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6 Best Double Barrel Shotguns [2024]: Classic Gun Collection preview image
Jan 26 2024
12 min read

6 Best Double Barrel Shotguns [2024]: Classic Gun Collection

The best double barrel shotguns have a level of class rarely seen with pump action and semi-automatic shotguns. Ornate engraving, quality wood stocks, and craftsmanship are all seemingly prerequisites for double-barrel shotguns.

We are going to look at some of the available options and point you in the right direction for getting a quality shotgun at an affordable price.

ImageProductPrice
Weatherby Orion IBest Overall – Weatherby Orion I
CZ Bobwhite G2 12 GaugeBest Budget Friendly Side by Side Shotgun – CZ Bobwhite G2 12 Gauge
MOSSBERG INTERNATIONAL SILVER RESERVEBest Budget Friendly Over/Under Shotgun – Mossberg International Silver Reserve
MOSSBERG INTERNATIONAL SILVER RESERVE YOUTH BANTAMBest Youth Shotgun – Mossberg International Silver Reserve Bantam
STOEGER DOUBLE DEFENSEBest for Self-Defense – Stoeger Double Defense
BROWNING CITORIBest Over $1,500 – Browning Citiori

Buyers Guide For Double Barrel Shotguns

Double Barrel vs. Pump Action vs. Semi-Automatic

The three actions you will find when shopping for a shotgun are pump action, semi-automatic, and double-barrel. Each action has its pros and cons.

Pump Action

Pump action shotguns are one of the world’s most popular firearms, much less shotgun types.

A pump action shotgun requires the shooter to manually cycle the action after each shot. The cycling of the action ejects the spent shell and loads a new one into the action.

They are relatively simple in their design and, when properly maintained, can be expected to go boom every time the shooter pulls the trigger.

Semi-Automatic

Semi-automatic shotguns are also popular guns in their own right, but less so than pump-action shotguns. They use the force of the shell firing to cycle the action. This ejects the spent shell and loads a new shell with each pull of the trigger.

A semi-automatic action is a more complicated action than a pump action shotgun. Semi-automatic shotguns are capable of delivering more rounds down range at a target in a short period of time than a pump action shotgun.

The more complicated action of a semi-automatic shotgun requires more maintenance than a pump action shotgun. Still, when properly maintained, quality semi-automatic shotguns can be expected to go boom every time the shooter pulls the trigger.

Double Barrel

Double barrel shotguns are a type of shotgun that uses a break action where the gun “breaks” or opens before the barrels allowing two shotshells to be loaded simultaneously. The two shells can then be fired, depending on the gun, separately or as a single volley.

One benefit of double-barrel shotguns is the ability of the shooter to have each barrel configured differently. The shooter can opt to put a different choke on each barrel and change the shooting characteristics of each barrel.

Another option that shooters can choose is a different shell loading for each barrel. Combining these two means of changing the characteristics allows shooters greater versatility in what a single shotgun can do at a given time than a pump-action or semi-automatic shotgun.

Two types of double-barrel shotguns exist; over/under and side by side.

Over/Under Shotguns vs. Side-by-Side Shotguns

OverUnder Shotgun vs. Side-by-Side Shotgun

Selecting the style of double-barrel shotgun you choose comes down primarily to personal preference. Both styles are suitable for hunting and target shooting.

One noticeable difference between the two styles is that with an over/under shotgun, the dispersion of the shot between barrels will be on the vertical plane. In contrast, with a side-by-side shotgun, the dispersion will be on the horizontal plane.

Another factor to consider is that there is evidence that the price for side-by-side shotguns does tend to rise faster as one moves up in quality more quickly than the price increases for over/under shotguns.

Best Double Barrel Shotguns

Best Overall – Weatherby Orion I

"Weatherby Orion I Over/Under 12 Gauge Shotgun - 28" Barrel, 3" Chamber, 2 Rounds, Walnut Stock, Blued Finish"
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Specifications

Caliber12 Gauge, available 20 gauge as well
Capacity2
Weight7 pounds
Barrel Length26 inches
Overall Length45.75 inches

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • Chrome-lined barrels
  • Classy
Cons
  • Basic sights

The Weatherby Orion I is a quality over/under shotgun and is an excellent choice for an all-purpose double barrel shotgun.

The Weatherby Orion I is produced in Turkey for Weatherby. Many shotguns are produced in Turkey, and this should not dissuade you from grabbing an Orion I if it fits your needs. Weatherby keeps its high standards for the Orion I.

weatherby orion 1
Photo Credit: Weatherby

The Weatherby Orion I has a boxlock action and a forged steel receiver. This is a solid design that will hold up with field and target use.

The safety on the Weatherby Orion I is a range-mounted safety. The safety also is integrated with the barrel selection. It uses the same shift pattern for selecting the barrel as most over/under shotguns.

