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View Full Version : Side-By-Side vs. Over/Under


Neil2470
March 22, 2009, 08:41 PM
Hey everyone, I recently posted about wanting to buy a new shotgun. I want it mainly for sporting clays but am having trouble deciding between a SxS or O/U. I only have about $800 to put towards it but I want quality. I may also look at a used gun. What is better about a SxS over and O/U? Thanks

ammo.crafter
March 22, 2009, 09:35 PM
I shoot both and the only difference I notice is that with the sxs you "loose" the target momentarily as you swing.

redlevel42
March 22, 2009, 09:47 PM
You can't buy a side x side of equal quality to an o/u for equal money, certainly not for $800. I am not sure what a new Ruger o/u, or the equivalent would cost, but almost certainly more than $800.

The new sxs-o/u guns for that price will be "utilitarian" at best. You might find a used "quality" o/u within your budget, but I doubt it.

Have you considered a semi-auto?

Waterengineer
March 23, 2009, 03:28 AM
For Sporting Clays you will want an O/U because the barrels will be in a vertical plane with your eye as you point the gun to the target. Thus, giving you a more "accurate" site picture than if you have a SxS where the barrels sit "outside" (to the right and left) of the vertical plane created by looking over the top of the gun.

Your budget is minimal. Typically, target shotguns are more robust and heavier than hunting guns and are therefore more expensive. About $1800 should be considered a starting point for a used target shotgun. Frankly, $800 doesn't buy much of a SxS either.

Can an $800 bust clay? Yep. And if that is what you can afford go for an inexpensive O/U until you decide if clay games are for you and decide what you want in a target gun.

I agree with the semi-auto comment. You would only be buying one barrel and will be able to buy a nice used gun for your budget.

eddyb74
March 23, 2009, 03:56 AM
I picked up my Browning Citori used for $980. You should definitely be looking for an O/U or a semi vs. a SxS.

Doyle
March 23, 2009, 09:15 AM
The only advantage a sxs has over an o/u is that it takes less of a "break" to load both barrels. With an o/u, you have to break it to a greater angle to get to the bottom barrel. Other than that, the o/u wins in my opinion.

darkgael
March 23, 2009, 09:28 AM
I have a love affair with SXSs. I find that they "point" better than any other SG that I own. Graceful lines.
The criticisms, though, about the use of a SXS vs. an O/U in the sporting clays game are well taken. For hunting grouse, however, the Parker goes to the field.
From what I see lately, $800 will have you looking at the low end or at the used market.
Pete

oneounceload
March 23, 2009, 09:57 AM
For $800, you MIGHT be able to find a nicely used Uggie SxS from Spain. However, that is a field gun....(translated means light and sporting clays might beat you up).

You might also look for used Parkers, L.C. Smith, etc......they usually had some weight to them

You also might want to go to doublegunshop.com and check out their forums - LOTS of folks who shoot doubles are there with a wealth of knowledge

Ruger4570
March 23, 2009, 10:13 AM
I will say that as far as shotguns go it is hard to beat the looks and feel of a SxS. I have an old Ithaca NID in a;most perfect shape and I love taking it out for hunting. As far as shooting Clays, I use an O/U or a semi auto Berreta. I just find that for ME, the width of 2 barrels and a rib distract me to some degree. I prefer the look of a single barrel in my periferal vision. Great luck in your hunt for a new gun.

zippy13
March 23, 2009, 12:13 PM
o/u vs sxs
I shoot both and the only difference I notice is that with the sxs you "loose" the target momentarily as you swing.
It's not so much a "momentary loss" of the target, but a delay in the initial target acquisition. This is especially true in rising targets. The width of the SxS obstructs your vision, and your scores are lower. This is why comp guns have high ribs -- they try to minimize the with of the visual obstruction.

The basic geometry of the SxS limits your selection of forearm widths. In many configurations, your grip's in contact with the barrels. This can be bothersome with the heat of sustained fire: hot barrels = sweaty hands = corroded metal. Traditionalists shoot their SxSs with a special grip glove.

While generally unnoticed, the recoil lift (barrel hop) of a SxS has horizontal components not found in single and stacked guns. The longer hinge pin of an SxS is under greater stress that a shorter pinned O/U. In trigger design, the SxS has a uniform hammer fall whereas a O/U has tall and short hammers.

IMHO, Neil2470's budget isn't adequate for a SxS or O/U suitable for sporting clays. Low budget SxSs are great for old-time reenactment type events. And, low bugdet O/Us may be a disappointment with clays.

Waterengineer
March 23, 2009, 12:37 PM
Zippy says: While generally unnoticed, the recoil lift (barrel hop) of a SxS has horizontal components not found in single and stacked guns.

