Many hunters and gun enthusiasts love a good over under shotgun. They offer versatility and safety; you can see down the barrel to confirm no obstructions.
They are easy to use, maintain and clean. While out in the field, having the option of two chokes is great. For upland hunters, searching for the best over under shotgun requires some thought and consideration.
When you set out to purchase a new shotgun, you come across three main type of actions. The action determines how the shell will be positioned and be fired from the gun. First, there are semi-automatic shotguns that can send rounds down repeatedly. They have less of a recoil but have a high price tag.
Next, there are the pump action shotguns with their iconic sound and design, making you feel as if you are a gangster in a movie.
They are reliable, expensive and easy to clean. Last, there are the break action shotguns, either over-under or side-by-side shotguns. They are considered some of the safest firearms to purchase, with a price range that is huge.
What to Consider When Purchasing An Over Under Shotgun
Most of your considerations for an over under shotgun are the same as if you were searching for any shotgun. Even though they are different, most of the features and specifications are needed to understand for all purchases. Let’s take a quick look at these considerations.
Shotguns come in a variety of gauges. Here are the options you will encounter.
- Ten gauge which the largest is allowed in the United States legally. It has quite a recoil. Many don’t opt for the ten gauge, except some goose hunters.
- 12 gauge is the most common choice, as well as the cheapest option. You can use it for deer hunting, turkey hunting or clay shooting.
- 16 gauge is the middle road between a 12 and 20 gauge. It is an excellent choice for waterfowl; it has the height needed. There is a smaller recoil. Your shoulder will thank you.
- 20 gauge is an excellent choice for a youth shooter. You can use it for game and upland hunting, as well as competition shooting. The recoil is less.
- 28 gauge is the lightest recoil and is best used for small game hunting. If you are doing little or close-up shooting, it is a good choice.
- .410 caliber is closer to a bullet but can be loaded in shotguns. It is the lightest load you can use.
The weight of any firearm matters, especially if you plan to use it for upland hunting. Who wants to haul around a cumbersome over under shotgun when there are lightweight choices? Depending on your intentions, the weight may not matter as much.
You are going to want different chokes for your shotgun. Several manufacturers included a set of chokes with your shotgun purchase.
This feature isn’t necessary, but not having to purchase them separately is a great thing!
Don’t forget to pay attention to the stock when making your selection. It is best to make your purchase in person to gain a feeling of the shotgun in your hand. You want it to feel well-balanced, with the butt fitting nicely into your shoulder.
If it doesn’t feel right, the stock could be the issue. Remember to bring the gun to your cheek rather than the opposite. If this doesn’t help the feel, you don’t need to purchase this shotgun.
The 7 Best Over Under Shotguns
Weight: 7 pounds
Dimensions: Barrel Length – 28 inches, Overall Length – 45 inches
Specific Features: Front Bead Sight, Black Walnut Stock, Field Choke Tube Set, Blued Barrel, Boxlock
Description: Mossberg conjures strong memories for many users, being a staple in collections for decades. Many users rave about the Silver Reserve II, comparing it to their famous old Model 183, which was a favorite.
The Silver Reserve is a boxlock, over under shotgun with a single trigger. It has a tang mounted safety as well.
You will be fond of the design of the Reserve II. There is a beautiful, checkered black walnut forearm, as well as a dark walnut buttstock. They added a rubber recoil pad. You can purchase it in 12, 20, 28 and gauges, as well as a .410 bore.
There are four different lengths: 32, 30, 28 and 26 inches. One thing to note is the barrel is blued, which does handle the weather worse than stainless steel.
The receiver has a polished silver with engraving. Another nice feature is the ventilated ribs and front bead sights. Mossberg includes five different screw-in choke tubes. The price is reasonable, coming in a variety of prices for all users.
Weight: 6.4 pounds
Dimensions: Barrel Length – 28 inches, Overall Length – 44.25 inches
Specific Features: Upland Gun, Lightweight, Steel Receiver, Walnut Stock, Ventilated Rib, Single Trigger
Description: The Franchi Instinct L is a beautiful, upland gun that costs a little more than $1,000. However, the price does vary, and the product is worth the money.
The Instinct L is the companion to the Instinct SL, which is a bit more expensive. The Instinct L has a case colored, steel receiver instead of an aluminum alloy receiver. The L has a classic look that most can appreciate.
They used A-grade walnut, Prince of Wales stock. There is cut checking in the handle. Franchi added a ventilated rib, ejectors, and gold, single trigger. Users can pick between 2 ¾ and 3-inch shells. The barrels are chrome lined.
You can purchase the Instinct L in a 12 gauge with 26 or 28-inch barrels or a 20 gauge with a 28-inch barrel. They both are lightweight and comes with three flush chokes and a hard case for transportation.
Weight: 6.9 pounds
Dimension: Barrel Length – 28 inches, Overall Length – 45.75
Specific Features: Satin Chrome Finish, Durable, Walnut Stock, Five Choke Set, Auto Ejectors
Description: Every person needs a good workhorse shotgun that is durable. While CZ makes several varieties of the best over and under shotgun, their Redhead Premier is an excellent choice. You can pick between a 12 and 20 gauge.
