ALTHOUGH THE SHOOTING SEASON IS OVER, YOU CAN STILL SHOOT DUCK AND GOOSE IN SCOTLAND RIGHT UP TO THE 20TH FEBRUARY. DUCK OR NO DUCK, WE’D LIKE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE INTERLUDE SITTING YOU DOWN FOR A (METAPHORICAL) SLOE GIN AS WE UNVEIL OUR TOP GUNS.
It’s possible that the Purdey side by side shotgun is one of the most iconic shotguns of all time distinguished not only by the superb handling experience but also by the firm’s attitude to unique design. Indeed the earliest Purdey rifles featured almost Gothic like embellishments and serpents and stags intertwined with one another on the metalwork. Today the engraving markedly sets it’s apart from other brands; indeed it’s the brand’s trademark colour hardened rose and scroll is often emulated- flattery of the highest rank.
In terms of performance the gun cocks on closing meaning the springs are at rest when the gun is disassembled. Furthermore the V-type mainspring is another clever design feature, one side of the spring is used to power the hammer in each lock whilst the other operates the self opening feature; an extremely useful mechanism for large bag days.
The Bespoke Supermodel
The Aya No.1 deluxe is probably the finest looking side by side firearm on the market. Of Spanish origin the gun is of elegant and sleek appearance combining practicality with aesthetics. Bold hand engraving means this gun could be mistaken for an English model artfully placed in between a light grained walnut stock and blackened barrels. This gun is a bespoke gun made for the individual meaning those in possession of eccentric shooting quirks can be catered for.
Best value for money
The Beretta Silver Pigeon is a great over and under option for those that want to keep shooting as economical as possible; the gun retails for around £1,500 depending on the spec. The price seems to be largely to do with Beretta’s economy to scale rather than saving money on cheap materials with the choice of a 28 inch barrell or a 30 inch barrel being the only decision you’ll need to make. Forfeiting the luxury of choice is not a bad trade-off however when the overall quality is as good as the higher spec Beretta models. The choke key, monobloc finish, trilo bite shaped safety barrel and the mahogany stock are all well considered culminating in a thumbs up from TNG’s HQ.
The Blue Blood
Holland and Holland’s ‘Royal’ side by side shotgun is one of the most coveted models on the market retailing anywhere from £85,000 upwards. Certainly you’ll be expecting some bang for your bank parting with the hefty sum. The gun takes over 900 hours to make and delivery can take up to 30 months. As you would expect, the gun delivers a first class handling experience with exceptionally crisp and clean trigger pulls. Aesthetically, the gun almost redefines luxurious, with a stock comprised of specially selected Turkish walnut generally coming from trees of great maturity.