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Regarding o/u shotguns - when would you wand the top barrel to fire first and when would you want the lower barrel to fire first

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  • Regarding o/u shotguns - when would you wand the top barrel to fire first and when would you want the lower barrel to fire first

    Regarding o/u shotguns - when would you wand the top barrel to fire first and when would you want the lower barrel to fire first?

  • #2
    With the advent of screw in chokes. Distance to target and which choke gives the best pattern at that distance.

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    • #3
      When shooting doubles trap you want to shoot the bottom barrel first. The number one reason is,since it is lower on the stock, the recoil is absorbed better allowing you to swing to the next target easier. Also, most shooters can their gun and the bottom barrel is most effected by this habit while the top barrel stays stationary. Shooting the bottom barrel first at the easier target will help remedy this problem. I assume this would carry over in the field.

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      • #4
        O/U is best for upland hunting. The first barrel to fire is usually the more open choke, typically improved cylinder, with second barrel being the tighter choke (usually modified). The logic should be clear: first shot is usually the closest so you'd want the advantage of a more open pattern. If you had to switch to flushing dogs in thick cover then you probably would want the tighter barrel firing first because: 1) you're probably only going to get one shot anyway and 2) the birds are usually going to be further away because you can't walk up on them over pointer.

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        • #5
          The species being hunted will sometimes also dictate which barrel shoots first. Sharptails here in Montana get pretty cagey after the first week or two of season. One would want nothing less than modified and preferably full choke since most shots even over good dogs are 30+ yards. Sharptails typically stay in large coveys and hang in the open grasslands. They usually won't hold but a few seconds. So, if I had an O/U (and I don't - too heavy and expensive), I would switch to shooting the tighter barrel first in situations where I might encounter sharpies.

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          • #6
            Whole lotta that depends on the situation, jimbo!
            Most SxS doubles are choked with the left barrel one step tighter than the right.
            For instance, my old L.C. Smith SxS is choked left, full/right, modified.
            For jump shooting ducks, use the modified (right) barrel up close and the full (left) barrel as they gain distance.
            Best of my recollection, the majority of O/U gun barrels are choked alike. That is full/full, modified/modified etc.
            With different choked barrels like my SxS, use the open (right - front trigger) on closer shots and reserve the tight (left - rear trigger) barrel for longer shots or maybe "tougher" game.
            If both barrels are choked alike, I would pattern both barrels for similarity of pattern and decide from there.
            More open, up close.
            Tighter pattern as the "follow up" (harder hitting) shot.

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            • #7
              Since the barrels are regulated and you have selectable triggers, there is no mandatory best way to do it; just remember how each barrel is choked..

              I got used to the way the old fixed chokes were set up.

              More open on top, and more closed on bottom

              For pass shooting, it may be better to shoot the tighter choke first, as the birds are going to be much closer for the second shot, depending on the angle of approach.

              I have only rarely seen them pull a U-turn, but I have seen it.

              You must know basic trigonometry to understand this, and an explanation would take many pages.

              On the other hand, grouse are much like trapshooting here. The woods are open and long-range shots are common, so I use full choke in both barrels.

              In any case, you must know how your shotgun shoots; some range time with a paper target and the shot of your choice is in order.

              I used butcher paper and a PVC frame to find out exactly how my new Citori shoots, and it was Money Well Spent.

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              • #8
                Thanks for the answers. I got a big roll of kraft paper so I am going to check it out on the range. My gun is a Weatherby Orion (SKB) with screw in chokes, taper forcing cones and single inertia trigger. So I will have to try different chokes and ranges with field and waterfowl loads.

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