I plan to buy a new shotgun soon. Assuming that I’m looking for an over-and-under shotgun, what are the most important factors I should consider?
As a dealer, importer and gun fitter, I often get asked, “What gun should I buy?” I usually respond with “it depends.” Below are the five criteria I use to narrow down my clients’ preferences. I don’t use the answers as a checklist necessarily, but I ask my clients questions around these five areas in order to determine the best solution for their individual needs and wants. Before pulling out your credit card, you might want to think through your answers to these questions.
1) Utility – What do you plan on shooting with this new gun? Are you going to shoot clays or birds? If you are going to shoot mostly birds, what species of bird, where and under what conditions?
2) Budget – I usually try to understand the general budget range of the client. My advice: Buy the best quality gun you can afford.
3) Fit – Spending a lot of money on the purchase of a gun, only to find out afterwards that the gun does not fit, can be a heartbreaking experience. In many cases, the sales person selling a shotgun is not a gun fitter and has no idea if the gun fits you or not.
4) “Pointability” – How does the gun feel? Where is the balance point? How does it move for you? If possible, handle and shoot many guns before making a buying decision. If you ask nicely, most shooters at a sporting clays course are more than happy to let you shoot their gun at a few targets.
5) Aesthetics – Some gun buyers care more about functionality (that’s me). On the other hand, some believe the look of the gun is of equal importance.
Before buying your next shotgun, you might want to think through the answers to these questions. Good luck in purchasing your new gun!
Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at www.doncurrie.com.