim. Drop at comb determines the elevation of the aiming eye above the rib. Too little will place the shot pattern high; too much drop and the gun will shoot low. Opinions differ between gun fitters and shooters as to how much of the pattern should be placed above the point of aim. Some shooters insist a 50/50 placement above and below is desirable, while others like a pellet distribution that places two thirds of the shot above the target. If we are to believe the shooting coaches – and I am inclined to – most targets are missed below and behind, meaning that a relatively high shooting gun is to be preferred.

      Cast: This represents a bending of the stock right or left that places the rib comfortably under the shooter’s eye to provide lateral accuracy. This is something else the beginner may be inclined to shy away from, but human beings were not designed to shoot guns, which means we have to make guns to fit people. For many years the Americans dispensed with cast by adopting an oblique stance to the target and using more drop at comb. Most Europeans are inclined to adopt what might be described as a more natural stance: square to the target with toes pointing to one o’clock and three o’clock. This offers a more solid gun mount with a greater area of the shoulder supporting the gun.

      Pattern placements should suit the individual, but 60:40 is a good starting point

      Fit For Purpose

      As stock dimensions are determined by a shooter’s physique and stance, so they are also dependent upon a gun’s intended use.

      Sporting: Sporting clay targets replicate game shooting, at least to some degree, and so the Sporter’s stock dimensions are similar to those of a game gun. It needs to assist the shooter in achieving accuracy on targets with a greater variety of heights, angles and distances than Trap or Skeet. Another consideration is that the shooter needs to shoot comfortably and accurately starting from the gun-down position.

      Trap: For shooting with a pre-mounted gun at targets that are always going away and rising at varying heights and angles, a stock that is higher at the comb and heel is required. For shooters with long necks and sloping shoulders, a Monte Carlo stock with a parallel comb and then a significant amount of drop at heel can be a useful variant.

      Skeet: For Skeet, of course, one needs a stock suited to targets with a fairly flat trajectory. This means that it shouldn’t place the pattern too high. If used from the gun-down position, a little more drop at heel may be required to accommodate a natural head-up stance.

      Cast: overhead view of cast

      This article originally appeared in the Summer issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      The art and science of gun fitting is entirely benign and its practitioners’ only wish is for their clients to be able to shoot as well as they possibly can

      When Italy’s Luciano Giovanetti won his second consecutive gold medal at the 1984 Olympics he was asked what was the secret of his success. His reply was “gun fit, gun fit, gun fit”.

      There was, of course, much more to it than that – but I believe he meant that his carefully fitted gun had been a key ingredient. ... See more
      See more on line
      Finding the perfect gun fit
    • Shooting glasses adjusted precisely to the shape of your face and your gun mount can make all the difference, says Ed Lyons

      There’s no substitute for putting the cheek on the stock and making sure everything lines up

      Sometimes I will have a client come to see me thinking they have an eye dominance problem, when in fact they have a poorly fitting gun. A customised stock can be a great investment in one’s shooting. It makes the gun feel more comfortable, fit better and give a better sight picture. One size definitely does not fit all.

      Occasionally I also need to make modifications to shooting glasses for exactly the same reasons. Most manufacturers make glasses in one size only. Some offer a couple of different side length options, but this still gives us limited choice.

      Randolph Engineering make their very popular Edge frame (suitable for prescription or non-prescription lenses) in three sizes: 69mm, 67mm and 63 mm, and in four different side lengths: 140mm, 150 mm and 160mm cable end. There’s a 140 mm skull fit option too. This has proved to be a versatile range as we can mix and match the options to create the fit that we need. However in some cases, even this super product doesn’t quite fit the individual or work with their shooting style and head position, so further customisation is required.

      The finished product: could bespoke spectacles up Jason’s game?

      A short while ago, Jason Gibson came to see me at the Wolverhampton practice for some prescription shooting glasses. Although he was shooting very well, he felt that his generic non-prescription ones needed an upgrade. He had been noticing some definition loss and was suffering from the glasses moving when he mounted his gun and with recoil.

      I always ask my clients to bring their gun with them to their appointment so we can get the optical centres smack on. Sometimes I will have a client whose spectacle prescription is correct, but only when looking straight ahead in the default position; as soon as the gun is mounted their vision goes wrong.

