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Old September 27, 2008, 11:07 PM   #1
gunnie12
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Best Double barrel Shotgun – Side-by-side …?

Looking to the folks on the forum for their thoughts and experiences with double barrel shotguns that is a side-by-side. Looking for quality construction, durability and manufacture execution if al these attributes fit one brand over another.


Recommendations?

Thank in advance….
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Old September 27, 2008, 11:31 PM   #2
mr kablammo
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Sell your house. Buy a Purdey.
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Old September 28, 2008, 12:03 AM   #3
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Winchester Model 21 is a pretty good SxS.
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Old September 28, 2008, 12:12 AM   #4
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The shooting public generally prefers an over/under to a side-by-side. Consequently, the demand for general side-by-side shotguns has almost evaporated. The side-by-side market has little middle ground... there are either cheap entry level guns or expensive customs. Mr. Kablammo is right, the Purdey is an exceptionally fine gun. But, you don't need to sell your house, just cash in some CD's. A matched pair of Plain Jane Purdey Bests is around $120,000. The bottom end of the quality side-by-side market is around $12,000.

If you can find one, you might get a previously-owned side-by-side, like a Winchester Model 21, for around $5,000. These are older guns and you need to know what you're getting into. In reality, side-by-sides are best left to the experienced collectors.

I'm guessing, right about now, you're thinking a nice over/under sounds pretty good.
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Old September 28, 2008, 12:46 AM   #5
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I still have my old Stevens in full & modified, my first 'real' shotgun! 12 Ga.! It was originally sold by Sear's Roebuck & Co. and was not new when I got it as a present. The barrels aren't really too straight but after shooting it for 46 yrs. I know where the strings will go, not for sale.

I also have a few Fox SBS's going down to 16 Ga. Nice but not 'Ol' tried and true plus I wouldn't want to drag them through the swamp on a wet weekend.

I've finally decided to paint her to help cover up a multitude of acne pits accumulated over the years. Before, during and after pics to follow.
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Old September 28, 2008, 01:00 AM   #6
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I've got a couple of Stevens 311's hanging out around here. No one will ever mistake them for a Purdy, or even a winchester for that matter, but they are good solid entry level doubles to see if one fits you.
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Old September 28, 2008, 01:29 AM   #7
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Apparently holland and holland make a nice gun. I had one, and sawed it down for cowboy action shooting.
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Old September 28, 2008, 06:08 AM   #8
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Quality SXS

The first gun that popped into my mind was, indeed, a Purdey. A Purdey "best" can run the buyer $90K each. (I believe that the matched pair is actually priced at 120,000 pounds sterling as opposed to dollars. The article that I saw about them in Fortune may have been a misprint). The second was a H&H Royal.
So... back to reality. Connecticut Shotgun Mfg. is producing very nice SXS. They are worth a look.
Also, there are a number of companies selling very fine used "quality" shotguns at relatively affordable prices. A good source, if you can find a copy, is "The Double Gun and Single Shot Journal".
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Old September 28, 2008, 10:17 AM   #9
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Okay, rephrase - "The best entry level SxS ......."
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Old September 28, 2008, 11:10 AM   #10
OkieCruffler
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Okay, then definately a 311, especially if you can find a 20ga.
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Old September 28, 2008, 11:42 AM   #11
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http://www.chuckhawks.com/affordable_doubles.htm
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Old September 28, 2008, 11:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Okay, rephrase - "The best entry level SxS ......."
A wise move.
Have you established a budget? As darkgael suggested, check out Connecticut Shotgun Mfg. My SxS experience is too limited to draw any meaningful comparative conclusions. One of my fellow club members, an NSSA All-American, got a Winchester M21 that he set up with tubes similar to his regular O/U comp gun. He's a frugal, elite-level, AAA shooter and I trust his judgment that the M21 was the best value in his situation.
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Old September 28, 2008, 12:44 PM   #13
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side by side aim question

