As a phrase, “budget trap gun” is kinda like “military intelligence,” “government ethics,” or “postal service” – it’s a contradiction in terms. TriStar, however, has just announced three new high rib Turkish import trap guns, all designated model TT-15. You can get them in over/under, top single or un-single configurations, depending on your how you like to swing. The fully adjustable walnut Monte Carlo stocks look lovely in the promo pics. We’ve requested one to review, so will let you know if they’re as nice in person when ours arrives. Here’s their press release . . .
When it comes to high-performance “trap-specific” shotguns, affordable options are few and far between and often sacrifice quality for price. TriStar’s new TT-15 line of shotguns offers shooters the best of both worlds – quality craftsmanship and performance with an affordable price.
Designed in part with the help of professional trap shooters, the TT-15 is available in top-single, un-single and over/under options. Each model features a Monte Carlo stock and fully adjustable comb made from beautiful Turkish walnut and an elegant hand-engraved receiver with nickel finish. The TT-15 is also fitted with a high-standing 3-point adjustable rib, auto-ejectors and a fiber optic front sight.
The over/under TT-15 includes five extended color-coded Beretta/Benelli choke tubes, while the top-single and un-single models include three choke tubes.
Located in Kansas City, Missouri, TriStar Arms is a primary importer of quality Turkish shotguns and handguns. The company is driven by the same mission that it set out on since its inception – to provide high-performance firearms for hunters, recreational shooters and home defense at a fraction of the price and to deliver fast and friendly service at all times. Every firearm that TriStar Arms imports is rigorously tested throughout each stage of production to ensure that its customers receive value that can be passed down for generations.
For more information on TriStar Arms visit www.tristararms.com.
Barrel length: 32 inches
Weight: 8 pounds 8 ounces
Chokes: 5 extended Beretta/Benelli style
Length of Pull: 14 5/8-inches
TT-15 Top-Single and Un-Single
Barrel length: 34 inches
Weight: 8 pounds 8 ounces
Chokes: 3 extended Beretta/Benelli style
Length of Pull: 14 5/8-inches
That style is going to take some getting used to.
Looks like something Han would use to trap-shoot ewoks…
That’s a traditional high rib trap un-single. Check out the more conventional over/under and top single designs, too.
I have never heard of an “unsingle” before, and cannot imagine what it means–that it is the lower barrel of an o/u setup?
Under barrel single. Think of an over/under with no top barrel.
Correct. They’re usually longer (like 32 to 34″ in length, vs. 28 to 30 for the double barrels), and by mounting the single barrel where the lower tube of a pair would be results in a recoil impulse that gives you less barrel rise.
The single barrel looks more like a bridge girder, than a gun barrel.
Trap guns tend to have high ribs on them. The reason is that trap shooters prefer their head to have a more upright posture, with a high comb on the stock. This keeps your neck straighter, which allows you to shoot longer, with less fatigue. Most trap shooters like to keep both eyes open. Trap guns are intended to fit the shooter to allow the shooter to handle a shotgun in a manner that allows the shooter to fire hundreds of rounds in a couple of hours and walk away smiling.
Most shotgun sports require you to fire 25 to 50 rounds out of your gun, then you get to sit down and relax for awhile. In trap, you might be firing hundreds of rounds in fairly quick order, especially at some trap shoots where you might shoot a couple rounds of singles, then a couple rounds of doubles, then a handicap or two. How your gun helps you handle the recoil quickly becomes a factor.
You can sometimes shoot trap with a “regular shotgun,” but it can really take a toll on you.
Example: I have a nice old Fox shotgun, SxS. Wonderful gun. It fits me pretty well, and it’s a field gun – splinter foreend, modified x full chokes, double triggers, a non-ejector gun. When I’m on my game, I usually hit 23 or 24 out of 25 clays with it, and it mounts and swings so nicely that the clays are being turned to dust; there are very few “just a chip” clays being scored with that gun.
Buuuuut… after a couple rounds of doubles (100 rounds fired), I can barely handle the gun – the heat is coming through the splinter foreend gives me blistering burns on my bare hand (I end up using a leather TIG welding glove to shoot), and my shoulder is getting beat to pulp by a steel buttplate.
Is it a nice shotgun? Heck yes.
Is it a competition gun? Hell no. It’s a field gun, and most certainly not a trap gun. Trying to compete with it would earn me points in a tough man competition, but it won’t allow me to finish in the top 5 at a trap shoot.
Surely you are aware that there are leather shields made specifically to prevent the heat blistering that your experience when firing multiple rounds from your venerable old Fox shotgun?
The cost of a good double barrel shotgun seems ridiculously high, compared to pumps and semi-autos that have a lot more moving parts to fit together.
Somebody explain that to me.
The most expensive part of making a shotgun isn’t the moving parts, it’s the barrel. An over/under has two, hence the higher cost.
