Double Barrel Shotguns Forever

With today’s auto-loading shotguns as reliable and mild shooting as they are, why would anyone buy a double barrel Let us count the ways…

  1. Two guns in one. Yup, if you get a double with two mechanical triggers, you have two shotguns in hand at all times. Should something fail on one side, the other remains fully functional.
  2. Two choke choices, instantly. Screw in an improved cylinder for that first, close shot, then follow it up with a modified or even a full for any long shots offered. Mix and match as conditions merit.
  3. Yes, more mechanical designs such as autos are wonderfully reliable, but double barrels have even fewer moving parts. And virtually none are slowed or gummed up by powder fouling. You could shoot a double for years with little more than cosmetic cleaning and anti-rust coating.
  4. Versatile at burning ammo. Some autos will shoot extra-light and extra-heavy loads, some won’t. Doubles always will. And they’re never fussy about loading shells into battery. Some autos hang up if shells don’t fit perfectly. With a double, just push that shell in, close the action and fire.
  5. Shorter overall length. Because there is no need for an action to pull 3 inches of shell from the chamber, double barrels can be built 2 inches shorter than autos and pumps with the same barrel length. This makes them easy to maneuver in blinds and carry through timber and brush.
  6. With two barrels, doubles look heavy, but they’re not. Many 12-gauges are built to less than 6.5 pounds and some smaller gauges fall under 5 pounds – perfect for roaming miles and miles of uplands in search of grouse, quail and pheasants.
  7. Just push the opening lever, break the action open and the gun can’t fire. Quick and easy when hitting rough, unstable ground, crossing fences, etc.
  8. Clean and contained. Most working parts in a double are sealed within the frame and stock, making it nearly impossible for dirt, grass, leaves, and gunk to plug up the works.
  9. Sleek and simple. There are no bolt handles protruding from the side of a double barrel’s action, no locking nuts to turn to remove a barrel, no magazine springs to lose, no cartridge carriers to snag your gloves.
  10. OK, pretty may be superfluous on a working gun, but if you can combine a beautiful shape, clean lines, lovely wood grain, and a touch of engraving – maybe even an engraved dog and bird or two! – the double is the perfect canvas.
  11. Push two buttons and you can break a double barrel into three compact pieces – with no screws, caps or levers to lose. Perfect for travel.
 Doubles can be made sleek, light, short and perfect for long, upland hunts.
Doubles can be made sleek, light, short and perfect for long, upland hunts.

Double barrels might date back more than 200 years, but they remain one of the most tried, true and functional shotgun designs ever. Try one and see for yourself.

Make sure you visit Sportsman’s Guide for a great selection of over/under shotguns and side by side shotguns.

Top Photo: Double barrels are easy to render safe. Just push the lever, break open and they can’t fire. And you can easily see if there are any shells in the chambers.


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4 Responses to “Double Barrel Shotguns Forever”

  1. Avatar

    C. Lacey

    Many of us grew up using or learning to shoot with Grandpa’s or Dad’s Double Barrel Shotgun. We probably remember the “kick” the most (especially if we were foolish enough to pull both barrels!), but we were “scrawny” kids back then. Truth be known, probably as much game has been taken with a “double” as any other firearm. Having the two different choked barrels, as well as a super quick followup shot (also don’t forget learning to hold two extra shells for a fast reload), not much game was wasted or lost. Many a fine table fare has been provided with a Double. There were inexpensive models as well as those with some of the finest craftsmanship in the world. A lot of hunting memories were made with a Double and most of us fondly remember those days afield with one, along with that “lucky” shot. Let us not forget that it was and still is one of the the “go to guns” for home defense. On the ranch or the farm, many folks relied on their trusty double for just about everything. Considering the choices of ammo now available, there is not a better choice for an all around firearm than a good double barrel shotgun. It is predicted that the Double will continue to be around for a long time to come. Ditto to the points made in the preceeding atricle…

  2. Avatar

    Lynne Bush Salazar

    One of my next guns is going to be a double barrel shot gun. I just have to have one as an addition to my gun collection; unfortunately SG does not carry the Stoger side by side nickel plated 12 gauge.
    This seems to be a permanent problem with SG. A lack of variety of firearms especially handguns. Or at least the one`s I am willing to purchase. SG used to carry Beretta, Sig Sauer 1911 models, Winchester 30 30 in 24 inch barrel. While some are sold out, many are just not sold by them anymore.
    A shame because their pricing policy made it VERY attractive to do business with them. I wrote them a letter previously but they never responded. While good pricing when they carried high quality firearms, they just do not seem to have more to choose from. Just look elsewhere but you may have to pay a bit more. Wise up SG. Get what gun people want. More high quality weapons.

  3. Avatar

    Kermit Jorgensen

    I agree with the reasons stated whole-heartedly. The problem is there are very few available as evidenced by today’s offerings in your gun department.

  4. Avatar

    David Olshansky

    Very nice article! If your interested – join our group on Facebook- Society of the American Side by Side.

    Thanks !
    David O