One of the most common questions I receive as a professional gun writer/ reviewer for the NRA is: “What’s the best inexpensive over/under shotgun?”
Plenty of folks want an over/under for skeet and clay games where these guns dominate in popularity. Others just want a do-all shotgun that looks a little classier than a camo-dipped 870 pump, but they don’t have $3,000 for a Beretta Silver Pigeon or Browning Citori. Turns out, most people who ask me this question are expecting to pay less than a grand. After all, they can get a sub-inch rifle, an AR-15 or a top-end handgun for less than $700. So they’re often surprised–and sometimes even slightly offended–when I recommend they consider saving their beans until they can at least get into the $1,500 range. Most sub-$1,000 over/unders I’ve fired (with the possible exception of a few recent CZ models) do not hold up as the shooter progresses. Although at first glance many of them look ok, they feel rough, handle like a 2×4 and their mass-produced aluminum alloy parts tend to wear like a lawnmower belt. In sum, they’re just plain cheap.
But in 2020 I walked into an Academy store (an excellent sporting goods chain in the southern U.S.) and saw a darn-good-looking over/under shotgun on the rack for $699. So I asked to hold it, because I was as skeptical as a scientist at a magic show. I was surprised at the Yildiz’s initial feel, features and small details such as checkering and wood-to-metal fit. But I’ve had my heart broken before, so months later I asked to test it. What follows is a review of one model, the steel-receiver SPZ ME Sporting HPS, and an answer: What’s the best over/under shotgun for less than $1,000. Hell, this one is less than $700!