O/U vs S/S


December 31, 2013, 05:36 PM
I have a new bird dog and am thinking of getting a new bird gun. I have used a 20ga pump for 65 years so I am do for a new gun. I have shot O/U and like them but I also like the idea of a classic S/S. I will get a 28 or 20 and there are more O/U available. All thoughts and commits on the advantages of each are welcome.

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December 31, 2013, 05:46 PM
My opinion is that you can find a higher quality O/U for the same price as a cheap-o SxS. I'd go with the better O/U.

Jim Watson
December 31, 2013, 05:47 PM
I could be a wise guy and say to get a shotgun with the barrels oriented the same way as the birddog's eyes.

But I won't. Although I still think a SxS is just the natural bird gun.

December 31, 2013, 05:59 PM
Jim W I agree the SxS seems a natural choice but Guy is correct I can get a O/U for less money. If I come across a good used SxS I will be tempted. I am not aware of anyone making a good reasonable priced SxS but I could be wrong. The puppy's eyes do go sxs and don't seem to cross [at 9 weeks he is pointing].

December 31, 2013, 06:44 PM
I don't own an O/U. Been wanting one, but it's not really necessary, just that I don't have one. I absolutely LOVE my SxS Spartan, yeah it's cheap, but it handles and shoots naturally for me and, rumors aside, it's well regulated. It's also a rugged little gun. I do better with it on doves than any other shotgun I own. Even taken a few ducks with it, but I prefer my 12s for that.

Took a bluebill off the tank today with my old Sarsqueta SxS. Hadn't killed a duck with that gun in 30 years. Took 4 doves with it yesterday afternoon, late dove season is on. More shooting than it's done in quite a while. We moved out here into the woods last year and I find my two SxSs the perfect knock about woods guns. Even took an 8 point buck several weeks ago with the 20 gauge Spartan and a load of 3 buck to the head from 35 yards.

Yeah, I might get a quality O/U in the future just to own, but I really have all the shotguns I need for hunting. I don't do any upland hunting other than doves, no flushing birds. It's ducks, geese, and doves around here, if you know anything about the Eagle Lake/Garwood, Texas area. I'm quite happy with my pumps and auto for ducks and geese. Even use a single shot 10 gauge on geese.

December 31, 2013, 07:52 PM
Your budget will determine the answer.

CHEAP SxS guns run to about 1500; CHEAP O/U run to about 1000 - so you have more leeway with a O/U when looking for something that will last.

Can a cheap gun maybe last and do the job for you? Quite possibly........do you want to run the risk of it breaking in the middle of a shoot? Only you can answer that

If I was in the mood for a SxS, and was on a limited budget or under $1500, I would look for a S&W Elite Gold or the twin a Dickinson from Cabelas.....the best Turkish gun made (and I OWN one), and it is a true trigger plate action with true case colored hardening

December 31, 2013, 08:20 PM
A good friend of mine told me once - Real shotguns have two barrels, one right next to the other one!

I have my grandfathers Savage built Fox AE grade 12 ga, 28" bbls IM xIM. It's my upland gun and I love it. But you will get more gun for your money with an O/U to be honest. There are not many affordable quality SxS's being made. Of course if you don't have to worry about steel shot you could go looking for nice American built classic gun from back in the day.

December 31, 2013, 08:39 PM
One of the best upland guns ever made was the lowly Beretta 'Essential' which is sadly no longer made but can be had NIB for $1100+/-100. The O/U is obviously better that is why most competitive shooters use them. There are couple good reasons for this:

1. first shot from lower barrel offers less felt recoil
2. second on rising targets the barrels obstruct target less.

Pete D.
January 1, 2014, 07:34 AM
When you are looking at a SXS, you are pretty much always looking at a field gun. With that in mind, comparison to O/Us in competition is kinda moot...the O/U dominates competitions for lots of good reasons.
The SXS field gun is going to shoot flatter.....shooting trap, you are going to have to cover your target. Learn to do that and you can make a SXS work pretty well for you.
In the huckleberries, though, along field edges, among the birches..where the bird is not made of clay, where the gun is not carried mounted, where the target can rise from beneath my feet, from in front of the dogs nose, or those Autumn Olives over there and be moving impossibly fast in less than a moment...I want a SXS.
Nothing points like a SXS.
http://i492.photobucket.com/albums/rr287/PeteDoyle/PICT0052.jpg (http://s492.photobucket.com/user/PeteDoyle/media/PICT0052.jpg.html)


January 1, 2014, 08:47 AM
Well said Pete. I am not in to skeet or trap but will on occasion shoot sporting clays and a sxs is not a handicap with clays. With the end of hunting season coming up I may be able to find something.

