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5 Most Viewed Articles in 2021

Here's a look at your favorites from the past year!

5 Most Viewed Articles in 2021

From tips and tactics to breaking news to top-ranking gear lists and more, Gun Dog is your primary source for getting in the know with all things upland bird hunting and sporting dogs. The following five are your top favorite Gun Dog articles of 2021.

10 Great Shotguns for Sporting Clays

Sure, you can bust clay pigeons all day long with the hand-me-down pump tucked away in the back of your gun safe, but why would you? That's like driving a 1996 Ford Taurus to your high school prom. It will certainly do what you ask it to, but really, who wants to be seen in it?

Of course, a day on the clays range isn't about how good you look. It's about performance. Fortunately, some shotguns not only look good, they are built for shattering those orange disks that can give us so much grief. Many have adjustable stocks, weight balancing accessories and other features designed specifically for the range.

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5 Solid Youth Shotgun Choices for Little Hunters

top 5 youth shotguns

Choosing a son or daughter’s first shotgun is often a difficult decision, and the choice is a largely individual one based on many factors. A youngster’s arm length, strength, stature, fear of recoil, past shooting experience, and mental maturity all play into the decision, as do the various qualities of different types of shotgun actions.

As a freelance writer who specializes in writing for a variety of firearms magazines, I’m often asked by parents what kind of first gun to get their kids. And as a father of four now-grown children, I’ve been through the selection process repeatedly. In a nutshell, you’ll probably be choosing your child’s first shotgun from one of three action types: single-shot, pump-action and semi-automatic. Double-barrels are a possibility, but few true youth-sized double guns are available on the market at this time.

For gauge, you’ll likely be choosing from 12-, 20- or 28-gauge or .410 bore. While many hunters like the 16 gauge, there are few models inexpensive enough for most parents to look at for a child’s first gun. And while the .410 bore has light recoil and some experts are deadly with them, patterns are typically not sufficient for a young hunter to see much success when shooting one.

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How To Build the Perfect Dog Kennel

how to build the perfect dog kennel

A dog's home is his castle, so there are some guidelines to consider when designing a dog kennel.

Whether building or buying a new outside kennel run or re-building an old one, a gun dog owner can create a better final product by following guidelines developed through the experiences of many other canine caretakers.

The suggestions offered here are mostly from Gun Dog readers who have spent considerable time, effort and money learning how to locate, design and construct an outdoor home for their canines. Along the way, mistakes were made, but good ideas prevailed. These are some of the best of them.

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6 Best Breeds for First-Time Bird Dog Owners

black lab holding a ring-necked pheasant rooster

Ask 10 bird dog owners which breed is best for a first-time owner, and you’ll likely get 20 different answers.

Breed loyalty and personal experience are powerful influences. There are dozens of terrific breeds—some better known than others. Many of the lesser-known breeds such as the Braque D’Auvergne or the Large Munsterlander would be wonderful for first-timers, but because they have relatively few breeders in this country, finding them—and learning about them—can be difficult.

Another challenge is separating show-ring lines from hunting lines. All things considered, picking a breed is part investigative research, part psychological profiling, and a touch of beauty contest. A little mental homework makes it easier.

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Top 10 Double Barrel Shotguns Under $1,500

top 10 double barrel shotguns under $1500

There are a lot of fantastic pump and semi-auto shotguns on the market, but there’s just something magical about hunting with a good double gun. Side-by-side (SxS) shotguns predate smokeless powder by more than a century, and they have been the choice of upland hunters since the early days of the sport. Over/under (O/U) shotguns are a more recent creation, but since stackbarrels became popular in the early twentieth century, they’ve come to dominate the shooting sports. Both of these gun types offer a quick one-two shot that bird hunters love.

Do you have to own a double gun to hunt birds? No. But I enjoy grabbing a light over/under or beautifully crafted side-by-side when I head to the field, even if those guns aren’t my primary upland hunting firearm. And despite the exorbitant asking prices some double guns demand, you don’t have to spend a fortune to experience the joy of carrying a double-barrel shotgun in the field. Here are ten great over/unders and side-by-sides that won’t set you back more than $1,500.

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