May 04, 2021
Want a good shotgun for couch change? Check out the Impala Plus Nero. Made by Istanbul Silah in Turkey’s capital of Istanbul, it packs a lot of features into its 7-pound frame, like a big bolt release and safety.
At the last Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT 2020), I found that about 60 percent of the shotguns came from Turkey, a salute to its rapid expansion. Turkish labor costs are far below many other parts of the world and Turkey is well situated for raw materials. All of this makes for Impala’s low price tag.
Sticking With Simplicity
The Impala is built on the century-old inertia operating system that was resurrected by Benelli but now has expanded into so many shotgun makers’ stables. It’s a great system, with the Impala’s six-lug rock-solid lockup using a rotating bolt that is descended from the M1 Garand rifle. Additionally, the Impala’s bolt and carrier are about all that moves in the gun. The bolt is ridiculously simple to clean and lube and although the system operates lickety-split, the shot and wad are out of the barrel before the bolt slams back, making it extremely clean running.
The Impala Plus uses a two-piece carrier that enables dropping the second shot onto the carrier. Some feel this is faster to cycle the second shot, but every shotgun manufacturer I’ve asked has called it Urban Legend. But, in order to hold the bolt open you’ve got to first trip the carrier with the small tab on the right front side of the trigger guard. One feature of the two-piece carrier is the ability to quickly swap a shell in the chamber. Say you’re huntin’ ducks and some geese look interested, you can pull the bolt back, kick out the duck load and toss in a goose load.
I ran a bunch of shells through the Impala, everything from Kent’s Fasteel and Bismuth to Winchester’s DryLok and Hevi-Shot’s Hevi-X to some 1 ⅛-ounce target loads, all of which it gobbled up. It swings well as a couple of rounds of skeet showed.
Fit to Feed
The Impala sports a Monte Carlo-style stock, named for a place in the tiny principality of Monaco with its casino—where James Bond played—and where competitive pigeon shooting once flourished, that is lower at the butt with the comb about an inch higher. This allows for a very straight comb where it meets our cheek and places the recoil lower onto the big muscles and bones of the shoulder and away from the cheek.
I’ve long preached that to shoot any shotgun well it must shoot where you look. Forget the rib and front “sight,” it’s your eyes that are the sights of a shotgun. If you look hard at the duck or goose and your gun fits, chances are that momma can preheat the oven. The Impala comes with a set of stock-adjusting shims that change the point of impact. They can increase or decrease the drop at the comb—the area that aligns your eye with the gun and the target—and cast that compensates for how fat your face is. Taking the stock off is a little quirky. The recoil pad is drilled so it’s easy to get at the phillips-head screws. Then, go to the top front of the comb and pull out the other phillips screw that lets you slide off the comb. Finally, just unscrew the stock from the receiver with a 13 mm socket, change the shim, and reassemble.
The Impala comes with five flush-mounted choke tubes. I checked the over-bored cylinder bore—.740—and then compared the tubes to that measurement. The tubes are on the wide side of industry standards: Skeet .0015; I.C. .0065; Mod .0125; IM .020; F .0325, not at all bad because today’s shotshells tend to pattern tighter than those of yesteryear.
Not as important as with a rifle, but if a shotgun’s trigger pull takes both hands and your feet on the back of the forestock to fire it ain’t a great thing in my book. Checking the Impala’s trigger pulls with an accurate Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge the average of five pulls was a light and crisp 5 Lbs. 14.5 oz.
The Impala comes with a two-year warranty, sling attachments and matching swivels for easy carry. My test gun was all-black and is pretty much weatherproof with its synthetic stock and aluminum receiver. The barrel is blued, so it will need to be quickly cleaned after being dunked in salt water. All-in-all it is a shotgun worthy of consideration.