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waxworm09

Advantage of using a double barrel for pheasant hunting?

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waxworm09

I am thinking about heading to the dnr gun auction this Saturday and checking out the guns. I was thinking about bidding on a double barrel if there is one at a good price, mostly because I only own an 870 and have never used a double barrel, and it would be nice to own a second shotgun. My question is, are there any advantages to using a double barrel over a pump for pheasant hunting? And if so, what are the advantages? Thanks for any advice!

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MuleShack

I'm interested in what people have to say as well. I only have a semi auto, but was looking at an over under for a 2nd gun. Pretty spendy, but i guess they are lighter. I have never shot one either.

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rwwong

I think everyone's experience will be different, as certain factors will determine if a double barrel makes sense for you.

Being able to have 2 different chokes is a huge advantage to me. I hunt behind a Vizsla (pointer) and when the birds flush, I am right on top of the birds. My Under barrel has an IC choke, and is the barrel I select to shoot first. The Over barrel has a M choke and shoots second. I tend to shoot quick, so the IC affords me to shoot when the bird is relatively close. If I miss, the M has enough range to knock the birds down.

Weight is a factor, but they aren't always lighter. What is generally true is the receiver is much shorter than a pump or auto. So, if you are comparing your 870 with a 26" barrel vs. a Double Barrel with a 26" barrel, the Double will be a few inches shorter. This is a savings in weight, and improves gun handling.

Hope this helps!

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CigarGuy

I don't want to be limited to just 2 shots. What a bummer when your posting or doing a drive, you get to the end of the field and birds are busting out all over!! By the time you reload, the birds are gone. I hate when we have posters with double barrels.

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rwwong

Like I said, your mileage will vary. CigarGuy is right, if you're driving corn fields, and posting. It wouldn't make sense to use a double.

I have 5 shotguns, 1 over under, 3 pumps, and an auto. All of them serve different functions.

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MuleShack

Is there much variation in over under's or things to look for? I mean they are pretty much just s split breach so why are they so expensive?

Any mid range brands that stand out?

I do most of my hunting alone with two dogs, so I don't need 4 or 5 shells.

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bobbymalone

a lot of them are expensive because they are nice. premium stocks, engraved receiver, etc. i think the go to shotgun is a pump followed by an auto. over unders are more for a specialty market -- trap/skeet shooters and those that like a fine gun.

From what I've seen it's mossys and stoegers for $500 or less and pretty much everything else is over a thousand. I'm sure somebody else can chime in.

If you ever get the chance to carry a browning citori out in the field or at the range, you'll understand why they are expensive guns.

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BLACKJACK

I hate when we have posters with double barrels.

I hate when we have posters that are too lazy to take their duck plug out.

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TylerS

Other than tradition, there is nothing advantageous about using a double barrel over a pump or semi-auto. People drag them along on upland hunts because they either feel more sophisticated or because that's what they learned on through years of trap/skeet shooting. Personally, I like have the option of a third, fourth or fifth shot (depending on what is legal and what you are hunting, of course).

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davidbigreelz

rwwong here is most correct, each gun has it's own unique aplications, 2 chokes can be a good advantage, but so can having a few extra shots. As an "ex-cabelas firearms salesman" i would say it depends on you. What are you going to do most with it? Is it going to be strictly a hunting gun? Then you may be better off with something that offers a bit more versatility like a pump or auto, that way you cannot only have more shots, but swap berrels for longer ones, rifled ones for slugs, ect. Are you thinking about getting into trap/skeet? Then by all means a double may be right up your alley, especially if you already have an 870 that can be your "go to field gun"

And most importantly make sure you like the gun, make sure it fits good, it pulls up quick and on alignment without having to adjust how your head rests after you pull up. Each and every double berrel will have a slight difference in how it pulls up, even from the same maker. Beretta SPIII, & SPIV each pull up way different on me, and they both pull up different then a Ruger red label.

