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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking for a double barrel side by side shotgun in either 20 or 12 gauge to use for squirrel / small game hunting. I love the look of these older styled guns and would love to add one to my collection. I wouldn't mind picking up a used gun in good shape.

Anyone have any recommendations as to what models and manufacturers to look for?

Any models to avoid?

I'm looking for something maybe in the $200 - $300 range. Nothing too expensive. A good used gun would work just fine for me.

Any suggestions?
 

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I recently picked up a Traditions by Fausti.
Italian made, 20 ga, European stock, nice wood, negraved receiver, screw in chokes, very tight lock up. I could not be happier. $350
 

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There are the Russian and Turkish SxSs that are not all that pricey and out there right now. They can be had in 20, 16 or 12 gauge and have choke tubes. Well under 500 bucks most places.

You could also seek out a nice used Stevens 311 in 20 gauge for a squirrel gun. My brother has one that he got out of a pawnshop for maybe 250 bucks and we have shot the daylights out of it. Can't kill it and they're definately not hard to find.

Sometimes, you can find a fairly inexpensive Ugartechea or Zabala Spanish made SxS at a gunshow for about 400 bucks or so. They're very nice guns. I have two: a 410 and 20 gauge. I use the Zabala 20 for dove 90% of the time and its a great shooter.

Some don't like SxS shotguns but I prefer a SxS over the o/u every time.

- Brickboy240
 

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Discussion Starter #6
To be honest, I've never actually shot a side by side. There's just something about it that makes me want to carry one for miles through the woods. I guess its just something that feels right. I'm definitely going to get one. Just depends on what I can find.

What features should I look out for? A previous reply mentioned how a certain brand seemed to lock nice and tightly. Also, replicable chokes would be nice. Not a necessity, but it would be nice to be able to dial in how it patterns to fit the hunting conditions.
 

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As far as double barrel shotguns go...I prefer a SxS versus the more popular O/U.

Why? A few reasons. First, I think (and I cannot prove this) that the SxS is "faster" to get into action than an O/U. It seems to come to the shoulder and is easier to swing through a dove, quail or running rabbit. Again...this is just something I THINK...but others I know that love SxS say the same thing. That big wide sighting plane of two barrels seems to make it easier to swing through a fast moving target.

I think the SxS is better for HUNTING not clays. Also...notice that all the serious English and Scottish wingshooters that shoot very expensive guns on those century's old English/Scottish estates...they all shoot SxS shotguns. Most of the finer English doubles are SxS, not O/U guns. Obviously, more experienced wingshooters also think that the SxS is faster and better for fast wingshooting.

Second, and again..this is preference...I think it sits better in the hands and carries better in the field than an O/U.

Third, I like the double triggers on my SxS shotguns. There is no faster choke/barrel selector than having two triggers. Most O/Us have some wierd, small and awkward sliding button that you cannot switch in a hurry if needed. This is a big plus, if you are hunting rabbits and squirrels, as you can choose the more open choked barrel for running or closer shots and choose the tighter choke to shake the bushytail out of the tall treetops. Most SxS shotguns have the front trigger working the more open choked barrel and the back trigger on the tighter choke. Fast and easy to choose if you ask me!

Fourth, I just love the looks os a SxS...they're just better looking than the O/U shotguns, if you ask me. I grew up with Dad hunting with an Ithaca SxS and he also has a Beretta 20gauge and a 12ga Savage Fox...I guess I am just used to the SxS. It feels comfortable.

So yeah...some of us LOVE the SxS if we're going to hunt with a double. I love mine and maybe someday, I can splurge and buy a nice early 16ga SxS and complete my collection.

To me, the best squirrel/rabbit gun is my Spanish Zabala SxS 410 with 3" #4 shells. For dove...I love the 20ga SxS loaded with #7.5 shot. Its a personal thing...you will either love the SxS or not like it at all.

I like SxS and pump shotguns best.

- Brickboy240
 

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Discussion Starter #8
There is no faster choke/barrel selector than having two triggers. - Brickboy240

Very good point. I am definitely sold on getting a SXS. I'm thinking 20ga is probably about right for what I'll be using it for.

I am looking for something that is very affordable, about $300 or so. I'll have to cruise the used gun sections of my local shops to see what they have. ;)
 

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I got my Stoeger Uplander for $250. It is a decent 20ga SXS. If I it to do again though, I'd go for a Remington Spartan.
 

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In many pawn shops, I see Stevens 311 20 gauges with double trigger quite a bit. Most run about 300 bucks (but you can usually get them for much less). They are built like tanks.

You might also check the gun shows for a nice Spanish 20 gauge double, like a Zabala or Urgartechea. Sometimes these very nice SxS guns sell for about 400 bucks or less and are pretty and really nice shooters. I have a 410 SxS Zabala and its the best squirrel gun you could ask for.

The Russian Baikals and Turkish SxS guns seem nice for the money. I think European American Armory is importing these as well as Remington and Ithaca.

You might also get lucky at a gun show and find a nice old Fulton or Winchester 24 in 20 gauge that sells for 500 or less. Very nice early guns for the money. My brother has a Fulton Hunter Special in 16ga that has Belgian made barrels and is a fantastic shooter that he paid 400 bucks for at a gun show. Fultons were made by L.C. Smith.

- Brickboy240
 
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