What type of gun is best for shooting pheasants? Is the side-by-side Victorian style shotgun dying out? There has been an inescapably large increase in the popularity of over and under shotguns over a number of years.
Over and under is have become much more popular recently as almost everyone who is introduced to shooting pheasants starts the sport over at the shooting ground with the over and under barrel configurations. Newbies who are introduced into the sport by friends of will almost always end up shooting with the over and under configuration as that is what the shooting ground teaches with.
However those bought up by family members essentially start with a side by side as that is what the family own and they learnt to shoot with Father picking up empty cartridges and keeping the dog under control. Since the demise of the landed gentry it has also become less common for family members to introduce others the sport because families own less land and there are so many other sports easily accessible. Throw in the inconvenience of licencing police inspection and that shooting as a sport gets poor media coverage and you can see only the dedicated get through all the hoops.
Traditions do shift with time, and although the over and under his very popular at the moment a small change in technology or twist or change in fashion and the side-by-side will come back with a vengeance…
The side-by-side although being traditional; lightweight and easy to reload in the midst of the action whether it be grouse screaming past the butts; high flying pheasants or small covey of Partridge taking to the wing has a lot going for it (particularly the lightweight factor). There is however some amount of evidence to suggest that the over and under is easier to shoot with. Although slightly heavier and some would say cumbersome the additional weight helps the shooter get a good swing going making for smoother shots. Add to this that nearly no competition shooters use a side-by-side action-ed gun, many people think that the over and under just functions better.
People love tradition
One of the attractions to game shooting is a mixture of ingredients of tradition and style and heritage and the side-by-side speaks to this point in volumes. As time moves on however and new people come to the sport inevitably having been shooting clays to start with the balance is slowly shifting.
There are other things which are important to note the availability and often significantly cheaper yet high quality and robust imported guns available in large numbers have introduced more people to the sport. Other parts of the world are not so interested in tradition and generally use over and under s which will always make them cheaper.
The most important thing is that it should be something that you enjoy
At the end of the day if those new to the sport find over and under guns easier to shoot with they will go home enjoying the sport more and are more likely to be shooting pheasants at the next event. Traditions do shift with time, and although the over and under his very popular at the moment a small change in technology or twist or change in fashion and the side-by-side will come back with a vengeance.
People love tradition, it really it roots them in the past and they like to continue in something that has gone on long before them and so it is doubtful that the side-by-side will move towards extinction. Just as the wearing of tweed; the elegance, good manners and country manor is unlikely to disappear in the near future.
The most important thing for each individual is that they are happy with their gun, and that they shoot with whatever works for them whether it is Grandfathers side-by-side handed down through the family or a brand-new over and under bought recently it is obvious that both types of shot gun are still popular. The most important thing is that it should be something that you enjoy shooting pheasants with.