Should you buy a Turkish Shotgun?
This is a question that gets asked over and over again. Turkey's inflation rate was 64.1 % in October, 2023, a slight decrease. The Turkish lira has crashed against the U.S. Dollar, currently worth 3.4 cents U.S. The average monthly wage in Turkey is $500: few firearm-producing countries can compete with that. Chinese factory workers make significantly more. Overall, Turkey Exports to United States was US $16.89 Billion during 2022, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade. That is up dramatically from the $6.7 billion in imports of 2013.
As a result, there is a glut of $599 Turkish special semi-autos hitting the market. The Savage-Stevens 560 gas-operated 12 gauge has a MSRP of $499. CZ sells the Huglo Renova as the CZ 1012 with a $699 sticker price. Weatherby sells Turkish ATI inertia and O/U guns, while Mossberg sells Armsan gas guns. Retay USA sells $400 Turkish semi-autos as well, except they try to sell them for $1699: quite a nasty rip-off.
For the most frugal shotgun buyers, Turkish pump guns like the Stevens 320 have a MSRP of $289. The Stevens 301 single shot is $209 MSRP. There are countless others, for companies like Savage Arms listen to their customers and when they scream cheap, that is what they get: just exactly what they asked for.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, for Beretta manufactures in Turkey, and Browning does as well via Istanbul Silah. Some people will not touch Turkish firearms at any price, for they are not proof-tested. Many lie about it, but unless a firearm goes to an independent proof house, it absolutely is not proof-tested. Independent enforcement of stamdards cost money and increase scrap rates: small wonder the Turkish firearm industry cannot be bothered with it.
Many / most Turkish models have a very rough time copying choke tube threads and installing reasonable recoil pads as well. While I am hesitant to call all Turkish guns junk (they aren't), none meet traditional, accepted standards of high quality. They often do not come with a high quality price, either.
The ATF doesn't care if a gun is good or bad, safe or unsafe, whether it jams or actually works. What has happened, in large measure, is that cheap Turkish guns have displaced the old Western Auto, Sears (J. C. Higgins / Ted Williams) spec guns of years gone by. Some were far better than others.
If you are beguiled by low prices, you can better your odds by sticking with established, reputable brands like Savage, Mossberg, and Weatherby. The level of quality from a Turkish product is limited, as now Turkish companies are forced to build down into competing with themselves for their grab at American cash.
There was a mantra commonly used at one time, “Not how many, but how good.” Right now, it seems to be just how many as well as how cheap. If we vote for high quality with our purchases, we tend to get more of it. If we constantly vote at the altar of cheapness, for the wonderfully or barely adequate, we tend to get more of that as well. To say that we are getting more of it is an understatement.
Copyright 2023 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.