Put the shotgun on safe and then toggle the tang to the left or right to choose the appropriate barrel.

weatherby orion 1 being shot by hunter near mountains
Photo Credit: Weatherby

The Weatherby Orion I comes with three chokes, full, modified, and improved cylinder. More chokes can be purchased if needed by the shooter. The shogun is also available in two barrel lengths, 26 and 28 inches. The 28-inch version is only available in 20 gauge.

The Weatherby Orion I is a quality over/under shotgun. Pick one up with confidence knowing you have a really solid all-purpose shotgun.

Best Budget Friendly Side by Side Shotgun – CZ Bobwhite G2 12 Gauge

CZ-USA Bobwhite G2 12 Gauge Side-by-Side Shotgun with 28" Barrel, Black Chrome Finish, and Walnut English Style Stock - 06390
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Specifications

Caliber12 Gauge, other gauges available
Capacity2
Weight7.3 pounds
Barrel Length28 Inches
Overall Length44.5 inches

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Double Triggers
  • Looks great
Cons
  • Trigger is rough

The CZ Bobwhite G2 is our choice for Best Value Side by Side Shotgun. Some think you should start your search at $1,000 and above when discussing side-by-side shotguns. CZ’s Bobwhite G2 provides a quality option well below $1,000.

cz usa bobwhite fiocchi ammo
Photo Credit: CZ USA

The CZ Bobwhite G2 is an improvement over the original Bobwhite. It has some improvements to the internals, which has helped with the shotgun’s reliability. It also still has the classic wood and metal look of the earlier Bobwhite.

The Bobwhite G2 is not a Czech-made gun. It is manufactured in Turkey by Huglu. Some would be put off by the gun not being made in America or, at the very least, the Czech Republic, but Turkey is a well-known manufacturer of shotguns. For CZ to put its name on a product means they are willing to stand by it.

The Bobwhite G2 is available in 12, 20, and 28 gauge. The 28 gauge model is particularly noteworthy as it tips the scales at a featherlight 5.5 pounds. There is also a “southpaw” model for those who are left-handed.

The G2 is not a premium shotgun. It is a workhorse that every man and woman should feel comfortable with. It also won’t cost you a premium to bring one home. If you’re looking for a solid-performing and budget-friendly side by side shotgun, the CZ Bobwhite G2 is ready to meet your needs.

Best Budget Friendly Over/Under Shotgun – Mossberg International Silver Reserve

Mossberg Silver Reserve Field Over/Under Shotgun, .410 Gauge, 26" Matte Blued Barrel, 3" Chamber, 2-Round Capacity, Satin Silver Engraved Finish, Satin Black Walnut Stock
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Specifications

Caliber12 gauge, other gauges available
Capacity2
Weight7.5 pounds
Barrel Length28 inches
Overall Length45 inches

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Looks good
  • Includes five chokes
Cons
  • Heavy Trigger

The Mossberg International Silver Reserve is our choice for Best Value Over/Under Shotgun. This shotgun does away with the ornate designs and features of a more expensive shotgun but is reliable and functional and will get the job done.

mossberg international silver reserve
Photo Credit: GRITR Sports

The Mossberg International Silver Reserve is imported from Turkey by Mossberg. Fancy scrollwork and other eye-catchers are gone to keep the cost low without cutting back on the true quality of the shotgun. Instead, the rifle is functional and ready to hunt gamebirds.

The shotgun comes with five chokes and is compatible with chokes from Benelli and Beretta. The Mossberg International Silver Reserve is available in .410, 12 gauge, 20 gauge, and 28 gauge. It is available in 26-inch, 28-inch, and 30-inch barrel lengths.

For the price point, the build quality is fine. Like the CZ Bobwhite G2, it is a shotgun for working men and women. It will do its job and ensure a successful shooting outing.

Best Youth Shotgun – Mossberg International Silver Reserve Bantam

Mossberg Silver Reserve Bantam Over-Under Shotgun, 20 Gauge, 26" Vent Rib Barrel, 3" Chamber, 2 Rounds, Walnut Finish
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Specifications

Caliber20 gauge
Capacity2
Weight7 pounds
Barrel Length26 inches
Overall Length42.25 inches

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Looks good
  • Included five chokes
  • Small size
Cons
  • Heavy Trigger

The Mossberg International Silver Reserve Bantam is our choice for a Youth Double Barrel Shotgun. This shotgun is almost the same shotgun as our choice for the budget-friendly over/under, except it has some reduction in size to make it more friendly for smaller shooters.

Best for Self-Defense – Stoeger Double Defense

Stoeger Double Defense Side-by-Side 12GA 20" Ported Shotgun with Matte Black Hardwood Finish
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Specifications

Caliber12 gauge, other gauges available
Capacity2
Weight7 pounds
Barrel Length20 inches
Overall Length36.5 inches

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Tang safety
  • Picatinny rails
  • Novel
Cons
  • Recoil can be stout
  • Some reported rust issues

Our choice for best double barrel self-defense shotgun is the Stoeger Double Defense. The Stoeger takes the double-barrel shotgun and adds features you would find on tactical pump-action or semi-automatic shotguns.

