Ask Phil: Barrel Selectors For Shooting in the Field

I once heard an old-timer praise the dual triggers on his side-by-side. He said he was able to select a … Continued

I once heard an old-timer praise the dual triggers on his side-by-side. He said he was able to select a tighter or looser choke by selecting one or the other trigger, even during fast shots in the field.

Many over-unders have the barrel selector mounted in the safety switch. Do you know any hunters who are able to use it to select a barrel and still get the shot off in time in the field?
– Frank

The old-timer was right. It is true that double triggers are the fastest, easiest way to select a barrel in the field. With a little practice, it becomes an automatic reflex to reach for the back trigger when you need it. By the way, there are still a few people who believe you use two fingers on double triggers. All that does is subject your middle finger to a whack from the front trigger when the gun goes off and it greatly increases your chances of pulling both triggers at once, making the gun double, which hurts even more. But, if you want instant choke selection, get a gun with double triggers and learn to use them. It’s not difficult.

The one single selective trigger system that was truly instant was the safety/selector found on the Remington 3200. It looked like a miniature version of the gun’s opening lever. Flip it one way and the gun was off safe with one barrel selected, flip it the other, and it was ready to fire the other barrel.

Most selectors are combined with safeties and require you to first select a barrel, then push the safety off. I should point out here, I guess, that you don’t have to flip barrel selectors between shots. People ask me about that.
Of the other types of barrel selectors, the fastest to use is the button mounted in the trigger of SKBs and I have heard some tell me they can use it on a bird in flight. I have never tried.

The only time I can ever remember using a barrel selector in the field came on a preserve hunt I went on with my Miroku Charles Daly, a gun that has the typical barrel selector combined with the safety. A pheasant flushed. I shot it and opened the gun, ejecting the empty. A second bird flushed before I could reload. I closed the gun, selected the top barrel with the safety switch (the top barrel was the only one still loaded. Closing the gun had reset it to shoot the bottom barrel first), took the safety off and shot the pheasant.

That’s my only barrel selector story. Any one out there fast enough to select barrels with a single trigger when birds are on the wing?