January 1, 2014, 09:23 AM
i have six double barreled shotguns and they are meant to be hunted with and i love to hunt ringnecks over dogs and the doubles allow for flush and long range shots with instance choke choice, i also have two o/u,s that also offer the same choices of choke. i have shot my doubles at trap and do quite good and shot a strait 25 with my 1900 remington with 32" steel barrels. if i had to have just one double and one o/u, they would be my 28 inch browning BSS double 20ga 3 inch chambered and a o/u browning upland special with 24 inch barreles with 2-3/4 chambers with strait stock.eastbank.

The Bushmaster
January 1, 2014, 10:15 AM
My choice for a field gun...Browning BSS

January 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
I love my O/U s. I use them for dove hunting, pheasants, & all the clay games. I have never really hunted with a SxS, but I can see where short & light would be best for hunting birds in thick cover or steep terrain. I guess it depends on what your primary use(s) will be.

January 1, 2014, 10:28 AM
I like the sxs. It's like looking down a highway!

January 1, 2014, 01:49 PM
I learned to shoot shotguns from my father. He was an amazing skeet shooter and shot 25 straight most every time. He taught me when I was 12 to shoot skeet with an unmounted gun and use sustained lead. I have shot this way for over 40 years it has served me well both on the skeet field and hunting. The biggest issue I found after years of shooting single barrels & O/U's is the width of the sighting plane of the S/S. It through me off on crossing shots. I found the only way I could hit on stations 2-6 was pass through instead of sustained lead. As I don't feel like changing shooting styles with the gun, so as much as I love the look and feel of the S/S, I'll stick to my O/U's.

January 1, 2014, 03:41 PM
Over the years I have found I do considerably better (upland hunting and shooting trap), with the single sighting plane of my pump, semi-auto, and O/U shotguns, than I do with the wider view down the barrels of a S/S. I first started hunting with an old Ithaca Model 37 20 gauge and I guess since then I have always felt that the single barrel sight picture was the most natural and most consistant one for me to use.

January 1, 2014, 08:55 PM
I don't get this thing about sighting planes. you should be looking at the bird, not the barrels
Now, the width and holding them might be something, narrow versus wide, otherwise, look, point naturally, shoot

loose noose
January 1, 2014, 09:00 PM
I've got O/Us as well as SXS's, for hunting I prefer the SXS, for clay games I definitely prefer the O/U. Just the way I was brought up I guess.

Had an old Lefever SXS when I was a kid shooting ducks, man that was one accurate well made shotgun. Too bad my cousin made off with it after I went into the USMC, often wondered what ever happened to that gun.

January 1, 2014, 09:20 PM
I don't get this thing about sighting planes. you should be looking at the bird, not the barrels
Now, the width and holding them might be something, narrow versus wide, otherwise, look, point naturally, shoot
Your observation -look at bird, not barrel- ought to be one of the very first concepts taught in shot-gunning.
Provided, of course, that the gun fit places the shooter's eye right behind the sighting plane.

January 1, 2014, 09:33 PM
See my sig line.
Gil and Vicki are two highly regarded instructors and their statement I quoted makes sense for clays and birds

Pete D.
January 2, 2014, 05:44 AM
....about sighting planes. you should be looking at the bird, not the barrels
+1 about that.
Never have understood the sighting plane argument. Especially when hunting.
Sighting plane...Ruffed Grouse? Nuhuh.

January 2, 2014, 07:56 AM
I don't get this thing about sighting planes. you should be looking at the bird, not the barrels

I asked a fellow that same question once and he said the width of the barrels drew his eyes away from the bird. Personally I always liked my SxS's with their sleek figure and straight grip stocks. The only problem I had with an O/U was how far they have to break open to clear the bottom shell, but boy are they fast on follow up shots. My SxS's are all gone now as well as my O/U and I'm back to using pumps in the field now, but nothing is as pretty to my eyes as a handy SxS scattergun.

January 2, 2014, 11:29 AM
I've never found a pump or S/A shotgun that I liked all that much. I've owned and shot a number of pumps and semis over the years, (only own a 1954 Belgium Browning A5 as a HD gun currently) but just didn't really connect with any of them. I've always been a SxS and O/U guy and ended up with two that fit me like they were custom built for me, and I shoot my best with them. The O/U is a Remington 3200 and the SxS is an inexpensive Fox Model B 20 ga. (not the B-SE which I also have owned but didn't care for all that much). I prefer this simple, inexpensive old SxS over a number of other more expensive SxS guns I've tried. Also, I find that I like the beaver-tail forearms on SxS guns, and only seem to like the smaller gauges because the forearm isn't overly wide and barrels not overly bulky like on a 12 ga. I love shooting dove, quail, or clay targets with the old Model B!