Both come with a satin, chrome finished receiver along with a dark walnut stock. The chrome is simple, yet attractive. To complete their style, CZ added a checkered stock and a chrome lined barrel.
CZ offers their Redhead Premir in 28-inch length barrels. You can custom request a reduced length model. However, all come with five different chokes for versatility.
The 12 and 20 gauge come standard with auto ejectors, some of the smoothest ejectors on the market. The Redhead Premier is a pleasure to shoot and to use. You can’t go wrong!
Weight: 7.4 pounds
Dimensions: Barrel Length – 28 inches, Overall Length – 44.75 inches
Features: Budget Friendly, Turkish Walnut, Grip Coating, 12 Gauge, Five Choke Set, Extractor
Description: If you want a budget friendly choice for the best over under shotgun, the Legacy Escort is the one for you. This price is more affordable, giving more people the option of using these great shotguns.
Legacy uses a Turkish walnut with a synthetic silver. It offers a classic look that looks expensive.
The Escort has a grip coating over the stock, as well as cobblestone inserts for a better grip. This feature is excellent for those who hunt out in different weather; your hand won’t lose grip. The Escort only comes in a 12 gauge; the lengths are either 18 or 28-inch barrels.
The 28-inch barrel is a bit more expensive. However, all of them come with five choke tubes: skeet, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full.
This over under offers a barrel selector that is incorporated with the tang mounted safety. Instead of auto ejectors, there is an extractor, which is one of the reasons why this is a lower price. If you find yourself hunting waterfowl a lot, the Escort is a fantastic choice that you can use and abuse for years to come.
Stevens 512 Gold Wing
Weight: 8.1 pounds
Dimensions: Barrel Length – 28 inches, Overall Length – 47 inches
Specific Features: Budget Friendly, Blued, Versatility, Five Choke Set, Tang Mounted, Walnut Stock
Description: Here is another excellent choice for a budget friendly over under shotgun. The Stevens 512 is a simple gun; there aren’t many impressive features. For a newbie user of over under shotguns, the 512 is a solid choice.
It has beautiful, clean lines and a blued action and barrel. Stevens crafted their shotgun with a satin walnut stock. This Savage Arms shotgun is nice to look at, but durable and performs great.
The reason it is called the Gold Wing is Savage Arms had a gold colored pheasant inlay added for detail to the receiver.
You can buy the Stevens 512 in four different bores: 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges. The 20 only comes in a youth version. There are 26 and 28-inch barrels, giving you a few choices. It comes with a 3-inch chamber, carbon steel barrels, and a ventilated rib. The Stevens 512 is ideal for skeet shooting, deer hunting, and bird hunting.
Weight: 7 pounds
Dimensions: Barrel Length – 26 inches, Overall Length – 42 inches
Specific Features: Ventilated Rib, Single Trigger, Screw in Chokes, Combo Option, AA-Grade American Walnut, Automatic Ejectors
Description: The Stoeger Condor is a budget friendly, simple, classic over-under shotgun. They offer a few different styles, but the Condor Supreme comes in a solid, better wood than their standard options. The Supreme features an AA-grade, gloss finished American walnut stock.
However, the Supreme only comes in two gauges: 12 and 20 gauge, along with a 12/20 combo. It is crafted with a blued receiver, a three-inch chamber, and a beautiful, glossed, walnut stock.
Although there are other chokes available, the Condor Supreme comes with two choke tubes: modified and improved. Even though the Condor Supreme is a cheaper over under shotgun, it has some great features.
Many users love the automatic ejectors and a single trigger. It is an excellent choice for a sports shooting clay gun.
Tristar Hunter Ex
Weight: 4.8 pounds
Dimensions: Barrel Length – 28 inches, Overall Length – 45.25 inches
Specific Features: Extractors, Ventilated Top, Single Trigger, Chrome Lined Chamber, Turkish Walnut Stock, Five Chokes
Description: The Hunter Ex is an excellent choice for an over-under shotgun that comes in under $1,000. There are four options: 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges, along with the .410.
They are built on a scaled action, and the 16 and 28 gauges have 3-inch chambers. The barrels are lined with chrome. Some of the other nice features of the Hunter Ex is the ventilated rib, tang mounted safety and five choke tubes.
While you have four gauge choices, there are only two selections for lengths: 26 and 28 inches. Many people love the 28 gauge because it is extremely lightweight, weighing less than five pounds. The Hunter EX was designed for durability and strength; it is sealed to keep dirt out.
It has a lightweight, aluminum alloy receiver, making it one of the best over and under shotgun to take out in the field. Tristar includes a five-year mechanical warranty, but you should be pleased with the craftsmanship of the shotgun.
Time for Hunting
These are seven of the best choices for an over under shotgun. When you are making your choice, set your budget range.
While an over under is typically cheaper than a pump action, you can easily spend a few thousand on a quality shotgun. Have no fear; there are choices under $500 on this list.
Check out the features! All of these shotguns are on the list because of their high quality, durability and reliable features that will benefit you.
Without a doubt, you will find at least one that peeks your interest. Then, head off to find it in a store near you. Remember, you need to feel the stock in your hand to make a final decision!