      Jason is a big chap and a pretty handy DTL and Single Barrel shooter, so the integration of the correct spectacle and gunfit relationship was crucial. We made the prescription weaker than his regular spectacles, as they were a little too strong. We then set to work selecting the most appropriate colour filtration.

      Ed substituted out the centre post of the spectacles to provide Jason with the perfect fit

      Once that was complete, we looked at a range of products from Oakley, Randolph Engineering and Pilla, finally settling on the Sebring option as it had the cable fixings to reduce slippage and gave a decent field of vision.

      The glasses didn’t quite sit high enough and when the gun was mounted they lifted a little on the cheek, so I swapped the centre post for a longer one from the Panther Post frame, modifying it to take into account Jason’s ‘rugby nose’. Then I reduced the lens depth to ensure a comfortable fit.

      Jason slammed in a 99/294 on the first day of the Krieghoff DTL competition at Mid Wales. The glasses certainly seemed to be doing the job.

      This article originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      Shooting glasses adjusted precisely to the shape of your face and your gun mount can make all the difference, says Ed Lyons

      There’s no substitute for putting the cheek on the stock and making sure everything lines up

      Sometimes I will have a client come to see me thinking they have an eye dominance problem, when in fact they have a poorly fitting gun. A customised stock can be a great investment in one’s shooting. It makes the gun feel more comfortable, fit better ... See more
      See more on line
      Why you need a good pair of shooting glasses
    • Ronnie Green at the British Schools and Young Shots

      Can you believe it’s 2018? To celebrate the New Year, we take a nostalgic look back at some of the highlights from the 2017 season…

      JANUARY

      Better with age

      GB Veterans flood the podium at the Olympic Trap Grand Prix in Malaga. Phil Sanders takes the gold, Mike Meggison the silver and Bob Agar the bronze.

      FEBRUARY

      You’ll be a man, my son

      19-year-old Olympic Skeet star Jack Fairclough defends his gold medal at the Qatar Open. The unshakable Jack finishes the first day with a perfect 50ex-50, but on the way to the ground for the second day of competition he is rear-ended by a Cruiser. He still manages to retain his lead and finishes on 118ex-125, taking the gold for a second year.

      So close and yet so far

      Barbury Shooting School’s Huw Stephens narrowly misses out on the colossal prizes at the Sunseeker Boodles Final but still bagged the £5,000 commiseration prize.

      Record breaker

      DT shooter James Dedman kicks off a very successful year by winning bronze at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi and sets a new Junior world record of 56.

      MARCH

      Success in Portugal

      Matt Coward-Holley ventures into the world of Olympic Trap in style, taking silver at the Portugal Grand Prix after he finishes top in the qualification round. Fellow DTL alumna Andrea Swatts also takes silver in the Ladies, while Connor Gorsuch collects the Junior bronze.

      He’s still got it

      Fresh from a two year sabbatical while he nurtured his own ground, The Priory in Lincolnshire, Aaron Heading puts in 32 in the final to win the bronze at the ISSF Acapulco World Cup.

      A discipline by any other name

      Para Clay Target Shooting is renamed to Para Trap. Our typists are forever grateful.

      Paul Turner at the Clay Shooting DTL Classic

      APRIL

      UK Champions

      Ben Llewellin wins the Mens event at the Olympic Skeet UK Championship at the National Clay Target Shooting Centre with a whopping 124ex-125, while Amber Hill takes the Womens on 73ex-75. The Olympic Trap UK Championships at Griffin- Lloyd are far less predictable as Junior Ellie Seward claims the Womens title on 68 and Veteran Ian Peel takes the Mens on 121.

      The Essex Master

      The Essex Gun Masters kick off and as usual George Digweed is on an early squad. The shooting maestro holds the High Gun position from beginning to end, winning the title on 191ex-200.

      A long way from home

      Disappointment at the World English Sporting at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, Texas, as Ben Husthwaite takes the silver after missing out in the final to native Bobby Fowler.

      MAY

      Clay Shooting’s British Schools and Young Shots Championship takes place at Sporting Targets

      Rising star Ronnie Green takes High Gun while one-to-watch Kirsten Vogel wins the Ladies and Bloxham sweeps the teams.

      Death knell for Double Trap

      On 9 June, the IOC approve the ISSF Executive Board’s recommendations, finally removing Mens Double Trap from the Olympic agenda and replacing it with a Mixed Trap event.

