The Big Question on a New Shotgun; Point or Swing?
Two schools of thought on shotguns; those who enjoy a short, light pointing gun and those who like to swing a long barrel.
When I was a kid, so long ago that they didn’t even teach history when I was in school, long barrels were the ticket for duck and goose hunters. The theory was that a long barrel made it easier to carry through on the swing when shooting at passing ducks and geese. The same theory that clay shooters use. I had a friend that had a 36” barreled twelve gauge. I can remember how proud he was when he got that gun. And yes that gun did swing well. God forbid that you had to change up on a pair of ducks. Once you started the swing it was hard to stop it!
We hunted mostly in blinds on the Platte River and a few lakes. Most of the birds were passing but not committed to a decoy spread.
Well my hunting style has changed and so has my idea of the ideal shotgun. Now-a-days I hunt mostly out of a field layout blind or a layout marsh boat.
I use good to excellent decoys.
I practice my calling.
And maybe the biggest change is the goal of my duck hunting.
Beyond just killing birds, now my goal is to get committed birds into my decoys. In these situations, I want a gun that is light and handy. That points better than it swings. I like short barrels and light weight guns.
I have used a lot of guns over the years. Some shorter but too heavy, some light that just didn’t point well. You have to pick up and shoulder all the different models to see what ‘fits” you best. A well fitted gun is one that with your face on the stock and BOTH eyes open is “aimed” where you are staring. I love the classic look of Ruger’s over and O/U. Their weight is right too. However, for me, when I put one to my shoulder and check on the stock they are “aimed” low and to the left.
I have settled on Browning as they “point” better to me than any other gun I have shot. I own three.
My Upland gun is a Browning Ultra-Light Over and Under Citori. Short 24” barrels and coming in at about 5 ¾ pounds. It points easy. If my face is on the stock, the barrels are pointing at what I am looking at. I shoot it the best of any gun I own.
My Duck gun is a Browning Duck Blind Over and Under Cynergy with 26” barrels. A little heavier saves the shoulder when shooting the bigger 3.5” shells. Again, it points fast and true.
My Goose gun is a Browning Maxus semi-automatic with 26” barrels. It is my newest gun. I have shot it the least but so far so good.
First flock of geese this early season I dropped three geese using the gun. I really started liking it after that!
When looking to get a new shotgun, decide how you are going to use it and then get a gun whose characteristics enhance your style. Pass shooting, long heavy barrels. Coffin blinds and layouts try a short barreled gun. If you do both look at those with 28 to 30 inch barrels. Both of your hunting friends may be right. The one who claims a long barrel is the best and the one, who like me, praises the short light guns.
Depends on “how” YOU hunt.
Until I see you in the field, Be Safe, Be Good, and BE LUCKY~!