Should I switch to shooting a side-by-side shotgun?
At times I feel as though I should ‘fall in with the crowd’ but I’m worried I won’t shoot as well with a side-by-side as I do with the Browning which I’ve had for more than 20 years. What do you think?
JOHN BIDWELL says:
My view is that over-under guns have been around long enough now to be completely acceptable in the field, generally, and on a driven game shoot specifically.
They might be a little slower to reload than a side-by-side but an over-under can be broken open in the same way as the other to show that it is unloaded when being carried in company, or to and from a peg.
The only minor objection someone might possibly have to your gun is its non-automatic safety catch but most over-unders can be turned into automatic mode quite simply by a competent gunsmith. The only proper measure of any gun’s worth in the field is how well it, and its user, cope with killing live quarry.
Everyone’s aim should be to kill cleanly, efficiently and as consistently as possible; if this level of competence is achieved with an over-under or side-by-side then, what does it matter? If you feel as though there’s peer pressure for you to change then why not give a side-by-side a go?
With practice you might even find you shoot better with one than you do the Browning! That said, if you do struggle to switch from one to the other then my advice would be to stick to the gun you know best.
Finally, if you shoot to a high standard who’s to say some of your syndicate friends aren’t even now agonising over the thought that their shooting might improve if they changed to an over-under too.
Stranger things have happened!