Yildiz Elegant A5 E
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- Last updated: 20/01/2023
I tend to forget about the good old side-by-side (SBS) shotguns, as over and under are the norm these days. However, a good SBS still offers a traditional feel when it comes to shooting, and testing one is a nice change. This Yildiz Elegant A5 E is a great value 20-gauge that is lightweight and offers great handling. Also, the Yildiz name comes with an established reputation for reliability and workmanship.
This model wears 28” barrels and comes with a full complement of five flush-fitting chokes. The satinfinished blacked barrels compliment the select walnut stock for a very elegant look, hence the name. Just like the .410, this model utilises an aluminium action, adding to its nimble credentials. Retailing for £890, this Yildiz carries on the tradition of quality at a very good price.
The action is made from 7075-grade aluminium, which saves weight and also allows for a fast-handling game gun in the field. In order to add strength in the key areas, all the stress and wear areas have steel inserts (pins, pivots, locking bar and the action face for the firing pins). Cleverly, these can also be removed and replaced if necessary.
The exterior finish is a fine, textured satin one embellished with rising ducks to both faces and twin ducks to the bottom of the action, with additional floral scrolls. All are executed by laser. It’s not garish at all, with the trigger guard and top lever being polished steel instead.
The top lever stays open when the action is cocked and when closed, sits very nicely to the right, indicating that there is plenty of extra wear built into this area, so the action will remain tight for thousands of rounds.
It’s a bit stiff to open and close but it was brand-new, and will certainly smooth out after a few hundred rounds, like all new guns. All the metal-to-woodwork joints are well appointed and there are also minimal tooling marks, so just a smart little twenty.
The monobloc design ensures the barrels engage around the front action pivot to swivel and open the action, with the rear section and cut-out fully engaging the locking bar that slides forward when the action is closed. This is tried and tested and utterly reliable in use. Ejection is well-timed and not too forceful on this model E version, so cartridges are reliably ejected but not too far to the rear.
Safety-wise, you have a typical sliding button with an integrated barrel selector, and it is manually activated as the top lever is opened. I much prefer this and this sets the strikers too. These are my preferred non-inertia type, so that each pull of the trigger shoots each barrel in turn. A small green ‘S’ indicates SAFE and barrel selection is done by pushing right to shoot the right barrel and vice versa for the left.
There is a nice, slim, smooth trigger and it resets to each barrel with only a small but noticeable delay. Overall, the process of opening, loading and shooting the Yildiz is speedy and uncomplicated.
Being a shotgun that emanates from Turkey, this Elegant has some very nice, higher-grade selected walnut that possesses some good colour, a really good grain structure and some fiddleback, too. Also, it shows a rubbed oil finish that is quite well-polished and suits the overall look of this classic game gun.
The dimensions of the stock play a big part when it comes to how a shotgun shoots. Proportionally, the furniture is in keeping with the 20-gauge cartridge size but does not feel small, as the length of pull is very useable at 14.75”, plus the black recoil pad allows speedy mounting and a well-planted hold. You have a stock drop at the comb of 38mm and a drop-to-heel measurement of 60mm, making it very natural to align the stock for a comfortable hold and eye-to-rib relationship.
In keeping with the SBS look, the forend is suitably slim in girth and length, so a wrap-around hold when shooting feels the best option. Both the forend and stock possess some finely cut chequering, and all in all, it’s a very well-set-up and elegant-looking stock that contributes to the fasthandling characteristics of this model.
As mentioned, this model sports 28” barrels that have 3” chambers. They are steel shot proofed and bear the Fleur de Lys mark. They are made from 4140 drilled steel and look very uniform, with quite short forcing cones. After testing, they cleaned up very easily, which is always a mark of a good barrel. Being a multi-choke system that uses the Beretta-style Mobil chokes, you get a full complement of five, with each one measuring 1.75” in length. You also get a metal choke key with wider wings for an easier grip in the field, in case you need to make a quick change. There is a slight barrel swell to accommodate the chokes that is visible from the outside. The overall finish of the barrels has that Yildiz satin black chrome bluing, so reflections are kept to a minimum while maintaining a very smart look. There is an 8mm rib with a single brass front bead and despite me being used to an over and under, the slim 20-gauge barrels and sight were very easy to use.
The Yildiz was fitted with CYL and ¼ chokes, so I stuck to these for the tests. I shot the pattern boards at 30 yards using the ¼ choke for a change from my normal ½ choke. ¼ is plenty for flushed game anyway. With all the cartridges, recoil was well managed, even the 28-gram Zeniths that can punch a little on a lighter gun. This is evidence that the Yildiz boffins have got the dimensions correct, so no bruised cheekbones!
First up were the impressive Hull Cartridge Ultimate Twenty cartridges (Fibre, 28-grams, No. 5.5). Overall, quite a stiff load, but recoil was mild and resulted in some pretty good patterns, with a total of 206 pellet strikes distributed with 77 inners and 129 outer hits. Considering the shot size, the coverage was very good, especially when you consider it’s through the ¼ choke. In the end, a very good game load for pesky crows amongst the branches.
Next, we went lighter with the Pro Twentys (24-gram, No. 7.5s), which are my son’s favourite. These cartridges are mild on the shoulder but always offer excellent coverage for multiple strikes. We had a total of 236 pellet hits, with 66 within the central portion of the pattern and the remaining 170 around the periphery. So, a great load for clays as well as vermin/game. A gamekeeper friend swears by No. 7.5s for game, as he likes the denser patterns and therefore the combined striking energy from more pellets. He hits more game than everyone else, so maybe he’s onto something?
Finally, the Eley Zenith cartridges (28-gram, No. 6s), use copper game shot and a fibre wad. There were 71 strikes within the 15” inner sector and 122 around the remaining 30”. Again, a nice, even pattern and a hard-hitting load for more tricky birds. We had a slight void in the centre of the pattern, but overall they were very good.
We didn’t have any 20-gauge steel cartridges to test, but I shall be buying some for another test soon.
This new Yildiz shows that you can still buy a really nice handling and fine shooting 20-gauge SBS that won’t break the bank. The lightweight alloy action is ideal for youngsters or oldies and the select or higher-grade walnut stock is as great looking as it is practical. Just a really nice and useable shotgun.