Preferred Shotgun Actions?

roverandbrew

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I bought my Benelli SBE2 with the intention of using 3.5" shells.
I've had it for more than 8 years and never shot a 3.5" shell once.
Loaned it to my friend for a Duck hunt and he used the 3.5's.
He said it was awesome out to 60 yards with the proper choke.
I have yet to find a REALLY good reason to punish myself with them.
3" has gotten it done for me up to this point.

Them damn snow geese
 

meigsbucks

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Like CoElkHunter, my first shotgun was a Remington 1100 12ga with a 26” barrel. As Ohio was slugs only for deer a slug barrel quickly followed. I still have that gun.
For a retirement gift to myself, I decided to purchase an O/U shotgun. I had it narrowed down to a Benelli 828 and a Berreta Silver Pigeon. Just for the heck of it I hoisted a Browning Cynergy to my shoulder, it was all over. 12ga 28” barrels. It doesn’t have “classic” lines but who cares.
 

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Hello Mike,

Could you elaborate on why shooting over pointers is better with an SxS? I have an O/U and never questioned about it. Better field of vision?

thanks,
V.
Classic hunting over dogs is using a SxS.
I started shotgun hunting with a single shot Hopkins and Allen 12 ga. Then bought a used Win Model 12 at the local pawn shop for $55. Never fit me, but I loved it because it was a Win Mdl 12. Traded it in for an Ithaca 37 20 ga. Shot my first perfect skeet round with it (modified choke). It took lots of cottontails, jacks, doves and quail.
Moved to Colorado and traded it for an 870 3” 12 full choke (mistake!) Got mad at my shooting one day and hacksawed the barrel to 21”. Man did that improve my hits! Shot my first sporting clays with it surprising me and everyone else by breaking 84! A couple of high class competitive shooters were surprised how quickly I could pump in another round.
Then the sporting clays bug hit and I bought a used Beretta 686. Had it fitted and commenced to only using it for everything. Great gun!
I upland hunted more and more, so I bought a SxS AyA #2 and had it fitted. Awesome to carry in the upland fields!
I traveled to Texas to visit my family and got an Arrieta 20 SxS just for quail or planted birds. Never fit me as well as the others, but a fine gun never the less.
I’ve hunted with 410, 28, 20, 16, and 12. If I did my part, they all would follow. Still a light well balanced 12 is just hard to beat for its load options and versatility.

One of the most fun guns to me is a drilling. I carried a Merkel 12x12x243 quite a bit where I surprised some coyotes standing barking at me and my GSP from just outside 12 ga range. Fun!

I do use a semi auto 3” Beretta Outlander for coyote and turkey hunting these days. It doesnt hurt as bad as my old 870.

JMO, but if a shotgun fits you, it will be deadly whether semiauto, British antique, Savage Fox, Guerini, Elsie, Boss, or what ever. Fit to hit! JMO&E
 

CoElkHunter

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Hello Mike,

Could you elaborate on why shooting over pointers is better with an SxS? I have an O/U and never questioned about it. Better field of vision?

thanks,
V.
Yes, good question. Why use either? Get a semi auto with three shots and many less loss birds? I hunt pheasants with my father in law and his three German Shorthairs and we both have semi autos and the dogs don’t seem to mind? Ha! Ha!
 

Ray B

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The comparison is of three styles: SxS, UO and receiver guns. Receiver guns (self-loader or pump) add several inches between the trigger and barrel. Some view this as a disadvantage since it places weight farther forward. Some consider it an advantage because the inertia of that weight-forward promotes follow-through. Between the SxS and OU the main difference is the depth of the action. Since the barrels are stacked, the OU will be deeper and present a U grip on the forend. The SxS is horizontally oriented and presents a wrap-around grip for the forend. Many consider the wrap-around grip to provide more control and quicker response to erratic movements of targets/birds, particularly when combines with a straight or Prince of Wales pistol grip. As for sight picture, the shooters cheek should be tight against the stock, his/her eye in line with the top of the barrel or rib, able to see, but ignoring the front bead as the focus should be on the target/bird and when the bead covers the target/bird the trigger is pressed. In shooting any of the three actions I don't recall there being an issue as to which had the better sight picture.
 

Chuck Kazen

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I've got an old Wingmaster from 1969 - missing some bluing, light as a feather, not enough o's in smoooooth to describe the action, always goes bang.
 

