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On a budget? These guns are under £500

Guns to buy before the price goes up

If I was thinking of buying a new gun I would be tempted to do it right now, as prices could well go up quite steeply in the not-too distant future. It’s because of the decline in value of Sterling, which is bound to affect all imports soon. At the time of writing, £1 was worth only…

decoration on Lincoln Vogue

Lincoln Vogue over-and-under 20-bore

Is appearance important? Of course it is, especially when it is your shotgun, your pride and joy, whether family heirloom, sought-after second-hand model or brand new “just out of the box”. But beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and what suits one owner may not appeal to another. There are certain basics that most shooters…

side-by-side hammergun

Don’t discount second-hand side-by-side shotguns

A: English boxlock shotguns represent fantastic value for money because they are rather unfashionable at the moment. The Italian over-and-under carries all before it. A boxlock made between the wars or just after World War II is a classic handmade sporting gun. So is a hammergun. Both represent very good value for money in the current market. Assessing a…

Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport

The gun I always wish I had – the Perazzi MX12 Pro Sport

In Italy in 1946 life must have been tough for a young lad with an ambition. In recent years the country, under Mussolini, had gone to war on the German side, but had surrendered and joined the Allies in 1943. Then came the struggle to throw out Hitler’s forces, and the eventual capture and execution of Mussolini by a…

BSA Mercury

BSA Mercury airsporter reviewed

In the 1970s, when I was a teenager and mad keen on air rifles, there were two camps you fell into. You were either a British BSA or Webley shooter or a German Weihrauch or Feinwerkbau user. I was defi nitely in the Teutonic camp as my Weihrauch HW35 went everywhere I did. However, as pocket…

man with sound moderators

Five sound moderators on test

Once quite uncommon, the sound moderator is now as standard a piece of equipment as is a scope when you buy a rifle. But every shooter’s needs will be different. For a stalker who only goes out on a few shoots a year a lightweight moderator may be best, while for those who shoot a lot and need…

William Powell Perseus

Three second-hand game guns worth looking at

ATA Arms Lightweight Field The late and much respected shooting writer Gough Thomas expressed the opinion that the ideal weight for a game gun to shoot 1oz of shot was 6lb, while 6lb 6oz was right for 1 1/16oz loads. The book in question – Shotguns & Cartridges for game and clays – was first published…

proper unfit

All about gunfit

Why do you think that, historically, gunfit has not been at the forefront of the minds of British shots when buying or indeed using guns? “If you go back to when I started in the workshop here in 1977, we very rarely altered a shotgun. There was also very little in the sporting press about gunfit. Back…

over and under shotgun

The rise of the over-and-under

On a shoot day in October I had a fascinating conversation with a fellow gun about his switch from a side-by-side to an over-under. After more than 30 extremely successful years of game shooting with the former, he decided the time had come to seek out even greater consistency, particularly on the high birds, and make the switch.…

Winchester Model 23

Second-hand guns for gamekeepers and clayshooters

Winchester Model 23 Side-by-side classes in major sporting contests don’t seem to be as popular as they were, which is a pity because they formed a friendly link between clay and gameshooting. Nevertheless, using a side-by-side for club Sporting targets can be great fun, as well as sharpening up the reflexes ready for the autumn. Of course,…

Remington Spartan

The super cheap gun in my fantasy gunroom

To me the Baikal is in the same league as a 1940s prefab or a 1950s Ford Popular. The prefab gave ordinary folks a taste of living in a dry, well-designed, warm house with an indoor toilet, a bathroom and a fridge, while the dear old Popular, with its crude side-valve engine and cart-spring suspension, gave working…

Man shooting with Baikal 12 bore

My first gun – a Baikal single-barrel 12-bore

Strictly speaking my Baikal single-barrel 12-bore was not my first shotgun. That honour goes to a BSA Snipe, a single-barrel shotgun given to me by my cousin Geoff Hoyle. He was a target pistol shooter of some renown, an editor of a target-shooting magazine and really wasn’t that interested in shotguns. He generously passed the Snipe on to me as…

man shooting .17HMR

Is this new rimfire cartridge any good?

A: Yes, this new cartridge looks to be very interesting to anyone who likes small calibres. It is a rival to the .17 HMR cartridge, which is also a rimfire, but the WSM or Winchester Super Magnum is a more powerful round. Its brass case is roughly 50 per cent thicker than the .17 HMR The .17 WSM…

Baikal shotguns

23 things you should know about Baikal shotguns

Baikal shotguns are inexpensive BUT reliable A new over-and-under would be about £617 A new side-by-side would set you back about £562 They are made in the Russian city of Izhevsk in the Western Urals They probably aren’t created from melted-down battle tanks However they are built like a T34…


Shotgun cartridges for geese reviewed

A wild goose chase can be exactly what it says on the tin, so when  you get the birds in range you want the confidence that you are packing sufficient power to get one in the bag. Goose shooting can take place in a range of different scenarios, from decoying at close range to foreshore flighting…

Browning B725

Browning B725 Hunter G3

The B725 from Browning has been out in the wild for some time now. The range has been steadily expanding since 2012 with a variety of finishes and weights in order to compete in seemingly every conceivable section of the over-under market. It is somewhat surprising, therefore, given the ongoing trend towards long guns designed for serious game shooting, that this is…

Beretta 687 EELLClassic

Top 10 guns for game

Beretta 687 EELL Classic £6,850 A modern icon, the EELL from Beretta is amongst the most sought after guns by sportsmen and women up and down the country, and with even a cursory glance it is easy to see why. With a design lineage stretching back to 1979, Beretta’s 680 line of guns have long…

Cartridges in belt

How to choose the right cartridge

There are lots of different makes and thousands of configurations of cartridge on the market, so many in fact that even many experienced shots don’t fully understand all the terminology. When it comes to choosing cartridges, everyone has their own ideas. Despite the increasing popularity of the 20 bore shotguns, the 12 still rules the roost. By virtue of its versatility…


Controlling rabbits with firearms certificated air rifles (FAC)

What’s the best way to approach rabbit control? That depends on a considerable amount of factors, including habitat, land use, neighbouring land, and so on, for each job. On very few occasions can you rely on just one method to control rabbits where a landowner will be satisfied. This year, I have been using my…

Man with shotgun

What’s the best cartridge load for standard driven pheasants?

Q: As we move towards the pheasant season can you recommend the best cartridge load for standard driven pheasants, and I don’t mean 60-yard skyscrapers? A: I think cartridges are very much a personal preference and I would say that whatever gives you confidence when you are shooting is the correct cartridge for you. Shooting is a mental game…