Catma AL 536
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- Last updated: 23/12/2019
This is a new name to me, and a Turkish 410 over/ under shotgun now imported by York Guns. Catma are a 40 year old Turkish firm of gun-makers established in the gun-making heart of Turkey. This model is the AL536 and as most 410s is scaled to the cartridge size making this Catma a very light and handy vermin tool. This model is non-ejector but available in 26-, 28- and 30-inch barrel lengths as well as 13.5- (Youth) or 14.5-inch length of pull, and black or nickel finish.
These are finished in a very matt finished blue that is nonreflective for sure but actually quite scratch resistant. They are only 26-inches in length, which I personally have no problem with, especially on a 410-gauge and in fact are an asset in tight corners of barns and thickets. You have a 3-inch chambering, chrome lined and the length of 26-inches is good for me but you can opt for a 28- or 30-inch model which has the 14.5-inch length of pull, which I guess are going to be the more popular choices.
with a fixed choke arrangement of Full choke bottom barrel and Full Choke top barrel. These barrels are made from 4140 steel and so capable easily of handling magnum 3-inch 410 loads. You have proof marks for 10.3 CIP S. I like the weight saving even further with the mid rib being ventilated with six 1.75-inch holes with the same from the top rib. This is also a serrated finish and is 6mm in width, so nice and thin to see around and superb for very fast target acquisition.
There is a single red dayglo sight by the muzzles, so sighting is also clear.
You also only have a nonejector system which keeps the costs down but is a bit fiddly especially with the smaller 410 cartridges. You have a single sliding ejection bar that removes the 410 cases from the chamber by ¼-inch, so ultra-reliable.
As you open the barrels this sets the trigger sears and hammers, as the safety is non-automatic, and the safety is easily moved to set on safe anyway. It is a direct fire system, so each pull of the trigger drops a hammer, again I like this. Barrel selection is via the semi inset button on the safety, left is bottom barrel and right is top barrel. You have gold washed single trigger that is smooth and quite curved and has a decent 4.25lbs pull weight to it.
The action is slim and small commiserate to the size of the 410 round. It is finished in matt black anodised, as it’s an aluminium action, similar in look to the barrels save for the diamond etch pattern on both sides appearing as raised panels. The hinge pin has the same decoration to it. A bit odd but no problems. You do, however, have the option of a nickel finish, but both have the name marked Catma Arms Al 536 underneath.
Internally it is your usual monobloc system with bottom locking sliding bolt on closure engaging with the barrel double lugs. The action is aluminium, so light, and the action face has a steel insert to take the pressure rearward from the cartridge on firing. This is held in place with a central screw and can be easily removed/replaced as desired. A simple clean action with very little to go wrong really.
Stock-wise the wood is walnut, no surprise there. Quiet plain but with some figuring to the butt section. It also has a hand oiled finish and both forend and butt are again very slim profile, this is both practical and appealing to look at. The forend is 10-inches long and 1.5-inches wide with a Schnabel tip and cut side panels of chequering. This is duplicated on the pistol grip that is nicely slim and the rear stock has slight right cast and a length of pull of 13.5-inches, this being the Youth model. (14.5-inch options)
I like the lightweight of this model and, as with most 410s, I would use it as a do-anything vermin tool. As such I would fit a sling so I can sling it over the shoulder, but that’s me and anyway it takes up little room cradled in the arms.
When you open the AL536 you need to open it fully until you hear the hammers retract on the springs and engage and this is obvious as the cartridges cannot be extracted if not fully open. An ejector system would be handy if you are used to it, but really no prob`s and it keeps the cost down and reliability up.
This is the Youth model with short 13.5-inch length of pull, but it still shoulders and swings with lightning speed. The fact that it has the matt finish means in reality you are not going to worry too much about getting it knocked, scratched or muddy.
I like the fixed chokes as all you need is the variation in 410 ammo that can alter the shot pattern and spread enormously anyway if you want something different. Having full and full chokes is no problems as I tend to go lighter from 19-gram magnum loads to 12-grams for closer range shots if necessary.
I tend to pattern 410s at 25-yards, as I don`t shoot much further than that and to me a 410 is about low recoil noise and not peppering the game with too much lead.
Hull High Pheasant is a fantastic 410 cartridge and one of my all-time favourites as it is both powerful and gives very good patterns too. It’s a magnum 3-inch case with a plastic wad and has 19-grams of No 6 shot so a good all-rounder for most pests. In the Catma I had a total of 147 pellets hit the board and another 62 outer and 85 inner strikes which is a tight full choke. You had a nice even and dense pattern with better longer range potential.
Fiocchi 3-inch also shoots 19-grams of No 6 shot and I had 133 total hits on the pattern board at 25-yards distributed with 70 outer and 63 inner hits so a bit sparser than the Hulls. But they always hit hard and can be relied on for scurrying squirrels along branches.
Eley Subsonics use a 3-inch plastic case and an 18-gram loading only of No 6 shot. Being subsonic the velocity is below 1050fps, dependent on temperature, and showed very little recoil and even without a sound moderator a nice reduce muzzle report. I shot 135 pellets total with a good distribution and 52 pellets within the inner sector of the pattern board and 83 around the outside, a little patchy in places though.
Gamebore Hunting load uses a No 7 shot size with a 16-gram payload, so I had a good 158 pellet count on the boards with 74 inner and 84 outer hits. It shot tight patterns with little recoil and good density and no clumping of shot.
Finally, the Remington 3-inch Magnums and their 18-gram load of No 6 shot is a powerful 410 cartridge. I had 129 total pellet strike with 59 outer and 70 inner pellet hits, very tight and even pattern.
I also then shot a variety of older 410 cartridges from 2-inch to 2.5 and also 3-inch loads all of which performed perfectly, and we had a great afternoon just plinking!
All in all, a very capable no frills but reliable workhorse of a 410 over and under. The price point is also really appealing and despite being non-ejector the AL536 was easy to use, threw very good patterns and functioned with no issues.
I have a 12-gauge version that I am trying next so let’s see how that performs.