Kofs sceptre .410gauge
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- Last updated: 19/02/2019
I only recently tested a Sceptre in 28-gauge, a particular favourite cartridge of mine and was so impressed at the build quality and price I had it in mind to look for a .410 version for my son Jake. This would act as a great short-range gun for close-up woodcock in Scotland, as well as day to day vermin duties and just fun clay busting to test your abilities, I need it!
As luck would have it, I was visiting Doug Floret at his fantastic shooting grounds in Brill, Oxfordshire; Doug’s Oxfordshire Gun Company business caters for all aspects of shooting on the shooting grounds and farm totalling some 200-acres and is an amazing place to visit, the old barn café is worth a visit on its own!
Whilst chatting to Doug, I enquired, as you do, if he had any Venom custom airguns, as I am always on the lookout, or any nice 410s for Jake. “Ah ha!” was the answer, “how about this, Pottsie?” From the bulging gun rack came a lovely Kofs Sceptre SXE .410 over and under. It was second-hand but mint condition and had a fabulous walnut stock and that’s not the best bit, it was only £399. Sold, was the answer; I knew Kofs were good, but that walnut sealed the deal.
There are Turkish guns and there are Turkish guns and Kofs are certainly the bettermade varieties. The Sceptre range is available in 12-, 20-, 28-gauge and .410 and also with a choice of 28- or 30-inch barrels and, interestingly, at all the same price, £499 or £599 for ejector model, as here, or left hander for that matter. So, £399 for an ejector in mint condition was spot on for me.
To be truthful, I bought the Kofs because I really like and respect Doug and the walnut stock sold it to me alone. Kofs have always had really decent walnut fitted, probably because Turkish walnut is the last bastion of old walnut trees and gun stocks of decent grain and colour. Therefore, even on cheaper guns the wood is usually of good quality. Well, this little, 410 had walnut better than a Browning Grade 3, I recently had at five times the price!
The colour was lovely, with brown and honey hues with feather-edged fan type and fiddle back figuring over the entire stock and forend. This is well complemented by a rubbed oiled finish, which is so much better than a hard lacquer and more practical too. You can touch up a scratch or revive an oiled stock much easier and I use my guns, so they always have scars from trips afield.
The Kofs feels very well balanced and the stock is not short and feels full-bodied yet without undue weight. Length of pull is 14.5-inches, including a large, black solid rubber recoil pad.
The pistol grip has a longish rake, again I like, and the low comb and slight right cast, for me, had my eye looking directly down the rib, perfect!
The forend is slim and has the Schnabel tip that looks nice and keeps a wet hand from slipping off the end and the release mechanism for the forend to barrel union is inset and black to match the barrels.
Chequering to the walnut is well executed and quite fine, so more decorative than useful, as grip is limited, but I can forgive this, due to the otherwise excellent stock.
Being second-hand, it only came with the fitted chokes of ¼ and ¾ but no worries, as Sportsman Gun Centre, who import the Kofs range of shotguns, supplied me with two extra chokes, cyl and ½ for £19.99 each; so, a good range of chokes to vary the spread for differing ranges and game.
Available in 28- or 30-inch barrel lengths, this .410 wore 30-inch barrels, which I am coming around too but for me I still like shorter barrels on a .410, as it suits the area and style of shooting Jake and I get up too. The barrels are hardened chrome lined and chambered for 3-inch shells; so, you can shoot anything from 2-inchers up to the full power 3-inch shells. This model SXE denotes an ejector gun and I would always pay the extra and get an ejector for a .410, as the action can get fast and furious and fiddling around with a non-ejector can be a pain. The ejectors are really strong and ping the empty shells rearward very quickly.
Up the other end are the multi choke muzzles. They are well struck off and flush-fitting and quite short at only an inch long. Usually, a full set of five is furnished with choke key.