Parralax, does this exist in a side by side at close range? That is to say, with one aim bead in the center of the barrel, it would seem to me that at close ranges, you place bead at center mass but you end up blowing an arm off? This seems logical to me to some degree. Your thoughts on this one.
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Old September 28, 2008, 01:14 PM   #14
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I'm still not sure what kind of budget you're looking at. If it's like my budget- then it's a clean used Stevens 311. Or if new- then a CZ Ringneck or a Stoeger. Anything but a Baikal (Russian garbage). Also, be wary of old Belgium no-names and cheap Spanish SG's. One just never knows what kind of steel you end up with in the bbls. I bought a Stoeger... well, I didn't intend to- it just sorta worked out that way. I was trying to irritate a salesman/Mgr who was treating his employees like poop and acting like jerk in front of customers. Anyway, after some time the guy gave me 45-50% off and an appology. Anyhow, I went home with a Stoeger I had to explain to the former Missus. It's the little 18.5 delux, nickled, foo-foo, shiney stocked, screw-in choked, dbl triggered, uh- model. I have more fun with that thing! It's squared up and shoots where I point it, has 3" chambers, broke in nicely within 75 to 100 rnds, rubber buttpad. I only have 2 1/2 cases of shells through it so far- but I haven't found a single gripe yet.
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Old September 28, 2008, 01:24 PM   #15
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"Best"

"Best" is subjective. I like my Browning 12 gage SxS. It has short barrels and fixed chokes, single trigger, French Walnut. It is good....
I am old, going to sell it along with most of my accumulation of guns (47 or so)...arthritius in shoulders. Will sell for Blue Book plus Shipping and charges from FFL to yours.
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Old September 28, 2008, 03:37 PM   #16
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Katrina Guy
Quote:
Parralax, does this exist in a side by side at close range? That is to say, with one aim bead in the center of the barrel, it would seem to me that at close ranges, you place bead at center mass but you end up blowing an arm off? This seems logical to me to some degree. Your thoughts on this one.
With a SxS, you don't sight with the center of either barrel, but along the rib between them. So, you're always just a little off, sideways.

Like fighter aircraft with wing mounted machine-guns, quality shotguns are regulated. Imagine lines drawn in line with the barrels and the sights and they converge at a forward point in space. The distance to this "regulation point" is assumed to be the distance to your target. If you followed the dog fighting series on the History Channel, you'll recall references to changing the regulation distance to best engage the enemy under specific conditions. With a SxS, the barrels are much closer than in a fighter's wings, nevertheless regulation is important.

Unless there is something significantly wrong your gun, your "parallax" offset is never more that the initial offset. And, pattern spread makes it a moot point. As with all shotguns, take your SxS to the pattern board and see where each barrel shoots. If it's way off, you can have it re-regulated (requires re-soldering the ribs) or have corrective chokes installed.

Last edited by zippy13; September 28, 2008 at 03:39 PM. Reason: ham handed typing
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Old September 28, 2008, 06:19 PM   #17
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Thanks for clearing that up

However, I still wonder about it at close (inside home defense) ranges, clearly the points that converge or set or meant for what I'm assuming is typical "hunting distances"? Remembering that close range distances don't put out a broad pattern at all with shotguns. It was something that I was just curious about, I don't own a side by side.
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Old September 28, 2008, 10:19 PM   #18
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Just aim for the chest. On a properly regulated SxS you will be at most, less than an inch off at close range. Who cares if you put the guys left lung out his back instead of his Sternum. In situations like that, "close enough" is all you need. If you are farther off, the spread will take care of any error.
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Old September 29, 2008, 04:19 AM   #19
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Here's another way to think of it...
Suppose you had a typical pump tactical shotgun with a laser target designator mounted in the magazine cap. Now, you're in a situation where you have to hold on target with the gun on its side, the laser dot is much more offset from center of the barrel than any SxS rib. Yet, you wouldn't worry about hitting a little left or right no more than you'd worry about hitting low in the normal attitude.
Remember: It's a shotgun, not a needle threading device.
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Old September 30, 2008, 04:26 PM   #20
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Stevens Fox model B 16 ga..........none better in my book.
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Old September 30, 2008, 06:27 PM   #21
gunnie12
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"Thank you....." To everyone for their suggestions for it is greatly appreciated!

