Waterfowl hunter with harvested drake mallards. Photo by Ed Wall Media.jpg

Ed Wall Media

Though Turkish shotguns are relatively new to American hunters, popular imports, such as the Retay Masai Mara (above), reflect the country’s long gun-making tradition.


Turkish-made shotguns are showing up in more duck blinds every year. Like Spanish- and Japanese-made guns before them, Turkish guns have had to prove themselves to American hunters. While these firearms are relative newcomers to the United States, they are products of an old and rich gun-making tradition. There are over 250 firearms manufacturers in Turkey, including 85 or so that make shotguns. Gun-making centers in the country include Konya, Istanbul, and Huglu.

The leading steel producer in the Middle East for centuries, Turkey has a long history of metal-working and arms-making. In addition to iron deposits, the country is blessed with some of the world’s most sought-after gun-stock material: Turkish walnut. A harsh, dry climate and poor soils result in varied and often narrow annular growth rings, creating a richly figured wood that is dense and holds checkering well. Low labor costs keep the prices down, and Turkish-made guns are now accepted as a solid value by many American waterfowlers.

A Rocky Start

Initially, Turkish shotguns didn’t impress many shooters in the United States. Then, in 2005, Kimber imported a gun that showed Americans what Turkish gun-makers could do if they weren’t forced to meet a low price. The Valier, made by Akus, was a true sidelock side-by-side gun. It had a gorgeous walnut stock, and its receiver was case-colored with the traditional bone-and-charcoal method. At around $4,000, it was a great deal of money for a Turkish shotgun but an incredible bargain compared to a similar gun made anywhere else.

In the early 2000s, the trickle of Turkish imports turned into a flood. CZ-USA imported guns made by the Huglu Cooperative that began to win over Americans. CZ combined good value-priced guns with top-notch repair and customer service in their Kansas City–area facility.

Weatherby, which has sourced most of its guns through vendors, found success with the SA-08, a gas semiauto that was slim, light, reliable, and extremely affordable. Beginning in 2006, Winchester worked with Turkish maker Silah to redesign and improve the internals of the SXP pump gun, which has been made in Turkey ever since.

Turkish Guns in the Blind

Today, a number of Turkish guns offer great buys for waterfowlers. The rotary-bolt SXP practically pumps itself, and Winchester offers wood, black synthetic, and camo models in 3- and 3 1/2-inch chambers. Stoeger’s M2000 has evolved into the M3000 and put some early growing pains behind it. There is also the 20-gauge M3020, as well as the 3 1/2-inch 3500, which comes in both waterfowl and extended-magazine snow goose versions.

Weatherby offers the Element semiauto and Orion over/under—both made by ATA. Tristar’s Viper line of Armsan-made shotguns has a loyal following among shooters who want a value-priced gun that doesn’t sacrifice reliability. Aimed directly at waterfowlers, Mossberg’s new Eventide 3 1/2-inch 12-gauge version of its Khan-made Silver Reserve over/under comes with 28-inch barrels, Cerakote metal, and camo furniture.

CZ-USA, working with its partners at the Huglu Cooperative, offers a wide lineup of waterfowl guns. The 1012 inertia gun survived a 5,000-round no cleaning, no lubing torture test without a single breakage or malfunction. It and several break-action models make up their All-Terrain series of guns with wood stocks and olive Cerakote metal. The 12- and 20-gauge break-action guns in the line have magnets in the ejectors that make it easier to load the guns in a duck blind. CZ also partners with Akkar, one of Turkey’s best shotgun makers, on the All-American series of break-action target guns.

A New Name

Retay’s well-made inertia guns are fit and finished in the company’s factory in Konya. Following their debut in 2017, they have quickly built a following. Retay guns have deep-drilled barrels, an inertia bolt that can’t be knocked out of battery, and a trigger group that pops out with the push of a button. The success of Retay marks the first time American waterfowlers have unabashedly embraced a Turkish brand. Given the ever-increasing quality of the Turkish guns coming to our shores, it won’t be the last time.