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Shotgun Review: Dickinson Double

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January 28, 2013

Shotgun Review: Dickinson Double

By Phil Bourjaily

Just before SHOT Show I killed my last pheasants of the year with a Dickinson double from Cabela’s. It’s a nice Turkish-made classic side by side and for the money you pay ($1599), it is a better looking gun than anything you will find in its price range. Moreover, it has chrome-lined bores, five choke tubes, and a 3-inch chamber which render it completely steel-friendly, meaning this is a traditional gun suited to the hard non-toxic realities of 21st century upland hunting. In fact, I shot Winchester Blind Side steel pheasant loads on this hunt, but that’s another blog post.

Back to the gun: the Dickinson is built on a true trigger-plate action, meaning all the lock parts are attached to the trigger plate, a design that allows the receiver to be rounded and slender. My test 12 gauge weighed 7 pounds even – neither heavy nor light – and it carried easily enough and shot where I wanted when the time came. If I were smart I would have requested a 16 gauge, which is built on a 20 gauge frame and is, I suspect, the liveliest of the three and the pick of a litter that consists of 12, 16 and 20 gauges.

As you see in the picture the gun has nice case colors. The walnut is hand-checkered with a fairly straight grain. Looking the gun over carefully I could only find one little slip-up in the wood to metal fit. Mostly this is a very well finished gun. Currently Cabela’s Gun Libraries are the only place you can buy the Dickinson.

There are a few single trigger versions available as well but most of the guns are double-trigger, straight stocked style, as a double gun should be. They all have 28-inch barrels and ejectors. If I wanted a double gun that looked good but could be hunted hard and didn’t have to be babied with expensive Tungsten-Polymer or Classic Doubles ammo, I would put the Dickinson on my short list.

Comments (12)

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from chadlove wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Interesting. The market for vintage, field-grade English extractor guns is pretty depressed right now, and I've been kicking around the idea of finding a nice, sound, relatively recent budget specimen, having the bores opened up to a tad above cylinder, and taking my chances with the lowest-pressure steel upland loads I can find.

But for $1,500 (which is less than I was thinking my project would cost) that's a nice-looking gun. How do you think it compares to the Turkish S&W doubles from a few years back?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

I'm also in the market and intrigued with these. Might have to run into Sidney and fondle one. From the reviews I've seen, it compares favorably if not better than, the S&W doubles. What's your take, Phil?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

And interestingly, the 16, which is where I would lean, is single triggered.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

I like this a lot. I would love a chance to check it out up close. Maybe Mr. Phil or others could answer my question: I understand many shooters love double triggers on side-bys (my dad,uncles, others, me too), but very many of the same shooters like single triggers on a over/under. Why is this and I'm I too dull for not understanding why without asking?

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from Marion Johnson wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

I like it. Sixteen sounds nice but I would need another reloader & hulls. Have lots of 12's & sacks full of 20'S already. I learned years ago that a 16 load accidentally loaded into a 12 ga. Model 12 magazine will tie it up & require removal of the trigger group. I've avoided 16's since then.

P.B., please do a review pf the Chiappa 3-barrel. I've been wanting a short double to keep in our travel trailer and this seems like a fun gun that would startle the feces out of a miscreant should it ever need be presented.

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from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Finally!!! 16-ga shotgun not stuck on a 12-ga frame!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackhawkbill wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Hey ITHACASXS:
I think it is a pride issue for o/u, but dbl guns are naturally two trigger systems. For me it is much easier and faster to select the choke with the shooting finger selection. This is an advantage for me in the field where shot selection comes in an instant.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Marion Johnson -- I hope to get a full-stock, long barreled hunting version of the Chiappa Triple Crown to review.
The short one is scary looking, and sort of cool in a steampunk kind of way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Thanks, blackhawk. you're right about 2 triggers being faster. When I hunt with my o/u, I almost never try to switch in a hurry-up situation, it just doesn't seem to work out, while it's no problem with aa older sxs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wkburns wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