Befitting a smaller .410 shotgun. the profile and size of the barrels are appropriately scaled and have a good hardwearing satin black finish. The top rib is 7mm wide, with a serrated dull top and has eight equally sized and spaced vents. This is mimicked in the mid rib between the barrels to save weight and cool the barrels quicker but has six vents of reduced size. Sighting is by a single gold bead, just back from the muzzles and is all you need, as the Kofs Sceptre points and naturally holds very well.
All alloy construction that combines light weight, ideal for the smaller calibres and strength with key high stress or wear areas having steel inserts on the bearing surfaces, i.e. around the pins on the back face as a long oval plate or barrel hinge pins and ejector bars.
Following the usual monobloc construction, the barrels lock solidly into the recesses in the action floor, with a full-length lower bite to lock them together. The action is left quite bright silver finished; a muted coin finish would be better perhaps, but I really like the ornate scroll engraved action faces. It is profusely laser cut but done really quite well. Better than a lot of cheap guns that just look tacky, this Kofs looks very good indeed, with the spaces between the scrolls and acanthus leaves having a highlighted darkened edge to make the engraving stand out.
The top lever is blacked like the forend lever and has no chequering or serration and it does not need it. When opened, it was quite stiff, so still a tight action with little use.
This model actually had a non-auto safety, which I much prefer, as I always forget to dis-engage an auto safety in the heat of the moment; that’s a rifleman for you. The non-auto safety is cheaper.
Barrel selection with the silvered hump backed safety catch is standard with the lower barrel to fire in the right position and top barrel when pushed left. So, I had ¼ in the bottom barrel and fires first, the top with the ¾ choke.
The trigger was very nice on this gun and broke at 5.75lbs pull weight, not that you will really notice it as that squirrel darts by. The trigger guard is aluminium like the rest of the action and blacked like the top lever.
Because it was for ourselves, I tried a good variety of differing .410 cartridges, to check patterns and performance. I was glad I did, as my favourite Fiocchi .410 Magnums refused to fire, just a small dent to the primers. Having thought I had a duff gun, the next five brands all worked flawlessly. There’s a moral there, always check; I could be in a barn after rats with a brand of ammo that does not fire and is a wasted trip.
First up, were the new Eley Trap 410 loads, which have made the .410 a really viable fun or challenging clay shooting round. It has a 3-inch red cased shell with a plastic wad and a payload of 19-grams of No. 7.5 shot.
With the ¾ choke top barrel chosen, I shot the 30-yard pattern board; with 410s, I usually go 25-yards but 30-yards today.
I had a total of 181 No. 7.5 pellet strikes with 137 outer hits and 44 inner pellet hits to the 15-inch circle. These were well-distributed and the smaller No. 7.5 shot certainly gave more pellets and better distribution on the pattern boards.
Next up, were the good hunting rounds the Remington 3-inch. These are pricey but pack a bunch down range, due to the larger No. 6 shot size and 11/16oz loading. I had a total of 91 pellets strikes, low with the ¾ choke but less pellets per loading and, with 62 outer and 29 inner strikes, it was a bit sparse, to be fair.
Gamebore Hunting 410 loads have a No. 7 shot loading of 16-grams; so, more pellets than the Remingtons. This meant a total of 113 pellets on the pattern board with 75 outer hits to 30-inches and a well distributed 38 inner strikes.
I tried a smaller 2.5- inch load, with the Lyalvale Special load of No. 6 shot of 14-grams. This translated to 25 good inner strikes and 52 well distributed outer hits for a total of 77 pellets. Just shows, sometimes, smaller is still very good.
Finally, a personal favourite the Hull High Pheasant load of 19-grams of No. 6 shot with plastic wadding. A well distributed and effective pattern with 30 good inner hits and 82 well-spaced outer strikes for 112 total. This would be my choice for some game and the Eleys for clays.
What can I say? Wow! Great value, good patterns, excellent walnut and superb, fast handling. The Kofs .410, or any of the other calibres, offers a new or seasoned shooter with a good gun that won’t break the bank but will break clays and bring home rabbits/pigeons. Brand new from the Sportsman Gun Centre or second-hand from Oxford Gun Company, either way you look at it, the Kofs Sceptre is a superb little gun.