Reply:

Yep, that's called physics

zippy13
March 23, 2009, 12:58 PM
^Waterengineer

True... It's all physics. :)

BigJimP
March 23, 2009, 01:04 PM
The "traditional" SXS's were generally shorter and lighter guns / and at the time, that was what a lot of shooters wanted. It meant a little different style when mounting the gun, etc - but they made it work. These days that trend continues - and shorter and lighter means more recoil - and honestly, they don't fit most of us - so we have to modify the stocks and combs to make them shoot where we look.

On some of the older guns - they were fine guns for their time - but the metallurgy was different in those days / and the lock up mechanisms and barrel connections show a lot more wear than the average O/U made these days.

Other responders have discussed sight plane issues of SXS vs O/U - and I find going from an O/U to the width of a SXS pretty difficult. A friend of mine, shoots the right hand barrel when he gets a bird crossing from left to Right / he shoots the left hand barrel when he gets a bird crossing from right to left ( so his feel for lead and sight picture remains the same as his O/U). He's reasonably sucessful doing it - but its for fun / when he gets serious, he goes back to the O/U.

I saw a note from one person that said he bought a used Citori for $ 980 - but he didn't say which model of Citori ( there are about 25 different models today - just in the Citori line) - so I guess we would have to assume he was talking about the Lightning series or field gun / and that seems about right for a used Lightning in my area.

Unfortunately for clays - the Lightning isn't the best option. In my mind, the Citori XS Special or XS Skeet with adjustable combs are better guns for what you are looking for but the XS Skeet lists at about $ 3,139 with the XS special about $30 higher. A good used XS Skeet with adj comb - will easily cost you $ 2,000 - $ 2,500.

In good conscience, I can't tell you there is a good O/U or SXS out there for $ 800. There are some semi-autos in that price range / Beretta 390 or 391 series, etc. The O/U's you are going to find new under $1,250 for the most part - are going to be guns that will be short term investments / with little or no resale value. Citori Lightning today lists for about $ 1875 / and its basically the same gun it was in the 80's ( that we paid $ 750 for ) - and today those guns we paid $ 750 for - are selling used for around $1,000. So sometimes you do get what you pay for.

TMUSCLE1
March 23, 2009, 02:29 PM
Is $800 a good bugdet for a good O/U SxS for hunting or "fun" shotgun?

oneounceload
March 23, 2009, 02:33 PM
I guess I don't get the part about the sight plane. When I shoot my SxS, I am looking at the target, not the rib, barrels or sights - Those are merely a blur. If the gun fits properly so you handle it like a wand, and you focus on the target, it really shouldn't matter...

JMO

BigJimP
March 23, 2009, 02:34 PM
Not for me its not - my primary shotgun for Skeet, Sporting Clays and Hunting is the Browning XS Skeet, 30" barrels, 12ga. See my notes above.

At $ 800 budget / I would recommend you look at some of the better pump guns or semi-autos ( good pump guns, in my opinion Rem 870 Wingmaster, Browning BPS, Benelli Nova - all around $ 500 ). There are a number of used semi-autos on the market - Beretta 390 series is a good gun for under $ 900 used / 391 series is the newer model.

eddyb74
March 23, 2009, 05:39 PM
Yes my Citori is a lightning model. Although it is not the best gun for clays, it is still a quality shotgun and will work quite well for somebody getting started in shotgun sports.

darkgael
March 23, 2009, 08:43 PM
I guess I don't get the part about the sight plane. When I shoot my SxS, I am looking at the target, not the rib, barrels or sights - Those are merely a blur. If the gun fits properly so you handle it like a wand, and you focus on the target, it really shouldn't matter...
+1 about that. That's the Churchill school of thought, IIRC. "Aiming" is all about gun fit.
Pete

zippy13
March 24, 2009, 12:25 PM
oneounceload and darkgael

JMO and Pete: Granted, with a properly mounted and pointed shotgun, you are seeing the target above a blur. But, being able see below either side of the blur is how you acquire a rising target. Since the O/U has a narrower blur, you'll pick up more targets. It's that simple. Remember, virtually all clay targets are rising before they reach their zenith.

Cheers, Pete

oneounceload
March 24, 2009, 12:34 PM
JMO and Pete: Granted, with a properly mounted and pointed shotgun, you are seeing the target above a blur. But, being able see below either side of the blur is how you acquire a rising target. Since the O/U has a narrower blur, you'll pick up more targets. It's that simple. Remember, virtually all clay targets are rising before they reach their zenith.


That's why I shoot a "low" gun for everything (well, except station 8 in skeet); that way I can watch the target and then "move, mount,shoot".....which is my preferred style for 90-95% of MY target shooting scenarios.

zippy13
March 24, 2009, 12:49 PM
^ 1-Oz
That works fine for singles, but you're still going to be a little handicapped on the second shot of doubles.

