KOFS Emperor shotgun.
The notion of using an over-under, especially in 12-gauge, for hunting was considered a bit odd. The Remington 3200 in 3-inch Magnum, for example, was the lowest-selling version of that gun.
The wide success of sporting clays shooting changed all that, and it is now quite common to see. over-unders in use for waterfowling or even turkey hunting. At least one manufacturer has issued an over-under home defense shotgun, complete with 1913 rail for a laser or flashlight.
An over-under would edge out only a single-shot or bolt-action were I choosing a defensive shotgun, but to each his own.
Now, hunters may want to use an over-under, but that doesn't mean they want to carry 81/2 pounds of Remington 3200 in the field. So manufacturers have been offering ever lighter hunting guns in superposed configuration.
The latest is the Emperor, made by KOFS in Turkey. Unless you've been somewhere under a rock for the last 15 years, you already know that Turkey has taken a very strong position at the low to medium-priced end of the shotgun market. Turkish guns have come in through a profusion of importers, ranging from car-trunk hustlers to some of the biggest names in the firearms trade.
Predictably, some importers have prospered, others have faded quickly. Who will remain for the long haul? Hard to tell.
KOFS makes side-by-side and over-under shotguns, and apparently plans to expand to other styles, according to its website. It claims to have produced more than a. million shotguns in the last 30 years. There has been a lot of technology transfer from Italy to Turkey, and the Emperor has a distinct Italian feel to it.
As you would suspect, the gun's feathery weight of 6.75 pounds starts with an aluminum frame. The whole frame assembly weighs just l/8 pounds. There's a steel strip in the standing breech face to prevent the steel monobloc wearing a trench in it.
The action is quite typical of low- to mid-range Italian over-unders: the trigger is mechanical and activates sears suspended from the top tang. The hammers are powered by coil, springs. The safety button moves left or right when pulled rearward to select the barrel. Moving it to the left selects the lower barrel. The safety is manual, which is desirable for range shooting, perhaps less so in the field.
Cocking is by a central bar that passes through the bottom of the frame and pushes on a cam surface at the base of each hammer. The bar is cammed rearward by an extension of the fore-end iron.
This is an economical model, so it is a pure extractor gun. As the barrels are lowered, either end of the extractor contacts a projection at the top front of the frame, lifting the empties for easy removal.
The barrels have ventilated ribs both on top and between them. Locking is by a single underbolt at the bottom of the standing breech. Sighting equipment consists entirely of a gold bead at the muzzle.
The Emperor is supplied with five choke tubes, skeet, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full. All except the full and improved modified are proofed for steel shot. The bores, which had inside diameters of .725" and .727" for the upper and lower barrels respectively, are chrome-lined.
One of the great things about being a gunmaker in Turkey is that you are close to all that great Turkish walnut, and even modestly priced Turkish guns often have very attractive stocks. The Emperor is no exception, with a medium-brown buttstock and slightly darker fore-end. Both were checkered at 20 lines per inch. The butt was capped with a black rubber recoil pad about 3/8" thick.
I pattern-tested the Emperor with results shown in the accompanying table and function-fired it at American skeet with Federal, Kent Cartridge, NobelSport and Winchester ammo. There were no failures of any kind.
A sub 7-pound 12-gauge is not often an especially comfortable gun to shoot, and that was emphasized when I started the round with Kent Velocity target loads with a claimed velocity of 1450 fps. These are intended for sporting competition and would rarely be specified for skeet. Recoil was pretty grim.
I quickly cashiered: those in favor of some NobelSport 24-gram!' loads as used in international competition. That made a big difference, and conventional Kent 23/4-dram loads were comfortable, too. Switching to Winchester A A handicap trap loads upped the kick toward the uncomfortable range.
So my advice with this one is to stay with 23/4-dram loads, preferably with an ounce of shot.
With the proper loads, I found. the Emperor surprisingly easy to shoot, and scores were not half bad. The trigger pull was not going to make me forget my Krieghoff, but caused no great difficulty, and I liked the manual safety.
I often find that Turkish guns have a peculiar curve to the pistol grip that I find uncomfortable, but that wasn't the case. here.
An extractor gun is good for the handloader who wants to retrieve every empty, but the gun doesn't naturally hang fully open for loading. You'll need to give it an extra bit of opening to feed the lower barrel.
I'm not generally a fan of aluminum-framed shotguns, but I have to say the Emperor is one of the better of the breed, especially at the price. Itcertainly would be a good choice for the hunter who is carrying more than shooting, and it's not so light as to be wearing on the target range.
At $535 retail, the Emperor gives the man on a budget a real chance to own an attractive over-under. Just don't plan to use it goose hunting unless you are truly impervious to recoil.
KOFS EMPEROR PATTERN TEST
Average of 10shots at 40 yards
211/4" inner circle: 151 (36%)
30" outer ring: 84 (20%)
Total: 235 (56%)
Nobelsport Trap 28:3-1-8
Pellet count 42 = point of aim
Average of 10 shots at 40 yards
211/4" inner circle: 183 (44%)
30" outer ring: 90 (21%)
Total: 273 (65%)
Emperor EM02 Shotgun Manufacturer: KOFS, Ltd., Isparta, Turkey Importer: Rare, LLC, Box 7, Dept. SGN, Oxford, NJ 07863 Type: Over-under shotgun Gauge: 12, 3-inch, 20 Weight: 6.42 pounds Overall Length: 45 3/4 inches Barrel Length: 28 inches Length of Pull: 14 3/4 inches Drop at Heel: 2 1/4 inches Drop at Comb: 1 1/2 inches Trigger Pull: 7.5 pounds lower barrel, 8pounds upper Accessories: Full (.684"), Improved modified (.694"), Modified (.704"), Improved cylinder (.714"), Skeet (.704") choke tubes, tube case and spanner Peioo: $535