The Value of Turkish Guns

The influx of Turkish-made shotguns brings value to your customers and meat to your margins.

The Value of Turkish Guns

Most folks are somewhere in the middle when it comes to purchasing things like shotguns, but almost all of them appreciate good craftsmanship, beauty and reliable function. (Photo: Ace Luciano)

Turkey was in the firearm business since long before the mid-90s when we began to see imports under various big-name firearm companies. The Ottoman army used artillery pieces as early as the late 1300s. By the mid-1400s they were well into field gun use. 

Fast forward to the late 1980s, and modern Turkish firearms began making their way into the United States. Weatherby has imported their shotguns from Turkey for years. Winchester SXP pump action shotguns are now made in Istanbul.

One of the best examples of fully embracing Turkish quality was the acquisition of Stoeger firearms by Benelli.

Along the way, many companies and importers have discovered the inexpensive labor costs combined with high-quality equipment and tools as well as an extensive knowledge of firearms, firearm parts and, for people like me that love a pretty gun, some beautiful walnut stocks and forends. 

We reached out to some well-known and some less-known importers in the marketplace to see just what kind of a quality product you could get for the low prices attached to these guns. 

Why Turkey?

If you’ve ever seen a nice piece of Turkish walnut, you know that there is no better dressing for a fine gun than a beautiful piece of wood.

It would be great if every customer came into your store with the budget and desire for fine doubles with Italian and German names — the storied guns of Rigby, Holland and Holland and Purdey — along with their premium margins. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.

Most folks are somewhere in the middle when it comes to purchasing things like shotguns, but almost all of them appreciate good craftsmanship, beauty and reliable function.

The good news is that with the advances in machinery, computers and engineering combined with an exceptionally inexpensive labor force, manufacturers are flocking to Turkey and the bang for the buck it offers.

That translates to not only a high-quality product for your customer, but some excellent margins for you.


CZ stands for Ceska Zbrojovka, which directly translates to “Czech Armory.” Founded in 1936, the company and its various factories collaboratively make up one of the largest firearms makers in the world.

CZ-USA has been based in Kansas City, Kansas, since 1998.

CZ has been importing Turkish-made firearms for quite some time. Years ago, they partnered with Huglu, a company that has been manufacturing and importing shotguns to Europe since the first World War. They produce a quality product at a bargain price. We took several of them for a test ride.

Seven different shooters of varying expertise, from a young female hunter to a master level shooter and worldwide bird hunter, as well as a couple outdoor writers, fired each shotgun and gave their feedback.

By design, we mixed ammunition and gave each shooter a bag. Ammunition came from Winchesters Super X and AA lines, plus Federal game loads, target loads, Rio sporting and Estate 20-gauge. 

CZ Red Head Premier 

The first thing noted about the Red Head Premier 12- and 20-gauges was they were “solid feeling in all aspects.” Tight tolerances, excellent wood-to-metal finishing, and tough-as-nails green Cerakote finishes were the highlight of this line of over/under shotguns.

Of interesting note, in addition to the green-colored barrels and action, these shotguns come with rare-earth magnets mounted in the breach. This allows the gun to be broken open in any position — even upside down — without dumping the shells out onto the ground. I expect to see this feature on many more firearms in the near future.

MSRP: $1,123


  • Cerakoted finish. 
  • Magnetic breech. 
  • Handsome lines.
  • Excellent wood to metal fitting.


  • Rather heavy.

CZ 720 G2 Semi-Auto 

This fine-lined 20-gauge won the hearts and minds of the testing crew not only because of its flawless performance regardless of the ammo it was fed, but because of some unique features that really stood out. 

Much of the value of an expensive firearm is in the fit and finish of the gun, and especially so where wood meets metal. Fine craftsmen take their time hand-fitting each stock and forend to the breech and barrels, adding time and significant cost to the product. 

Another frustration with many semi-autos is the fact that the forend tends to loosen over time, necessitating a twist of the end cap to prevent a rather annoying rattle. 

CZ has alleviated these problems with engineering by adding both a plastic boot to the action and an additional ring with detente that holds the barrel on tight, allowing you to finger-tighten the end cap for easy removal. 

