10 Classic Shotguns Every Wingshooter Should Own

California Flyway

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I have owned two Model 12's (a 12 and a 16 gauge), an 870 (one of the good earlier ones) and a model 37. To me the Model 12 is in a class by itself, the fit, finish, handling, and build by American craftsmen. The model 37's not near in quality and too light and "whippy" for me. The 870 was a solid shotgun, but did not handle as well as a Model 12. As I posted in my Winchester Super X Model One restoration thread, I think they are the best ever American made semi auto. I really, really wanted to like and own a Browning "Sweet Sixteen" autoloader. That shotgun was greatly admired by us young Grouse hunters back in Ohio. A friend lent me one and I could simply not shoot well with it. I did/do not like humpback design, and did not like the cycling feel. That said they are beautiful example of American craftsmanship. To me Model 1100's felt and looked like crap compared to my Super X1, but they sure sold a lot of them
 

Jim Dandy

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It's Still "We The People", right??

Calikev

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I have owned two Model 12's (a 12 and a 16 gauge), an 870 (one of the good earlier ones) and a model 37. To me the Model 12 is in a class by itself, the fit, finish, handling, and build by American craftsmen. The model 37's not near in quality and too light and "whippy" for me. The 870 was a solid shotgun, but did not handle as well as a Model 12. As I posted in my Winchester Super X Model One restoration thread, I think they are the best ever American made semi auto. I really, really wanted to like and own a Browning "Sweet Sixteen" autoloader. That shotgun was greatly admired by us young Grouse hunters back in Ohio. A friend lent me one and I could simply not shoot well with it. I did/do not like humpback design, and did not like the cycling feel. That said they are beautiful example of American craftsmanship. To me Model 1100's felt and looked like crap compared to my Super X1, but they sure sold a lot of them
The cycling feel of the old Brownings is something it takes a while to get used to I think. Feels like the whole gun is moving on you.
 

Arrieta

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I'd think likely artist's rendition vs reality - or those old timers would have gotten punched in the face a lot...

I'm not so sure... It's the only way I can account for the 2 1/2" - 3" drop you find on older American side by sides... My guess is that unlike English wingshooters who were shooting at driven pheasants flying over head and pulling the stock into their cheek, American "scattergun" owners were mostly ground sloucing game because it was plentiful, and as a result, were looking "over" the barrels as opposed to "down the rib" of the barrels.

It isn't until you see the rise of American trap and skeet that we start to see more modern comb heights needed for consistent "wingshooting."

Look at the drop at heel on this gun...

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Another shooter, head held high...

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AND... That's not to say that there were not Americans shooting on the wing, using modern comb dimensions, and incorporating solid cheek to comb mounts --there most definitely were! There are some really elegant early American side by sides built with very modern shooting dimensions. But it seems that these were mostly either custom ordered guns or higher end guns. In contrast, many of the more common "hardware store" guns like lower grade Parkers, Foxes, Ithacas, etc.. all tended to have huge drops at the comb and the heel.
 
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Kevin Burroughs

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Here are a couple of my favorites. 1927 Winchester model 12 in 20 ga. The "K" inlay on the stock was done by my grandpa a very long tine ago.
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Belonged to my grandpa and has sent many a quail to a early grave.

Second is a pretty rare Beretta 303 Verona in 20 ga with a strait English stock. even has screw in chokes and 3 inch chambers. It is by far my favorite quail and dove gun.
 

Arrieta

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Very cool Kevin! The Beretta autoloader with an English stock is quite uncommon... How long are the barrels?
 

Kevin Burroughs

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Very cool Kevin! The Beretta autoloader with an English stock is quite uncommon... How long are the barrels?
28 inch. I have packed that little gun all over in the foothills and mountains.
 

Jim Dandy

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About 5 or so years ago I decided to collect Model 12s. My 16 ga made in the early 30s points and handles like an extension of my body. I still shoot trap with the 12 ga trap model from 1954. While Wingmasters are my favorite do-all be-all shotguns, I truly feel the Model 12 may be one of the best pieces of Americana ever made. Kind of like Willie Nelson.

My 1957 Superposed hangs on the wall. And gets shot a few times a year. All I really want now is a B80 and a Super X1.

Dandy
 

Arrieta

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Every time one of these threads comes up, I am really surprised at how few people appreciate a good doublegun --whether it be good a side by side or an over n' under. IMHO, nothing handles better, and nothing feels as natural, as a well made and balanced double barreled shotgun. I've shot chukar, pheasants, geese and plenty limits of ducks with a side by side and have never thought of it as a handicap. I find that most of the time the third shot is a wasted shot and when I duck hunt and use my Benelli M2, I often only load two shells into the gun. I love shooting my Rizzini O/Us at dog trials and pheasants, and take my side by sides into the refugees with me --though I will admit, while I know that an O/U is cumbersome in the duck blind, and I don't enjoy shooting most pumps and autoloaders as much as my double guns (even though my first shotgun was an 870 Wingmaster).
 

California Flyway

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Had some of my most enjoyable hunts shooting an Ithaca double when I was in undergraduate school in southeast Ohio. It was at the peak of a Ruffed Grouse cycle. The Ithaca had 26 inch barrels choked IC/Mod and was very handy when moving through vine tangles and heavy cover. Sadly that shotgun was later stolen along with all my guns.
These days I prefer autoloaders. I am particularly fond of a 20 gauge Weatherby SA 08. It just fits me right and hits where I look.
 

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