Double-barrel shotguns are stinking sweet long guns — classics that span the world and are beloved by about everyone.

I do mean everyone.

No one ever talks smack about double-barreled shotguns. Double-barrel shotguns have retained their appeal for centuries, maintaining their popularity even now.

So, let’s talk about these shotguns some more! We’ll look at why you might want one and give you a rundown on a few of our favorite models.

By the end, we’re sure you’ll agree these are some seriously cool guns.

Why Buy a Double-Barrel Shotgun?

It’s a simple enough question, but I, as usual, have a not-so-simple answer.

Double-barrel shotguns are straight-up cool. But cool factor aside, these guns are just good overall.

C’mon, there’s a reason these things have been around for so long.

These shotguns offer incredible reliability with all types of ammo. They don’t jam, don’t double feed, and don’t suffer under poor weather.

They fire the lightest of loads and handle short mini shells without any issue.

We like when things just work.

The simple design of double-barrel shotguns also means they last forever. Not much here to wear out, so double-barrel shotguns get passed down from generation to generation.

These bad boys stand the test of time. (Photo: Mossberg)

Double-barrel shotguns also enjoy an ambidextrous design in controls and function. So, lefties don’t have to endure the uncomfortable experience of shooting right-handed.

Two barrels mean two chokes which allow you to tailor what each barrel is capable of doing.

You can hunt with buckshot in one and slugs in another. Or run various bird or sport loads for different ranges.

Finally, double-barrel shotguns tend to focus weight rearward. This presents a faster swinging, easier handling shotgun for taking moving targets.

O/U and SxS

You’ll see the terms O/U and SxS sprinkled throughout this article. So, let’s define those real quick.

O/U stands for over-under. These have shotgun barrels that run vertically. This gives you a top and bottom barrel with a narrow sight plane.

SxS stands for side-by-side. These have shotgun barrels that run horizontally. You get a broader sight plane, and SxS guns can come with double triggers and hammers.
Stoeger Coach Gun SxS

Before jumping in, it’s worth noting that we chose production firearms. So, you won’t see expensive auction guns from the early 1900s here.
Every time I look at a Holland & Holland.

Best Side-by-Side Shotguns

1. CZ Bobwhite G2

My favorite SxS shotguns are simple, efficient in design, field useable, and ultimately a working man’s shotgun.

CZ’s Bobwhite G2 meets all those requirements.
CZ Bobwhite G2 (Photo: CZ)

Though CZ receives acclaim for its pistols and rifles, their shotguns also prove worthy contenders.

Like many affordable double-barrel shotguns, these are Turkish-built guns. Unlike some inexpensive double-barrels produced overseas, though, craftsmen build all CZ shotguns, bringing experience and attention to detail.

The Bobwhite G2 offers a hammerless shotgun design with a straight stock, brown walnut furniture, and blued finish.

It’s not fancy and doesn’t need to be. A deer, a rabbit, or a bird isn’t much concerned about how fancy the shotgun is that you’re using to take it.

CZ moved to CNC receivers for all their O/Us, and the G2 gets the same treatment. G2 shotguns come in 12, 20, and the cult-favorite 28 gauge.

It is worth noting that while most 28 gauge guns are just 20 gauge guns with 28 gauge barrels, CZ makes a true version. A purpose-built 28 gauge shotgun provides a very light and svelte platform, perfect for long hunts or smaller shooters.
CZ Bobwhite G2 Barrels (Photo: CZ)

In general, the Bobwhite G2 is a lightweight and easy-wielding shotgun.

It fulfills that classic American need for an SxS shotgun, easy to shoot and simple. Not to mention, dual triggers make putting a load or two of lead in the air trouble-free.

Best Budget Side-by-Side


at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Savage Fox A Grade

Double-barrel shotguns are, in many ways, a ‘European’ thing.

Most of the fancy models come from Europe, and they have a rich sporting heritage dedicated to the double-barrel shotgun. But America has a few tricks up its sleeves too.
Savage Fox A Grade (Photo: Guns International)

Ansley Fox was an American gun designer known for his box-lock shotguns. Fox shotguns are incredibly well-known, but when you wear a moniker like “The Finest Gun in the World,” you tend to be popular.

Savage picked up production in the early 1900s, carrying it on with the Fox Grade A SxS shotgun.

