How bad are cheap over/unders ?


Pork Fat
March 6, 2006, 10:47 PM
I have seen it written in a couple of threads that someone getting a Stoeger
Condor or equivalent gun for sporting clays will likely get frustrated and quit.
This scenario is to illustrate the futility of attempting to start out with a budget gun, and that one really MUST spend 800-1200 bucks just to give themselves and the sport a fair shake.
Are these Turkish boomsticks so ill-fitting, inaccurate, or fragile as all that?
How about the Russian guns? I pick up a Khan or Huglu or Baikal, throw it up to my shoulder, and think "Not bad". They definitely are not as well finished
as the nicer brands. I can appreciate the Berettas and Brownings and I believe that they are worth the money. I, however, am not.
Is the money in the polishing and wood-to-metal fit? Or is the steel and wood itself so markedly superior? My current guns consist of a Mossberg 500 riot gun and an 870 Express,so you can see that my shotgun aesthetic is not very advanced. The Remington does as well as I let it at sporting clays, but I feel a bit underdressed when the Perrazzi guys come by in their golf carts.
Also, is there a thread or chart that shows who actually makes the guns for some of these brands? (Stoeger, Mossberg, Remington Spartan, CZ, etc.)

I know some of this has been touched on before, and I apologize for any redundancy, but any fresh insights will help. This could be the shotgun guy's
"Hi-Point vs. SIG", so I'll sit back and wait in eager anticipation. Thanks-

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March 6, 2006, 11:08 PM
My father-in-law bought a Baikal O/U in 20 gauge last year before duck season and it's worked very well now for 2 years. Nice single trigger with ejectors that worked flawlessly. The machining was well done - nowhere near what you'll see on most $1,000 + guns, but his cost <$400. Remington is now marketing the Baikals under the Spartan Arms name - available at your local Wally World.

I bought one of their 3 1/2" 12 ga. semi autos after seeing the deal he got on his over/under and have liked it just fine. Not much in the looks department but built like a tank and has been very reliable.

March 6, 2006, 11:10 PM
Um...most shotgunners think Steoger is just fine. Why not look at Spartan by Remington?

your delema is kind of like me and fly fishing. I realy WANT to get into it...But I was just at lunkers the other day, and the CHEAP panfish rods are like $125, and another $100 for the reel, with some rods reaching over $620! WHY? Im sure it preforms better than a Walmart fly rod, but is it $600 worth of aditional preformance? I doubt it.

Similarly, I have NO doubt a Franchi or Beretta O/U will have better fit and finish, and higher quality wood than a Steoger or Spartan. Is it $900 worth of aditional preformance? I doubt it.

March 6, 2006, 11:56 PM
You get what you pay for with shotguns and there is no free lunch.

If you think the Stoeger or Baikal will make you as happy as a Beretta or Browning then buy it and be happy. But don't delude yourself that either of these guns are in the same league or that all you are paying for is cosmetics. Stoegers and Baikals are crude, sloppy shotguns with lousy triggers that handle like logs.

I've owned cheap and I've owned quality and all else being equal I will hit more targets with a better gun than with the bargain basement delight. The cheap guns are long gone and best forgotten. The good ones stuck around.

If you're going to shoot 100 clay targets once a week (a relatively modest amount) you will very quickly spend more money on clay targets and shells than you will the price of a Browning or Beretta. Why spend all that money only to scrimp on the gun when it may hold you back from reaching your potential?

March 7, 2006, 12:41 AM
I would submit humbly that unless you have proven yourself a better shot than your current shotgun allows (you'd know it) then you gain nothing with a better gun. I own a Baikal trap gun and I have yet to blame a missed clay on it. My abilities won't allow me to exploit a gun of that quality so lucky for me a gun of that quality won't be exploiting me Financially.

In seriousness if you can afford them they are wonderful guns and a treasure to own but my lifestyle will just not allow me to own one in good concience. Later in life when the kids are educated and the wife allows me to live in a more reasonably priced location then I may indulge but for now I play on the cheap but I still get to play.

March 7, 2006, 07:57 AM
I got the wife a $500 O/U (name totally escapes me at 6am in the morning) to start with to see if she would like shooting.
She did
That gun had well over 4000 rounds through it when we upgraded (because we could and wanted to, not because we need to) and now it's a backup/training for newbies gun.
Will that gun go 100,000 rounds? probably not, but for $500 it was a fine deal.
Get started with teh cheap gun, the reason you miss is not because of the gun.

