What most people don’t realize, though, is that you can custom order a Yildiz – in my case their Pro Sport sporting-clays shotgun that topped out at around $3,800.
With the Pro Sport, Yildiz is going up-market in their category through a strategy that mimics the styling cues of premium shotguns. The Pro Sport heralds a totally new action and barrels for Yildiz, although you’ll quickly recognize the blued receiver as a perennial classic Perazzi.
I don’t mean to suggest that the Yildiz Pro Sport and any Perazzi even inhabit the same universe in terms of quality, materials and shootability, but first impressions do matter and the Pro Sport’s resemblance to a Perazzi certainly caught my eye.
The Yildiz Pro Sport receiver comes in three finishes – black, nickel and blue with a standard braided border engraving like a Perazzi. Moving up to a higher grade will get you ornate floral scroll or game scene adornments. That said, for the quality of the engraving you’re still paying about 30 percent less than a competitor’s highly engraved Boss style action. I’ll go with the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because it’s hard to argue that the black receiver on the Yildiz Pro Sport isn’t the most attractive of the three (and most like a Perazzi).
I’m not sure you will see a Yildiz Pro Sport configured like mine. It has 32-inch barrels but with fixed constrictions that approximate modified/modified. These barrels weigh 3¼ pounds versus something like a quarter pound to half pound heavier for the same length barrels with screw-in chokes.
Switching out chokes has never proven to statistically increase my scores. In fact, my best run on skeet was with a fixed-choke modified/improved modified Miroku. The big payoff for fixed constrictions is of course balance. When it comes to shotgun handling, I find muzzle bias the least attractive characteristic of a sporting gun. By contrast, fixed chokes contribute to a natural, between-the-hands swing that proved most effective and enjoyable.
Yildiz’s Pro Sport ships with well-figured Grade 5 Turkish walnut. Two stocks are available. One is a standard sporting stock with a drop of 1½ inches at comb and 1⅞ inches at heel. The other, a Monte Carlo, has a drop of 1½ inches at the comb and 2⅛ inches at heel. Both stocks are fitted with adjustable combs to fine tune fit and point of impact. The pistol grip features a palm swell that’s flared just slightly at the bottom to really lock your hand into place. The forend was slender, akin to a field gun. Wood-to-metal fit was excellent.
Although the laser checkering on both the grip and forend appeared well executed, I would have appreciated more checkering for improved grip. It appears that Yildiz opted to allocate their budget on Grade 5 walnut instead.
I also found the trigger blade a tad too small. Unfortunately, it isn’t adjustable to personalize contact with the finger. Regardless, there was virtually no creep upon triggering a shot, with a break that I’d describe as crisp.
For durability, Yildiz adopted the Boss lock-up where wedge-shaped lumps on the monobloc interlock with recesses milled into the walls of the receiver. This proven design augments the trunnions that the barrels are hinged on for assured alignment, smoother closing and overall strength.
If you’re manufacturing an over/under to a mass-market price point, the Boss system is counter-intuitive. It requires extra machining and precision tolerances. Yildiz seems to have the chops for it. The company produces some 60,000 firearms per year including side by sides, over/unders, semi-automatics, pumps and a single-shot shotgun from their modern factory in Burdur.
When out on the sporting clays course I had to make some adjustments to my technique in order to keep dead-on with the Yildiz Pro Sport. I positioned the gun a little lower in my shoulder pocket than usual. This actually helped with recoil management, but more importantly it also allowed my head to sit a little lower on the stock. I was shooting pre-mounted to ensure a consistent head position during the process of dialing in a new shotgun. Soon I was steadily breaking doubles.
I’ll admit that the marketing strategy of the Yildiz Shotgun Company played heavily in my decision to buy the Pro Sport. Like many other Turkish shotgun makers, Yildiz will produce copy cats of high-end manufacturers or just buy the brand name of an old-like British gun company and slap it on pig that would have the original gunmakers turning in their graves. Of course, the comparison between a Yildiz and a Perazzi is at best superficial. However, Yildiz has the manufacturing muscle to replicate a Perazzi look-alike better than most.
There are a couple of reasons why I selected the Yildiz Pro Sport. The first is that it looks like a Perazzi (that I can’t afford). Nonetheless, I believed the Yilidiz Pro Sport will be a durable, good-handling clays gun that may one day last long enough to become a family heirloom.
My overall assessment of the Yildiz Pro Sport is that you’re not likely to find a better gun for the money. As one of their top importers wrote to me in an email: “early adopters will brag about getting these guns at such a good deal.” I agree.
Nelson Freeman grew up hunting, fishing, and shooting in Virginia with his father, grandfather, and uncles. He spent eight years as a lobbyist and spokesperson for Safari Club International in Washington, D.C. Nelson is a Professional Member of the Boone & Crockett Club, a past board member of TreadLightly, and was recently appointed to the North Carolina Sportsmen's Caucus Advisory Council. He now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife and son.