BigJimP
March 24, 2009, 02:43 PM
Citori Lightning is a good solid gun - and $980 is a good price for it - but it is not adjustable - because it has an angled comb.

The adjustability is the issue - for any shotgunning - not just clays. If it isn't adjustable - and it doesn't hit where you look - its a problem. You will either have to put a pad on the comb (which is ugly ) - or you'll have to develop an "outfit" - like a certain coat, a shooting vest - so your head mounts on the comb just right - so the gun hits where you look. On an angled comb - if you move up or back 1/2" it will change your point of impact. So you may not be able to shoot it well in a T-shirt / or the other way around.

The Citori Lightning - and the Citori XS Skeet are really no different in terms of the quality of the shotgun / but the XS Skeet comes with a lot of adjustability ( and maybe some upgrades on wood, chokes, etc ) - so it costs more.

But the issue I was trying to address is when you say you bought a Citori - tell us which one (since there are about 25 models ). It makes a difference.

I was in a gun shop this morning - and I helped a buddy evaluate and buy a used Citori for $ 2,250. But - to make my point, it was a 28ga XS Skeet model, with 30" barrels - no adj comb - and it came with 3 flush mounted chokes ( 2 Skeet, 1 IC ). Wood was decent - maybe grade 3. No case. Was it a fair deal - yes. The 28ga XS Skeet is not in the catalog / its a special order gun - not many around. He'll need to spend $ 150 on a hard case / and up to $ 400 on extended chokes if he wants them. If he needs to have the adj comb cut into the gun - it will cost him about $ 500. It may fit him - as it is - it may not / and we won't really know until we take it to a pattern board next week. Seller wanted $ 2,500 for it / but it was a fair deal for both, in my opinion.

oneounceload
March 24, 2009, 03:39 PM
I mostly shoot 5-stand, sporting clays and FITASC, usually have true pairs or report pairs........no issues that me being better wouldn't help, but my scores, with the SxS are on par or better than my O/U's.....

BigJimP
March 24, 2009, 04:27 PM
Its all about "fit" Oneounce - and your SXS's obviously fit you very well.

You ought to consider setting up your O/U's with the same dimensions as the SXS's .

oneounceload
March 24, 2009, 04:59 PM
Big Jim - when I finally have your kind of money to spend..... :D.....on a nice Perazzi MX-8.....the stock WILL be custom fitted, preferably in Italy at Perazzi's factory.....until then, we tweak it close with pads the like

My problem is inconsistency - I can run 23-25 on 5-stand one month and be totally off the next - with the same gun....

or, as I prefer to tell people, "I'm consistently inconsistent"

In my case, it's NOT the arrow, it's the Indian

crowbeaner
March 24, 2009, 05:10 PM
Considering the price of a new Beretta, Browning, or Ruger O/U, I'll stick with my old A5 auto. It only has one barrel to regulate, it holds one more shell than the doubles with the plug installed, and the bead is regulated right where it should be. More barrels, more problems getting the pattern centered. $800 will buy a very nice used Browning auto, and is used gun territory for a double of either persuasion. Besides, the double guns I've shot would shoot in front of and behind the bird (SXS) or above and below the bird (O/U). Maybe I need new spectacles. CB.

BigJimP
March 24, 2009, 06:29 PM
OneOunce - you must be talking about Zippy13's money ( he's the one with the Perazzi's - I'm just shooting these cheap Brownings ...).

But I understand what you're saying / and when you are seeing so many ups and downs in your scores - maybe its time to seek out a buddy or a coach to help you out a little. I suffer from blurry vision in my dominant eye (that can't be corrected ) so some days I'm up and down too - and in the bigger picture, not sure I really care.

5 Stand is a unique game - especially when they change the cards / and depending on how you mix in the pairs .....so you can't really compare scores day to day unless you're shooting the same cards day after day.

CB - I understand / and if we aren't careful, the competitive shooting sports are only going to be available to people that have a lot of disposable income ( and that will be too bad ). But honestly, I preach a lot about "fit" and "adjustability" in a shotgun - that most gun dealers know little or nothing about - so if we can help a guy buy one shotgun / that will really be adjustable and fit him or her - then I think we've save them a lot of money and frustration. Unfortunately, to get to a parallel comb gun, with adjustability - at least in an O/U it puts you into the $ 2,500 plus price range - but if the Auto 5 works for you /stay with it.

I want to also make a point that virtually any gun can be made to fit - by putting comb pads on it, by changing recoil pads - and probably for less than $ 100 per gun ( so buying a Reminton 870 pump for $ 300 / a used Browning Lightning for $ 900 / etc - are all solid and durable guns ( for probably 10,000 shells ) so almost any gun can work fine. But its like skiing, golf, etc - sometimes better equipment will make a difference.