March 7, 2006, 08:07 AM
Mr PorkFat,

Take the 870 Express that you already own, and shoot it becomes part of you. The clay targets won't know the difference when you blow them out of the sky. Use your over/under shotgun money on ammo...lots of it. Don't worry about the Perazzi guys. I have seen many a time when a stuffed shirt high dollar gun type gets his clock cleaned by a average joe type with an 870. Great entertainment :).


Just my .02,

March 7, 2006, 08:41 AM
My brother-in-law and I occasionally go golfing together. He's really serious about golf. I see it as a good way to kill an afternoon when I don't have anything else to do, drink a few beers, and hang out with buddies. He had recently purchased a high-tech high-dollar driver that he paid over $500 for. I got my entire set of clubs used from some guy down the road for about $50.

All the way to the golf course he was bragging about this awesome driver, and how sweet it felt, how he could crush a ball with it, and how he was going to finally beat me at driving. We lined up at the first tee, I drove, and then he drove. Both shots stayed in the fairway, and his ball went 2 yards farther than mine.

So did he hit the ball further with the high-dollar driver? Yes. Was it worth (on average) $250-per-yard? I don't think so. In fact, I think it'd be a stupid way to burn money - but it wasn't my money. It was his, and he seemed happy.

March 7, 2006, 01:47 PM
Gun Opinions (

Gun ID & Value (

Baikal/Spartan (

Stoeger (

Yildiz (

March 7, 2006, 02:16 PM
There are a few things that are different.

1. Finish and wood appearance. Let's dismiss those out of hand. Even within the Beretta lineup, you can get identical guns with fancier wood and engraving, and they all shoot the same. But the nature of this thread implies that we want to pay for performance, not rack appeal.

1a. Stock shape. This DOES impact performance. A well-designed stock with good checkering, the right size and shape foreend, maybe a palmswell and some cast, and a nice wrist will feel better and shoot better than a rudimentary stock, at least on an O/U.

2. Metallurgy. Some guns have soft or brittle steel, so their firing pins wear out or break, or their actions go from tight, to loose, to squirrelly loose. Others are built to just keep shooting. Baikal chokes have been known to blow right out the end of the barrels, but the barrels and actions are built like tanks. I've definitely heard mixed reviews of some Turkish and Brazilian actions, with complaints about poor-quality steel.

3. Machining. Some guns are so well polished inside that you want to leave the gun taken down so people can see the innards! Others are just machined well enough to work well, not to be pretty where no one sees. And still others don't fit together well, have burrs and rough spots where it actually matters. #1 and #2 perform similarly; #3 guns are to be avoided.

4. Chokes and barrels. Quality varies. I get AMAZING patterns from my Browning 34" trap barrel with old Invector chokes. There's just no way that some $100 cryo choke tubes could be better, because I've seen the patterns. But some chokes do suck. And some double guns don't shoot to the same point with both barrels.

5. Weight and balance. This can be a personal thing. But here is where the value in a Beretta shows. Swing a Beretta and a Stoeger, and you will feel a difference. A Mossberg International Silver Reserve (under $500 new) is pretty and looks (intentionally) like a taller, fatter Beretta. With a palm swell, it feels GREAT. A Beretta feels better, though. If you don't feel that the difference is worth $1500, then it isn't. One day, after thousands of rounds for points, it might be; or maybe the Mossberg just fits you better than the Beretta, no matter what. But the Mossberg feels AWFULLY NICE for the money, or even for more money! CZ Huglus are really nice as well.

(Remember that a Beretta is considered a "value" gun by a lot of serious shotgunners. See enough Ljutics and Perazzis and a Beretta starts looking like a bargain. Seriously.)

Personally, I think Stoegers are clunkers. I also think Browning Citoris are clunkers, at least in 12 Gauge, though. By clunker, I mean a shotgun that feels like a 2x4 attached to a dumbbell and a piece of pipe. I would rather shoot a Mossberg Silver Reserve than the Citoris I've tried. I like the Mossberg. The Browning Cynergy, though, is a thing of incredible beauty and balance, IMHO.

Look inside the gun at the machining. See how it fits together (see above).

Baikals are a mixed bag. Their stocks aren't pretty (who cares?), but they are well-built, at least if you're willing to buy some aftermarket choke tubes if yours pattern like crap or blow out of the barrel, and not all of them do. Balance can be dubious, but you can add lead to a trap or sporting clays gun and fix that for REAL cheap. For hunting, though, you don't want a heavy gun with added lead.:)

The only way to tell is go to the store and swing them all. Try the CZ's! Try the Mossberg Silver Reserve. Try the Berettas, Brownings (compare Citori and Cynergy: they're like night and day), and Winchesters. Compare the Stoegers and Baikals. See how they fit and feel. Some are so cheap, who CARES if they break in a few years?

