side by side shotgun

A side-by-side shotgun anatomy requires the barrels to be placed literally side by side.

The first examples of this type of shotgun were created in France in the 1730s, with barrels held together by soldering. Previously the barrels were kept in place by the stock.

Ed Wills, deputy editor of Shooting Times, says: “Side-by-side shotguns are in my opinion the most humbling of them all. Not only do you need tremendous skill to carry out the shot successfully but also the guns themselves look elegant and make you feel proud to own one.”

Today an English side-by-side is a dream shotgun for many in the sport. We have plenty of articles and reviews covering the subject of side-by-side shotguns which you can read below.

If you’re looking for a review of a particular side-by-side shotgun, then visit our review section here, which covers every side-by-side our experts have looked at.

driven pheasants

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 driven pheasants. I don’t mean skyscraper high pheasants, rather standard ones.   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…

Beretta 486 Parallelo 20-bore

Beretta 486 Parallelo 20-bore reviewed by Shooting Times

As the new shotgun reviewer for Shooting Times, I was asked to look at the Beretta 486 Parallelo 20-bore side-by-side and consider whether it would make a good rough shooting gun. The short answer is yes, but let’s have a look at the evidence 
to support the argument. Familiar sight…

AYA Sfera

AYA Sfera

I’m sure that at one stage in most shooters’ careers there would be a 
side-by-side in the gun cabinet, and if I had a pound for everyone that was an AYA I’d be a rich man. I had one when I was younger. My trusty old Yeoman served me well,…

English guns

Are English guns the best?

English guns, best in the world. Holland & Holland, Boss, Purdey, William Evans, Westley Richards — names that are coveted around the globe, the finest examples of the gunmakers’ art. Or are they? Harder to buy a London gun today I have always been surprised at how many people turn…

Side-by-side shotgun

Should I shoot game birds with a side-by-side or over-and-under?

Tradition will always be on the side of side-by-side shotguns.  In recent years, over-and-unders have grown in popularity. This is largely due to people going into gameshooting having started on clays. But this doesn’t mean that if you’re an over-and-under user you shouldn’t try a side-by-side. In fact,  it might…

Beretta Ultralight Gold

Beretta Ultralight Gold reviewed by Shooting Gazette

Long-term experts in using alloy metals in constructing their guns, Beretta build the Ultralight Gold largely from a tough, lightweight aluminium alloy with the main wearing parts of the gun being made from tougher stuff. This is most clearly seen in the action face where a titanium insert will take…

side by side shotgun

Is the side-by-side shotgun history?

“Snobbery and inheritance are the only reasons why people use a side-by-side.” So said one keen Shot, once described as the best of his generation. “But I’m not that bothered. I just like to shoot straight.” Once upon a time, the side-by-side was the only gun to use. Turn up for…

AYA No.2 28 bore

AYA No.2 28 bore

Spanish gunmaker Aguirre y Aranzabal (AYA) admits that “a true work of art does not simply appear out of thin air”. The more cynical amongst you might chuckle at this seemingly tacit admission that much of the output of its Eibar factory has been inspired by the work of craftsmen – particularly English craftsmen – who came before. This, however, is…

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…

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,…

side by side shotgun

Fausti Dea British double-barrelled side-by-side 20-bore

Fausti is a name probably not that familiar to many shooters but I would predict that is about to change. The company was formed in 1948 by the Honourable Stefano Fausti and is now run by his three daughters. I do not know if that is unusual in Italy but in Britain over the years a number…

pigeon shooting

Choosing the right shotguns and cartridges for pigeon shooting

What type of gun for pigeon shooting? Over-and-under The over-and-under is my preference for pigeon shooting because the design aids the shooter. You have a single sight plane, which naturally takes your vision out to the bird. The pistol grip ensures you grip the gun properly and aids in absorbing recoil. It’s far more versatile with…

double trigger 12-bore

Newnham double-trigger 12-bore

George Newnham is listed as setting up in the gun trade in 1866 and by 1905 the name, as on this gun, had changed to Newnham Limited, though still at 29 Commercial Road, Landport, Portsmouth. The company survived until around the start of World War II, with another change of name to Newnham & Co circa 1924.…

AYA No 1 action

The AYA No. 1: the best gun I never had

When I edited the very first issue of Sporting Gun, back in 1977, I asked Fred Buller of Chubbs of Edgeware, then one of the country’s leading gunsmiths, to nominate the best new gun for a newcomer on a limited budget. Without hesitation, he recommended the AYA Yeoman. In the era it was a tough but well-balanced, sweet-handling side-by-side boxlock –…

John Blanch

A “sleeper” by John Blanch and Son

The John Blanch shotgun is that ultra-rare item, a shotgun that has lain unused for most of its existence; what is called, in the trade, a “sleeper”. In more general terms “barely shop-soiled” would be an accurate description of condition. What is a sleeper? Why is it that often a fine gun is put away…

F.A.I.R. Iside Deluxe 28-bore side-by-side

F.A.I.R. Iside Deluxe 28-bore side-by-side

There is always something attractive about small-bore guns that is difficult to define. Whether it is the small bore size that accentuates the slimness, the lightweight, dainty action size, ultra-fast handling or, more likely, a combination of all these factors, there is no doubt they are much admired. Also, in…

Midland Gun Co shotgun

How to find bargain British side-by-side shotguns

It is not surprising that even those shooters brought up on the modern imported over-and-under sometimes cast an appreciative eye at British side-by-side shotguns, because they are fine and distinctly attractive pieces of work. Usually lighter and handier than most over-and- unders they are for many shooters still the ideal game…

AYA English Game

AYA English Game

Recent years have seen the rise in influence of vintage style on modern culture. From clothes and hairstyles to interior and product design, the replication of an idealised past is a phenomenon seen throughout history. From Hesiod, Plato and Ovid envisioning a rustic, rural world free from toil or grief in the…

Belgian 12-bore sidelock

Before World War II, if you could not afford to buy an English gun there was the option of an economy Belgian alternative. Of course, not all shotguns proofed in Liège were cheap; the Belgians produced some stunning examples, if not always quite to the British taste, and they were major world…