Shooting a Side-by-Side Shotgun | Field & Stream

The Gun Nuts

Ranting and Ravings from Phil Bourjaily and David E. Petzal

gun writing, about guns, rifles

Shooting a Side-by-Side Shotgun

Today's Gun Nuts clip attempts to answer a question about why it can be easier for some people to shoot a side by side than a single barrel gun. The Gun Cam we use in the clip does a good job of illustrating one reason: the width of the double gun's barrels make for a wide point of reference that is easy to see and put on target, especially on going-away birds.

Of course, the barrels should be a blur rather than in sharp focus, but the camera does a nice job of showing the difference between a single and double barrel in terms of sighting plane (I never liked that term, as it implies aiming, but that's what it is). I always feel like I am looking up a wide road that leads to the target when I shoot a double gun like this Ruger Gold Label.

You have to watch closely to see us make the second point, which is that double guns are often stocked in such a way as to afford a better view of the target above the barrels. Both muzzles cover the target (in part due to the perspective of the camera, which doesn't show exactly what the eye sees), but if you look closely you will see the single barrel covers it more. With a flat shooting single barrel gun you have to blot out the target; with a double gun you can see it when you pull the trigger. And, although I was taught to cover the bird with the barrel when I grew up, it's easier to hit a target you can see.

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