View Full Version : Help finding Quality SXS

Brian Newbill
September 19, 2002, 09:42 AM
I have decided that I want to get a nice SXS.

I really don't like/trust some of the newer import models (Baikal, Stoeger, etc) so I have decided to look on the used market. What should I be looking for?

I have seen a Browning BSS 12 ga 26" that I really liked the feel of but I think he is asking too much for it. $750 out the door. I don't know if it is a selective trigger or not.

I would prefer a double trigger if possible.

I have also seen a Lefever for close to $400 but I don't know the quality or type. I am assuming it is a prewar Nitro or Field model.

What other used shotguns are a good deal with we regulated barrels and sturdy actions?

I want a field gun, not a show gun.

My upper limit on price is about $600.

So what do you guys think? Do you have any ideas?



Alex Johnson
September 19, 2002, 09:55 AM
There's a store in my area that has a nice LC Smith field grade in good shooting condition for $329. This is the low end of the price range for these but I've run across good shootable Smiths for $500-600. If you look hard enough with a little luck you could find a Fox Sterlingworth in that price range, these are probably one of the better American Doubles. Other options are to look for English doubles of lesser known manufactures, there are lots of good English guns in this country and they tend to bring less than American guns for some reason. If you aren't squeamish you can find some very good deals on damascus shotguns in excellent condition. The English aren't afraid to shoot them with smokeless loads once they've been re-proofed, though I limit my damascus guns to black powder handloads. Check out Auction Arms or Guns America for listings of many fine doubles.

September 19, 2002, 04:16 PM
I swear by my Stevens 311's, I have 6 of them right now and have never paid more than $350 for any of them. They aren't the prettiest out there, but they make a great solid field gun.

Dave McC
September 20, 2002, 05:41 AM
I doubt there's any area of shotgunning that holds more pitfalls for the beginner than double guns. With the recent upsurge of interest in them, old hardware store clunkers now have four figure price tags, and the price of anything with Parker written on it rivals tuition at Harvard.

Caveat Emptor!!

Still there are a few doubles out there for us financially challenged folks. For example.....

The Savage/Stevens line of working class doubles. Some of these have regulation probs, but they're all hellfortough, and parts are around. A little heavy for the gauge, but still totable.$200-300 range, oft cheaper.

Birmingham boxlocks. These are oft quite well made, and not quite as in fashion as sidelocks. Watch out for Damascus and twist bbls and short
(2 1/2") chambers.Less than $1K except for bigger names like W and C Scott.

Continental boxlocks. The French-Belgian Didier I had for a few years was as well made as any higher priced gun. Tight on face, it had a triple lug action and superb balance, stock fit and triggers. It was a 2 1/2" gun,but it had been lengthened. German boxlocks have great metalwork, but the cuckoo clock type stock carving is not most folk's first choice. Note: some of the Continentals are marked "Non pour the Balle" or similar. IOW, no slugs. I suggest no steel shot either.


Brian Newbill
September 20, 2002, 07:11 AM
I don't plan on using it for waterfowling.

I would mainly use it as an upland gun or for dove hunting. There is just something wonderful about seeing birds rise over dogs and it just doesn't seem right to shoot them with an Benelli or a Mossberg pump (my current choices).

And I recently fired an old Stevens 20ga at a skeet shoot and now I am hooked.

What do you think about the Browning BSS I really liked the way it felt. Any durability or quality issues I should look for?

I think I might be able to talk him down to $600.

Thanks for the info.


Dave McC
September 20, 2002, 09:08 AM
TTBOMK, Brian, the BSS is an excellent choice. I've heard few complaints over the years. I believe they were made by Miroku, who make the Citoris SKBs etc.

Agreed on the rush of a rise over a good dog. However, I've no problem with an 870 under those circumstances.

Re "Feel"...

I've shot some shotguns that have felt great in my hands but I did miserably with. By and large, tho, a shotgun that feels good usually shoots good by either being right for me or the Placebo Effect.

If I was to get a SxS for upland birds, it'd have two triggers, a fitted stock, weigh 6 1/2 to 7 lbs,be set up for tubes, and have a great "Feel". Other than the two triggers, that BSS could come pretty close.

$600 sounds good to me, good luck!

