Are you in the market for a second-hand over-and-under shotgun? Wondering what would be best for you? Here our expert Mike George picks out his top 20 12-bore all-rounders from four price ranges
If your budget is £750 and under
This is one of my top 10 guns built in the last half century and it’s cheap, reliable with the Baikal reputation for toughness. On most over-and-unders the ejectors can be turned off, and firing the top barrel first is selected by pushing the single trigger forwards. £250
Although this is called the Browning Medallist it was actually built by FIAS, which fulfilled the many satisfied users of this gun in their ambition to own a Browning. The simple, robust design has not been imported for a number of years. £420
Previously imported by BWM Arms 01235 514550
The Sporter had been a terrific gun for newcomers with an eye on their budget for a number of years. Sadly the Spanish Lanber factory stopped producing shotguns in 2013. However, a supply of spares is available in the UK and so second-hand, this gun is still a force to be reckoned with. £450 plus
The takeover of Franchi by Beretta transformed the reputation of this gun. Preciously considered something of a dodgy buy at times, it then became a well-engineered and reliable gun available at a good price. £550
Sadly the Japanese-built 6500 went out of production in the 1980s. It was the last of the famous Winchester 101 series, and created specifically for the European market with lightweight barrels and renowned handling. I’d still recommend it but spares are scarce and Browning/Winchester regret that they are unable to assist. £740
Spares are scarce and sadly Browning/Winchester importer can’t help.
If you can stretch to up to £1500
Your choice of second-hand over-and-under shotguns is a bit more extensive in that case. Here are some that I rate.
Here the most popular choice is the fixed-choke Universal Sporting which comes in at £950. It’s been around in various forms since the mid 1990s and is a delightfully simple shotgun. You might also discover second-hand Sporter and field versions on sale. £950
BWM Arms 01235 514550
The original Silver Pigeon was the successor to the Beretta 687, and the mechanism is that of the similar 686. There are six field versions, with a choice of fixed or multi-chokes, plus multi-chokes guns in 20- and 28-bore. Barrel options for Sporters are 28in, 30in and 32in. £950
Due to the high cost of building an affordable version of the B25 in Europe, these guns are built for Browning by Miroku in Japan. In 2003 Browning introduced the B525 which replaced the B425. There are in fact 14 different versions of the gun, including an appealing section of field models. £1000
BWM Arms 01235 514550
This is a useful buy. The Premier Sporting model has a plain but elegant finish and is available with 28in, 30in, 32in and 34in barrels. It has hammers hinged at the trigger-plate and sears from the top strap, while a low-mounted bolt runs along the action floor. £1400
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter then you’ll find the Browning Elite Game around 8oz lighter than most Sporters. It is basically a B525 Grade 3, built by Miroku in Japan. It is a multi- choke, utilising Browning Invector stainless steel tubes, with a 6mm game-style rib. £1425
BWM Arms 01235 514550
Going up to £2500 for a second-hand over-and-under
The classic game gun and well worth considering. The first 682 was built in the early 1980s and was rapidly developed into a super gun with versions for all of the competition disciplines. Sporters and Trap guns are available with adjustable stocks at extra cost. Sporters are all multi-chokes. £1600
The Italians may have an economy that’s in a mess but they still make guns that people want to buy. This is a typical Italian sideplated boxlock, with hammers driven by coil springs. Multi- choke barrels, with steel shot proof, have 2¬in (70mm) chambers and long forcing cones. There’s also a good selection of lengths up to an amazing 34in. £1950
You’ll find Gambas are relatively rare on the market, probably because people tend to hang onto them as they are strong and long-lasting. So worth investigating if you come across one. Some have probably been built with extra features to the order of individual customers. Multi-choke and fixed- choke Trap versions are available. £2000
There is no current UK sole importer
The gun has a drop-out trigger mechanism, while the hammers are hinged from the bottom and powered by vee springs rather than coil springs. The gun no longer features on the importer’s website, having been replaced by the DT11. £2300
The German-made Blaser is precision finished to the point where all parts are instantly interchangeable. Inside this gun’s boxlock action, sliding hammers powered by coil springs operate in the same plane as the firing pins. You’ll find competition and game versions in many grades, but the basic version is well-priced for a quality gun. £2400 plus
Open Season 01865 891773
Second-hand over-and-under shotguns under £6,000
A modern classic, offering excellent quality and workmanship. It also handles well. The B25 was the original over-and-under designed by John Moses Browning and his last shotgun. Guns are now made to individual order in the custom shop in Belgium. All are boxlocks and many of them are sideplated. £4500 plus
BWM Arms 01235 514550
In 1968 designer Daniele Perazzi built the MX8 Trap gun for the 1968 Mexico Olympics, regarded as one of his early triumphs in the company. This Perazzi does not have a drop-out trigger mechanism unlike many Perazzis, all of which are boxlocks. £4700
Beretta’s sidelock SO series, designed by Tullio Marengoni, dates back to 1935, with competition guns for Trap and Skeet. The first Sporters came in the 1980s. There are many different specifications, most have beautiful engraving and are fixed-choke. £5000 plus
A current popular model is the 2002C — a boxlock with sideplates — though there are some fine sidelocks as well. Guns, which are built in Suhl, Germany, are similar in design to some top AYA models. £5000 plus
This is a beautifully built and balanced gun that will suit the most demanding competition. The K80 has been a favourite for around 30 years, but has been constantly refined and improved. Many standards of finish and engraving are available. The unusual hooded locking mechanism is similar to that on the discontinued Remington 3200. £6000 plus
If you’re looking at the second-hand market then condition is your first priority. It also is responsible for the broad ranges of prices that you’ll come across, that can vary broadly from gun to bun. You certainly need to shop around.
It’s also important to consider that the original new price of a second-hand gun may not be reflected in the second-hand value. Some guns hold their value better than others. The availability of spares, prices and repairs, continued existence of manufacturers and importers, and even fashion, all have influence.
If you have a question about a particular gun, you might like to join in one of the discussions on our forum, where you can communicate with other shooters. It’s free to join.
You could also have a look at the guns available in our marketplace.