Indeed. When people are buying a used double-barreled gun (whether O/U or SxS) and they ask me “is it worth $X?” I tell them a) examine the barrels, b) examine the barrels, c) now look at everything else.
If they really look at the market in used double barreled guns long enough, you find out that you’re buying a set of tubes. Everything else comes into consideration after the set of tubes.
Hand fitting is required on a 2 barrel gun. If you want both barrels to shoot to the same point.
Not required of a single barrel gun.
There are more parts in a O/U or a SxS shotgun than most all pump or semi-auto designs. In some cases, there are many more parts.
On either a SxS or O/U, you have what are basically two complete guns. The lockwork is duplicated for each barrel, but today all you see is a single trigger that is reset from barrel to barrel by either a mechanical or inertia system. There will be two hammers, two sears, two cocking rods, sometimes duplicate pins, etc.
Then you have two barrels, with a set of ribs to hold the barrels together.
Then in the forearm, you’ll have either a set of cam-operated extractors for lifting the shells out of the chambers, or you’ll have a whole ‘nother set of hammers, sears and “triggers” that kick the shells out. This is why ejector double guns cost more than extractor guns.
Any semi-auto, slide/pump or bolt-action shotgun looks trivial compared to a double barreled gun. And that’s all before we get to the issue of keeping the barrels “on face” and timing up the lockwork.
There are a whole lot of moving parts in an over/under, also. Two sets of hammers, sears, ejectors, and all finely tuned and timed, etc. The moving parts in an over/under just aren’t as big, and you don’t think about them nearly as much because they aren’t so clunky, and 90% of them are hidden… Also, shoot 100K rounds through a pump or semi auto, and see how it holds up. Take a Beretta 682 and do the same, and the Beretta will almost be broken in. That’s why a good over/under costs so much. And $1100 isn’t ‘so much’. That’s quite cheap, if the fit/finish is good, and it lasts a while.
I forgot to address that issue as well. Trap shooters shoot a LOT. Most shotguns are shot in “field” use – a couple of boxes of shells here, a couple of boxes there. A typical shotgun won’t see 500 rounds through it in a year.
An active trap competitor will put 5 to 10K rounds through their guns in a year.
An ACTIVE trap or skeet shooter might shoot ten times that amount. When I was shooting quite a bit of skeet fifteen years ago, competitively, I registered 10,800 targets one year, and probably shot five times that amount in practice for a total of about 65,000 shells. That may have been well over the average, but there are guys that do that year after year. I MIGHT shoot 300 targets a year, now, but it’s the same gun, tight as ever.
I took a look at a Ruger Red Label one time at a gun shop, that the salesman said had been used for skeet. Poor thing was slap worn out. The hinge was loose enough that there was significant play between the barrels and receiver with it locked up. Very sloppy with it opened. And that’s the difference between a field gun like the Red Label and a true skeet or trap gun like a Browning or Beretta (at the least). That Red Label sold new for about $1100 or so, and was absolutely pitiful looking…
I bought a 20 gauge semi auto five shot Tri-Star shotgun for my son in law for an inexpensive starter and when I picked it up and addressed it I thought , hum , not bad . I took it out to my farm and ran some different loads through it and then some more , I changed out the chokes and ran more , full choked some more and to make a long story short , by the time I got around to presenting him his new inexpensive Tri-Star , I had purchased 2 more . Light weight , well balanced , beautiful walnut and quality workmanship on a five shot auto loader with three chokes for under $ 600.00 , I’m an impressed believer .
If they haven’t gotten worse , Tri-Star is a legit value .
I’ve been looking at that bronze Tristar Viper G2. Pretty sweet looking.
Unbelievable price for a trap gun…I look forward to the review.
Turkey has a state of the art firearms factory. Has met the demanding NATO specs.
Make Tri-Star, Canik, and SARS pistols all excellent values. Sure there are some I’ve missed. Make a bunch of high quality long guns too.
TriStars come to shoulder, swing and point like a much more expensive shotgun. The triggers also do not suck. A grand is nothing to sneeze about, but the value is probably there judging by some of TriStar’s other offerings. But, if they d not fit, you must acquit. Fit is everything or nearasdammit.
I’m really interested in these for my 15 year old who shoots trap on a team. I’d love to get him a Beretta Silver Pigeon but I’ll never be able to afford it. My only question is how they are with recoil impulse management as compared to a Beretta?
I will post answers to q’s about o/u guns later on tonight.
Thank you for your contributions.
“budget trap gun”? You mean my kid has being doing it wrong with his Rossi 20ga?
I’d like to hear how these compare to something similar in price, like a CZ Redhead. I’m one of those annoying types who really wants an o/u but would like to keep the price to around $1,000.
I do just fine with my 870 pump.
That’s what most pump gun owners say… until they try a decent skeet or trap gun.
