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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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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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