Preferred Shotgun Actions?

Velo Dog

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2-5/8” and 2-9/16”, but what’s an eighth of an inch amongst friends?
Yes, among friends, simple fractions of inches don’t really matter, LoL.
That said, in some far flung corners of the earth, such as Anchorage, Alaska (where I live), shorter than 2 & 3/4” shotgun ammunition is almost always impossible to find, except that once in a blue moon, a quantity of 2 & 1/2 “ .410 ammunition turns up.
Usually it has #9 shot in it, (perhaps for the clay pigeon shooters ?).
Anyway, the above drivel is why I bothered to mention chamber length.
Aside for the ammunition availability, I notice many of the better grade English doubles have short chambers.
Cheers.
 

rookhawk

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Yes, among friends, simple fractions of inches don’t really matter, LoL.
That said, in some far flung corners of the earth, such as Anchorage, Alaska (where I live), shorter than 2 & 3/4” shotgun ammunition is almost always impossible to find, except that once in a blue moon, a quantity of 2 & 1/2 “ .410 ammunition turns up.
Usually it has #9 shot in it, (perhaps for the clay pigeon shooters ?).
Anyway, the above drivel is why I bothered to mention chamber length.
Aside for the ammunition availability, I notice many of the better grade English doubles have short chambers.
Cheers.

indeed, my slightly humorous comment on fractions was specifically that the better grade of English shotguns were built with short chambers. The “gentlemen’s gun” rests on that concept. It’s a confluence of issues coming together in form and function based on these principles:

1.) perfect pattern occurs when no shot stringing or pellet malformation occurs. A “square load” is considered ideal, where the width of the shell (diameter) is equal to the height of the charge in the shell. Short shells produce a better pattern. Thus, the 12 bore 1-1/8, the 16 bore 1 ounce, the 20 bore 7/8, the 28 bore 5/8 ounce.

2.) With ideal load, the gun can be made considerably lighter. A 12 bore increasing its load by 12.5% (eighth of an ounce) increases felt recoil by 50%. Small gains in velocity increase wear to gun and shoulder exponentially, that in turn necessitates heavier guns that swing like a pig on the end of a shovel.

3.) Greener, the author of the seminal textbook on shotguns, created his Greener rule of 96 for which British guns of high quality have adhered for more than a century. Quite simply, the weight of the optical “square load” stated above multiplied by 96 is the optimal weight of the gun. This is why lightweight guns command a significant premium over a heavier one, even physically identical ones from the same maker. Skilled shooters and collectors, if you observe their banter, get to the question “what does the gun weigh?” Very quickly in the conversation.

Which brings us back to the gentlemanly 16 bore and it’s 2-5/8” chambers with a max load of one once of shot and a total weight of the gun of only 6 pounds. (A modern Italian, American, or Belgian turd will be nearly 8 pounds)

Which honestly is why you see purists gravitating towards side by side guns too, they can be made lighter. Most over unders have giant hollow stocks with a through bolted design that adds significant bulk and weight. The high quality exceptions to that design in over unders can be more than a house: Woodwards, Boss, Westley Richards Ovundos, etc are incredibly expensive by hedge fund manager’s budgets much less mine.

So that’s why an eighth of an inch in shell length matters a lot. It says a ton about action type, gun weight, pattern, and gun maker.

So a well used $2500 plain Westley Richards boxlock side by side shotgun weighing 6lbs with 2-5/8” chambers slinging an ounce of lead is a thing of sublime taste. Something of profound value over a $15,000 modern Italian gun that weighs 8lbs, shoots 2-3/4” shells, and is through bolted on an over under boxlock action.
 

Velo Dog

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Uuuuh……ok.
 

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A friend of mine has a 20 Gauge Dickson RA. Delightful little bird gun. I owned a very Nice Dickson lightweight 12 gauge for many years, sold it to a guy who really wanted it badly.
View attachment 415800
Side X Side bird guns are a passion of mine. My Harkom 16 gauge, Lindner Daly 20 gauge, and A H Foxes in 16 gauge and 20 gauge are some that I will probably not sell. I have been on a low level search for a subgauge Woodward for some time, but, like Dickson subgauge guns, they are very rare.

What a stunning gun!!! My Beretta 486 is a cheap imitation thereof. One day there will be Dickson in my safe...
 

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I really like bird hunting and shotguns in general. And I am blessed with plenty of opportunity. I hunt upland birds with a pointing dog.

