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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the "shotgunning" world...

I have a Remington 870 Express and an old "break-action" .410 that I got from my grandfather.

I was looking at the prices on some of these firearms and was shocked to discover the O/U are generally more expensive than all other guns.

IMHO this does not make much sense. The O/U shotguns act with a pretty simple "break-action" and allow the user to load 2 shells. The user fires 2x, then must "break" the gun and reload again. Pretty BASIC...

On the other hand...a SEMI-Auto Shotgun has tons of moving parts and appears to be infinately more complex. I would *think* that this would drive the $$$ on these up...but it does not.

Could someone enlighten me?

Thanks!
 

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Hey Gamefella,

It's funny, when I started shotgunning a few months back, I asked the exact same question. At first I actually thought your post was my old post (until I remembered it was on a different forum)! :D

I do own both a Beretta 391 semi-auto and an 25 year-old Franchi O/U, but I'm definitely no expert on the subject. But I can tell you what people have told me when I asked that question and a little from personal experience...

You mentioned the "simple" action of an O/U, but it's probably not as simple as you think. There's a part of the O/U action that you can't really see that handles inertial ejectors and trigger reset and safety and barrel selector switches. If you think about it, that O/U is doing a lot of things all at once that you don't really notice because it's beneath the surface. A lot of times you'll hear the action of an O/U likened to a Swiss watch. It's like looking at a quality timepiece and saying, "It doesn't have to do much, it just has to move those hands around in a circle." :D

It's true that the semi-auto has more moving parts, but once you open it up, you realize it's not that complicated. A pump-action also has a lot of moving parts, but they are big, solid, machined parts with purposefully loose tolerances (I also have a Mossberg 590A1).

Also remember that you have two firing systems instead of one. You have two firing pins that have to drop flawlessly every time you pull the trigger, they have to fire one at a time and in the order that you choose.

Then you have two barrels that have to shoot to roughly the same point of impact. Double-barrelled rifles are the most extreme example of this. Can you imagine getting one barrel to fire a precision round at 200 yards, then putting another barrel on top of it that has to fire to the exact same place? The shotgun doesn't require quite the same level of accuracy, but you still can't have the top barrel firing a foot to the right of the bottom one when you take that 40 yard trap shot.

Generally speaking, the wood on O/Us is higher quality, which translates directly to dollars. That's not to say you can't get a semi-auto with nice wood (or an O/U with terrible wood).

Again, generally speaking, O/Us have nicer receivers. You don't see too many semi-autos with hand-engraved side plates. Even the top lever on my O/U is engraved :)

So, it all adds up... But I think it's a pretty common sentiment when you first start out to wonder why the heck you have to pay so much to get a decent double-barrel. :eek: I think it's that initial sticker shock that gets most people wondering!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Sander...

Most of that makes sense to me...

I would not mind a manufacturer skipping the "detailed" engraving and "fancy" wooden stocks. I personally don't care too much about looks...just give me a gun that fires well all the time and I'd be happy.

Plus I think there is some kind of agreement with all the makers..."I'll keep my prices high if you do!" <grin> :mrgreen:
 

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Sander, that was an excellent explanation. I also wondered about the costs of a good O/U.
However when I removed the butt stock on my Beretta 686 and saw the compexity of the parts involved, the pricing was more understood.

Rod.
 

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gamefella;

If you are interested in function, not asthetics, NEF is your company! Goes bang just as loud as the rest of them!! Just not a lot of money wasted on looks!!

BP
 

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The major concern I have with any cheap double barrel is how much attention the manufacturer has paid insuring the barrels are firing at the same spot. How the barrels are made and put together is important, and different methods can vary greatly in price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Burnt Powder said:
gamefella;

If you are interested in function, not asthetics, NEF is your company! Goes bang just as loud as the rest of them!! Just not a lot of money wasted on looks!!

BP
I looked at the site...but I could not find any O/U...

Great prices on what I did see though... :D
 

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Gamefella--

First, welcome--plenty of great posters and advice here, as Sander and the others have already demonstrated. Just a couple of remarks to add for your consideration. First--NEF doesn't make doubles, as far as I know. They're all single shots and are fine as far as they go. I've been enjoying looking for quality older single shots lately-- Winchester 37's, etc. Just bought an old Iver Johnson in 16 ga for under $100--maybe only a guy like me can love it. Real quality wood, the kind NEF and H&R hasn't provided for maybe the last couple of decades. Stevens made some good older and fairly low-cost single-shots too. Look around, buy from a dealer who's been there over time, and you'll be ok if you want a single-shot.

Second, the O/U is not actually the most expensive of shotguns (although a good one is plenty damn expensive, I grant you that!) The quality side by side, I would say, bears away the prize on "expensive shotguns." I have a separate, semi-secret bank account in which I've been saving for one for about four years now:) lol! I'm up to 1K and hanging in hard as I search. Getting the two barrels of a side by side to shoot to the same point of aim, with no chance of rattling out of place, in relation to one another and the lockup mechanism, and no stress on the welds, is still a major gun-making feat. The wood on a good one can be a work of art, and the receivers, case-colored (or, God Bless Us All, engraved) are among the most beautiful artifacts humankind has ever evolved. Myself, I always prefer the plain and functional to the dandified or fancy, so I like the field grade models without the engraving. Down the road from my house, in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, is a North Cove Outfitters that has an older Ithaca side by side for sale at $18K. I have shouldered it--it comes up lightly and follows your lead like the first beautiful girl with whom you ever danced:) You can almost smell the perfume, and the touch is enchanting and seductive! Fine European best doubles, in side by side configuration, are of legendary worth, beauty, and cost: Greener, Holland and Holland, Purdy, AyA, and several others top the list. Then there's the Queen of the American side by sides (double guns are female, except maybe the double rifles); in the opinion of many, the revered Winchester Model 21. Who knows what a good 21 costs these days?

So enjoy your pump or semi auto, and save your pennies:) The birds don't know what you shot 'em with, and it's like fine wines--you need experience to discern what you want. Also, Welcome. my friend, to the friendliest forum on the net!
 

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Yeah, Jeff's got a point there...

Next time you're in the bookstore, see if they have a copy of the magazine "The Double Gun Journal." It's pretty thick with a fancy cover.

Check out some of the guns in there! :D
 

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Thanks Sander--

Whoops, when talking about the expensive double at my local North Cove outfitters, I said it was Ithaca--it's not, it's a Parker. Lord, how could I forget Parker?!

I have a couple of hunting dreams. One is to spend a couple of days in the deep south, shooting quial from horseback using a fine old side by side! One day it'll happen!
 
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