I used to shoot trap with my Beretta semi-auto. You very quickly learn two things about a pump or semi-auto on a trap range:
1. People don’t like having shells ejected into their lane. So I put a shell capture widget on the port of my shotgun, which makes an ejected shell “hang” on the port, or just dribble to the ground at my feet for doubles.
2. You get only one choke with a single barrel, and sometimes that isn’t to your advantage. The biggest advantage of a double barreled gun is that you get two chokes – and in shotguns for trap, the first barrel will be modified or improved modified, and the second will often be a full choke. When you’re shooting doubles or handicaps, that full choke often comes in handy…
Nothing wrong with pump guns for trap as long as you aren’t shooting doubles. Plenty of people use them. But if you shoot often enough, you get tired of pickup up shells after the round. I also enjoy the low maintenance of an O/U.
I’m guessing you don’t compete. When you’re burning tens of thousands, sometimes in the realm of a hundred thousand shells a year, you need to upgrade your gear to match the demands placed upon it. (And, as others have said, having two chokes is a big deal; it’s even more beneficial for sporting clays, FITASC, 5-stand, and COMPAQ, where target presentations can vary wildly in the same pair.)
I was able to buy a O/U version of one of these thru a Gunbroker listing in early October.
The ability to purchase a reasonably priced Trap Gun was very appealing.
The price may be reasonable, however the quality is awful.
First off, out of the box, the gun had several scratches and a few spots where the bluing had not taken on the barrel. The finish on the rib was comparable. The quality of the wood on the stock was impressive but the front stock looked like it came out of some parts bin on a Mossberg production line. (Sorry Mossberg) It did not match or belong on a Trap Gun.
Anyhow, I cleaned the gun up, adjusted the rib height, and went trap shooting.
First off let me state that I shoot trap very well and have been shooting for a very long time.
The improved/modified choke screwed in fine but the full choke had crossed threads and wouldn’t fit in.
The first round thru the gun gave me a score of 5 broke birds. Naw,,, not me. I never shot that bad!
Then a friend and I took a close look at the gun.
The whole barrel assembly was skewed. At the muzzle the rib was attached to the top barrel a about a 6 degree angle and the bottom barrel was attached about 3/16″ to the right of center. To sum it all up, the gun was shooting 2 feet to the right of aim point at normal trap yardages.
After several un answered warranty requests, thru my dealer, contact was made and I sent the gun to TriStar to have the barrel replaced along with the bad choke. Then while they had the gun, I made several inquiries as to the disposition of the repair. Again, no replies. Finally after about two weeks I received a phone call from some guy in the shipping department at TriStar telling me that they were returning the gun. He could not, or would not tell me what had been done to the gun. What I received back from them was the same gun, sans any repairs other than the full choke having the threads chased.
Oh,,, they patterned the chokes.
As of this date I can not get any kind of response from TriStar.
Anybody want to buy a boat anchor?
So,,,, save your money, a lot of headaches, and buy something else.
Good to àknow. Thanks for the review. But sorry for your bad luck.
I also purchased an O/U in early October, but my experience was just the opposite. I’m absolutely thrilled with mine! I broke 25 straight on my fourth round with it – something I hadn’t done in several years with any gun.
So far I’m breaking 88 percent of my targets with it – singles, handicap and doubles. That’s not a super-high rate for trapshooters as a whole, but it’s very good for me. I’ve had none of the issues you describe.
Maybe I just got real lucky … or maybe you were unlucky.
The price looks affordable for a trap shotgun. Usually, they are more expensive.
I’m a fairly new trap shooter – started out with a Mossberg 500. Once I decided I liked the sport I started “real” researching trap guns … asked experienced shooters, checked in msg boards read reviews. I’d seen one or two guy at my club have Tristars and they’re pretty happy with him but most people look down their nose at them. If it’s not a Beretta or Browning it must be garbage. Cost wasn’t really the biggest factor in deciding on a shotgun – I budgeted about 1500 – 2000. Into my search I ran across a Tristar Unisingle for a great price … unused for way less than $1000 so I went for it.
After about 6 months and abt 2000 rounds I’m very happy with it …. its well balanced, has an adjustable comb, i personally like the high rail and in general it feels solid. That said, you can tell the difference between the TT – 15 and its more expensive counterparts. The engraving is minimal to the point where you wonder why they bothered, the fit and finish has some slight imperfections you prob won’t find on a Browning but you have to look really hard to find them. The only thing that actually bothered me is the inside of the forend wasn’t finished … just raw wood. Not sure if that’s how they make them or if it slipped past QC. I gave it a good coating of wax and it’s fine.
I don’t know if my Tristar will last generations but it’s a solid, well made Trap gun and hardly deserving of the sideways glances it gets from the b&b crowd. I can’t see how you can go wrong for under $2000 unless the logo is your main concern.