Their modern Fox A Grade is mechanically different from the old-school designs. Still, modern Fox shotguns maintain that luxury shotgun vibe.
Fox A Grade Duck Hunting (Photo: Savage Arms)

It’s all about ‘Merica with the Fox A Grade, and suitably it wears an American walnut stock and forend.

An old-school straight design graces the stock. At 7.6 pounds, the weight makes it less than hefty but more than light.

It’s the best of both worlds. Light enough to wield with ease but heavy enough for stability.

The gun’s dual triggers are each a precise 5.5 pounds, ensuring the trigger pull remains the same between each barrel.

I love SxS shotguns and own an old Fox Model B, which is the poor man’s version of this gun.

This gun offers a hefty dose of old-school cool, but comes at a hefty price.

See more Savage-owned rifles and shotguns in our round-up of the Best Savage Rifles & Shotguns.

Best Over-Under Shotguns

3. Mossberg Silver Reserve II

I know enough about double-barrel shotguns to enjoy them. I shoot them well and can be picky about things like stock fitment, cast, and drop.

That said, I don’t understand naming conventions, and Mossberg Silver Reserve II sounds like some kind of scotch.

In reality, it’s an O/U shotgun produced in Turkey for Mossberg. Bonus, it’s available at a rather excellent price point!

Turkish-made shotguns run a gambit from terrible to surprisingly good. Thankfully, Mossberg imports run the latter.

The Silver Reserve II is one of the most popular options at my local gun club. My favorite being the Sport model with shell ejectors.

It flings shells fiercely from the gun and never fails to amuse me.

Shooters can choose between 12, 20, and 28 gauge as well as .410. A special package includes both 12 and 20 gauge barrels.

Barrels range between 26 to 32 inches.
Silver Reserve Upland (Photo: Mossberg)

I find 28 inches to be the sweet spot. It makes the gun a little more balanced at the cost of a longer sight radius.

A 14-inch length of pull will be a turn-off for some, though.

Sport shooters use a bladed stance, so it’s not as big of a deal if that’s your style.
Silver Reserve Synthetic (Photo: Mossberg)

Prefer a shorter LOP? The Bantam model offers a 13.25-inch LOP (but only comes in 20 gauge).


at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

These sweet little Mossbergs bring an affordable option complete with all the finely tuned features you’d see in a standard O/U shotgun.

We get fancy wood, an engraved receiver, a vent rib, and a dual bead fiber optic sight that allows this shotgun to keep up with much more expensive models.


at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Do you like the Mossberg Silver Reserve II? Give it a rating below!

4. Benelli 828U

Benelli is well-known for its tactical and sporting semi-auto shotguns.

Identifying bias is important when reading gun reviews, so let me make this easy for you…I’m a Benelli fanboy.
Me anytime I see a Benelli.

Shotguns like the Benelli 828U make my heart melt.

Benelli’s first O/U, the company wasted no time innovating and breaking from tradition. If you look hard, the 828U even kind of looks like a sporting semi-auto in the receiver area.

But this slim and modern O/U is different than most in several ways.

The breechblock is part of the barrel instead of the receiver. A moving lock plate sits where the breechblock normally would. This yields a more durable shotgun that suffers from less wear on the hinge.

Do you like stock adjustments? Good. The 828U’s stock adjusts in 40 ways to change the cast and drop of the stock.

It’s the only O/U shotgun I know of that offers this many adjustments without swapping stocks.

The 828U’s stock also sports a recoil-reducing Progressive Comfort system. Benelli placed buffers in the stock that adjust to various sporting loads. Shooters will feel the difference.

Brilliant ergonomics and modern design make the 828U shoot and handle like a dream. It points and swings like it was designed for me.
Benelli Steel Locking System

The only awkward bit was taking it down due to its unique design.

The 828U will clip clays down birds and allow you to experience a modern, finely tuned Italian shotgun for the cost of a gently used Honda.

Best Over-Under


at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Stoeger Condor Field

A lot of these double-barrel shotguns come with high price tags, especially the over-under guns.

Unfortunately, the high price makes trying one somewhat difficult.

But if you want to experience the joy of how fast you can swing a gun and bust a clay, we got a budget model perfect for those of us who penny-pinch.

Stoeger once again makes the list with their excellent Condor Field model.

It offers a traditional sporting O/U complete with a vent rib and beautiful wood stocks.

Jeweled internal surfaces help keep the break-open action feel smooth.

This isn’t the best “good enough” shotgun because it’s a budget shotgun. We get features that make it a desirable shotgun regardless of the budget.