VertigoBE

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Classic hunting over dogs is using a SxS.
I started shotgun hunting with a single shot Hopkins and Allen 12 ga. Then bought a used Win Model 12 at the local pawn shop for $55. Never fit me, but I loved it because it was a Win Mdl 12. Traded it in for an Ithaca 37 20 ga. Shot my first perfect skeet round with it (modified choke). It took lots of cottontails, jacks, doves and quail.
Moved to Colorado and traded it for an 870 3” 12 full choke (mistake!) Got mad at my shooting one day and hacksawed the barrel to 21”. Man did that improve my hits! Shot my first sporting clays with it surprising me and everyone else by breaking 84! A couple of high class competitive shooters were surprised how quickly I could pump in another round.
Then the sporting clays bug hit and I bought a used Beretta 686. Had it fitted and commenced to only using it for everything. Great gun!
I upland hunted more and more, so I bought a SxS AyA #2 and had it fitted. Awesome to carry in the upland fields!
I traveled to Texas to visit my family and got an Arrieta 20 SxS just for quail or planted birds. Never fit me as well as the others, but a fine gun never the less.
I’ve hunted with 410, 28, 20, 16, and 12. If I did my part, they all would follow. Still a light well balanced 12 is just hard to beat for its load options and versatility.

One of the most fun guns to me is a drilling. I carried a Merkel 12x12x243 quite a bit where I surprised some coyotes standing barking at me and my GSP from just outside 12 ga range. Fun!

I do use a semi auto 3” Beretta Outlander for coyote and turkey hunting these days. It doesnt hurt as bad as my old 870.

JMO, but if a shotgun fits you, it will be deadly whether semiauto, British antique, Savage Fox, Guerini, Elsie, Boss, or what ever. Fit to hit! JMO&E
Thanks Ridgewalker, so the statement from Mike was only with reference to tradition then? Which I do not mind at all. A perfectly good reason to own a SxS. I'm also a fan of SxS's, they just look much better. But I was made to understand that the majority of people just hit more with an O&U, which is why I got a Beretta Silver Pigeon V in 12ga O/U.

Can't justify for the moment purchasing a SxS, but its an itch I'll have to scratch someday!

V.
 

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V., shotgun coaches explained it to me that the advantage of looking over a single barrel you have better clear space to see targets. SxSs block out some of the visual space to pick up a target. But, the SxS usually carries and balances in the hands better.
Take it for what it’s worth. O/U and semi autos dominate the clay sports. Autos primarily because of helping reduce the recoil. Lots of tournament shooters have had to go to semi autos due to neck issues from recoil. When one shoots 20-30,000 rounds a year, it takes a toll on the neck vertebrae of many shooters
 

Bonk

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Put me down as a fan of the pump shotgun. I've had and still own a few nice hunting shotguns but the one I've taken more game with is my good old reliable Remington 870. Dove, ducks, geese, turkey. You name it that old gun has killed it.

When it comes to self defense I still prefer a pump shotgun. I have a Beretta 1301 semiauto tactical shotgun with all the gimmicks (ghost ring, pic rail, night sights, etc). I also own a Mossberg 590 Retro. If they're both available when I need one I'll pick the Mossberg over the Beretta every time. So, yeah, I'm a pump shotgun guy.
 

Nevada Mike

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Hello Mike,

Could you elaborate on why shooting over pointers is better with an SxS? I have an O/U and never questioned about it. Better field of vision?

thanks,
V.

Of course - I would be happy to explain...

A well- balanced and fitted SxS shotgun is a very responsive and 'intuitive' weapon. hunting over my setters (pointed birds) I find that the SxS points more naturally on rising birds, perhaps because I don't need to 'look' at the barrels - they are broad and present better subliminal awareness of the muzzles while my eyes are focused on the bird. I shoot very intuitively - just focus on the bird, mount and shoot. A SxS is also usually lighter and carries well when I am walking miles behind the dogs. I shoot 16 gauge and 20 gauge SxS bird guns with fairly open chokes, since almost all shots over pointing dogs will be within 30 yards, and most of those inside 20 yards. Double triggers help with this, once mastered. Besides, SXS guns are more handsome!

The O/U double, while usually heavier than a SxS, has one advantage, this is on incoming birds such as doves. The narrow barrels make it easier to see targets UNDER the barrels (shooting with both eyes open, of course!). This means that it is far easier to see the bird under the barrels while deliberately establishing lead as the bird is coming towards you. I like shooting doves with SxS guns, but find that I do a little bit better shooting my Browning Siuper 20s or my MX20.

I hope that answers you question.
 
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arizonajake

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I have owned many shotguns over the years, including a Winchester M42 in .410 and a Winchester M1897 in 12 ga. Being young and inexperienced, I sold both shotguns after having paid pennies on the dollar for them and I am still kicking myself in the ass for having done so.

