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Side by sides...who uses them

4214 Views 26 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  mike
Since I've got a new dog on the way, I figured it's reason enough to get a new shotgun.
I've had several pumps, they have their merits. I have an inexpensive Stoeger O/U 12 gauge with I/C- MOD chokes, it swings and points like it's part of me. It has become my bird hunting shotgun due to the fact it fits and handles well, but also because if it falls or is scratched by brush it's not the end of the world.
Lately I've been looking at side by sides, but again, don't want to blow the bank on a gun and it must be "hardy" enough to get scratched by brush and not put me into shock!:eek: I've looked at the Russian BAIKAL in 20 gauge. It has a 28"bbl, 5 different chokes to choose from and the length of pull is almost as fitting for me as the Stoeger. It, like the Stoeger, has a "utilitarian" finish and nice straight walnut. Seems like alot of gun for about $350.00.

Has anyone had experience with these sturdy guns? Can anyone reccommend another for the same price range, say to about $500.00. All comments are apprecaited.

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I use an old Stevens side by side in 16 gauge. It's not the perfect shotgun, but shoots just as crooked as I see, so I guess we are pretty good match. It's pure grace in the quail fields. I've never got comfortable shooting the O/U's, they just feel a little blocky. The sxs's handle much better for me. I don't know of any blue collar American made sxs shotguns anymore. Ruger is making the Gold Label, but well over $1,000 puts it kinda out of reach. Huglu shotguns imported from India have gotten some pretty good reviews and I actually had considered one at one time, but my attention gets easily diverted these days.

The Quinn brothers down in Tennessee did a review of the Huglu and posted on their website.
I had read that report on another post of yours. They sure look nice enough. I think I'm gonna go with the 20 gauge idea, being my other shotgun for bird is 12.
I have the Winchester Defender in 20ga; it's no bear gun, but really is a good camp gun. Holds to about 3-4" with Brenneke slugs at 75 yards, even with it's smoothbore bbl. I don't know why I'm hooked on 20's, but they shoot nice and on a pheasant, it'll make you make your shots count!
I'm still in a quandry 'bout which to get, but have narrowed it down to these:

The Baikal 20 SxS= 26" with 5 chokes and a case
The American arms in 20= i believe they are Spanish and the quality is high for the cost.
The Huglu, after reading the write up.

I had my hooks into a Stevens 311 in 12ga, but the deal fell thru

I'll keep you posted!

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Bad news- American Arms is no longer in business. I think they went under earlier this year. The largest dealer in my area had their entire stock discounted quite a bit. I handled a 28, I believe it was a Britney, that was very nice. You're right, in the rarified world of SxS shotguns they were a very good value. Lower priced Spanish guns have improved by leaps and bounds in the last decade. Check out Bill Hanus' Birdguns for a similar smoothbore. He's a real expert on the subject and only imports guns he would buy himself.

As an aside, seriously consider a 16 gauge instead of the 20. Not that they little guy is crummy, it's just that the Sweet 16 didn't get that name for nuthin'.
Thanks for the advice Bill;

It's not the first time I've heard about a 16. Seems EVERYONE I speak to about the SxS, 16 gauge keeps coming up. It's not that I'm opposed to it, I just was thinking about availability of ammo.
Here in the NYC metro area, it's either 12 or 20 that are the most "popular". I was in one store and asked for some 16 for my dad's bolt action Mossberg (why he is so attached to this shotgun I'll never know), and it was like a deer in headlights. And forget about .410, it's like hen's teeth.:mad:

Another reason I was thinking 'bout the 20 was for my daughter. As she gets old enough to hunt with me I'm sure a 12 would be too much for a teen to start with. I figured the 20 would be the ticket.

Thanks to everyone for all the comments, I really appreciate them.


PS how are those grips working Bill????
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Yes, shell availability for the 16 is its sole downside. I've considered this at length since my next shotgun will be an Ithaca 37 in 16 gauge. Unlike the new Remington 870, it IS built on the 16 gauge receiver. The two easiest ways would be to order shells by the case over the Internet or roll your own with the low-cost Lee Shotshell Reloader. The only problem with the latter option is that there are no heavy duty shells like the Remington STS available in 16. So shell life won't be as goos as the 12 or 20. As for hunting with your daughter, the 16 works wonderfully with the same 7/8 oz. loads typical of the 20. Theoretically at least the patterns will be a bit better when using the same shot charge in the larger bore.

The grips are on but I haven't had a chance to shoot them yet. We're in the process of moving, packing n' such, so range time is pretty low on the priorities list.

I forgot to ask the most important question of all...

What kind of pup are you getting? A Brittany perhaps?
I'm getting a yellow lab from a breeder in TX. (he'll bark with a drawl-->wuff y'all):D

The breeder specializes in "dual purpose" animals; being great pets and hunters.