The Stoeger Double Defense features a 20-inch ported barrel to help keep the muzzle climb down. It is also fitted with a fiber-optic front sight to aid in target acquisition in low-light conditions. The Stoeger Double Defense features a single trigger and tang-mounted automatic safety.

Another feature that makes the Stoeger Double Defense a good choice for self-defense is the inclusion of Picatinny rails. The two rails on the Double Defense allow easy mounting of optics and flashlights or other accessories.

stoeger double defense next to mountains
Photo Credit: Truth About Guns

The Stoeger Double Defense is available in side-by-side and over/under configurations. This gives the shooter some choices when deciding what best suits their needs. You can also get the Stoeger Double Defense in 20 gauge and 12 gauge. The 20 gauge version is an excellent choice for recoil-sensitive people.

The Stoeger Double Defense is our choice if you want a double-barrel shotgun for your defense shotgun. It is a compact package that can be customized to your individual needs.

Best Over $1,500 – Browning Citiori

Browning Citori Hunter Grade I 16 Gauge, 26" Barrel, 2.75" Chamber, Walnut Stock, 2 Rounds, 018258514
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Specifications

Caliber12 gauge, other gauges available
Capacity2
Weight7.625 pounds
Barrel Length26 inches
Overall Length43 inches

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Heirloom quality
  • Browning name
  • Gorgeous
  • Lots of options
Cons
  • Price

The Browning Citori is a bucket list double barrel shotgun. For many who participate in skeet and trap shooting, it is something they have lusted after for years, and owning a Browning Citori, they have a shotgun that can be a family heirloom.

browning citori over under shotgun
Photo Credit: Shooting Times

The Browning Citori is a shotgun with a long history. Browning is continually innovating and making changes when necessary to keep the Citori an iconic over/under shotgun. The Citori can be purchased with a classic look or with modern features like an adjustable comb.

Browning makes the Citori in many configurations. The Browning Citori can be purchased with 26, 28, 30, and 32-inch barrels. Gauges the Citori are available in range from .410, 12, 16, 20, and 28 gauge. There are both hunting and sporting/target shooting models available, and you can find models of the rifle with prices in the low $2,000s up past $8,000.

The Browning Citori is a visually stunning shotgun. The variety of available finishes and designs in which the Citori has been produced is impressive. The current 50 Anniversary edition of the Citori has ornate engraving with gold accents and a Grade IV Turkish walnut stock.

Browning Citori White Lightning
Photo Credit: Browning

The Citori White Lightning, a more base mode, comes with intricate engraving, a walnut stock, and a look designed to stop you in your tracks.

Those looking to get a double-barrel shotgun and the financial resources to do so should grab a Browning Citori. This shotgun is a show-stopper. The Browning Citori is an heirloom and will provide years of solid use.

How We Chose Our Top Picks

When examining double barrel shotguns, we considered the shotgun’s price and functionality. Double-barrel shotguns are frequently priced well north of $1,000.

High-quality options can be found from many manufacturers, but sometimes those options include price tags so high that the shotgun is not obtainable for the general public.

We looked for shotguns that middle-class Americans could own and shoot without sacrificing quality. In addition, we picked based on our own experience with these shotguns.

FAQs

What are double-barrel shotguns good for?

Double-barrel shotguns are suitable for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense. Anything you would use a pump action shotgun for a double-barrel shotgun can do as well, with varying degrees of efficacy.

What is the range of a double-barrel shotgun?

The effective range of most shotguns is usually 40 yards.

You can change the chokes on many shotguns to adjust their effective range. Another means of changing the effective range of a shotgun is ammo selection. Modern slug ammunition can stretch a shotgun’s range allowing shooters to hit targets accurately past 75 yards.

Is a double-barrel shotgun good for home defense?

A double-barrel shotgun can be a perfectly functional home defense weapon. Double-barrel shotguns are pretty simple in their function, and simple is usually better in the stress of a home defense situation.

Two blasts from a 12 or 20-gauge shotgun will be more than most intruders care to ever experience.

Last Words

Double barrel shotguns are a great addition to any shooter’s collection. The classic look of both double-barrel shotguns is easy on the eyes, although not always as easy on the wallet.

We took the time to find a collection of reasonably priced, functional, and attractive double-barrel shotguns so you can spend time doing what every sportsman and woman wants: getting in the field, shooting, hunting, and getting to enjoy your favorite pastimes.

Whether you select our all-purpose choice, the Weatherby Orion I, or grab an heirloom firearm like the Browning Citori, you will be well served by any of the shotguns on this list.

Chris Fortenberry photo Chris is a firearms enthusiast and collector located in Texas. Chris’ passion for firearms started at a young age and was fueled by his passion for history. Chris used that passion to become a historian and feels that spreading the understanding of firearms functionally, socially, and politically is one of the paramount jobs of the 2nd Amendment community. He seeks to share his knowledge with those around him.

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