A 16_9 aspect ratio image of a classic side-by-side shotgun. The shotgun features two parallel barrels with a traditional wood stock and detailed engraving.

A side by side shotgun is a firearm with two barrels placed side by side, giving it a distinctive and classic look. It has been a popular choice among hunters and sport shooters for centuries, and for good reason. In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of side by side shotguns, the different types available, factors to consider when choosing one, and some of the best options on the market.

One of the main advantages of a side by side shotgun is its classic aesthetics. These shotguns have a timeless appeal, with their elegant and traditional design. Additionally, they offer better balance compared to other shotgun types, making them easier to handle and aim. In terms of functionality, they are also easy to load and unload, and the barrels can be quickly switched for a second shot.

However, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Side by side shotguns generally have limited capacity, typically holding two shells per barrel. They also have a significant recoil, which may be challenging for some shooters to manage. Furthermore, they have a limited range compared to other shotgun types due to their shorter barrels.

There are three main types of side by side shotguns: traditional side by side, over and under, and side by side with a twist. Traditional side by side shotguns have two barrels placed parallel to each other. Over and under shotguns have one barrel on top of the other, while side by side with a twist have the barrels slightly angled towards each other.

When choosing a side by side shotgun, there are several factors to consider. The gauge, barrel length, weight, and choke are all important considerations. The gauge determines the size of the shotgun, with 12 and 20 gauges being the most common and versatile. Barrel length can affect the gun’s balance and handling, and the weight should be comfortable for the shooter. The choke controls the spread of the shot and should be chosen based on the intended use.

Some of the best side by side shotguns on the market include:

  • Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon I
  • Browning Citori Lightning
  • CZ-USA Bobwhite G2
  • Fausti DEA British SLX
  • Dickinson Estate Side by Side

These shotguns offer quality craftsmanship, smooth operation, and reliable performance.

Proper care and maintenance are essential for any firearm, and side by side shotguns are no exception. It is recommended to clean the barrels after each use, remove any debris from the action, and oil the metal components regularly to prevent rust and corrosion. Regular maintenance will ensure that your side by side shotgun stays in top condition for years to come.

Key Takeaways:

 

  • A side by side shotgun offers classic aesthetics, better balance, and quick second shot capabilities.
  • Disadvantages include limited capacity, recoil, and limited range.
  • Consider gauge, barrel length, weight, and choke when choosing the best side by side shotgun.

 

What Is a Side by Side Shotgun?

A side by side shotgun is a type of shotgun with its barrels placed next to each other horizontally. This design provides a wider field of view and makes it a popular choice for bird hunting and sport shooting. The side by side shotgun has a long and storied history, dating back to the 19th century when it was widely used for a variety of shooting activities, including hunting and competitive shooting.

What Are the Advantages of a Side by Side Shotgun?

When it comes to choosing a shotgun, the options can feel overwhelming. However, one type of shotgun that has stood the test of time is the side by side shotgun. In this section, we will dive into the advantages of this classic and reliable firearm. From its elegant appearance to its practical features, the side by side shotgun offers a range of benefits that make it a top choice for both seasoned hunters and shooting enthusiasts. Let’s take a closer look at what sets this shotgun apart from the rest.

1. Classic Aesthetics

  • Inspect the shotgun for any damage or wear that may detract from its classic aesthetics.
  • Polish the wood and metal components to maintain the elegant appearance.
  • Store the shotgun in a suitable case or safe to protect its classic aesthetics from environmental elements.

Did you know? The traditional hunting enthusiasts have favored the classic aesthetics of a side by side shotgun.

2. Better Balance

  • Ensure the shotgun fits your body properly for improved balance and control.
  • Practice proper shooting stance and technique to maintain balance while aiming and firing.
  • Consider the weight distribution and adjust as needed for better balance and control.

Pro-tip: Understanding the shotgun’s balance is crucial; it impacts accuracy and reduces fatigue during extended use.

3. Easy to Load and Unload

  • To easily load a side by side shotgun, simply break open the barrels by pushing the toplever to the right. Then, insert the cartridges and close the gun. Finally, push the toplever back to the left to secure it.
  • To unload the shotgun, break open the barrels, extract the cartridges, and visually and physically check to ensure the gun is clear.

Side by side shotguns originated in the 19th century and were popular for hunting and sport. Their design allowed for quick reloading, making them favored for bird hunting and clay shooting.

