For several waterfowl seasons I’ve tossed around the idea of swapping my autoloader for a double gun. This year I may finally get serious about it. My grandfather has gifted me an old Franchi over/under, and I relish the idea of sending him a photo of me holding his shotgun and a brace of mallards. Still, I’m torn as to what to do. As I see it, here are the pros and cons of shooting an over/under in the duck blind.
Shootability I don’t know why, but I’ve just always shot a double barrel better than a pump or autoloader. Do they balance better? Some say so, but I think it boils down more to personal preference.
No Side-Ejection An over/under doesn’t eject shells into your buddy’s face or scatter them haphazardly, requiring cleanup.
Class/Nostalgia Call me a snob if you will, but to my eye no firearm surpasses the beauty of an over/under shotgun. Plus, before there were magazine guns, there were only sidelocks. A gun with two barrels is a connection to waterfowling’s past.
Two Shots Only I don’t often use my semi-auto’s third shell to shoot a duck from the sky. They’re typically out of range by then. But it sure comes in handy for giving ducks the coup de grace on the water.
Durability If you want something to rust or get dinged up, take it duck hunting. I don’t worry about getting my magazine guns covered in salt spray or caked in mud—that’s what I bought them for and their synthetic stocks are built to handle it. However, most over/unders—including grandpa’s—have wood stocks and blued barrels. Many are also expensive, but with grandpa’s gun I’m mostly concerned about the sentimental value—I do not want to destroy it.
Shine Most of today’s magazine guns for duck hunting reduce shine with blackened finishes or camo dips. Most over/unders sport blued barrels and often oiled wood finishes. Fancy, shiny guns don’t exactly keep a low profile for all those eyes in the sky.
Given my indecisiveness, I say we take a vote: Should I take grandpa’s over/under duck hunting? Have you ever shot ducks with a double-barreled shotgun?