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Top 10 Double Barrel Shotguns Under $1,500

You don't have to spend a lot of money to own a solid double gun for upland bird hunting.

Top 10 Double Barrel Shotguns Under $1,500

Whether you're looking for a reliable over-under or a sporty side-by-side, these double barrel upland shotguns will bang on birds without breaking the bank. (Lee Thomas Kjos photo)

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.

Stevens: 555

Stevens 555 over/under shotgun

The Stevens 555 is a no-frills stackbarrel that comes with an aluminum receiver with steel inserts for added durability and carbon steel barrels with five screw-in choke tubes included. The black finish on the metalwork is austere but functional, and the Turkish walnut stock features a Schnabel fore end with checkering for better grip. Extractors come standard, as do a tang-mounted safety and barrel selector. If you prefer a bit more ornamentation than the Standard 555 offers, you can upgrade to the 555 Enhanced, which offers features like a laser-engraved silver aluminum receiver, enhanced walnut, and auto ejectors. Both the 555 and 555E are available in 12-, 16-, 20 -and 28-gauge and .410 bore.

$745-$905 | www.savagearms.com 

Tristar: Bristol

Tristar Bristol side-by-side shotgun

Tristar shotguns are growing in popularity because the company offers robust, feature-rich shotguns at a very reasonable price point. The new Bristol SxS is the ideal firearm for those who want to carry a robust double in the field but don’t want to take out a second mortgage to do so. It comes with a case -colored receiver and English-style, oil-finish Turkish walnut stock with a splinter forearm. A single selective trigger comes standard, which is much more accommodating for shooters accustomed to single trigger guns than the double trigger layout found on many European side-by-sides. Other features found on the Bristol include a tang-mounted safety/barrel selector, five screw-in choke tubes (Beretta style), chrome-lined chambers and bores, and a single brass bead front sight. 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge and .410 models are available, and the diminutive .410 weighs just a shade over five pounds. These guns are an exceptional value considering the quality.  

$1,100-$1,130 | www.tristararms.com  

CZ: Redhead Premier

CZ Redhead premier over/under shotgun

The Redhead Premier from CZ is an excellent value for an over/under shotgun. For just over a grand, this gun offers a one-piece CNC-machined receiver with a silver satin chrome finish and stylish engraving, auto ejectors, and a well-designed, stylish Turkish walnut stock. Available in 12-, 16-, and 20-gauge, the Redhead Premier offers everything you need from an upland gun as well as some extra touches like five interchangeable chokes (fixed IC/M in 16 gauge), a solid midrib, and white bead front sight. Weights range from about 6 ¾ pounds to 8 pounds, which is heavier than some competing models, but unlike some of those other guns, the Redhead Premier manages recoil well and is a gun you won’t mind shooting at the sporting clays course.

$1,019 | www.cz-usa.com 


Weatherby: Orion I 

Weatherby Orion I over/under shotgun

Weatherby might be best known for their big-game rifles, but since the company moved from California to Sheridan, Wyoming, they’ve been rolling out lots of new shotgun models and increasing their footprint in the upland hunting market. The company’s Orion I shotgun stacks up well against over/unders costing twice as much. The A-grade gloss walnut stock comes with good checkering and a Prince of Wales grip, and the tang-mounted safety/barrel selector is easy to access. Unlike many of the guns in this price category, the Orion I comes standard with auto ejectors and three interchangeable choke tubes. Glossy finishes have become a hallmark of the Weatherby brand, but if you’re looking for something more sedate, check out the Orion Matte Blue. If you want a gun that serves double duty on the clay range and in the field, the Orion Sporting, with its adjustable comb, ventilated barrels, and extended choke tubes is a superb choice. The forthcoming 20-gauge Orion I model is also a sweet shotgun; light and nimble and perfect for any upland hunter.

$999-$1,099 | www.weatherby.com 

Stoeger: Condor Field

Stoeger Condor Field over/under shotgun

The Stoeger Condor Field is a basic over/under that’s a great field gun, and with prices starting as low as $349, it’s also a great value. The entry-level Condor Field version comes with a synthetic stock and is a great choice for those who want a durable double gun that works as well at the range and in the uplands as it does in a duck blind. Walnut stock models start at $449, and there are competition models available as well, with ported barrels, extended chokes, and adjustable combs. The Condor family is large and growing, and offers a wide range of models, but to my mind the best value is the 12/20 gauge combo gun that comes with two sets of barrels with screw-in chokes (IC/M) for just $649. Extractors come standard, and while the Condor is a no-frills option, it’s a solid choice for those who want a functional and affordable stackbarrel.  