Firstly, the 12 gauge model weighs a bit over 7 pounds. This makes it easy to carry and maneuver while still having enough heft to smoothly track a flying target.

The Crusader comes in 12, 20, 28, and .410 gauge with chambers up to 3 inches where applicable.

Auto Extractors make reloads quick and intuitive, and a simple brass bead works adequately for target acquisition.

The Condor even looks good, thanks to its A-grade satin walnut stock.

Just stepping into trap, skeet, or upland bird hunting? Then the Condor is a great place to start.

Best Budget Over-Under


at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. Beretta SO10

God tier is the best way to describe the Beretta SO10.

When it comes to fine European double guns, Beretta is the undisputed champ. And the SO10 is Beretta’s legendary and flagship double-barrel shotgun.
Matched pair of Beretta SO10 EELL, side lock 28ga / 28-inch barrels numbered 1&2. (Photo: Beretta Gallery)

There are no cast or welded portions of the SO10’s receiver.

Skilled artisans craft the whole thing from a block of high-resistance tri-alloy steel, which gives the gun an unmistakable look that oozes quality.

Polish is applied painstakingly by hand to the receiver’s external and internal areas.
Custom engraving on a SO10 receiver.

Beretta’s sidelocks pop off with ease so you can peer into the internals and gawk at your Italian stallion. They even custom engrave the side locks for you, which can take upwards of 200 hours.

There are no visible pins or screws to ruin the looks of pure craftsmanship or any potential engravings.

The SO10 locking system is superbly strong.
Beretta SO10 Side Locks

This gun is a true heirloom gun. You can put tens of thousands of rounds downrange and then pass it on to your kids. They can do the same, over and over again.

Beretta makes the gun in 12-, 20-, .410, and 28-gauge. Each gun is scaled to the round it fires.

These beautiful guns are the Rolls-Royce of firearms and feature a similar price of over $100,000.

These are the guns Beretta doesn’t even let you handle at things like SHOT Show. If you are like me, you gawk and feel poor looking at them.

Best Tactical Shotguns

7. Stoeger Double Defense

Am I sold on a double-barrel for home defense? No.

But do I think the Stoeger Double Defense is a cool shotgun? Heck yeah, I do.
Stoeger Double Defense O/U (Photo: Shoot-On)

Short and light shotguns are the absolute best, and the Double Defense is about as short and light as it gets.

The Double Defense comes in both an SxS and O/U configuration, with the SxS acting as the lightest version. Both are available in 12 and 20 gauge, with the 20 gauge variant weighing only 6.4 pounds.

Stoeger’s Double Defense guns are “tactical” because they have added two rails positioned on the gun — one for an optic and one for a light.
Double Defense SxS, fully loaded.

This does make the double defense stand out among its peers. Plus, it makes it easy to toss on a red dot.

Red dots make guns handle faster and more intuitively. With the right red dot, like the Holosun 507C V2, you can pattern your load to the optic.

Both barrels on the Double Defense come ported. Porting is a means to reduce recoil by selectively milling holes near the end of the barrel.

The thinking around the gun is solid. Yet, having only two shots for home defense is a bet I’m not going to take.

As a lightweight field gun for hunting, the Double Defense would work okay.

Cylinder bore means being selective with your ammo to achieve max effectiveness. The right load in this gun can make it a nice and handy pest remover and, in general, a fun gun.


at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Standard Manufacturing DP-12

I love including a wildcard on these lists, and I can’t help but include the living meme gun that is the DP-12.

This double-barrel pump action would make Moe from The Simpsons excited.

The DP-12 is utterly ridiculous and awesome. It holds 16 rounds in a dual-tube design.

Each barrel gets its own tube, and you can fire two shots before having to pump the gun once more.

This gun is huge, bulky, heavy, and brilliantly ridiculous.

It’s like the Doom guy designed a gun.
Doomguy knows a thing or two about double-barrels.

I can’t think of a practical reason for the DP-12 to exist outside of being the only double-barrel, pump-action shotgun.

Well, that and for demon-slaying.

Best Tactical Double Barrel

Final Thoughts

Double-barrel shotguns are classic firearms that transcend genres. Everyone knows a double-barrel shotgun is cool.

Even in countries with strict gun control, double-barrel shotguns still reign supreme. In backwaters like Afghanistan, I ran into double barrels from across the world being used by farmers to keep pests away.

This list brings some of my favorite double-barrels to you in the hopes that you’ll find one (or two) that you like.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here