Now if there is, lets say a berreta silver pidgeon at this auction going for under 800 and you don't jump on it.... well then thats on you, and you just lost out on a good investment. laugh

edit: but like cigarguy said, i wouldn't post a over/under guy just for the number of rounds available.

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rundrave

I shoot an O/U for several reasons. The main reason being that no matter what I do I always rush my shots, and when I shoot with a pump or auto knowing I have a few extra rounds to shoot I always just fired away and emptied the gun. With an O/U knowing I only have 2 shots, I am extra patient and really focus before I fire. For me personally it has really increased my accuracy.

I also cant find a pump or auto that really fits me well. I am 6'3' with long arms and for some reason a $600 Tristar O/U is my go to gun simply because it fits really comfortable.

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Eric Wettschreck

O/Us don't jam.

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charliepete

I hunt with a an o/u and here is why:

First and foremost...reliability. There isn't a pump or auto in the world that is more reliable than a quality double gun. The biggest failure point on any pump or auto is the movement of the shell from the magazine to the chamber. A double doesn't have that. There is no Bennelli 'click' from having the bolt carrier pushed back. There is no 'short shucking' and getting a shell jammed in the receiver. There is no failure to fire on the second round because of dirt/ice etc prevent the action from cycling. With a double you get 'BOOM. BOOM' every time and I mean every time. Even if the first shell doesn't fire many doubles have mechanical triggers that let you fire the second shot anyway. I'll take 2 shots for certain over 5 shots possibly any day. Looking back at my notes last year I went 25 birds without getting to the second barrel in one stretch.

Multiple chokes are probably the second biggest advantage. With double guns you can have two triggers and 2 chokes if that's what you want. That means if a bird gets up at 40 yards you can instantly get on him with an improved modified choke. Same with using an i/c choke if birds get up at your feet. Being restricted to one choke is like being restricted to one golf club.

Weight and balance are also typically better on doubles. The relative size of the receiver compared to semi's/pumps greatly reduces the weight of the gun. My 12 guage Beretta is a shade under 6 pounds. Carrying it all day is a breeze. You won't catch me cradling it or hanging over the shoulder. Light guns can be carried at port arms which gives you the best opportunity to kill the most birds. The shortened receiver on a double also puts the balance point of the gun more between your hands. What that means is that it's easier to swing on a target. Just ask the legions of gold medal target shooters that favor the o/u over everything else.

The general safety of an double is another plus. If you want to cross a fence you just break the gun and it's essentially unloaded. If you run into another hunter in the field you can just break the action. It's very easy to make it safe, and see whether or not it's loaded.

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CigarGuy

I hate when we have posters that are too lazy to take their duck plug out.

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charliepete

Its actually not legal to hunt pheasants with an unplugged gun in the Dakotas (as long as Dakotas stiil includes North Dakota where its illegal to pheasant hunt with an unplugged gun). Since I'm nitpcking....Iowa has trailed MN in the last half decade of pheasant harvest. You have a better chance of flushing a 'few dozen' birds right here at home.

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goblueM

I hate when we have posters that are too lazy to take their duck plug out.

...what? It's illegal to hunt birds in most states with more than 3 shells, regardless of if they are migratory birds or not

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GSP4ME

IF you cant hit the bird with the first two shots what is the third one going to do. I love the double for many reasons. One the looks, two the feel, three the two different chokes, four the weight, five safety, you know when the gun is unloaded, carry it broke open. Many testing organisations have went to the brake open gun just because of this. You can find lower cost doubles for the same price as a auto or pump, look at Stoger, CZ, tristar, Fausti who is made by Benelli .

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herm

My 2 cents as a moderately new pheasant hunter: I went from 12 ga pump to 20 ga DB, CZ Mallard about 2 years ago. Pros of the DB: Much lighter to carry, 2 different chokes, and - as mentioned - makes you a better/more patient shooter. Con: I believe its range/power is less, which is factor in late-season pheasants. Overall, I am glad I made the change. (I would love to have the problem of running out of shells because too many birds are flushing.) As for price/quality, I could not afford the B guns. A friend put me on to the CZ/Hugli models. While they probably would not hold up to the weekly trap shooter's expectations, I like mine more every time I use it. I believe they are higher quality than Stoegers and other "entry-level" brands. P.S. The Mallard has double triggers, which definitely takes some getting used to.

