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GUNS Magazine July 2010 - Page 58

The Browning Citori is one of the most popular over-unders ever made. This little 28-gauge was nice to carry in the hills of western Idaho after huns and chukars. et’s get the irrational part over quickly, by repeating the cliché, “A side-by-side shotgun is ‘better’ because our eyes are side-by-side, not one on top of the other.” Innocent shotgunners will giggle when they hear that one, while serious side-by-side snobs will look impossibly wise and start nodding their head. I just roll my eyes— while tilting my head so one eye is on top of the other. L TWin barrel John Barsness was the supposed ideal for most upland bird hunting and the odd round of skeet, while a heavier, longer barreled 12 (also with 3" chambers) was better for waterfowling, a practice round of trap and when pheasants flushed in from North Dakota while you were hunting in South Dakota. Exactly why an over-under was so superior was never explicitly stated, but the real reason was a Browning Superposed cost half as much as a Winchester Model 21. Also unsaid (but implied), was the notion side-by-sides were grandpa’s technology. They might have been OK when the Model A Ford was everyman’s automobile, but by the late 1960s every man was driving a Ford Mustang, if only in his mind. However, some serious shotgunners have proposed serious reasons why the over-under took over—aside from eyeorientation, that is. The most common involves the increased precision of the single sighting plane of the over-under. “Sighting plane” is an interesting choice of phrase, considering a shotgun is pointed, not aimed. When we shoot a shotgun we’re not supposed to look at the barrel, but of course most of us see it as a fuzzy blob somewhere near the target. And many shotgunners do shoot better when using an over- side-by-side Vs. ov 58 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JULY 2010 Before World War II the side-by-side shotgun predominated both in hunting and in competition, and not just in Great Britain and Europe, but the United States. All the top American-made shotguns were side-by-sides: Fox, Ithaca, L.C. Smith, Lefever, Parker, Winchester Model 21, etcetera. After the war the over-under took over. By the 1960s, when baby boomer kids became teenagers, and had the typical yearning to conform to a peer group, over-unders were the shotgun to own. A short-barreled 20-gauge with 3" chambers

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