I have been a SxS enthusiast for a number of years. I shoot everything from a H&H to a Remington 1900. I agree that the Dickinson is a heck of a gun for the money. I bought a S&W Elite Gold, which is the predecessor to this gun, three years ago. In that time I have hunted from the northern plains to the Sonoran desert with it and took it to Africa on an upland hunt. Upon returning from Africa two years ago I found the Dickinson 12ga and bought it to go with my 20ga. I have hunted the heck out of both and they have performed flawlessly. I just purchased a 16ga yesterday and look forward to using it. All three guns in fact are built on the same frame(I have measured all three frames with a calipers). Only the fences have been changed to incorporate the larger barrels. Weight differences I have found come mainly from various wood density. My 20ga weighs 6lbs 4oz, 16ga weighs 6lbs 6oz, and my 12ga weighs 6lbs 10oz. I had to look at a number of guns to keep weights within the specs I wanted. All of the guns come in both double and single trigger configurations.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackhawkbill wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

wkburns...How does the Dickinson stack up to the CZ Bobcat?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wkburns wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Blackhawkbill, I have the CZ Bobwhite which has served me fine over the years, but IMO it does not even begin to compare to the fit, finish and handling of the Dickinson line. For instance the CZs tend to be on the heavy side, lack ejectors, and very often have very heavy trigger pulls. I still use my CZ for ducks, but that is about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from chadlove wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Interesting. The market for vintage, field-grade English extractor guns is pretty depressed right now, and I've been kicking around the idea of finding a nice, sound, relatively recent budget specimen, having the bores opened up to a tad above cylinder, and taking my chances with the lowest-pressure steel upland loads I can find.

But for $1,500 (which is less than I was thinking my project would cost) that's a nice-looking gun. How do you think it compares to the Turkish S&W doubles from a few years back?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

I'm also in the market and intrigued with these. Might have to run into Sidney and fondle one. From the reviews I've seen, it compares favorably if not better than, the S&W doubles. What's your take, Phil?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Double D wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

And interestingly, the 16, which is where I would lean, is single triggered.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

I like this a lot. I would love a chance to check it out up close. Maybe Mr. Phil or others could answer my question: I understand many shooters love double triggers on side-bys (my dad,uncles, others, me too), but very many of the same shooters like single triggers on a over/under. Why is this and I'm I too dull for not understanding why without asking?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Marion Johnson wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

I like it. Sixteen sounds nice but I would need another reloader & hulls. Have lots of 12's & sacks full of 20'S already. I learned years ago that a 16 load accidentally loaded into a 12 ga. Model 12 magazine will tie it up & require removal of the trigger group. I've avoided 16's since then.

P.B., please do a review pf the Chiappa 3-barrel. I've been wanting a short double to keep in our travel trailer and this seems like a fun gun that would startle the feces out of a miscreant should it ever need be presented.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Finally!!! 16-ga shotgun not stuck on a 12-ga frame!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackhawkbill wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Hey ITHACASXS:
I think it is a pride issue for o/u, but dbl guns are naturally two trigger systems. For me it is much easier and faster to select the choke with the shooting finger selection. This is an advantage for me in the field where shot selection comes in an instant.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Marion Johnson -- I hope to get a full-stock, long barreled hunting version of the Chiappa Triple Crown to review.
The short one is scary looking, and sort of cool in a steampunk kind of way.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 11 weeks ago

Thanks, blackhawk. you're right about 2 triggers being faster. When I hunt with my o/u, I almost never try to switch in a hurry-up situation, it just doesn't seem to work out, while it's no problem with aa older sxs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wkburns wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

I have been a SxS enthusiast for a number of years. I shoot everything from a H&H to a Remington 1900. I agree that the Dickinson is a heck of a gun for the money. I bought a S&W Elite Gold, which is the predecessor to this gun, three years ago. In that time I have hunted from the northern plains to the Sonoran desert with it and took it to Africa on an upland hunt. Upon returning from Africa two years ago I found the Dickinson 12ga and bought it to go with my 20ga. I have hunted the heck out of both and they have performed flawlessly. I just purchased a 16ga yesterday and look forward to using it. All three guns in fact are built on the same frame(I have measured all three frames with a calipers). Only the fences have been changed to incorporate the larger barrels. Weight differences I have found come mainly from various wood density. My 20ga weighs 6lbs 4oz, 16ga weighs 6lbs 6oz, and my 12ga weighs 6lbs 10oz. I had to look at a number of guns to keep weights within the specs I wanted. All of the guns come in both double and single trigger configurations.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackhawkbill wrote 1 year 9 weeks ago

wkburns...How does the Dickinson stack up to the CZ Bobcat?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from wkburns wrote 1 year 8 weeks ago

Blackhawkbill, I have the CZ Bobwhite which has served me fine over the years, but IMO it does not even begin to compare to the fit, finish and handling of the Dickinson line. For instance the CZs tend to be on the heavy side, lack ejectors, and very often have very heavy trigger pulls. I still use my CZ for ducks, but that is about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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