Kofs Zenith SXE
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- Last updated: 05/05/2022
Following the success of the Kofs Sceptre range of over/under shotguns, imported by the Sportsman Gun Centre, their CEO, Gary Lamburn is offering the new steel actioned Zenith O/U to his comprehensive range of sporting and game guns.
This is another very well-priced and made gun for the money and I had the 12- gauge version on test. The Zenith has a well-balanced feel to it as soon as you pick it up and is quite a light gun. It shows a multi-choked barrel and this SXE version comes with ejectors. Typically, being Turkish, you have a well crafted and quality walnut stock too, proportioned so that large or small-statured shooters find it easier to shoot. It’s available in various versions and calibres, with this 12-gauge model retailing at £649.99. So, it’s going to prove popular with the shooter that needs a shotgun for not only game but casual clays or vermin too.
This model wears a pretty standard set of 28” barrels (different lengths to be confirmed), which are ideal from a handling perspective. They also provide a good eye/sightline length which helps with the natural centring of the shot. This is further helped by the thin, 7mm rib having a uniform serrated top to reduce reflections, plus there is a single brass bead at the muzzle end for correct sighting without covering the target too much.
The dual vented barrels use quite shallow vents, with eight up top and five shorter ones up to the forend for the mid-rib. This not only reduces weight but allows some cooling to stop heat mirage and basically they also look nice too. The muzzle has a slightly flared end to accommodate the flush multichoke system, which comprises of five chokes (C, IC, M, IM and F), so all bases or game covered, literally. They are 2” long and look to be stainless steel, plus can be removed via the universal choke key supplied in the handy faux carbon fibre box. They are also well finished and polished as are the internals of the bore, which have been chrome plated for wear and rust resistance.
The actual barrels are made from 4140 chrome-moly steel and show a 3” chambering with short forcing cones. They are also steel shot proofed, bearing the Fleur de Lys symbol to prove it. This gives a good degree of flexibility in the type of cartridge length or charge weight to be used out in the field.
This SXE model of the Zenith features twin ejectors. They are sprung from the recesses in the monobloc and are under tension when the action is closed. During testing, they were well timed and very energetic. Steel cartridges can be a tad sticky in the chamber sometimes but the Zenith spat them all out with ease.
The overall finish is a very nice satin black, which is in fact, black chrome. This is extremely hard wearing and looks very good against the walnut stock, plus it is also highly weather resistant.
This Zenith model sports a steel action, which I prefer, as it not only lends itself to a better overall feel (very solid) but also balances the gun better. Some aluminium receivers feel and sound a bit cheap, but this Zenith opens and closes with the satisfying clunk of a good quality car door. Also, being all steel, there is no need for the use of steel inserts found on aluminium receivers.
The monobloc design is pretty standard and so locks via a moving crossbar locking mechanism that’s set into the base of the action, which engages the barrel lumps on closure.
The walls of the action are thick and built to take a lot of use and pivoting on the two front pins inset into the action walls allows easy fitment or removal of the barrels too. It also centres the weight around the action pivot points and thus the Zenith feels very light and natural in the hold.
The finish to the action walls is brightly polished but complimented with well-executed laser-cut arabesque engraving, giving a nice contrast with the dark valleys between the engraving. It covers all the sides and bottom of the action but the top lever and tang are left brightly polished.
The automatic safety sets when the top lever is used to open the action, so you need to push forward to see the red dot indicating the Zenith can now be fired. Barrel selection is also via this blacked, small safety catch. Simply push it left for the top barrel and right for the bottom barrel. It’s smooth and quiet in operation.
The action works on a non-inertia system and so each pull of the trigger releases the hammers individually. On examination, the fired cases showed that the primers had been well struck for correct ignition.
Trigger wise, there is a slim polished blade set in a nicely curved and generous trigger guard, which allows easy access. The trigger pressure was quite light.
Turkish guns always have a good supply of walnut on hand and this shotgun is no exception, with the Zenith following the lines of a typical game gun. Its forend shows a Schnabel tip and I like it, plus the slim profiled hold is ideal for this gun. The release catch set into the underside is easy to operate and the forend separates from the barrels and locks up again securely.
The pistol grip shows very slight palm swells on both sides and its rake gives a relaxed but firm hold of the Zenith. There is a small amount of cast and the comb height for me provided good eye alignment along the entire rib - perfect. Recoil is absorbed by a 0.75” solid black rubber pad, which works well. Although wellexecuted, the laser-cut chequering shows very small raised profiles that look good but don’t offer much grip.
Best of all is the quality of the walnut and although standard grade, it has a nice overall deep colour, with plenty of darker figuring throughout. Plus, it’s all finished with a practical and classy oil finish.
The overall handling feels very natural and free to operate in many different shooting styles or holds, plus is helped by the Zenith’s overall weight of just 3.15 kg.
This Zenith came with cylinder and improved cylinder chokes fitted. In use, they proved a good option as the target boards showed that the Kofs shot tight patterns.
The first cartridges that I used were the Gamebore Super Steel and I opted for the competition load of 21- gram #7.5s with a plastic wad. This is a nice light load of non-toxic shot for clays or squirrels and it shot a total of 263 pellets on the board, which is very good. There was a slight upward bias but the pattern was well distributed, with 104 inner hits and 159 outer hits.
Next up was another lead-free option - Bio Ammo Blue standard velocity cartridges with a payload of 27-grams of #5 shot, so for game. This 100%, non-lead steel and plastic loading is the ultimate environmental cartridge and it shot a total of 225 pellets within 30”. This was distributed with 72 inner hits and 153 outer, showing a nice even distribution, making a great cartridge for closer range game or vermin.
Finally, a great clay load from NSI called UNO Prima. These cartridges use 28-grams of #7.5 lead shot, plus a plastic wad. They have always shot very smoothly and produce great patterns. There were a total of 311 pellet strikes, with 121 inner and 190 outer hits. Wow!
Kofs shotguns are a classic example that you can get value for money and still have a gun that feels, handles and looks twice its price. This steel-actioned Zenith shot very well during the test and produced some really tight patterns that more expensive shotguns would be envious of! It’s this performance on target and the good handling characteristics of this Zenith that really matter.
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