Double barrel shotguns? Savage, stevens, fox?

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by Slips73, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Slips73

    Slips73 Guide

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    What are some good double barrel shotguns to look at if i wanted one for upland/ small game hunting. I have heard the stevens, savage and fox, but there are so many different ones. Are their ones to stay away from? What are some good ones/ models to look at. I prefer older american made, and not interested in the stoeger, cz ones i haven't read very good things about their doubles.
     
  2. Stone

    Stone Supporter, Twirler of Embers Supporter

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    First shotgun I ever had was a 12-gauge double, barrel length of 28" chokes fixed at modified and full. Charles Daly manufacturer, 1962 model used beaver tail, field grade. Wonderful using lead shot. But since I shoot waterfowl I needed one to shoot steel/non-toxic shot. So after not being able to get another double side-by-side at the time (Browning had quit making theirs) I settled on a Remington 11-87. Then won a Mossburg Legacy over-under 12-gauge at a NWTF banquet. Both those shoot well. If you want to stay in the league with your Winchester Model 70 you might consider getting a Fox, Parker, or Charles Daly (Purdy?). All good...but I'd do more research if you are planning to shoot steel.

    Stone

     
  3. Slips73

    Slips73 Guide

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    yah i know about the steel deal, i mainly shoot small game, and upland, which is fine with lead for now in kali, and in the future when im in arizona.


    but i do reload so bismuth is a possibility if im ever in a place where there is enough water for waterfowl.
     
  4. Bob Sundquist

    Bob Sundquist Guide

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    LC Smith is a nice gun. I have a Remington and an Ithica.


    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
     
  5. tree-ratsniper

    tree-ratsniper Guide

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    My uncle uses an ancient Stevens 311 12ga sxs for much of his small game gathering. Its a rabbit killing machine. I'm a fan of the Baikal sxs, they're built like a tank & inexpensive.
     
  6. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    It's hard to make a suggestion without knowing your budget. But since you're going off to school soon, I'll take that as a cue.

    I'll let someone else speak to older shotguns.

    I'll bet nobody mentions the Ruger Red Label. I don't know why they aren't better appreciated. They are solid, well made field guns. Ruger stands behind their products, and I've always been pleased by their service.

    Other than American, take a look at the various Miroku doubles - marketed for Browning, Charles Daly, and under their own name. Very dependable, high value guns. Some verge on fancy, which is always nice.
     
  7. Itegorm

    Itegorm Scout

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    I love old doubles for birds (lots of grouse and woodcock around here). I have a 2 old Stevens 311s, an old Fox, a Riverside and an old Parker. The Parker is kind of the star of the group but the prices on them usually match their appeal. That being said the one that points and shoots the best is the Riverside. If you are seriously looking for an old double don't overlook some of the old off brand and hardware store guns. As long as they lock up tight and the solder joints are good they can be great guns.
     
  8. slamboy3

    slamboy3 Tracker

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    I know you said no go on the Steoger Shotguns. But I have to tell you I really love mine. I have a SxS 12ga Steoger Upland Supreme Coach Gun with screw in chokes. It's dead accurate and I have a backup shot if I miss with the first load. When I hunt pheasant I run a modified choke for the primary barrel and a full choke for the back up just in case the bird dodges the shot. Plus compared to the prices some of the shops are asking for the vintage guns forces me to get a new gun for the same price.

    BTW just in case your wondering. I run a 12ga coach gun for birds because a full size double gets really heavy after 3 or 4 hours of hauling that peice around.

    Best of luck with your quest.
     
  9. slamboy3

    slamboy3 Tracker

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    I have an old Riverside Arms SxS in 16ga. It's probably my favorite grouse gun as well as going for the bunnies. It just points so naturaly. Sadly I had to do a full restore on the gun after I got it. The fella I got it from thought it would be a good idea to paint it in hi-gloss camo paint and cut the barrels shorter for hunting turkeys.
    After rebluing the barrels strpping and refinishing the stocks she was a keeper. I have to pry the darn thing from my father inlaws hands when ever I let him use it. Maybe I'll make it his fathers day gift this year. I'm sure he will love it.
     
  10. sixteenacrewood

    sixteenacrewood Scout

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    You ruled out my favorite, steoger, I have two of them, 20 ga coach and a 12 ga uplander, I hunt with both. I LOVE both of mine

    I really like the stevens 311 also

    My coach gun is imp/mod choke and was perfect this past opening day for dove!

    I've see some great deals on used SxS on some of the gun auction sites

    There is a lot of discussion on what brand is best, but I think any of the major brands will be fine, mainly pay attention to what stock length fits you best
     
  11. dac

    dac Tracker

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    The only gun I have experience with at the moment I can recommend are the Steogers. I've had an overunder for several years now and its accurate and dependable.
    If your looking at older guns all I can tell you is if you find a double from the company Pride of Spain do not buy it. The came defective from the factory in a dangerous way.
     
  12. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    Hard to find in good shape but the Iver Johnson Hercules side by side 12 gauge are great old shotguns and usually around half the price of an L.C. Smith or Fox Sterlingworth. The Ivers have great lines and balance and are every bit as nice to handle as the field grade guns made by more prominent gun makers of the time. The Stevens 311 is a solid gun but ugly to my eye and chunky to handle. If that does not bother you they are a good buy for the money. Do some research on what to look for when buying a used double. Look for oil soaked wood and stock cracks around the tang (very common) makes sure it locks up tight and normally you want to see that release lever to the right of center after lock up. Check the bores well, take a bore snake and flashlight or bore light with you when shopping. Look for dents in the barrels and visible rings in the bores. Take a snap cap and check function of triggers and ejectors if the gun has them (I much prefer extractors). Also make sure the gun fits you well.
     
