The PR: Smith & Wesson [www.smith-wesson.com] is responding to a demand for fine shotguns with these two 20-gauge side-by-sides and over-unders. Both are available with either a straight stock or a “Prince of Wales” stock, which has a less pronounced curve of the grip and a rounded knob. They are made in Turkey by a company that produces guns for S&W; only and have the earmarks of the classic upland double, such as walnut stocks with 24 line-per-inch hand checkering, ivory bead sights, and case-hardened, hand-engraved receivers. The side-by-sides are choked Improved Cylinder and Modified, the O/Us come with 5 choke tubes.
The Takeaway: Although I didn’t shoot these, the Elites feel wonderful in the hand and point naturally, like doubles are supposed to. One neat touch: Smith & Wesson’s “Heirloom Warrantee” means that the gun is warranted for both your lifetime and that of the person you will the gun to. And they don’t charge extra for it. Shotguns editor Phil Bourjaily is testing Elites as I write this and will file a report for the magazine later this spring.
The Cost: All models have an MSRP of $2350.