September 20, 2002, 09:29 AM
I personally swear by my Stevens/Fox and Stevens 311 series guns in 12, 16, and 20 Ga. (only 3 of them for me, I guess I'm a slacker)

I also have a Stoeger/IGA hammerless coachgun... in 12 Ga. For an inexpensive gun, this thing is SOLID... it ain't pretty... but it shoots, and doesn't seem to break...

the MOST I paid was $250.00 (trade value) for one of these...

the 20 Ga. was $200.00

the 12 Ga. was a "boot gun" in a trade,as in, someone threw it in "to boot" with another gun, to get one of my DE pistols... (actual value of trade was about $150.00, given value of the other trade gun)

the 16 Ga. I traded a Ithaca 20 Ga. featherweight worth about $250.00 for.

and the Stoeger was $200.00 out the door with a butt pad and sling added, (including the swivels, which are special pieces for a double-gun)

All are double-trigger guns...

you CAN find a side by side double for a reasonable price... all you gotta do is look around!

September 20, 2002, 03:27 PM
The BSS is a quality gun and probably worth the $750. The boxlocks were made by Miroku and sidelocks by Beretta IIRC.

IMHO the Stevens/Fox guns are heavy and clumsy for upland hunting. Though lots of folks have probably done well with them.

Look around for a used Ugartechia (Uggie for short). These spanish guns are excellent quality and often can be found at bargain prices.

Be very careful of older SXS guns. Learn to recognize damascus barrels and how to check for tightness and loose ribs. Always have a gunsmith check out the gun before you shoot it, preferably a gunsmith who knows double guns.

Do some reading up on SXS guns. Get a copy of the Double Gun Journal and "Shooting Sportsman" magazine. Both are excellent resources on double guns and upland hunting.

Jim Watson
September 20, 2002, 03:45 PM
I like the Ithaca-SKBs. Look for models 100, 150, 200, and 280, in order of increasing features and price.

September 20, 2002, 04:03 PM
My Dad found an old Fox model B at a gun show a couple of years ago for around $300.00. This isn't one of the nicer sxs but it sure comes to the shoulder nice. I think Ruger is starting to make a SxS that's reasonably affordable.

Jim Watson
September 20, 2002, 08:25 PM
Ruger SXS is way up in the teens. I think around $1800.

September 20, 2002, 09:36 PM
The Browning BSS is a well made SxS. A tad heavy but the weight centers nicely for me. (I have one of each 20g and 12). $750 isn't out of line if its in good shape and the stock hasn't been shortened.
Caution! mine are both Miroku and I haven't had any problems or complaints but I saw a guy carrying one at a gunshow last winter for sale and it was NOT miroku mfg. It was stamped Browning BSS but when I got ahold of it, it was some junky thing from Korea IIRC.
the last 12g BSS I saw on a used gun rack was priced firm at $800. the gold trigger model usually has the select trigger a small triangular selector at the back of the trigger guard. the silver trigger ones are usually not select.
barrel regulation on both of mine are excellent.

September 21, 2002, 12:27 AM
My dad swears that you can tell if the rib is loose by hanging the barrels up by themselves and tapping them with something. But he can't remember what it's supposed to sound like. Does anyone know if this a good test, and if it is, what does it sound like?

September 21, 2002, 06:24 AM
Hanging the barrels by the underlump and tapping them with your knuckle is a good way to see if the ribs are loose.

If the barrels give a solid ring the ribs are OK. If you detect a rattle they are probably loose.

Find a buddy with a Ruger Red Label and try this, Ruger ribs are only soldered at both ends, not at each contact point. They will rattle when given the above test. will give you an idea what you are supposed to hear. Rugers can seem to get away with loose ribs.

Then try it with a Browning or Beretta. Hear the difference! (Unless it has a loose rib, highly unlikely)

Some high dollar guns will sound loose, because they are made with floating lower barrels in hangers. This system was pioneered by Remington in their Model 32. The Remington 3200, Krieghoff B60, K32, K80, K20 and Kolar O/U all have floating barrels in hangers that will sound funny.

The test is sound for all SXS guns as far as I am aware.

September 21, 2002, 03:43 PM
Many thanks. I just tried all of mine and they all ring like bells except for an old beater 20g that I spent a whole $100 on, it sounds like I'm beating on a lead pipe full of gravel. I knew there was some reason I never shot that one.

Burlington Road
September 25, 2002, 03:23 PM
CDNN has a ad for an HK-Fabarms SxS 26"--Classic Lion--new for $799 wholesale--probably a $1200-$1400 gun. Seems like a buy to me for someone interested in a SxS.

Download CDNN's Catalog for a look.

Brian Newbill
September 26, 2002, 11:29 AM
As an update.

I went back and talked to the guy about the BSS.

Turns out it is the non selective trigger model (with the silver trigger) and to top it off it has a full and extra full barrel on it. I think it was special order, probably more of a collectors item than a shooter.

Does anyone have any experience with the Charles Daly higher grade imports from Spain?

I haven't hear much about them specifically but have heard good things about Spanish SXS.

Thanks for all the ideas about the used ones. I will still probably go that way.