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811 Views 28 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  HDRider
Anyone familiar with TriStar Arms?

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Most (all?) of their stuff comes out of Turkey. I’m most familiar with their O/U and autoloading shotguns.

low prices, fair quality. Kind of a get what you pay for, arrangement, but also not paying extra for a name. With the guns I’ve seen and worked on, a causal user will probably be fine with them, but also note that any sort of warranty support and/or customer service is painful at best.

Over all, I would put them in the same general basket as Taurus and Armscor… maybe toward the bottom of that basket.
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I always wanted a side-by-side. I looked at CZ and liked TriStar better. I got the one in the pic yesterday. It is the Bristol model. I was not looking to spend a lot. I paid a little less than $1,000.

I have a Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon over/under. I just looked at the price. It is $2,500. Wow, I stole that gun for $500 from a guy moving to Germany. It was in almost new condition.

I just shot the TriStar. It's recoil is more noticeable than the Beretta. Their weight is about the same. It might be because my shoulder is sore. I bought a trap machine last week and shot the Beretta a bunch earlier this week.

I'd agree with your quality comment. The Beretta resets the safety when you break the gun. The TriStar does not.
The recoil on that gun may be because it’s lighter (though the Beretta Silver series is already pretty svelte), or it may be a function of it not fitting you quite as well.

Either way, I certainly wouldn’t call the Tristan junk. They’re generally perfectly serviceable shotguns. I’d venture the guess that, if you were a 5-10k/yr shooter, you’d end up having to have a gunsmith weld up that locking block more frequently than if it was the CZ or Beretta.

I’m of the school that unless I’m buying a truly “fine” double gun (which, for the record, is not my forte and I’ve rarely done), I like the heartier, less embellished models. To this day, my favorite O/Us are the Browning Superposed (Field Grade), the Citori (same), the Winchester 101, and, for SxS, the Savage 311. Frills on a sub (today?) $5k? double gun just seem like gloss paint on a rat rod.

Funny thing on the auto-safety: they are such a common feature, and disabling them was such a common request, that we ended up adding that as a standard line in our services catalog- two options depending on if it was one that could be removed altogether or if it had to be cut off and reinstalled. In the case where it could be removed, we’d put it in a baggie and tape it to a void in the stock for future use
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Does Savage/Stevens still make a SxS?

I noticed that some of the Stevens were made in Turkey too.

I liked the
I think the Stevens name is still being used, but it’s no longer American made. The 311 was a great shotgun and can still be had relatively inexpensively because it was never fancy or fashionable- despite being mechanically as good as a Parker and mechanically superior to the LC Smith.
To put my dislike for LC Smith’s in perspective for anyone who reads this later: I LOVE a true side lock gun, but they have to be done right. A box lock (like a Parker or the savage mentioned above, or basically anything made today) is mechanically superior, but you can’t top the class of a real side lock double gun.

Unfortunately, with the LC Smith design, half the frame is steel and half is wood. When built and timed, they work perfectly but 50-100 years of gun oil turns the back half of the frame from wood into plant mush. Eventually the gun stops working, and even becomes dangerous.

The issue can be corrected, but it involves so fairly major surgery of gutting the mush, rebuilding and re-inletting it epoxy or something similar, and adding a set of steel pillars (like you would in a pillar-bedded rifle)…. and then re-timing the locks to receiver and trigger plate.

An LC Smith can be adjusted to function properly on a cursory inspection, masking damage that can only be found on a full takedown. If you can do the work needed to repair it yourself, it’s no big deal other than 8-10 hours worth of your time. If you have to pay a professional to do it, expect it to cost up to half the value of the shotgun.

That’s a lot of trouble for a pretty shotgun when a box lock can be had for a fraction of the repair price.
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I should have asked you before I bought it.

I have only ever bought one used gun, and the seller actually stopped me in the hall asking if I wanted it.
The Tristar? I wouldn’t have tried to talk you out of buying it. They’re in roughly the same class as a Taurus. Not great, but not junk either.

I haven’t bought a 311 in a while (and don’t own one right now) but I’d say $6-800.