He's coming in on Nov.2nd at the ripe old age of 8 weeks....:p
I'm gonna train him mostly for Upland, but if a duck happens to wander by....

This is 6 weeks...
He's a real babydoll! Labs are super, aren't they? My younger brother-in-law has a chocolate Lab with gray eyes, about 15 weeks old. He's a real handful. Loves to play. What's really funny to see is when Rusty starts wrestling with my father-in-law's Jack Russell Terrier. Now that's something you don't want to miss.
As my search continues for a SxS, I came across another Stevens 311 12 ga. in very good condition. $300.00 I think I'm gonna grab it till I find a 20 ga. Figure I'm not really going wrong.

Your thoughts?????

here's a pic...
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It should give you good service. They're nothing really fancy but they'll keep going and going. A super field gun. But in the example you show, the wood looks pretty sharp. Much nicer than most Stevens or Savage/Stevens I've seen and handled. Your journey may be over right now!
m141a- That is a nice piece of wood in the butt. What is with the color change in the wood on the side of the tang? It almost looks like a splice in the picture as if someone spliced a replacement butt to the original tang pieces. Butt almost has a Remington deluxe grade look to it as used on 870's or 1100 series but perhaps it's just the light. You should get a lot of service from the gun.

I would continue to keep looking for used doubles. Browning, Winchester, Ithaca all had pretty fair field doubles made in Japan by Miroku and SKB and quite a number show up if you are watching. Also Fox Sterlingworth shotguns can still occasionally be found at fair prices although the collectors and custom restorers grab them up pretty quick. There are some good Spanish doubles to be found (also some bad Spanish doubles). Sounds like you need one with skeet chokes or Improved cylinder/modified for upland use. I would think the eastern states should have a few kicking around. luck.
BC and Bill;

Well, there goes another Stevens!:( Seems the guy wanted to do a face to face, well, I didn't feel like driving to Mississippi from NJ.....Those pictures were sent by the Seller.

Another one has slipped by, but I have a line on a used American Arms and the 20ga. Russian Biakal is still available! Actually, the guy with the Biakal just lowered his price [$245] and is willing to throw in 5 boxes of shells. I went to look at it again; nothing too fancy, but there's really something about it! Really nice wood for a "utility grade" SxS. Ahh, decisions, decisions....and I kinda got my heart strings pulled 'cause his wife is due any day!

I've deceided to also find a 12 SxS in time. That one will be a little fancier, but NOT one of those $$thousands of dollars$$ ones. I know there is a market for everything and everyone, but I CANNOT justify $$$$ for a shotgun to take in the woods, the weather, the bush!:eek: Have you seen the new Ruger???:confused:

I'll keep you posted... thanks for the advice.
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I haven't seen the new Gold Label yet but did discuss it with a Ruger rep during the recent anniversary sale at my area's largest gun store. He said that they are trickling out but that as with so many new items there have been a fair share of "new gun blahs" going from the largely handmade prototypes to full production models. He honestly admitted that we at the regular, non connected-to-Ruger level won't see many for at least six to eight months. I'm sure for at least a year or two the few out there will go for scalper's prices.

I personally think you should hunt-up that American Arms, as well as source info for parts just in case you need them down the road.
Hey guys, I was looking through the current issue of Rifle and it looks like Remington will be reintroducing the 16 gauge in some of their lines. Point being, if a major manufacturer is bringing it back to the forefront, shells and reloading supplies should become more available. Don't count the grand old 16 out yet!!!
I just read the same print and thought the same thing!!!:D

I scanned it and sent it to my father, being he loves that old bolt action 16!!!

So this weekend I saw a Stoeger "uplander"- 26 or 28 inch bbls, choice of 12, 20 or 28ga, removable chokes and a real handsome nickeled receiver. They're built in Brazil, I can put it in my trunk for a little over $300, not including the NICS fee.

It's no LC smith but I'll bet it's servicable, just as my Stoeger O/U is in 12.
Hello after a slight pause! I went and purchased the 20 gauge Baikal after thinking long and hard, and for the price ($225 used) it came with 5 chokes.

2 skeet
1 I/C
1 Mod
1 Full

The wood is walnut, and the length is 26". It has a 13.5" LOP. The action is basically an Anson and Deeley boxlock with 3" chambers.

A little bit of engraving...

And a single selective trigger that allows you to choose the barrel you want to fire first. Another nice touch is that the safety resets every time you open the action.

I'll have to give it a try with some skeets this weekend!:D

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Good show Chris!!! After you shoot them skeet, don't boil 'em too long, I hear they turn to mush if you do. :D
Thank you sir!
Mix 'em with a little ketchup and they taste like chicken!!!!:p

By the way, since I meant to email you today, the package is on the way!

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