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davidbigreelz

A friend put me on to the CZ/Hugli models. While they probably would not hold up to the weekly trap shooter's expectations

+1 CZ huglu canvasback or mallard is a great entry level U/O or side X side(bob white & ringneck models) and a great gun company. I almost wouldn't call them entry level. I would recomend pretty much any CZ to any shooter for any reason lol. If looking in this price range i would definetely say at least hold one and pull it up a few times especially over any stoeger, tristar. In fact ild take one CZ Huglu Ringneck over 3 or 4 tristar/stoegers given to me lol.

If you can't tell i admit i am biased to CZ based on experience, my next handgun is going to be a CZ 75b, and next 1911 a dan wesson(now cz) classic commander bobtail. you just can't beat em at their price.

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TylerS

Riddle me this all you double gun proponents: What happens when a rooster gets up, you shoot it with your first barrel, and then a late riser gets up closer and you blow it apart with your tighter-choked barrel? Or, what happens when a staggered covey of ruffs get up and you have to reload after the first to shots?

I'm all for the tradition of a double, and you are correct on the safety aspect, but other than that I really don't see how having different chokes and restricting one's self to two shells can be seen as beneficial.

And I could argue on the reliability of a pump. I honestly can't remember when my 870 had a failure. As for semis, well they're only as reliable as the user's ability to keep them clean. My buddy is a religious gun cleaner, and he ran his Browning Maxus (one of those "dirty" gas guns) all last fall without a malfunction.

Doubles aren't infallible. It takes about 30 seconds on a shotgun forums to find a dozen threads about ejector malfunctions, firing pins, etc.

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davidbigreelz

i believe your reasons were covered on the 3rd and 10th replies here.

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rundrave

What happens when a rooster gets up, you shoot it with your first barrel, and then a late riser gets up closer and you blow it apart with your tighter-choked barrel?

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TylerS

Seems like a lot of work to shoot a double barrel grin

I'd rather shoot my five and have my dog bring all five of them back to hand and be done for the day wink sorry, couldn't resist.

I can't even count how many times I wound up using a third shell this fall. Off the top of my head, I can recall a couple very vivid times:

1) A true northwoods ruff double. Remy pointed near the trail, and after I tromped around a bit without kicking up anything, I released him to flush the birds. Both grouse got up in unison. I shot the lead bird, missed the second bird with the second shot, then connected on the third. Couldn't do that with a double gun!

2) A hungarian partridge triple. Remy pointed a covey of about 15 birds. Five flushed in the first wave and I shot and dropped one. On the report, the remainder flushed and I shot a double with two shots. Since the limit is five, I still had two birds to go. Plus there were plenty of sharpies in the area.

3) A long-bomb pheasant. Remy pointed a rooster dead to rights in some thick cattail stubble. After my kicking about did nothing, I released him to find the bird. He ran about 20 yards up and the rooster flushed. In the rush of the moment, I missed the first shot (a gimme going-away riser), the second, and finally dropped the bird on the third shot at about 45 yards. It was a ridiculously long shot, but it fell stone dead and Remy made the retrieve.

Those are just a couple reasons I like to have a gun that gives me the opportunity to fire more than two shells.

And don't get me started on mourning doves! Sometimes I wish I had two semi autos ready to go when they start flying fast and furious!

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GSP4ME

the simple answer to the bird flushing close, shoot it in the head. the other simple answer, shoot what you are comfortable with. I love my double and will stick with it. The guy who likes the pump stick with it and so on.

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rundrave

all this talk about bird dogs, and shooting. Is it hunting season yet..... smile

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