The finish on that looks original. If it has been reblued, the polish was expertly done.

The stock has been cut, though. They may have just cut it to put that recoil pad on it, or it may have been cut for a funky length-of-pull. Whoever did the recoil pad was lazy or unskilled (look at the toe angle- I’d imagine the rest of the job looks fair at best). The only real concern there would be if the LOP ended up shorter than is right for you, as it’s already got a 1” pad on it, so you’re not going to get it any longer without some grafting.
Would you have bought the CZ instead of the TriStar?
I guess not. I just looked and they’re made in Turkey now too. Probably same quality as the Tristar with a tax for the name.
I put the Beretta O&U next to the SxS. They are identical in stock length; overall length and the hold feels similar.
A lot of folks subscribe to checking a shotgun fit by putting the butt in your elbow and seeing where the trigger lies in relation to your finger. That’s widely accepted but really just bunk.

The best way to see how a shotgun fits you takes a second person.

Unload, check and triple check that it’s unloaded. Then check again. Pick a target and take a stance like you’re going to shoot that target, with the shotgun in the low-ready. Focus on the target, close your eyes and mount the shotgun. Now, the second person gets right on the muzzle of the shotgun, tells you to open your eyes, and then notes where your pupil is in relation to the front sight. Repeat that 5 or 6 times to get a consensus.

If your pupil is low to the front sight, the stock is too long or low. If it is high to the front sight, the stock is too short or high. Left and right are respective issues with cast.

Checking length with the elbow trick doesn’t tell you much because it doesn’t take into account the drop in the comb of the stock. Two shotguns could be different lengths, but a better fit-match than two shotguns with the same length stock but different drops.
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I never even thought about a gun "fitting". I just shoot it.

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I grew up using that gun hunting rabbits. It was JC Higgins Bolt-Action 16-Gauge Shotgun. I was maybe 12. That gun was heavy, and I was a very small kid. It is my understanding that it was a budget Sears gun, but it was very well made.
Gun fit doesn’t become critical until one is snap shooting on moving targets and wants to become very good at it. A properly fitting gun can mitigate felt recoil, but its real benefit is that extra tenth or two of a second from target identification to target engagement.
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I am no expert on guns like you, so I have a question about this comment.

I assume the Chapuis classic shotguns in this article are not "rat rods". The classic Chapuis shotguns and the Tristar are both laser engraved. I don't know what you call that treatment on the steel, but it looks similar.

Is it the wood or the mechanism, or what, that makes the Chapuis classic shotguns cost five or seven times the TriStar?

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Long story short, I just like the looks of a side-by-side double barrel, as I also like the looks of an old long gun.

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Chapuis are fine guns. When you’re comparing prices, make sure you’re comparing shotguns to shotguns and not rifles, as a properly made double rifle is considerably more complicated to make than its scattergun cousins.

Putting aside any extra price paying for a name, the difference in price between any two otherwise similar guns are going to come down to about 10% in material choices (closer to 30-40% if you’re talking about graded wood) and about 30-40% in labor.

Right out of the gate, Chapuis is paying for French labor where Tristar is paying Turkish labor rates. That’s compounded by the fact that Tristar/Huglu whoever you will in Turkey, their production is viewed as a low-skill factory job, where a company like Chapuis is going to have a lot of skilled laborers building their product.

Also, on the labor front, Chapuis is going to have a higher level of hand finishing/fitting and refinement of the locks. That labor isn’t cheap.

On the materials front, it’s hard to say if the Chapuis is going to have better steel. That used to be a significant divide in the quality of products between countries, but that divide has largely been closed by everyone sourcing milled materials from China and India. But, because we’re talking about double guns, there is going to be a huge divide in cost of the wood. For most of the Tristars I’ve seen/handled, the stocks came from a roughly $50-100 flitch. A $2k Beretta is going to have a stock that came from a $3-400 flitch, and the flitch for a $5k double gun could readily be $800-1000.

Meaning- the stock blank in that Chapuis might well cost as much, at wholesale, as the entire Tristar shotgun fetches at retail.
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