There are two challenges to finding a great shotgun -- fit and suitability.
The shotguns section of Shotgun Life is dedicated to helping you recognize the perfect shotgun (that you’ll want to keep for the rest of your life, and then hand down to your family for generations to come.)
For some people, finding a great shotgun is simply love at first sight. For others, a great shotgun grows on them -- and they find themselves down in the basement cleaning it for absolutely no other reason than just to be in its company.
But for every shotgun owner who falls in love with their pride-and-joy, there are teams of engineers and craftsmen toiling away behind the scenes to bring your gun to fruition.
As you’ll see, shotguns are generally designed for a particular sport. Some shotguns have composite stocks and fore-ends to withstand the travails of duck hunting. Then there are single-shot trap guns with high ribs that help you intercept rising targets. And skeet shooters find that their beavertail fore-end is particularly adept at bringing about a smooth, quick swing.
So let the search begin. Here is what you’ll find in our shotgun section…
Walk into your local shotgun dealer and you’ll see an assortment of new Beretta A300 and A400 semi-automatics, the popular 686 series of over/unders, desirable 687 Silver Pigeons and possibly a few of the premium DT11 clays crushers.
The Western Bongo: a glorious beast sporting a mahogany coat etched with bright white stripes. Thick, slightly twirled horns rest supremely atop its head. It is a masterpiece and it is yours. Every time you look upon your trophy, your chest swells with pride as you remember the hunt.
Have you ever watched a covey of 100 bobwhite quail flush in an eruption of birds so dazzling the spectacle of beauty and awe almost mesmerized you into trigger-finger paralysis?
It’s another misty Saturday morning, and you are awoken by the warmth of sun rays that are streaming through your bedroom windows. You’re jolted awake by the sudden realization that today is range day with your friends. Any weekend is a good weekend when you get to spend it with your buddies and your firearms.
The sun is peering in through a small window and casting a warm light across the wooden floors. You can hear the rustling of crunching leaves and hushed whispers outside – the sleepy campsite will soon be bustling.
Many of you have watched exhibition shooters entertaining crowds with their amazing skills. You know, throw five targets in the air by hand and smashing them all in a matter of seconds. Then try the same stunt bending over backwards. The Gould Brothers have taken an age-old tradition of exhibition shooting and put their own unique twist on entertaining folks with firearms.
Innovation is a word not typically associated with today’s break-open sporting shotguns. In fact, for a sizeable community devoted to vintage upland shotguns, the concept of innovation might just as well have stopped in the 19thcentury with the creation of rose-and-scroll engraving.
Is there such a thing as the perfect upland gun? Is it even possible to answer that question without first defining the quarry, location, and method of hunting?
Hunters, in general, and shotgunners, in particular, are a peculiar lot. The variances in likes and dislikes are legion. The pheasant hunter ambling through corn stubble will often choose a 12-gauge over/under for his hunt. While the chucker hunter in Oregon will often go for a 20 gauge due to the lighter weight and commensurate improvement in performance.
In the world of double shotguns, there are two main types: Extractor and Ejector. There are pros and cons to each, but both have their place and can provide their own advantages in the field. So which one is best for you?