MSRP: $528


  • Barrel ring. 
  • Attractive gun.
  • Large opening in the lifter for feeding ammo into the magazine.
  • Sooth, low-recoil operation with all loads, including some waterfowl loads that were mixed in at random.


  • Testers almost evenly loved and hated the plastic boot where the action meets the forend. 
  • Two of the testers missed greater than 70% of their shots with this gun only, leading us to believe it may require some additional fitting for some shooters. 

CZ 1012 Semi-Auto 

Watch out, high-end, inertia-action manufacturers. There’s some serious competition for that market now in the sub-$1,000 price range. 

I have fired almost every inertia-action firearm on the market and CZ-USA’s new 1012 definitely came to play.

The most important thing for a hunter in the field is confidence in their firearm to perform under any and all conditions. This goes especially so for waterfowlers. 

During CZ’s testing, they pushed 1012s to 5,000 rounds without a drop of oil or cleaning of any sort, while experiencing zero parts breakage or malfunctions. In normal field use, the occasional cleaning and oiling should be more than enough.

If you are looking for a durable, fire-whatever-you-feed-it-no-matter-what-even-mud-coated-three-inch-steel-number-threes, this is your new gun. 

If you like your shotguns to be dressed in fancy walnut, the cerakote-trimmed versions are rather sharp, but our test version dipped in a Mossy Oak Bottomland pattern with synthetic hardware was plenty attractive for anyone with mallards on their mind.

MSRP: $749


  • This gun exudes tough.
  • Camo dip was well done and attractive.


  • Testers consistently expressed disappointment with the quality and location of the cartridge drop lever as too near the safety, though it never failed to function properly.
  • The cartridge carrier lever is rather long. There is very little space between it and the magazine, which led to pinched fingers when shooters weren’t careful. 

Legacy Sports

For those unfamiliar, the Reno, Nevada-based Legacy Sports has been in the firearms business since 1953 when it began as International Arms Corporation/Interarms, an importer of surplus wartime firearms. It is probably best known as the exclusive importer of Howa barreled actions and the producer of the Howa rifle. 

Legacy Sports Pointer .410 Semi-Auto

This gun was unanimously chosen as the “most fun” firearm.

Shooters consistently went back to each station to “see if they could shoot it with the .410.” Zero recoil and the barest perceptible muzzle jump had each member of the evaluation team smiling after every pull of the trigger. Comments like, “I’d love to take this out for rabbits!” and “If ever there was a gun designed for the squirrel woods, this is it!”

Now, I’m not usually a fan of the .410 for a youth or beginner’s fist shotgun. A 20-gauge gives much more leeway and is a ton more versatile than the .410, but as someone who has run large-scale beginner shooting events, I would love to have one of these shotguns for anyone who is recoil-sensitive or hesitant to shoot. You could shoot this gun off the end of your nose to no ill effect. That fancy dress and laser-etched action comes at a price though.

MSRP: $859


  • Handsome lines and exceptionally well-made.
  • The Mossy Oak Bottomland pattern is also laser-etched into the action for a really cool look.
  • Zero recoil.
  • Light weight.


  • Cartridge carrier lever is very small. Every tester had a finger pinch without careful placement.
  • The tolerances are so tight that separating the barrel from the receiver is difficult.

Legacy Sports Pointer O/U

Everyone should shoot a 28-gauge at least once.

This 28 was actually sent out by mistake, but a quick trip to the sports store for a proper varied diet remedied our lack of munitions. Though the inherent exceptional patterning ability of the diminutive 28-bore round has been mostly disproved as an urban legend, the fact that you can send a fair amount more pellets downrange with a significantly noticeable lack of recoil from a 28 makes me scratch my head as to why it only seems to be popular with double-gun aficionados and ruffed grouse hunters.

The nicest and most surprising part of this gun is that it is built on its own frame, not a full-size shotgun with a smaller bore. At 5.2 pounds it can be carried all day with ease. With a real-world price of under $500, you won’t worry about taking it into the grouse woods, either.

MSRP: $528


  • Small frame
  • Tight tolerances, good wood to metal fit.
  • Most popular O/U in the test. 

Other Noteworthy Mentions


It would seem that the middle of the country has a special draw for Turkish importers, as TriStar is also located in Kansas City.