4. Quick Second Shot

  • Ensure proper gun mount and cheek placement for a quick second shot.
  • Practice smooth and swift opening and reloading of the shotgun for a quick second shot.
  • Master the technique of smoothly pivoting from the first shot to the second target for a quick second shot.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Side by Side Shotgun?

While side by side shotguns have many advantages, it is important to also consider their disadvantages. In this section, we will discuss the potential drawbacks of using a side by side shotgun. These include limited capacity, heightened recoil, and a limited range. By understanding these drawbacks, you can make an informed decision about whether a side by side shotgun is the right choice for you.

1. Limited Capacity

  • Understand the shotgun’s limited shell capacity, typically holding two shells, which may require more frequent reloading.
  • Practice efficient reloading techniques to minimize downtime during use.
  • Consider the shooting activity and choose a shotgun with a limited capacity to meet the specific needs.

2. Recoil

  • Proper Stance: Maintain a firm and balanced stance to effectively absorb the recoil.
  • Shoulder the Gun Correctly: Position the stock firmly against your shoulder to evenly distribute the recoil force.
  • Use Correct Ammunition: Choose the appropriate ammunition to minimize the impact of recoil.
  • Recoil Pad: Attach a quality recoil pad to the stock for added cushioning and reduced kickback.

3. Limited Range

The limited range of a side by side shotgun is due to its design and barrel configuration. The side-by-side arrangement of the barrels increases the overall width of the shotgun, making it more challenging to swing and aim accurately at distant targets compared to other types of shotguns.

What Are the Different Types of Side by Side Shotguns?

When it comes to selecting the best side by side shotgun, there are a few key factors to consider. One of the most important considerations is the type of side by side shotgun you prefer. In this section, we will discuss the three main types of side by side shotguns: traditional side by side, over and under, and side by side with a twist. Each type offers its own unique features and benefits, so let’s take a closer look at what sets them apart from each other.

1. Traditional Side by Side

  • Inspect the Traditional Side by Side shotgun for any damage or wear.
  • Clean the barrels using a bore snake or a cleaning rod.
  • Use a cleaning solvent to remove fouling and residue.
  • Apply a light coat of gun oil to prevent rust and corrosion.
  • Store the Traditional Side by Side shotgun in a cool, dry place away from moisture.

2. Over and Under

  • When selecting an over and under shotgun, be sure to take into consideration the brand’s reputation, customer reviews, and warranty.
  • It’s important to inspect the fit and balance of the shotgun to ensure it is suitable for your shooting style.
  • Before making a purchase decision, be sure to test the shotgun’s ergonomics, trigger pull, and safety features.

Pro-tip: To try out different over and under models before making a purchase, consider visiting shooting ranges that offer shotgun rentals.

3. Side by Side with a Twist

  • Explore unique barrel configurations for side by side shotguns, such as the 3. Side by Side with a Twist.
  • Consider innovative designs that incorporate modern features while preserving the classic side by side shotgun aesthetics.
  • Look for improved functionality and performance resulting from the twist in design.

In addition to traditional side by side shotguns, the market offers innovative options like the 3. Side by Side with a Twist, providing a blend of classic charm and contemporary enhancements.

What Factors Should Be Considered When Choosing a Side by Side Shotgun?

Choosing a side by side shotgun can be an overwhelming task, especially with the variety of options available on the market. However, there are several key factors to consider in order to make an informed decision. In this section, we will discuss the four main factors that should be taken into account when selecting a side by side shotgun: gauge, barrel length, weight, and choke. Understanding these factors will help you choose the best side by side shotgun for your specific needs and preferences.

1. Gauge

  • Determine the shooting purpose to select the suitable gauge for your side by side shotgun.
  • Understand that the gauge number represents the number of lead balls of a specific diameter that are required to equal one pound in weight.
  • Choose a lower gauge, such as 28 or 20, for small game hunting, and a higher gauge, such as 12 or 10, for larger game or sport shooting.
  • Consider the recoil and weight implications while choosing the gauge, ensuring it aligns with your shooting abilities and preferences.

2. Barrel Length

Barrel length is an essential consideration when selecting a side by side shotgun. Here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • Shorter barrels offer increased maneuverability in confined spaces, while longer barrels improve accuracy and provide a longer sighting plane.
  • It is important to consider the intended use to determine the ideal barrel length – for hunting, shorter barrels may be preferable, while longer barrels are better suited for clay shooting.
  • A pro-tip to keep in mind is that when unsure, a mid-length barrel is a good choice as it offers a balance between maneuverability and accuracy.

