“How much should I spend on a shotgun?”

It’s a question we are asked several times per week.

In terms of performance, the law of diminishing returns kicks in fairly quickly with shotguns. There aren’t (m)any crappy guns made these days so, providing your gun fits you, shoulders well and is not too heavy or light for you, the overwhelming majority of missed targets will be down to operator error. You reduce the occurrences of operator error by taking lessons and getting in plenty of practice at the shooting ground, not by losing confidence in your existing gun and going out and buying a more expensive one.

If your plan is to shoot clays and/or driven game, with few exceptions it is advisable to buy a multi-choke over-and-under. If side-by-sides were better in terms of performance, Olympic shooters and other champion shots would favour them, they don’t. We don’t generally recommend semi-automatics as your only gun, except in the case of some wheelchair users where they can be a more practical choice providing breech flags are used to show the gun clear and safe between stands/pegs. The single barrel limits you in terms of choking.

A Grade 1 multi-choke Sporter with 28”, 30” or 32” barrels (depending on your preference and build) from Browning, Beretta, Miroku or similar will serve you well on the clays or in the field and last a lifetime. Depending on your budget spend between £600 to £1800 new or second hand.

Once you move beyond that price range, you are buying because you can and you want to. If you’re that way inclined, that’s great, fine shotguns are functional works of art. If my ship ever comes in I’d have a Boss & Co over-and-under made in a heartbeat – I’d not hit any more with that than I do with anything else that fits though.

Feel free to comment.


(Photo Watson Bros Gunmakers)