For pheasant, grey partridge and sharptail grouse in open country I normally carry my O/U Browning Citori white lightning 16 ga, 28" with IC/Mod chokes screwed in. Load an ounce of 6's

On occasions when I need grouse gun in thick forest I carry a Browning Superposed lightning, (round knob, long tang) 20 ga. also IC/M which is a bit tight for the ranges involved. Load 7/8 oz. of 7-1/2's

For snipe I prefer a 12 ga. with a target load steel 7's. That's when I take the Brno ZP49 side by side.

but I just purchased an AYA sidelock SxS model 54, 12 ga. 28" IC/IM. Had the stock fitted, and although it hasn't seen a bird yet it breaks clays very well. Might become the new favourite in the uplands.

For waterfowl I have always used pump guns. Started out with an Ithaca M37, but since then I have shot many hundreds of birds with an old Winchester model 12 12 ga. 2-3/4" Hastings barrel with modified screw in choke. With a moderate but fast load of 1-1/16 oz of #2 steel it is deadly on ducks and geese. I don't use semi autos. And seldom use magnum shells. I understand the semi auto advantage in recoil moderation, but using a lower recoil shell at reasonable ranges works for me. And Semi autos are too finicky and unreliable for my preference.
 

rookhawk

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I understand the semi auto advantage in recoil moderation, but using a lower recoil shell at reasonable ranges works for me. And Semi autos are too finicky and unreliable for my

There is another angle to semi-autos. I think Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome”?

The single barreled shotgun ensures that a missed first shot (wrong choke) will be repeated not once more, but twice more demonstrating three times over the definition of insanity or at least futility.

The point of a double barrel gun is two fold. 1.) That you can use the second trigger to shoot the bottom/left barrel for a tighter choke on a bird that flushed farther. 2.) In the event a pair flushes, by the time the first barrel with the open choke has brought down the first bird at 20 yards the tighter choke second barrel is ready for the shot that is now at 30 yards.

The pump and auto loader trades this utility of carrying two guns and its versatility for a less versatile weapon that holds more ammo…so you can miss more often and use more shells.

Obviously there are times with waterfowl or doves where you genuinely have 3 birds flying simultaneously at same distances and you can triple with a pump or autoloader, but that scenario is .001% of the time.

The other problem with pumps and autoloaders is one of safety. I can count the days afield with people swinging pumps and autoloaders in the thousands, yet I can count the times one has had perfect barrel control while hunting with one the entire day on perhaps one hand. If you cannot break open the gun, that muzzle is pointing somewhere all day long and the gun may or may not be loaded. A double barrel or single break action is a point of courtesy to all others around that it is broken when not used and it broadcasts that it is unloaded for all to see.
 

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The other problem with pumps and autoloaders is one of safety. I can count the days afield with people swinging pumps and autoloaders in the thousands, yet I can count the times one has had perfect barrel control while hunting with one the entire day on perhaps one hand. If you cannot break open the gun, that muzzle is pointing somewhere all day long and the gun may or may not be loaded. A double barrel or single break action is a point of courtesy to all others around that it is broken when not used and it broadcasts that it is unloaded for all to see.
A very underrated point I am afraid. Lack of muzzle discipline is a sure way to get on my bad side.
 

rookhawk

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A very underrated point I am afraid. Lack of muzzle discipline is a sure way to get on my bad side.
@Saul every time I tell such a story to someone about to enter the field with me they always nod their head and assume they are angelic with their muzzle control. 99% of the time (accurate stat) they are not. You cannot enter a field for a driven hunt or a 3-4 man rough shoot and hunt for eight hours with a pump or auto and not point your muzzle at someone. It’s just more difficult than most people think and everyone assumes a few infractions are “no big deal”.

People miss the point an awful lot. They assume that double barrels, double triggers, side by sides, tang safeties, and short chambers are some sort of unevolved, old, outmoded technology and that what they are swinging is updated and improved. It is not. The brits knew more about shotguns than anyone and the knowledge of an average gun maker in Britain exceeded the cumulative knowledge of John Browning, Ainsley Fox, John Olin, and Bill Ruger combined. Never assume mass production success is a proxy for suitability for a particular use!
 

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Rookhawk

There are fine guns made in many countries... Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France, USA, Spain, and Italy, to name a few. I had a Korean-made Browning BSS Sidelock that was a fine gun. Still, my BEST guns are from Scotland, England, Germany and Italy.

The USA and Germany make the finest rifles in my opinion.
 

rookhawk

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Rookhawk

There are fine guns made in many countries... Scotland, England, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, France, USA, Spain, and Italy, to name a few. I had a Korean-made Browning BSS Sidelock that was a fine gun. Still, my BEST guns are from Scotland, England, Germany and Italy.

The USA and Germany make the finest rifles in my opinion.

i never disputed that fine guns are made in many places, but best guns? Fewer locations.