3. Weight

  • When choosing a side by side shotgun, it is important to consider the weight for comfortable handling and carrying during shooting activities.
  • Make sure the weight is well-balanced for ease of use and to reduce fatigue.
  • It may be helpful to test out different weight options to determine the most suitable one for your shooting style and preferences.

The side by side shotgun has a rich history, originating in the 19th century and gaining popularity for hunting and sport shooting due to its elegant design and practicality.

4. Choke

  1. Understand the purpose: Determine if you need a full choke for longer range shooting or a cylinder choke for close-range hunting.
  2. Consider the game: Select a choke that suits the type of game you intend to hunt.
  3. Get professional advice: Seek recommendations from experienced hunters or a gunsmith for the most suitable choke for your specific needs.
  4. Test different chokes: Experiment with various choke options to find the one that offers the best performance for your shooting style.

The concept of choke in shotguns dates back to the nineteenth century, where hunters and gunsmiths experimented with different bore constriction to achieve better shot patterns for various hunting situations.

What Are the Best Side by Side Shotguns Available on the Market?

When searching for the best side by side shotguns on the market, it’s important to consider craftsmanship, gauge, durability, and price.

Craftsmanship: Look for reputable brands such as Beretta and Browning, known for their exceptional craftsmanship.

Gauge: Choose the appropriate gauge (12, 16, or 20) based on your shooting style and the type of game.

Durability: Opt for shotguns made with sturdy materials like steel or high-quality walnut for long-lasting use.

Price: Set a budget and explore options within that range, including both new and used shotguns.

For personalized recommendations, visit a specialized gun shop and consult with experienced staff to find the perfect side by side shotgun.

How to Properly Care for a Side by Side Shotgun?

  • To properly care for a side by side shotgun, follow these steps:
    1. After each use, use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the shotgun and remove any moisture or debris.
    2. Inspect the shotgun for any signs of wear, damage, or rust, with special attention to the barrels, action, and stock.
    3. Regularly clean the barrels using a cleaning rod, patches, and solvent specifically designed for shotgun maintenance.
    4. Apply a light coat of gun oil to the metal components to prevent rust and corrosion.
    5. When not in use, store the shotgun in a cool, dry place away from humidity and extreme temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of a double barrel shotgun like the Ah Fox?

Double barrel shotguns, such as the Ah Fox, have been popular for centuries and are still beloved by many. They offer incredible reliability with all types of ammo, have a simple design that makes them durable and long-lasting, and are suitable for left-handed shooters. They also have two barrels, allowing for different types of ammo to be used, and tend to have weight focused towards the rear, making them easier to handle for moving targets.

What are the two types of double barrel shotguns?

The two types of double barrel shotguns are over-under (O/U) and side-by-side (SxS). O/U shotguns have barrels that run vertically, while SxS shotguns have barrels that run horizontally. This affects the sight plane of the gun, with O/U shotguns having a narrow sight plane and SxS shotguns having a broader sight plane.

What are some recommended side-by-side shotguns for a budget buyer?

For budget buyers, the CZ Bobwhite G2 is considered the best budget side-by-side shotgun. It has a simple design and is suitable for different types of ammo. It is also praised for its reliability and durability, making it a great choice for those who want a quality shotgun without breaking the bank.

What is the best over-under shotgun on the market?

The Browning Citori 725 is considered the best over-under shotgun on the market. It is praised for its sleek design, reliability, and ability to handle different types of ammo. It is also a favorite among gun collectors and has been used by hunters and sport shooters alike.

What is a good option for a tactical double barrel shotgun?

The Kel-Tec KSG is considered the best tactical double barrel shotgun on the market. It has a compact design, with two barrels and a double feed feature, making it a favorite for concealed carry classes. It is also praised for its reliability and suitability for different types of ammo.

Are there any antique side-by-side shotguns that are worth considering?

Yes, there are still some excellent antique side-by-side shotguns on the market. The Beretta Silver Hawk, originally manufactured before 1967 and reintroduced in 1999, is available in various gauges and trigger options. The Bernardelli Doubles, made in Turkey and also produced in Italy, are known for their 12, 16, and 20-gauge models. The Browning B-SS, made in Japan and discontinued in 1988, comes in Grade I and Grade II options.

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