Note:

My budget, if possible and maybe being a little naive here, would be around $800.00

Would this be possible?
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Old September 30, 2008, 10:08 PM   #22
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quality SXS

For a new gun? It'd be tough. If you are willing to look at used guns, the market opens up. I bought a Parker VH and a Le Fever together for less than $800. They both have mirror bores, lock up as tight as a bank vault, have levers that are still right of center and fluid steel barrels that ring like chimes.
Wood is good for two old guns and the finish is....used but serviceable.
The Stevens 311 that has been mentioned is a great old gun. There are plenty of them around; I find them a tad heavy but they are bombproof.
Pete
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Old September 30, 2008, 11:37 PM   #23
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I would suggest an SKB in Model 100e or 200e. You will find them in your budget range and I find them to be a little better fit and finish. I have one that I have hunted with for the last 25 years and its a joy to shoot. Your budget range will be for a used shotgun. Anything new at that price will not be equal to the quality of the SKB I believe.
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Old September 30, 2008, 11:38 PM   #24
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I love side by sides, and I have owned several, and 99% of the time that is what I use to hunt with, and shoot clay pigons.

Most people either love a nice side by side or they don't have much use for one. I don't have much use for a cheap side by side because they just don't have the fine feel of a better side by side, but you don't have to get a Purdy to enjoy the fine experience of using a fine side by side.

Forget the cheap Stevens 311's, Fox model B's, and foreign cheap bargans. Although some cheap side by sides can be fun to shoot, and reliable, to really enjoy the side by side experience you need to at least move up to a fine old orginal L.C. Smith or Fox Sterlingworth to name a couple of the older guns of the past that were pretty good. I really like L.C. Smiths and many are still being used every fall. I have one I have shot a lot, and it still works great. You can still find a pretty good L.C. Smith for $800 to $2000 for a really nice one, sometimes more.

If you can find a nice Parker, they are wonderful old shotguns, but probably a little more complicated to work on, and a Parker might need work, if shot a lot, and not every gunsmith can work on a Parker. They are usually quite a bit more expensive then a nice L.C. Smith, but in some ways they are a little nicer.

Of course a Winchester model 21 is a great gun, although generally a little heavy for my tastes, for an upland carry gun.

An often overlooked sleeper, that can still be found at gunshows starting at around $2000 dollars is the Winchester Model 23, made in Japan. These havn't been made in several years, with the last ones being made in the 1980's, I believe. I own two of these and they are great guns, and a lot more gun then can be found new for anywhere near the same price, today.

I also own an older J.P. Sauer, (German gun) made in the 60's, I think. This is a fine gun, and one of my favorites, I found at Cabelas, used for $1600.00 a couple of years.

Aya is another foreign made gun that makes some very nice shotguns, in various price ranges, as well as Merkel. My J.P. Sauer is very close to a Merkel in design and workmanship. I think one of them must have copied the other, they are so close.

A fine side by side, has a feel that just makes the gun come alive in your hands. A good over an under probably makes a better sporting clays gun, but a fine side by side is IMHO a better hunting gun, at least for me, but it's one of those things that you just can't hardly explain to someone who doesn't appreciate a fine double or has never shot a fine double. Unfortunately most cheap doubles handle like a club, and anyone who has only shot or handled one of those, doesn't really know or understand the difference between a clunker and a nice double, built right.
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Old October 1, 2008, 06:28 PM   #25
mr kablammo
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These are not $800, but I just to post... SxS gun ****

http://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=purdey

With your budget I'd look for used-in-new condition guns from Franchi, the Ruger Gold, Fox Savage, SKB, Miroku, Huglu, Dehaan. It is gonna be tough to get a newer SxS in that price range, but you may be able to get an older one in good condition.

http://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=dehaan

http://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=fox%20savage

Oh yeah, I just remembered that CDNN has been selling new Charles Day filed model SxS for very reasonable prices, less than $500!

http://www.cdnninvestments.com/
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