Over & Under Shotgun round Up
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- Last updated: 25/04/2021
Bruce Potts does a round-up of some of his favourite Over and Under shotguns
The new 694 model from blend of functionality and superb handling. It weighs 7 lbs 10 oz, has an overall length of 48.25” and a length of pull 14.5”.
The newly designed action is less bulky around the steel top which helps achieve a better all-round view when shouldered. The view when shouldered. The top lever is larger and the safety has been re-profiled for easier use. The trigger has three positions to help customise the length of pull to your frame. The overall finish of silver Nistan is only accented by a thin blue inset line to the action sides and is as classy as it is practical.
The stock has improved balance and a high degree of natural handling. It is tipped off with a Micro- Core recoil pad and spare spacers to customise the fit to the shooter. This Walnut Sporter pistol grip model features a widened comb as well as a lengthened pistol grip with palm swell and is quite upright in stance. This gives a more natural feel and balance to the whole 694 gun.
The forend mechanism is now all metal, for a positive consistent opening. It is designed to last longer too and the shooter has the option to add 20 or 40-gram weights to the stock to perfect the balance.
The Sporting version here is available with 30 or 32” barrels, all with 3” chambers, with a tapering 10 to 8mm rib. The gun only comes in 12-gauge at present although a Trap version is also available.
The five extended chokes are colour coded and have an extended cone section that ensures the shot column is not pinched as it passes through. This translates to a far better distribution of shot and a more consistent and dense shot pattern down range.
There is a new ejection system on this model, better than the selective ejectors of old. There are new progressive, powerful, springs behind the ejector slide mechanism and under the stop pads for maximum effectiveness.
Overall, the 694 shows excellent attention to detail, and although pricey, this re-design takes performance to the next level for Beretta.
GMK Ltd - www.gmk.co.uk
The Sceptre range is available in 12, 20 and 28-gauge as well as .410, with a choice of 28 or 30” barrels, all at the same price of £499. So, a very comprehensive range to choose from.
Kofs are well made Turkish guns that represent good value for those on a budget. They are able to combine good styling, handling, a lightweight alloy action and nice walnut stocks.
This 12-gauge, multichoked gun is chambered for 3” cartridges. It is a good all-rounder for shooters who want to use their guns and not look at them.
The E from SXE denotes ejectors fitted, which are strong and positive. This satin blued 30” barrelled version is supplied with five flush-fit chokes and shows a slim 7mm rib. It only weighs 6.25 lbs and has an overall length of 47.25”. It’s a very nice gun to shoot.
The action is manufactured from alloy for lightness but has steel inserts at all the loadbearing/ pressure points for longevity and a strong lock up.
It has a brushed silver finish and some engraving to finish off the look. It features an auto safety catch that is set when the top lever is operated. The curved trigger blade and guard allow ample room for the hand.
Equally nice are the stocks, the good quality walnut includes a practical oil finish and solid rubber recoil pad. I like the design and handling best on these Sceptre stocks as they really do come up a treat for me. The comb is perfect for me and helps to align the barrels and rib. The length of pull at 14.25” also helps.
Overall, a wide choice of calibres, styles and finishes at a price that will not break the bank. The Kofs 12-gauge Sceptre SXE over and under shotgun offers light and fast handling plus throws some impressive patterns. In addition, the .410 and 28-gauge versions are again excellent value for money and often have superb walnut figuring to the stocks, plus they also shoot excellent patterns.
The Sportsman Gun Centre - www.sportsmanguncentre.co.uk
Browning often offers very different takes on the normal shotgun, and to this end, the SL model from the very popular 525 series now sports a grey laminate stock. This means a more practical option that is still pure Browning as the handling and balance is unchanged, as is the shape and feel. The shooter actually has the slight bonus of a more stable and heavier stock to reduce recoil, steady the balance just in front of the action and of course not warp or twist in any climatic changes. The length of pull is (LOP) 14.75” and the gun features an adjustable comb, giving the ability to perfectly customise the fit.
The shotgun is available in 12-gauge only with 30 or 32” back bored barrels with Browning’s Vector Pro forcing cone design. They are steel shot proofed and include 3” chambers. Midas Extended, cylinder, ¼, ½ and ¾ chokes plus a larger 10mm sighting rib complete the barrel spec.
The back bored barrels mean the internal dimensions are slightly oversized, which gives a smoother passage of the wadded shot column. This increases velocity due to reduced friction and recoil is also reduced due to the smoother, wider bore surfaces and ease of the shot column passage down the bore.
The action is that lovely trim B525 steel action model with an overall finish of silver nitrided steel. It looks really good against both the laminate stock and blued barrels. It includes a non-auto safety with an inertia type striker system. The trigger is wide and smooth polished steel, plus it is adjustable for the length of pull (LOP).
The gun weighs 3.65 kg, measures 48” overall and feels very sturdy for a 525 model. The laminate furniture is actually a really nice and practical look on a shotgun and it will have some followers and admirers I am sure. It will appeal to both clay shooters and hunters alike, and to be honest, it is at home shooting pigeons from a hide or on the marshes after wildfowl, a great universal model from Browning.
Browning - en.browning.eu
RUAG do a good job of distributing Bettinsoli shotguns from Italy, which has been one of the ‘go-to’ shotgun brands for GB shooters wanting a first gun. It often becomes the only shotgun they actually need.
Bettinsoli offers a wide range of guns, calibres and styles, while the workmanship appeals to all levels of potential shotgun buyers. The 12-gauge X Trail Sporter in sliver is your typical over and under shotgun, but there are case-hardened finished actions and even a 3.5” chambered version with camo cladding for wildfowling. All have a single trigger, manual safety catch and are proofed for steel shot.
This X Trail Silver model has an overall length of 46.5”. The barrels measure 30”, are finished in blued steel and come with a set of five flushfitting type multi-chokes. They are 2” long and beautifully finished in bright chrome. The rib size is a generous 9mm and the mid rib is vented to reduce weight and allow a degree of cooling between the barrels.
Action wise, it shows a typical Monobloc construction with wellmachined lumps and precise cutouts for the swivel studs and locking crossbar to engage. It has a smooth polished finish, not too bright, with interspersed areas of engraving. It utilises coil springs throughout and forms a reliable and positive action and ejection system.
Good handling comes from the game-type walnut stock configuration and is equally capable for informal clays. Its nicely rounded, full forend gives both an elegant look and ergonomic benefit. Both the stock and forend are made from a quite nice quality of walnut and feature some nicely cut, generous chequering panels for grip.
Despite the influx of Turkish guns, the Bettinsoli range - especially the X Trail - still holds its own within this sub £1000 price mark. They are better made than some of their competitors and still worth a look at in this price range. They always seem to shoot some very good and well-distributed shot patterns.
RUAG Ammotec UK Ltd - www.ruag.co.uk