      The face of the Isle of Man

      The long-awaited stamps are released, commissioned by the Isle of Man Post Office and featuring Double Trap Olympian and proud Manxman Tim Kneale.

      And so it begins

      Paul Simpson is back on form, winning the English Open Sporting at Highwaymans 12 years after he last got his name on the trophy. Junior Georgia Moule takes the Ladies while Carl Bloxham wins the Vets and Taylor Hedgecock the Juniors.

      Step forward for British disabled shooting

      Following the amalgamation of the Paralympic World Class Programme, British Shooting becomes a member of the British Paralympic Association.

      Step forward for World disabled shooting

      World Shooting Para Sport announces that Para Trap is an official discipline after being approved by the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board. This begins a two-year review process of the discipline’s rules and classifications.

      Killer Killander

      Despite a low turnout, Freddie Killander put in an exellent performance, taking both the Olympic Skeet English Open and English Grand Prix titles with a pair of 94s.

      Krieghoff DTL

      Paul Chaplow wins the Krieghoff. Again. Anyone want to give us the odds on next year?

      JUNE

      Clay Shooting Classic

      Phil Simpson puts in a 143 in the first wave of the Classic at Southdown and no one can catch him. Like the English Open, Phil first won the Classic 11 years ago.

      They think it’s all over… it is now

      The ISSF Extraordinary General Assembly, originally called for by Pakistan, is held on 26 June with 137 member federations in attendance, including 40 proxy ones. It is too late to save Double Trap, though – the IOC has made its decision and the ISSF president calls for unity.

      DTL Weekend

      Junior Welshman takes the Dougall Memorial with the only 300. Austin Coxhead wins the English Open after a tense shoot-off.

      50 years of FITASC

      The beautiful Lulworth Estate plays host to the 50th European FITASC Championship. Disappointment as Martin Myers slips into silver behind Frenchman Christophe Auvert but there is still plenty of gold. Steve Brightwell takes the Vets, John Bidwell the Super Vets and Henry Yound the Juniors, as well as victory for the GB Veteran and Junior teams.

      Phil Simpson at the Clay Shooting Classic

      JULY

      At last

      After several years of coming perilously close, Richard Bunning finally wins the Beretta World Sporting at Holywell Estate.

      FITASC Worlds

      Arnie Palmer and John Bidwell successfully return from the World Championships with gold medals in the Vets and Super Vets, as do the Veteran Team.

      Brilliance overshadowed

      Richard Faulds puts on a wonderful display to win what turns out to be a controversial ICTSF World Championships at Kelmarsh.

      Junior gold

      James Dedman takes the gold in the Junior Double Trap at the European Championships in Baku.

      Shot in the dark

      Despite hiccups leading to a very late finish, Austin Coxhead puts in back-to-back 300s to secure a spectacular win at the European DTL Championship in Scotland.

      From Trap to Sporting

      Mid Wales Shooting Centre wows Sporting afificionados as they hold the inaugural Perazzi Grand Prix. Arnie Palmer takes home a Perazzi High Tech for his 114ex-150.

      AUGUST

      How do you top a gold?

      James Dedman follows his Baku success with not just another gold medal at the Junior World Cup in Porpetto, but a new Junior world record.

      New kid on the block

      Megan Jones blows the competition out of the water, winning the British Open with her first 100-straight.

      Perfect Paul

      Paul Turner wins the Clay Shooting DTL Classic at Bywell with awe-inspiring back- to-back 300s.

      SEPTEMBER

      British Open Sporting

      Martin Myers continues his fantastic form, wining the British Open at West Midlands after a riveting Finals Day, while Tim Webster takes the British Open Sportrap.

      Unstoppable

      James Dedman picks up yet another gold medal at the ISSF World Championships in Moscow.

      The Scouse of the rising gun

      Peter Relph wins the Gamebore DTL GP at Mid Wales but still hasn’t fulfilled his promise of streaking down the layouts. Next year he has to shoot it in a mankini as punishment.

      OCTOBER

      Meet the heroes

      Mainstream media coverage for the British Shooting Grand Final at Fauxdegla brings clay shooting to masses and gives fans the chance to watch their heroes compete. Success for Amber Hill, Ben Llewellin, Kirsty Barr and Aaron Heading, and a great showcase for the sport.