Also, don't forget to pick up a Wingmaster or 1100 and ask yourself if an O/U is REALLY what you like. No harm in seeing how they feel.

Good luck and have fun!

March 7, 2006, 02:35 PM
Put me in with "you get what you pay for" crowd.

I got into clay games a little over a year ago. Borrowed a dealer friend's Baikal O/U with full intention of buying it from him. Shot it for about 3 weeks and then he made the mistake of letting me shoot a Lanber 2097. I didn't buy the Baikal, did buy the Lanber and started getting serious about skeet. The Lanber turned out to be a decent gun, but not a great skeet gun for me. Too much comb drop, too light, started loosening up around 5K rounds. Ended up buying a used Remington 1100 20ga standard frame and continued to learn the game. Should've bought the 1100 first.

After I got to the place where I could hit 25 straight with regularity and was averaging around 90/100, I wanted to start shooting sub-gauges and compete. I stumbled into a great deal on a used Kreighoff with tubes and I haven't looked back. Now I have a Lanber 2097 and an 1100 that generally gather dust in the safe. The 1100 comes out for guests, but that Lanber is just $550 I wasted, IMO. If I still hunted upland, I'd probably take it afield.

YMMV of course, but I wish now that I'd avoided the budget O/Us altogether. The 1100 was the ticket for learning. A used "B" gun or better, is the proper tool for the game though.

March 7, 2006, 03:05 PM
BTW feeling "underdressed" is no reason to drop $500 on a lousy gun. You won't feel any richer with a Stoeger in your hand.:)

March 7, 2006, 03:32 PM
I don't understand shotgunning at all, at least the clay sport mentality. Why is it that one needs to spend $1,000 + on a gun for it to be considered a minimum standard "quality", when $500 will buy you one of the best bolt actions around (Rem Model 700), or pistol (any Glock)? For less than half of what it costs for a nice clay O/U, you can buy an AR 15 decked out that is a much much more complicated weapon. If someone has a good explanation for the price differential, I'd love to hear it.

Pork Fat, like you, I have an 870. I have been shooting in several sporting clay tournaments a year recently with a buddy that is getting into the game. He went out and bought a Mossberg Silver Reserve and loves it. I just recently decided the pump was killing me, and went out and bought a Yildiz O/U (little known Turkish gun, cheap but good quality). Another friend bought a Spartan and it's built like a tank, I am sure it will hold up to anything he throws at it, and he's good with it. Do some research and go for it. You don't need to spend big bucks to have a nice O/U.

March 7, 2006, 03:42 PM
The reason an 870 shooter has a hard time understanding why some shotguns are expensive and worth it is because an 870 is such a damned good gun.

Other cheap guns break with 1/10 the number of rounds it takes for an 870 to need anything but oil.

And an 870 balances really nicely.

There's a reason they still sell after 56 years of continuous production. I love my cheap Express.

But I sure do like my BT-99 for trap. I got it for a good price, and it's an older one with a foreend I much prefer to the new ones. New Japanese Brownings leave me wondering why they're so expensive; the machining seems to have slipped and they're really plain-jane for the money.

I have never seen a high-end O/U that wasn't really nice to have. But I don't think that you NEED one. Still, if a $500 gun wears out in a year, but a $2000 gun works great for ten years, then can be re-sold for the original price, the which is the better deal?

March 7, 2006, 03:53 PM
I don't understand shotgunning at all, at least the clay sport mentality. Why is it that one needs to spend $1,000 + on a gun for it to be considered a minimum standard "quality", when $500 will buy you one of the best bolt actions around (Rem Model 700), or pistol (any Glock)? For less than half of what it costs for a nice clay O/U, you can buy an AR 15 decked out that is a much much more complicated weapon. If someone has a good explanation for the price differential, I'd love to hear it.

I see decked out ARs go for more than what a good used Browning or Beretta O/U can be purchased for all the time. Yeah, you can get an Olympic Arms AR for $600, but you're not going to be competitive in High Power with it.

An M700 is a nice rifle, but put one side by side with a mid-range Perazzi or a Krieghoff and you can SEE the difference in quality, fit and finish. If you're just gonna take the kids to soccer practice and get the groceries, a mini van will suffice. But if you're going to run the Baja 500, you better have equipment up to the task.

March 7, 2006, 03:57 PM
I'll agree. If you get a chance to shoot a Perazzi, Ljutic, Krieghoff, etc., you'll see that they compare favorably with the rifles in their price ranges.

