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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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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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