View Full Version : Classic Side by Side Shotguns?

Nevada Fitch
January 24, 2001, 08:50 PM
Does anyone here hunt with a side by side shotgun? I grew up shooting them and I still prefer them to all other shotguns. However I seem to be in the minority on this. I have owned and shot all kinds of shotguns but always come back to the side by side. MY best one to date is a Winchester model 23. My only bitch is that it is made with a single selective trigger. I much prefer double triggers.Does anyone know if the mod 23 was ever made with double triggers? Also does anyone know of a good website for discussions on double barrel side by side shotguns?

January 24, 2001, 09:22 PM
I started with a Parker, then more Parkers, then a Winchester 21. All were great for putting meat on the table and I definately like the ability to blow down or look down the barrel before reloading. I got an Aya skeet gun in the early 60s and it was nice but the insides were extremely crude. Had a Miroku single trap custom made by the factory in 66 that has had couple hundred thousand rounds through it. Wish I could have gotten a side by side from them at the same time. Quite a few 100 straights and been a winner for #1 son for twenty years.

Would far rather hunt or compete with a side by side than OU, auto or pump.

Had a Griffin and Howe custom .405 Winchester double that was a great bush country game gun. Weighed under seven pounds so didn't do a lot of plinkin with it.

Been drooling over a side by side chambered in 444 Marlin.


January 25, 2001, 04:40 AM
I sometimes hunt with a sxs. The past few years more than before. I too have a later vintage Winchester 23 Custom. This model came cased with a set of six choke tubes. I purchased an extra skeet tube, so sometimes I do fire off a round of skeet with it when the mood strikes me. I think at seven pounds it feels a bit heavy for a field gun. It also doesn't point as well for me as my Beretta 625. Being about a pound less this gun seems to point itself where I wish it to point. Earlier this year I tried a fellow's Beretta 627 Silver Hawk in 20 bore. I really liked the way it swing also. I've swung other guns and have no real preference for sxs nor o/u's. I think a well balanced and built o/u such as a Beretta SO-9 or Perazzi MX-20 will smoke an average sxs like a Winchester 21 or Beretta 626. Of course a Purdey Best sxs is probably impossible to beat. All it takes is ca$h. So far for the money a Beretta 627 Silver Hawk is my pick for the best buy at around $ 3500.00 out the door. You can pay twice as much for others and still get half the gun. I plan to acquire one sometime this year for my daughter for her future use. She's only four now, but has been wanting to hunt since discovering OLN channel.

As far as I know, Winchester never catalogued a model 23 with double triggers.

Dave McC
January 25, 2001, 07:30 AM
In the past I used a French Boxlock SXS by a maker no one has heard of, Didier. It was an excellent small shot, small bird at moderate range hunting tool that made me look like a better woodcock shot than I really am. I also had, briefly, a modified old Ranger I worked over into a Lupara, that had some quail potential.

For me, a SXS of decent quality makes an outstanding wing shooting tool, and when finances improve, I'd like to get another. Given more money than I'm likely to have, it would be one of those new Fox repros, if the quality is up to the old standards.

I've also shot a Darne, a French design with a sliding breech, that handled like a wand, and also a H&H 28 ga. I was tempted with both to clutch them to my chest and run(G)....

January 25, 2001, 08:40 AM
OK how about these sites:

www.gunshop.com Take a look at the list of sponsors:)


not strictly double gun but informative:



Strictly for drooling, or for people with big bank accounts: :)

Ought to keep you busy for a while.

Geoff Ross

January 25, 2001, 08:55 AM
Another sxs fanatic reporting in. I use a custom-made 6-1/2 pound Arrieta 12 gauge sxs for all upland shooting. It's choked .005 and .015 which equates to SK1 and SK2 and is more than enough for most upland game. My other gun is an older sidelock that I suspect originally started out as a live pigeon gun. It's very tightly choked and a little heavier but is the go to gun for late season pheasants. It also did waterfowl duty before steel shot became mandatory.

I prefer the sxs in the field because of the lighter weight and smooth handling. They are more instinctive pieces than the over/unders. There is currently a renewal of interest in fine sxs witnessed by the return of several older makes including the Fox and Ithaca.

I have examined one of the new Foxes and if the one I saw is any indication not only are they as good as the older ones they are better -- same with the revised Ithacas. Too bad the same can't be said about the Parker Repros.

January 25, 2001, 04:28 PM
Add me to the list. My principal guns's an AyA 117, a 12-gauge choked 5 and 15 with 28-inch barrels. Another is an English hammergun and I can't remember how many side-by-side guns I've owned. For me, they're not the first choice for breaking targets but in the field I prefer them over everything else.

January 26, 2001, 01:00 AM
Here's another fellow that ignored them for years then after using a friend's Fox to dove hunt with I got hooked. Now I got 'em comin' out my ears. What follows is a query I sent out recently about a French gun I got ahold of this summer. If any of ya'll are knowledgeable please don't hesitate to chime in. Some already have and thanks for that!

"I recently picked up what I believed to be a custom made Belgian 16 gauge boxlock double. At least that's what it looked like to me. The stampings on the bottom of the barrels are in French but I don't know enough about the proof marks to able to correctly identify the maker and/or year it was made.
On the flats under the barrels it has the typical "Acier de Surete" and "Choke Rectifie Porte Garantie" with what appears to be either a small case letter "e" or a capital "C" with a diagonal slash though it found in between the above two statements. At the front end of the flats, on each side, the capital letters "E.M." are found under another "Choke Rectifie" that forms a semi-circle partially around the two letters.
There's what looks like a three pointed crown with the capital letters PT directly under it on both barrel flats and one on the water table. I found out just the other day from a gunmaker in St. Etienne, France that the Crown over a PT means that the gun was made there in St. Etienne but that it could have been made by any number of companies. The "Crown-PT" proofmark apparently just refers to the city.
Just ahead of the flats both barrels are marked 17.0 (which I understand translates into actually the midpoint between a 15 and 16 guage) and "St Etienne" is stamped in extremely small lettering just ahead of that number. Both flats are marked 6.5 which is 2 1/2" chambers, the typical European size.
Immediately in front of the lettering is a proof mark that I'm totally unfamiliar with. The shape is as if it were a pair of letter "U's", one right side up, the other upside down, both joined together at the bottom of their curves making sort of a curvy "X" shape. There's something in the middle of the top "U" that I can't make out and there appears to be a dot on each side of the proofmark and in the middleof the bottom "U". It's got the typical Belgian looking sling swivels on the barrels and straight grip English style stock. It has a Greener crossbolt and two locking lugs. The serial #'s all match (69873) and there's another number(N40) stamped in under the right barrel up near the post where the forearm snaps in. The post that the forearm snaps to has a very small number 8 stamped on it. Oh, and another little thing. I don't know if it's broke or just designed that way because I haven't taken it apart yet but the tang safety does not automatically engage upon opening.
The most interesting feature about this gun and the reason I think it may have been built on order is that there's a name, "Tourain Provins", in gold on the bottom of the action. There's small amounts of very light engraving on the action. The stock to hardware fit is very good. The stock's got a lot of cast off, which appealed to me personally cause it looks like it'll fit me, and there's a horn buttplate. Barrels are blued of course but the action was finished bright.

If you know anything here that would help me figure out when/where this thing originated I would be much obliged. And if there's any other information that I can provide I have no idea what it would be but I'll try. Thanks!

Wendell Beall
[email protected]

January 26, 2001, 10:43 AM
yep sxs do it for me.I've been hunting with one or another for 20 years , mostly knockabouts lowend stuff but I love the sxs. C.R.Sam is that .444 a custom or factory rifle ?