Being so poor as I am I can only afford a decent gun if I stick with a pump, and I love pumps. I can shoot the heck out of mine. However, this has not prevented me from being tempted by a nice high end SxS. I would guess that if you polled non shooting Americans on what a shotgun was the vast majority would envision either the pump or the SxS, thanks in larger part by cartoons I'd bet.
My favorite shotgun use to be a sxs, actually I always hunted with a sxs (for more than 30 years). Then I got myself a Weatherby Athena IV o/u and scores got much better. Swinging the 26" barrels on Doves is much easier know. The SxS I like to use it for Partridge. Semi & Pump for Ducks.
I have a SXS that I would not sell for love nor money but I like the pump for versatility. I do believe I could swing it by the barrell and shoot golf. (except I don't shoot/play golf) The pump gives me an extra shot, and its not that heavy to tote. Besides, mine fits me like a glove. Best part of my pump was the price tag in 1971. ($77.00) If I could go back I would buy a bunch of them. (right after the divorce)
That was a tough choice.
I really like my Beretta 391 Urica Gold but I tend to shoot my 686 & 687 more. Possibly the fact that with the O/U guns I don't have to pickup empty hulls for reloading weighs my choice away from the semiauto.
When I started, I bought a Beretta O/U, and a Browning Sidelock SxS. Ken Davies from Holland & Holland was my instructor. We tried both guns on various kinds of shots on a sporting clays course, and it was a toss up. On some birds I would do better with the O/U, and on others with the SxS.
Later, however, I noticed with the O/U that my left eye would tend to muscle in on the action that was always controlled at the start of a session in the field by my right eye - and I would begin to miss birds to the right. The problem did not come up when shooting the SxS, because the heel of the thumb on my left hand blots out the view of the muzzle from the left eye. With the SxS, the left eye couldn't mess me up, so that's what I use now for everything.
The SxS is kind of old fashioned, and according to Tulio Fabbri it is not as strong a design as an O/U gun, but it works for me.
I like them all, for all sorts of different reasons. But I still have that soft spot in me for the Winchester Model 12. I always wanted one as a kid,but could never afford one. The one I have now is a true collector piece. Therefore, I had to vote the pump number one, followed closely by all other types as number two. No gun ranks third for me.
My current list of nuts- Baker 1898 Damascus barrel double hammer gun / Winchester Model 12 26" IC solid rib black diamond straight checkered grip 12ga / Winchester 1300 Black Shadow Turkey 12ga / Winchester SX2 3 ½" 12ga / Browning Gold Hunter 20ga / Stoeger 2000 Shadow grass 12ga / Beretta AL391 Urika Gold 12ga / Remington 870 Wingmaster 20ga /
If I could have only one gun, I would have to cry as the others leave, it would be a Franchi 48. I recently bought a Rem 11-87 that I really like. Both are semis. They work.
I also have a Nova pump that I can count on. It works.
SKB semis and an O/U or two. They all work when the whistle blows.
That Franchi 48 won my heart over 40 years ago. I fell in love with it and it has been faithful and never gets a headache. I've had a lot of guns to come and go within this time period, but it ain't going anywhere.
I would have to with the pump. I love how reliable they are plus quick follow up shots. Over unders are a close second on my list. I do love the semi's too its just i dont like having to feed some guns special shells.
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