There was a time when no self-respecting upland bird hunter would be caught dead with a pump shotgun. Side-by-sides ruled the golden era of bird hunting. Gentlemen hunters and even hardscrabble farm boys proudly trailed their setters, shotgun in hand, as they plucked singles and doubles from each covey rise. Sadly, those days are gone. Quail are hanging on by a thread throughout much of their range and doubles, as purists like to call them, have been replaced by single-barrel pumps and auto-loaders—guns that just don’t have the grace and charm of a classic double.

Side-by-sides are a more rare sight in the field anymore. Many of the major firearms manufacturers don’t even offer a factory-produced side-by-side. That’s a shame. Doubles aren’t just handsome, they are straight-shooting guns that perform admirably in the uplands. Pick one up and you’ll instantly feel a connection to the golden age of bird hunting. Check out our roundup of the best side-by-sides of all time.

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