There are production guns that fall in the sensible middle, though, like Berettas, Brownings, Belgian Winchesters, etc.

March 7, 2006, 07:09 PM
True story:

About the third time I went to the skeet range after getting out of the army, I brought along a Sportsman 48 in 16 ga.
I had already shot with other that were there at prior times, and there were two guys there who I hadn't met before. One had a Perrazzi, and the other had a K-80. Neither could hit much, but as they were shooting standard skeet, I was shooting doubles from a low-gun position (I always do). I ran the field, and these guys were just flabbergasted.
I told them the truth about the gun, a friend just pretty much gave it to me because he needed the cash and I wanted to try a box through it.
I wear blue jeans and work boots, drive a beat up pickup, and stink from last nights beer festivities.
Then I went and got my Beretta 686 and did the same thing.
Before I had my 686, I had (and still do have) a Baikal 28 ga. SxS that I picked up and tried skeet with. I got hooked with that gun and after a while, I was running 25/25, 50/50, etc...
I've run more fields with that 28 than with my 12's.
Just love it.
Don't have to worry about much except burning your fingers on a hot summer day speed shooting.
Needles to say, it doesn't matter what you shoot, it's how well you shoot.
And I've got more stories about going to shoots at high end ranges and looking less than low-key and pissing off the country club shooters. I really get a kick out of it.

March 7, 2006, 09:18 PM
And I've got more stories about going to shoots at high end ranges and looking less than low-key and pissing off the country club shooters. I really get a kick out of it.
Yes I'm sure you have lots of stories.:rolleyes:

I read these "stories" on the net all the time. I rarely see it happen at the range.

When I see a shooter in the winner's circle at the Grand or a major Fitasc shoot with a Baikal I might even believe some of these "stories."

Shell Shucker
March 7, 2006, 10:50 PM
I believe that you get what you pay for. The quality difference between a B gun and a cheapy is obvious to me. I can tell that a K-80 is made stouter and finished better than my Citoris. For ME the added money for the K-80 is past the point of diminishing returns and personally I find them a little clunky (heavy) feeling. I might feel differently if I shot one long term; I have an open mind!

I started out with pumps and shunned them for a bunch of autos, finally got a couple of O/Us (Brownings). Eventually got rid of the autos and ended up with a bunch of OJPs (old junk pumps; term of endearment) and the 2 Citoris! The autos helped me to build my skill to the point that I could appreciate the difference between shotguns of different types/quality. I don't know if my skills would have improved to what they are now if i'd stuck with pumps or if I'd appreciate the O/U for what it is if it was my first gun. The autos were a good learning tool for the money I had at the time. Any way, I feel that I can now shoot a pump as well as an auto MOST of the time and I can shoot the O/Us even better. I really like pumps, especially the old ones with the machined steel parts!

I recently had some fun with an OJP (Western Field, Monkey Wards Mossberg, 20ga with C-lect Choke, gun is so old it has a walnut stock!) that I just paid a whooping $100 for. I had thoroughly cleaned it but funtioning was still less than stellar.... I was squaded up with a couple of "DUDES", you know the type, fancy skeet outfits, cute gloves, pink glasses and shinny new B O/Us. Did I mention 15 practice swings before every shot? It was obvious they had thier doubts about me in my cut-offs, t-shirt, and that junky looking gun. I was shooting low gun and SPANKED them. The disbelief they felt was obvious. I did not say a word but I was laughing inside. That gun broke a couple rounds later....
Buy the best quality gun you can afford at the time. Shoot it and enjoy it. Trade up when you can if you want to. The main thing is to ENJOY shooting and not worry about who has what. The old hands worthy of your respect are not looking down on your gun, they are just glad you're shooting. Most people start out with less than the best.......

Pork Fat
March 7, 2006, 11:12 PM
Thanks for all the input- It's nice to get reasoned advice. I think that my problem, and I suspect that I am not alone, is that I will often cast about for a justification to buy a new gun without first developing the skills that would enable me to exploit it. I should spend "gun money" at the clays course and on shells, not new hardware.
New gun fever seems to hit me this time of year, and I tend to focus on the ones that are attainable NOW, not save up for that one gun that I may never get if the furnace goes up or the wife's car starts making that scary noi$e.
Point taken on buying a budget gun to impress- shouldn't be a priority and wouldn't work anyway.
If I could shoot like Rpriestljr., I'd just use the 18", ventilated handguard ,sidesaddle shell holder sportin', tacticool Mossberg and show up all
them boys. Yup. Until that day, I'll keep looking. Thanks, fellas.

(p.s.- I'd use OO buck, natch)

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