      This article originally appears in the current issue (January 2018) of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      Ronnie Green at the British Schools and Young Shots

      Can you believe it’s 2018? To celebrate the New Year, we take a nostalgic look back at some of the highlights from the 2017 season…

      JANUARY

      Better with age

      GB Veterans flood the podium at the Olympic Trap Grand Prix in Malaga. Phil Sanders takes the gold, Mike Meggison the silver and Bob Agar the bronze.

      FEBRUARY

      You’ll be a man, my son

      19-year-old ... See more
      See more on line
      A recap of 2017’s clay shooting triumphs
    • Yildiz has thrown the rulebook away with its affordable Boss-style shotgun, and Richard Atkins is impressed

      Key Specs

      Make: Yildiz
      Model: Yildiz Pro
      Type: Sporter
      Action: SST with recoil reset
      Gauge/chamber: 12g/70mm (steel proof)
      Barrel length: 30”
      Overall length: 47”
      Weight: 3.80kg (8lb 6oz)
      Special features: Adjustable comb
      MSRP: £2,250 with hard case & 5 chokes
      UK distributor: Entwistle Guns

      Many guns in our gun shops come from Turkey. Yildiz is one of the longer-established Turkish brands in the UK and makes a wide range of shotguns along with smaller-gauge models and those with lightweight alloy actions; its .410, 28 and 20-gauge models and their Junior and Ladies ones are particular favourites.

      A couple of years back at the IWA show in Nuremberg, mention was made of a new and totally different gun from Yildiz to be developed around the Boss-style action. Hearing little more for some time, I feared the project had stalled until Mike at Entwistle Guns informed me that he had just had the new Yildiz Pro Sporter back from proof testing. The next day, one was in my hands.

      Like many shooting folk, I appreciate good engineering as well as the fine fit and finish of a well-made gun. Carefully assembling the barrels to the receiver then slipping the beavertail-style forend in place and slowly closing the empty gun confirmed for me that this gun had been properly put together. It closed with that reassuring ‘clunk’ that tells one that all the metal faces that should mate when closed had done so properly.

      Boss-style action

      It’s a brave move to base their new model on such a difficult design – makers such as Perazzi, Zoli and Kemen already do but Yildiz’s offering comes in at a third of the price. Yildiz is not setting out to invade the big names’ territory but rather to create a sound, solid and very attractive firearm, making this hugely strong and user-friendly design available to more people.

      Just as there are aspects of John Moses Browning’s original design now seen in other makes based on the B25 original, so there are numerous guns that have taken their inspiration from the Boss design. I find it fascinating that actions designed at the turn of the 20th century still form the basis for so many models today.

      Boss design is notably used by big-name makers and is in the top end of those using other designs for their cheaper models. Some modify it to allow less expensive and largely automated production methods but Yildiz is to be praised for retaining the key aspects that make this design so attractive.

      Key features

      A key feature of the Boss design is the way the barrels hinge to and are locked into the receiver. Of particular note is the interlocking method where the breech locks directly with the receiver walls.

      Each receiver sidewall is machined with a substantial protruding radius form wedge, engaging with curved recesses in each side of the breech block. This relieves the hinge trunnions upon which the barrels rotate from the majority of stresses and hence leads to a lightly stressed action with long service life.

      Final locking is neatly achieved and very sturdy, too. Protruding inconspicuously from the breechblock either side of the bottom barrel are two arched locking lugs. The top of these is engaged by bifurcated bolts that emerge from the breech face to lock onto the radius lugs as the action closes, creating a neat, exceptionally smooth and massively strong locking arrangement.

      The Boss design is difficult to produce but modern machinery makes it far more possible than it was once. However, the sheer complexity makes for a lot of skilled machining and some hand fitting at assembly. Yildiz admit that it takes them four times as long to produce one Yildiz Pro action compared with their standard range and I applaud their commitment in bringing this splendid design to a wider market.

      Internally, the Yildiz Pro action is refined. Although coil springs replace the Vs, the sear and bent arrangement is retained at the base of the tumblers, which helps produce crisp trigger pulls.

      More than just strength

      The Boss, with its barrel-hinge trunnion pins in the receiver side walls, has provided the inspiration for several other makers to produce guns with a lower profile receiver height. At 62.4 millimetres tall, it is almost five millimetres less than the original Browning design. Even today, some shooters find the lower profile more advantageous
      to them.