The self-proclaimed “value experts,” TriStar offers a wide selection of quality firearms for hunters and recreational shooters alike.

Shipping delays made inclusion in the field evaluation impossible, but several of the shooters own TriStars in their personal arsenals.

Personally, I own two G2 Viper youth models that are still one of the best bargains in the industry. The 2Stock Combo comes with both a youth and an adult stock and an extended choke tube to lengthen the barrel as children grow.

Back when I was running some of the largest youth shooting introduction events in the country, we had three of these guns that we put thousands of rounds through every year with minimal maintenance.


In addition to their Vanguard line of rifles (made by Howa), and their new line of inertia-action shotguns from Italy, Weatherby imports their SA-08 shotguns from ATA in Istanbul.


While there are some legends and lore regarding the acquisition of Stoeger by Beretta/Benelli, the Versan factory that was making inertia-action shotguns before Benelli’s patent ran out was doing a good enough job that it was better to buy it. Thus, the Stoeger M-3000 was born. The inertia-driven world hasn’t been the same since.

Bonus: Turkish Shotguns and Four Shooters

Luke Laggis, editor of Shooting Sports Retailer, filed this report about his experience at the range with some Turkish shotguns.

I had two new Turkish-made shotguns to test this summer, and another Turkish-made CZ 1012 still in my office. With my dad in town from Utah and my brother and nephews having a rare afternoon free, we decided to grab some clay pigeons and head out to a field on our land.

I unboxed and assembled an Impala Plus 12-gauge from Zanders Sporting Goods and SAR-USA’s new SA-X 700 20-gauge that morning. I also cased up the 1012 and my Browning over-and-under, since my dad had just handed it down to me a year ago and the nephews had never had an opportunity to shoot it.

My dad didn’t shoot, but the rest of us fed a mix of Remington Express, Federal Game Load and Browning BPT shells into the 12-gauges. For the 20s, I picked up some Browning BPT and Remington Express. I also brought along an ammo box full of mixed old 12- and 20-gauge rounds.

The Impala Plus, with its inertia action and 6-lug rotary bolt, cycled smoothly and never had an issue with any of the random shells we fed it. Aside from the clip-on plastic fiber-optic sight, it’s a nice-looking gun with a medium blued barrel and walnut stock and forend. The wood has a nice solid feel, and the gun was comfortable in hand. While it’s heavier than the CZ 1012, it shouldered pretty well and swung smoothly, especially for an inexpensive semi-auto. Of all the guns we shot — my Browning saw only limited action — it broke the most birds. And with 24 configuration options, there’s a model for pretty much every need.

The SAR SA-X 700’s light weight and small size immediately appealed to everyone. We’d all be happy carrying it on a grouse hunt. While the barrel-to-receiver and forend-to-barrel fit was a bit finicky, the whole package felt good in hand once assembled. The size and weight combined with a notably slim forend for a gas-operated gun make this little 20 a great option for smaller shooters. It felt like something between a 20- and 28-gauge.

I have to note than the SA-X 700 came heavily oiled — really noticeably heavily oiled. I wiped it down while I was putting it together, but early on, the gun failed to fully eject a few shells, and in one instance an empty shell spit some gunk on my brothers face when it cleared the chamber. After taking it apart, wiping it down again thoroughly and reassembling, the gun worked perfectly. By the end it was my brother’s favorite of the three.

When it came to the 12-gauges, opinions were split. Everyone liked the lighter weight of the 1012 over the Impala Plus, but my brother pointed out that the Impala’s action felt smoother. After a little more testing, I agreed. The lighter 1012 kicked harder than the Impala, which was a turnoff for my brother, but not the nephews. And the difference wasn’t so great that any of us would have paid it attention in the duck blind.

I’ve crawled through a lot of mud, broken through iced-over potholes and stood wader-tops-deep in cattail marshes with my Remington 1187. And I’ve knocked down a lot of ducks with it. I’ve had the gun for more than 25 years and have always liked it — it’s what I judge other similarly priced semi-autos against, for better or worse. But it’s a beast to carry in the upland woods and I’d take either of these 12s over it on a grouse hunt or anything with a significant hike involved.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.