Today, having various shotguns, I do my best to rotate their use for hunting.
For doves, I will use my Benelli M2 in 12 ga. or my Benelli Montefeltro in 20 ga.
For Mearn's quail, the Beretta 686 in 20 ga. or the Benelli Montefeltro get the call.
For Gambel's, quail, the SIG-Rizzini Aurora TT25 in 20 ga. or the Bennelli M2 12 get used.
For Pheasants, my number 1 pick is my Winchester M23 in 20 ga. The Beretta 686 is the back-up gun.
For self-defense, the 24" barrel on the Benelli M2 gets swapped for an 18.5 IC barrel and a 6-shot mag extension.
 

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Of course - I would be happy to explain...

A well- balanced and fitted SxS shotgun is a very responsive and 'intuitive' weapon. hunting over my setters (pointed birds) I find that the SxS points more naturally on rising birds, perhaps because I don't need to 'look' at the barrels - they are broad and present better subliminal awareness of the muzzles while my eyes are focused on the bird. I shoot very intuitively - just focus on the bird, mount and shoot. A SxS is also usually lighter and carries well when I am walking miles behind the dogs. I shoot 16 gauge and 20 gauge SxS bird guns with fairly open chokes, since almost all shots over pointing dogs will be within 30 yards, and most of those inside 20 yards. Double triggers help with this, once mastered. Besides, SXS guns are more handsome!

The O/U double, while usually heavier than a SxS, has one advantage, this is on incoming birds such as doves. The narrow barrels make it easier to see targets UNDER the barrels (shooting with both eyes open, of course!). This means that it is far easier to see the bird under the barrels while deliberately establishing lead as the bird is coming towards you. I like shooting doves with SxS guns, but find that I do a little bit better shooting my Browning Siuper 20s or my MX20.

I hope that answers you question.
Thanks Mike, that does make it more clear, and it's definitely more than just tradition, to choose for a SxS...

hmmm... will need to think that one through a bit more. Does this justify another purchase... :D
 

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@VertigoBE, @Ridgewalker & @Nevada Mike

I've heard from a couple of outfitters that they would NOT allow the use of an autoloader or pump action shotgun because they can not immediately tell if your action is open and safe. This is in regards to hunting upland birds with dogs. It is possible if you had hunted there before, they may let it slide. I spoke with 3 such outfitters at the GAOS in 2020 regarding pheasant hunting in SD. No receiver style shotguns. Personally, I don't see the big deal, but they aren't my rules, my hunting grounds or my dogs.
 

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@VertigoBE, @Ridgewalker & @Nevada Mike

I've heard from a couple of outfitters that they would NOT allow the use of an autoloader or pump action shotgun because they can not immediately tell if your action is open and safe. This is in regards to hunting upland birds with dogs. It is possible if you had hunted there before, they may let it slide. I spoke with 3 such outfitters at the GAOS in 2020 regarding pheasant hunting in SD. No receiver style shotguns. Personally, I don't see the big deal, but they aren't my rules, my hunting grounds or my dogs.
Yes, having hunted with guys who shot autos and pumps, I too prefer break open actions. It can be very scary just not knowing if a gun is loaded or not.
 

NE 7x57

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I've always hunted pheasant, never developed a like for hunting waterfowl. I started out with a Model 12, 12 gauge I bought from an uncle for $63. I used that shotgun for decades. Then for some reason I bought an 870, that didn't last long, I didn't like anything about that shotgun and it went down the road.

I next bought a Ruger Red Label 20 gauge with a straight grip which I really liked and still own, it's my crappy weather shotgun.

Then I discovered the Winchester 16 gauge Model 1912. It was light, well balanced, had a bit more drop than I liked but was wonderful to carry all day in the field. I ended up with a couple of those and still use them at times.

Then in 2013 my long time hunting buddy, ironically the uncle I bought my first shotgun from, passed away. He left me his 20 gauge Browning Superposed Lightning. That's the shotgun in my profile photo. It's been rode hard over the years. I'm the 3rd owner of this shotgun and I've been tempted to do a full restoration but I hate to lose the dings and reminders of the hunts it's had in the past. It will probably last me for as long as I need a shotgun and then go to another owner.
 

Ike85123

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Im not a bird hunter. But i have a o/u. Trying clays is hard for me. I cant imagine needing more than 2 shots. Im pretty sure the birds keep flying when the clays slow down. Lol
If im wrong, I apologize.
 

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