Germany has made some nice shotguns, but a Lindner Daly is not on the same level of “best gun” as a British best gun. The Italians certainly make beautiful stuff and it’s hard to argue their bullino engraving is probably the best anywhere in the world, but the guns themselves are “replicas” of British best guns.

To the German’s credit amongst the whole list of nations you named, they certainly had the most interesting patents and most unusual action types of the bunch.

just my opinion. I’ve owned somewhere around a hundred fine shotguns from Model 21s, Parker’s, Fox, Boss, Purdey, Westleys, Lancasters, Lang’s, Grants, Jules Bury, Sauer, Krieghoff, Mortimer, Martin, Francotte, AyA, Beretta SO, Arrizabalaga, to Scott Premiere grades to the guns of royalty and maharajahs over the years. It came in handy when I lived off them for a couple years while caring for a sick child. Presently, I have my old “best Spanish” 12/16 bore as my only fine shotgun, but it is not even in the same league as a basic Westley Richards gold letter boxlock for a tenth the cost, in my opinion. Just gaudy, not great.

Good guns aren’t always expensive and expensive guns aren’t always good.
 

Whitebear995

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I use the auto for waterfowl and the O/U 16 gauge for upland. It's only 6 pounds so it's light and easy on the arms, right up until you fire it that is. Wow, that's some kind of recoil!
 

rookhawk

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I use the auto for waterfowl and the O/U 16 gauge for upland. It's only 6 pounds so it's light and easy on the arms, right up until you fire it that is. Wow, that's some kind of recoil!

A 6lb O/U 16 bore is a treasure, you‘re very lucky to find one of proper weight. If you’d order some paper 2.5” shells with felt/fiber over shot cards at about 1150fps-1175fps you’d be astounded how good the patterns are and how much less recoil you’ll feel.
 

Nevada Mike

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Rookhawk - I've owned a lot of shotguns. Generally I agree that the Brits are best of the field, but on average, not truly exceptional. A 'best' gun started out to mean the best effort that a maker could put forward. But it has come to mean a gun that is above the rest in quality. It is not the wood or the engraving that make a 'best' - it is the design, materials and craftsmanship that leads to remarkable function and durability. Of course, the gun will have great wood and well executed engraving, that's to be expected. But this is secondary to the materials, design and workmanship.

Given this definition, a Lindner Daly qualifies as a 'best' in my opinion. The inside is like a Swiss watch! So does my 16 bore Harkom boxlock. Both extraordinary in design, materials, craftsmanship and function.

Many Italian guns are, indeed, based on British designs, but the Italians also innovate and produce guns like the Rizzini R1, Fabri O/Us, and Piotis.
 

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Right on!
 

Mike B. 216

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Skeet, sporting clays - Remington 3200 skeet/skeet - fixed chokes
Pheasants upland game- Browning Citori mod/full - fixed chokes
Turkey - Remington 1100 3" mag.
Slug gun- Remington 1100 3" mag
 

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I am a sxs man myself, but it is good to see people still taking their Remington 1100s out into the field. If I am ever with a novice shooter, that is what I hand them, no one shoots it poorly.
 

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First shotgun was my Grandpa's Remington M11. Unfortunately, he had cut it down to fit him, 5' 7" 140#, so it doesn't fit me well at all. Nowadays, it is used with grandkids even though it is a bit heavy.
While there's a plethora of models and actions in the safe, I find myself only using a few with any regularity. For dove and quail, a 28 or 20 White Onyx o/u (I want a 410 in this model) are used. A Browning Gold Hunter 3.5" has been my go to for ducks, geese, and late season pheasant, although rarely have I seen the need for 3.5" shells. Teal are pursued with the 20ga White Onyx. A Citori 12ga has been used for pheasant, as well as the Red Label 12ga. The Red Label was the only shotgun used for everything for many years. Need one of them in 20ga.
Last year, I tried a Remington V3 as the Browning needed some parts. While the V3 functions fine, it does not fit quite right and, it's ugly. I hate camo synthetic stocks even more than plain black ones. The Browning Gold Hunter is an upgraded version with deep blue and properly oiled AAA walnut. Thankfully the parts have been installed and it's functioning correctly again, so the V3 can stay home (and out of sight, lol)
I haven't used a sxs as much as o/u, but really like their appearance and intend to spend more time afield with the few I have to get a better feel for them. I've never felt handicapped with only 2 shots available. Most of the 3rd shots I've seen taken were low percentage, "damn you for me missing", shots; mine included.
If I had to settle for a single action type, it would definitely be a double; at this point, an o/u. But I could see a sxs making a run for favorite.
 

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