I've shot a 97 since I started this game a few years ago. The wife and daughter also tried starting with a 97, mainly because we had one. Neither could shoot it very well so we elected to get a sxs for them. we traded another fine cowboy a 70's era 92 rifle for a Stoeger and our daughter has been shooting it ever since and love's it. Last year I bought the wife a very nice SKB. It's as beautiful as she is, so it was fitting. She can shoot the holy heck out of that shotgun! WAY faster than me with a 97.
So now, the kid has picked up a few plaques with her Stoeger, the wife with her SKB. I tuned the stoeger by lightening springs and chamfering and honing the chambers. The SKB was bought worked up.
Thousand of rounds later they are both functioning perfectly. After deep cleaning both of them a couple of times I am of the opinion that the SKB is a much finer built shotgun. in the SKB you find parts that are ground, stoned, or polished where in the Stoeger that are either left rough or only finished in areas of contact. Of course, the SKB is fully engraved and much nicer on the eyes, checkering it also finer as is the finish on the wood and the sine in the barrels. the SKB's rib is also better quality compared to the one on the Stoeger.
I recently picked up a Yildiz double to play with. It's a little on the stiff side but after a few hundred rounds it's starting to loosen up. I enjoy shooting it, but the splinter forearm is very different from what you find on the SKB or Stoeger, preventing it from being a practical backup for someone shooting the other two (and vise versa)
Was it worth the $1600 we paid for it? Yup. It certainly is better built, better fit and a much finer machine that the Stoeger. Is it faster than the Stoeger? not at the level most cowboy shoot this game.
The SKB is like a fine watch like a Bullova or Citizen, the Stoeger is more like a Timex or upper end Casio. They both keep time, they both function nicely. If you want a shotgun equivalent to a Breitling or Rolex you have to look at Holland and Holland, Purdey or Wesley Richards, and those shotguns have no place in a cowboy match!