      The Boss design with its side-locking wedges results in a wider action than those without. The Yildiz receiver is 44.5 millimetres wide, while my Browning-based Miroku is 39mm. This construction is both an pro and a slight con depending on the type of gun you are seeking to produce. For clay target models this can be a distinct advantage – not only will the strength ensure very long service life, but there is some extra weight between the hands, allowing clay guns to not punish the shooter and to balance well, even when choosing longer barrel options.

      The Yildiz also retains the sturdy single-action cocking bar that sits neatly in the receiver floor and is operated by a cocking cam fitted in the forend iron. The receiver of this model is hand-polished to a bright gloss with minimal engraving – just a neat chain-border outline to define the side bolsters and lower receiver profile.

      The single selective trigger isn’t adjustable but is broad and smooth with a nice curve. Barrel selection is achieved by a Browning-style catch incorporated in the top strap mounted safety catch, which is manually operated. The second barrel sear is engaged via a recoil-operated selector mechanism that worked faultlessly throughout my testing.

      Barrels

      The barrels are made from 4140 grade steel and constructed on the almost universal monobloc method. Barrel blanks are stress relieved, deep-hole drilled and bored to size.

      The bores are bored straight and well polished. Actual bore sizes are marked 18.5 millimetres (bottom) and 18.4mm (top), which makes them standard size, not over-bored. The forcing cones are standard length.

      The Yildiz Pro Sporter is chambered for 70-millimetre (2¾-inch) cartridges, meaning that the opened case meets directly up with the forcing cones for a smooth transition of shot and wad into the barrel bore. This should result in less damage to pellets and no loss of gas to help achieve full velocity.

      The barrel bores are coated with hard white chrome while the outside surfaces
      are black. Barrels are joined by solid side
      ribs from the muzzles to just under the forend where they are left separate.
      Muzzles are bored and threaded to accept internal interchangeable choke tubes made to Yildiz’s own design.

      The Yildiz Pro has a parallel, 10-millimetre-wide raised and ventilated top rib, very finely cross-hatched to prevent glare and has a short, red, optic fibre LPA front bead sight.

      Pattern testing with clay loads resulted in well-distributed results. Some tubes shot slightly tighter patterns than marked – particularly the Imp Cyl (4-notch) tube, which shot closer to 3/8 choke.

      Woodwork

      The shape and sizing of the stock and forend of this Sporter are pretty good, too. No standard stock will suit everyone perfectly but this one was liked by several others during testing. The pistol grip is of fairly close radius in competition style; it’s well positioned such that the (right hand) slight palm swell fitted naturally into my hand.

      The forend is of beavertail design and suited me well. The stock at 14½-inch pull length is well sized, though possibly slightly shorter than some might prefer. It is worth noting that this can be easily adjusted. This Sporter also comes with an easily adjustable comb, allowing you to change the cast so you are centring your patterns, providing some adjustment to the point of impact.

      Final verdict

      The Yildiz Pro genuinely impressed me. It looks very good, handles well and is heavy enough to soak up the recoil even of ‘hot’ competition loads without punishing the shooter. The solid lock-up of the action and weight between the hands definitely helps make recoil feel even lighter. Furthermore, the trigger pulls proved light, crisp and able to stand comparison with some fine (and more expensive) competition guns. This firearm points well, can be swung smoothly and sits solidly for second shots without undue disturbance.

      The gun opens surprisingly smoothly for a brand new firearm and to a very good gape, which makes loading the bottom barrel easy. The spring-powered ejectors are very well fitted, properly timed and ejected cases efficiently and with no sign of cases over-riding the ejectors.

      Is it perfect? Not quite – a tapered top rib and maybe ventilated side ribs could reduce barrel weight a fraction for a slightly faster handling gun but it is already a very smooth and competent performer. At its price point, I believe it is an exceptional gun that deserves to do extremely well. Well worth a look – you could be as impressed as I am.

      This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of Clay Shooting magazine. For more great content like this, subscribe today at our secure online store www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk
      Yildiz has thrown the rulebook away with its affordable Boss-style shotgun, and Richard Atkins is impressed

      Key Specs

      Make: Yildiz
      Model: Yildiz Pro
      Type: Sporter
      Action: SST with recoil reset
      Gauge/chamber: 12g/70mm (steel proof)
      Barrel length: 30”
      Overall length: 47”
      Weight: 3.80kg (8lb 6oz)
      Special features: Adjustable comb
      MSRP: £2,250 with hard case ... See more
      See more on line
      Gun Test: Yildiz Pro Sporter