A New Arrival

As expected, I was able to visit my local firearms dealer earlier today to pick up the new Yildiz .410 I’d ordered. After a few minutes to check the condition of the gun, pay and complete the requisite paperwork, I walked out with gun, a bag of bits and the same silly smile on my face that I’d worn last Thursday.

When I got home, it was tea time, which meant, unfortunately, that a proper examination of the gun would have to wait. I took it from its box, fumbled it together – the manner in which barrels and action joined together wasn’t immediately obvious – and locked it away for later, telling myself how grown up and responsible I was being by not insisting that dinner should wait for me to look at my new acquisition.

I didn’t have to wait very long. By 7pm, the kids were bundled into bed, the wife sent off to her church meeting and I had the house to myself. I retrieved the gun from the cabinet, put it down on the kitchen table and inspected it carefully.

Since I bought my 28 gauge – also a Yildiz – I’ve been in a perpetual state of indecision as to whether a chrome-coloured aluminium receiver is an attractive feature of modern firearms which brings out nicely the engraving, or really constitutes a Class 1 Bird-Scaring Device which ought to be blued or painted or taped over as soon as possible.

The .410 also has this “feature” and, for a moment,  I did wonder whether it might be more sensible not to clean the thick black packing grease off the metalwork! I am, however, a proverbial magpie and very much like shiny, pretty things, so out came the oil, rags, patches, toothbrush and cocktail sticks to give the gun a thorough cleaning.

After 30-40 minutes careful attention, the gun was spotless. It’s quite a pretty little thing, with blued barrels, silver action and ordinary (but not unattractive) dark Turkish walnut for the stock, capped with a think plastic butt pad.

It is certainly a full-size gun, unlike the many .410’s shortened and adjusted for use by younger persons. It seems to be a pretty good fit, too. Obviously that judgement is made only on the basis of lifting and pointing it a bit around the house. I’ll have to test where it throws the shot and how it patterns when I can get out into the fields next weekend – but my concerns that the fit could and would be substantially wrong, like the Baikal I’d owned in the past, were unfounded.

As I implied in my first blog post, I bought the gun partly because it was an itch that needed to be scratched (so to speak) but I don’t think I’m exaggerating if I say it looks like I should be able to hit something with it too. I don’t expect to shoot it well, or manage big bags with it (give me 50 years more to practice, then maybe!), but I don’t think it’s a lost cause either.

The gun isn’t feather-light, but it’s not exactly a Baikal either. I suspect it’s lighter than the 28 gauge, but isn’t obviously so because the balance point is further forward. That may prove helpful.

The gun’s measurements are slightly curious. Using calipers, I found the bore to be a dead-on .410″ as I’d expect with a CNC-machined gun. The chokes are slightly unusual, however: the “cylinder” choke actually has a .005″ constriction, which makes it more a skeet choke according to Briley’s chart. The remainder of the five chokes get tighter in .005″ increments down to .025″ for the choke marked “full”.

Obviously, I don’t know how any of them pattern yet but I’ve started off with the .010″ and .015″ chokes, which is a nod in two directions: first, that .410’s are often said to be over-choked (true, in my limited experience) and second, that it’s as near as I can get to the ¼ and ¾ combination that I’d instinctively want in a gun like this. A .410 is intended to be a short-range gun and that’s how I plan to use it; if I ever need to shoot crossing birds at 60 yards, I’ll choose a more appropriate tool.

Briley, with their near-infinite gradations of choke call the .010″/.015″ combination “light modified” and “light full” in a .410, which seems preferable to the “skeet” and “light modified” I’d achieve by opening both chokes one step. The .025″ choke is actually off the end of the Briley chart, where “extra full” is given as .020″ constriction, so I suspect that it might be best avoided as a pattern-blowing machine.

All of this theory can be put to the test and refined when I find a free morning to shoot some patterns and test all the chokes and cartridges I can get hold of. I’ll probably get out for a walk on Sunday but I’m unlikely to have time to shoot more than a pattern or two with each barrel to check that they’re reasonable. I suspect that a friend and I may head out in two weekends’ time for a proper patterning session.

Cartridges: because of a limited selection at my local RFD, I ended up with the Eley 3″ 18g/#7 “Extra Long” shells. Not the cartridge I’d have instinctively chosen, but the alternative was Hull Game & Clay 11g/#6 which I thought would be about as effective as lobbing handfuls of gravel at the birds. Nonetheless, kudos to my dealer for stocking a cartridge containing something other than #6 shot in a .410 – it’s remarkably uncommon in my experience!

In time, I hope to acquire a few boxes of the Gamebore 3″ 16g/#7 load to test, which is the lightest commercially available load in a 3″ case and the one which arguably should, in theory, give the best performance. However, I haven’t found a supplier for these yet. I’ll discuss my reasons for wanting to test that particular cartridge in another blog post, but for now, I’ll look forward to my walk on Sunday afternoon and promise to report back with my findings.