By Daniel Fritter for Calibre, March 12, 2020
Over the course of the past few years, the Canadian gun market has been absolutely inundated with Turkish shotguns. There’s a few reasons for that: First, by and large they’re all non-restricted and generally affordable. People like that pairing. Second, our exchange rate doesn’t hurt as badly for distributors who would otherwise be looking at converting to US dollars, which does hurt. A lot. And finally, while Turkey’s reputation as a shotgun producing nation did not inspire confidence in the product just a few short years ago, the revolution that’s occurred in that country’s shotgun industry since then is quite astounding.
As far as Turkish shotgun makers go, it’s hard to beat Huglu; they are to Turkish shotguns what the Ford Motor Company is to the automobile. Among the first on the scene in 1914, the Huglu Hunting Firearms Cooperative started out repurposing surplus military arms into sporting guns, before slowly transitioning to the outright manufacture of arms. Unlike Ford, however, Huglu’s early operations were unable to benefit from Mr. Ford’s revolutionary assembly line model: The geography of town where Huglu was created (and from which Huglu takes its name) simply did not allow for a large enough centralized production facility. So, instead, households in Huglu turned out specific firearm parts. These parts were then assembled into completed shotguns and shipped to their end users. It wasn’t until 1971, when the town of Huglu was connected to the Turkish electrical grid, that the Huglu Hunting Firearms Cooperative was able to take advantage of more modern production methods. Today, Huglu is probably best known in the firearms world not for their own wares, but rather those of CZ: It’s been an open secret for some time that CZ’s lineup of shotguns are all produced by Huglu.
Assembled, the Huglu HRZ immediately feels pretty good; the action clunks closed with a good amount of authority and there’s no play in anything. And it looks quite pretty, too. The engraving is all done by hand, with the exception of the proof marks, branding and model demarcation on the bottom of the receiver. The screws on the bottom are all installed, marked, and cut so that they all line up when installed. The stock’s checking also appears to be hand-cut, and is of a somewhat unique style, with very deep channels but with flat tops remaining on the raised portions.