$349-$649 | www.stoegerindustries.com 

Mossberg: International Silver/Gold Reserve

Mossberg International Silver Reserve over/under shotgun

Mossberg International updated their Silver and Gold Reserve models last year. The Silver Reserve line of over/unders come with extractors, five chokes, satin black walnut stocks and are available in 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge and .410. There’s also a Bantam version that’s perfect for the small-statured hunter or shooter, and the Eventide model comes with a durable black polymer stock and matte black finish. Step up to the Gold Reserve line, which is available in 12- and 20-gauge and .410, and you’ll add upgraded wood, an engraved receiver, and auto ejectors. Silver and Gold Reserve guns are both reliable and are a great value in over/under shotguns.

$692-$983 | www.mossberg.com

Franchi: Instinct L

Franchi Instinct L over/under shotgun

If you’re looking for an affordable Italian-made over/under, then Franchi’s Instinct L is the natural choice. The steel receiver is color-case hardened and the A-grade Turkish walnut stock comes with a semi-gloss finish, Prince of Wales grip, and trim forearm that fills the hand. Fit and finish are excellent for a gun in this price range, and auto ejectors, chrome-lined barrels, three choke tubes, and a red fiber -optic front sight all come standard. These guns, which are available in 12- or 20-gauge, cost a bit more than their rivals, but there’s no doubt about the build quality and durability of these firearms. Female shooters should also consider the 20-gauge Franchi Instinct Catalyst, which offers a stock that is engineered to fit the female form.

$1,369-$1,469 | www.franchiusa.com 

Stoeger: Uplander Field

Stoeger Uplander side-by-side shotgun

The Stoeger Uplander series of side-by-side shotguns are some of the most affordable double guns available today. And while the base guns aren’t particularly ornate, they are functional, hard-working hunting guns. The Uplander Field model comes in 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge and .410, and features twin triggers, a tang-mounted safety, two choke tubes (fixed IC/M in the 28 gauge version, fixed F/F in .410), and a satin walnut stock. There’s also an Uplander Supreme with upgraded wood, but my favorite is the Longfowler version ($449, shown here), that features 30-inch barrels with extended choke tubes. It’s a cool (and affordable) throwback to the days when long-barreled doubles dominated the duck hunting scene.

$449-$549 | www.steogerindustries.com 


Tristar: Trinity

Tristar trinity over/under shotgun

The affordable Tristar Trinity is a good-looking gun. The acid-etched receiver features 24-carat gold inlay which enhances the look of the gun without making it appear gaudy. Five chokes and ejectors are standard, and the Schnabel fore end and ventilated midrib are nice additions to this well-appointed Turkish Over/under. Other features that make the Tristar a standout include a fiber optic front bead and chrome-lined chamber and bore. 12-, 16-, and 20-gauge models are available with overall weights ranging from 6.5 to 6.9 pounds—ideal for a field gun. The upland hunter who wants an affordable over/under with a bit of ornamentation will be pleased with this gun.

$730 | www.tristararms.com 

CZ: Bobwhite G2 All-Terrain

CZ Bobwhite G2 all-terrain side-by-side shotgun

I’ve always been a fan of the CZ Bobwhite, and the new G2 All-Terrain model offers the feel of a classic European double (straight English-style stock, two triggers, splinter forearm) with the added protection of a Cerakote OD Green finish on the metalwork. Cerakote helps the Bobwhite (and other members of the CZ All-Terrain family) stand up well to the harshest elements. Whereas you might think twice about bashing through brush in the grouse woods or sitting all day in a soggy duck blind with a blued double, you won’t have to worry about the finish on the Bobwhite All-Terrain. Both the 12- and 20-gauge versions come with five interchangeable chokes and rare earth magnets in the extractors that prevent shells from sliding out when you’re handling dogs.

$855 | www.cz-usa.com 

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