January 2, 2014, 11:52 AM
I don't think the pump or auto can compete with the double, whatever configuration, on upland birds. It'll work, but they're just generally slower. I significantly shoot better with my little 20 gauge SxS than with my previous favorite, my Winchester 1400 autoloader, on doves.

However, I will forever prefer pumps or autos on waterfowl. For one, they handle heavy loads. You need the weight for heavy loads. And, they swing smoother, yet the little 1400 or one of my Mossbergs is quick enough to the shoulder for those fast teal that show up out of nowhere just at shooting time. And, my repeaters are in 12 gauge which is neigh on essential in a steel shot world. I didn't want my double in 12 gauge when I bought it. I'm not the recoil junky I was when I was 19 and bought that Sarasqueta. That thing ain't too bad with light dove loads, but with heavy lead 6s or 3" magnum lead BBs, it was a punisher. It's not bad if you only fire less than a box, typical for a limit of ducks, but a 2 day dove hunt can have you stove up for a while. The 20 is ligher, yet easier on me. My pumps are a little heavier and dampen even 3" well. But, I've yet to try a 3.5" in that Mossberg 535 I bought. That's a good shootin' gun, but it's no heavier than my 500. I have a 10 gauge for geese, 9 lb shotgun, works very well. If that 535 don't pattern close to the 10 or pounds me with 3.5", I'll stick with the ten on geese. On snows, you often have clear days where they just won't come down below 50 yards no matter HOW good you are with a call our how good your spread is. Steel Ts from a 10 gauge patterning over 90 percent at 40 yards on a 30" circle are instant death to 50 yard, even 60 yard snow geese. My 10 is a single shot. Really don't need a second shot, though I have taken doubles with pumps in the past using 3" Federal Tungsten Iron, before it went up from $1.30 a shot to over 3 bucks. :rolleyes:

Just rambling here, but yeah, there's BIG place in my gun cabinet for my repeaters as I live in goose/duck country and have hunted them all my life. I've never actually shot a bird over a pointer, any kind of bird. I'd love to do it, just never had the land or the dog or the opportunity by invite. All my dogs have been Labrador retrievers including Molly, my current dog and a danged good one. :D Doves are what I call "upland" game. :D

Fred Fuller
January 2, 2014, 02:50 PM
Your dog will like you better if you hunt with a SxS :D

Actually, as with so many things, it's a matter of personal preference.

Yours, not the dog's :D

January 2, 2014, 07:35 PM
I'd like to try a 20 gauge auto, something like a used 1100. Hard to find used, though, usually 12s around here. A 20 would perhaps be lighter and faster, though I doubt it'd match my little SxS.

January 2, 2014, 07:59 PM
I tried SxS several times , and had a 12 ga Ithaca SKB. I just could not shoot it as well as O/Us. Got a OU SKB, the narrower sight plane tended to focus my eye on the target IMO. My go to grouse gun is a CZ OU 20 ga, and the SKB OU has taken over 100 Pheasants.

January 3, 2014, 02:42 PM
Being a traditionalist, I find the gracefull lines of a straight gripped (English style) SxS to be the most aesthetically pleasing,
From a pratical side, the SxS shape gives the foreend hand a nice triangle shape to hold on to and the straight stock seems to somehow prevent overshooting.
I had shot other SxS guns and had some difficultys learning to sight downthe rib but since buying a Stoger 20ga double with a CORRECTLY fitting stock I no longer have any issues with that!
Proper stoxk fit is paramount in the selection of a gun no matter what it's intended use! I found mine by dumb luck but I suggest that you take a learned pal with you while shopping for yours.
If you were weined on a pump or semi-auto, perhaps an O/U might be best for you. It gives but one sight plane to look down and simulates a pump/ auto.
Again look for stock fit.
Try to envision what clothes you will be wearing because a heavy jacket can require a shorter LOP.
I have read of troubles with single trigger SxS's Check into that...

January 4, 2014, 07:44 AM
There have been good points given and I have decided to look for a SxS. It seems a CZ-Bobwhite may be a reasonable choice if I can find a used one at a decent price. I see new in the box for sale at Bud's but I will try and find a used one. I will keep the O/U in mind in case one shows up.

January 4, 2014, 05:15 PM
Just a thought, but I'd prefer to try one out in a shop for fit before ordering one.

January 4, 2014, 07:06 PM
I agree, what ever I get it will not be ordering one sight unseen.

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