  13. 4ager

    4ager Scout Bushclass I

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    If you're looking at upland game primarily, then a 12 will do more than enough and a 20 is plenty good. Don't overlook the 16 gauge, either.

    The ones mentioned are excellent, but I'll throw out one that hasn't been mentioned yet that is worth keeping your eyes out for: Lefever. The Lefevers were built like tanks (no other SxS has a main springs that robust or that strong), and the Nitro Express models can still be had reasonably inexpensively and are nitro proofed (i.e., you can use modern loads; just not steel). They are US Made, back when that meant something. A good Lefever, Ithaca, LC Smith, A.H. Fox, Fox Sterlingworth, Iver Johnson, Stevens, Riverside, Remington,… any of those 1920s to 1950s vintage SxS will serve you well for a long time to come.

    That said, unless your heart is truly set on a SxS and you're willing to pay a good chunk for one, there really isn't much that can't be done with a Remington 870, Mossberg 500, or Ithaca 37. They don't have the "sex appeal", but they are ubiquitous, inexpensive, dead-nuts reliable, and steel compatible.
     
  14. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have a CZ Redhead in .410 and it is one of the best doubles I have ever shot. It is an over under. I have shot one of the afore mentioned Japan Churchill SXS for years in 20 gauge and it is a fine rifle. I recently let an Ithaca SKS 20 go to a member here; it is an awesome gun too. Prices have gone up a lot in recent years, but both were around in gun store used racks for reasonable money, and you might be pleased with either one. Think about the choking you want; many older guns are fixed choke. Also watch the chamber lengths, real old guns are frequently not chambered for today’s full length shells.
     
  15. RavenLoon

    RavenLoon axology student Supporter

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    I have an A.H. Fox A grade made in 1932. I remember it cost $500 when I bought it used several years ago and thought it was a lot at the time, but now it's worth four or more times that. I also have a Ruger Red Label in 20 gauge. I prefer the Fox a little just because it's a SxS 12 gauge and it's like looking down a landing strip when bringing it up to point at a flushing bird. Quality doubles don't lose value and a lot of them really are good investments if you take care of them. I like the old US prewar guns. Sturdy, well-made and bring a good feeling of nostalgia when they are used, at least for me.
     
  16. Izzy

    Izzy Deceased.

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    I have a Fox 16, it has a funky chamber length 2 1/2 instead of the more common 2 3/4. Its a sweetheart though. Best $60.00 I ever spent! My go to shot gun though is a Beretta 686 o/u.
     
  17. gearhound

    gearhound Tracker

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    My double barrel is an old percussion Mortimer. It has sweet lines and swings really well. The stock is cracked badly right at the throat so I guess I will be doing a repair before too long.
     
  18. sledjockey

    sledjockey Skookum's Bro Supporter Bushclass I

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    I have an old Stevens 311 12 gauge that I have had since I was a teenager in the 80's. 26" barrels and chambered for 3 in. My dad uses an old Fox B 12 gauge, but also has a Stevens 311 12 gauge. My brother uses an old Stevens 311 12 gauge 28" barrel. Needless to say, we are all fans. They are all about the same since Savage bought Stevens and Fox unless you can get a really old one. They are about the best pheasant guns around, IMO, due to their pattern. Great guns.

    I have not played with any of the new ones, but can definitely recommend any of the Savage line or the older Fox/Stevens one.
     
  19. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    What you do come across pretty frequently are 16 gauge side by sides for pretty short money. I would not turn my nose up at one. The rounds might be a tad more expensive but the 16 is a very comfortable to shoot and very capable round. It delivers a bigger payload than the 20 but not the full boat load of a 12. I have an ancient single barrel that frequently serves as my woods bumming gun when the weather looks less than promising, it has not let me down yet.

    A word of caution:
    16’s were a pretty common duck gun before steel shot became the standard, so really look over any 16 you are considering. Water fowling is hard service for a gun. Check really well that there is not a ton of rust in the locks, under the fore end etc. Measure the chokes too. If the previous owner tried shooting steel through it they may be blown open.
     
  20. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    One more suggestion, and it isn't a double :29:


    Have a look at the Browning Double Automatic. It's a recoil operated two-shot, designed by John Browning's son Val, to handle and carry LIKE a double.

    They were made in Belgium from the late fifties until the early seventies in low numbers, and are of extremely high quality. They never really caught on, though, and so are relatively affordable.

    12 gauge only, in three different frame weights and several barrel lengths/types.

    Here's a neat article by Randy Wakeman.
     
  21. NVRDONE

    NVRDONE BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I have a Stevens 311a that sees a good amount of small game use. It's performed great and has a great pattern to it. Besides a weird choke combo, Improved-Modified. Due to the chokes its never gone big game hunting with me. I honestly use my 870 more but if I had to go out with a sxs that's what I would chose.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2014
  22. J.M.

    J.M. Scout

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    American made doubles can be real hit or miss (no pun intended) and you need to be very careful when looking at older doubles. There are a lot of things to look for before buying, and you can get burned due to issues like bad bores, short chambers, rib solder, etc etc. Also a lot of American guns are getting price prohibitive, so even guns in poor shape can command a high price. If you want a good dependable side by side for a fair price, have a look at a CZ Bobwhite. I have recommended this to a couple of younger hunters, and have seen them and shot them. They are a very good gun for the money, and since they are new, you can avoid the pitfalls of the older guns. Good luck with your search.
     
  23. Redbearcat7

    Redbearcat7 Scout

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    I also like the Baikal. Have a 12 and a 20.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014

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