Huglu USA's Side-By-Side Shotgun
by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

 

 

 

During the last few decades, we have witnessed a trend away from the side-by-side double shotgun for use in both the field and at the target range. Hunters have leaned toward the gas or recoil operated autoloader in the duck blinds and goose pits, both due to their increasing reliability and softer recoiling qualities, along with their relatively lower cost compared to a good double. Clay target shooters will usually be found shooting a high quality over-and-under double or an imported gas gun, citing the advantage of a single sighting plane over that of the wide sighting plane of the side-by-side. Many upland game hunters have taken to the lighter weight pump guns and autos for field use due to, as much as anything, the lack of availability of an affordable double shotgun.

Since the demise of the old Stevens and Fox shotguns of decades ago, finding a serviceable double gun that didn't require the selling of one's vital organs to pay for the thing has become a difficult task. There have been available some pretty cheap doubles that appear to have been built in the cave of some Third-World refugee camp, but they generally display crude workmanship and handle like a fence post. Even looking at double guns costing as much as two thousand dollars, the pickings are slim indeed. Ruger is to bring out their new Gold Label that promises to sell for just under two grand, but as of this writing, we are still waiting. There are a few more choices as the price increases closer to three thousand, but that is out of the price range of many hunters, especially when a good pump gun can be obtained for well under five hundred bucks.

Still, to many hunters, nothing just speaks of a day afield with a good bird dog like a quick-handling side-by-side. That brings us to the subject of this article.

For the past few months, I have been shooting a shotgun imported from Turkey by Huglu USA. It is of the classic English style with a straight wrist and splinter fore end. The guns imported by Huglu USA are not to be confused with some Huglu shotguns that have been brought into the country in the past by returning servicemen. Huglu USA brings in a higher quality shotgun than the standard grades sold in Europe and elsewhere. The gun that I have been testing is their SO grade gun, and thus has a minimum of engraving on the receiver and fore end latch. It has matte-finished blued barrels and a silver finish on the other metal parts. The center rib is raised, solid, and fitted with a gold bead at the muzzle of the 28 inch barrels.

The SO is set up to extract only, just as I prefer in a double gun.

The action has a Greener-type crossbolt that insures positive lockup of the action. The SO is supplied with double triggers as standard, but can be ordered with a single trigger. I greatly prefer double triggers on a game gun, as this provides the quickest  barrel selection over any configuration of single trigger. There are no levers or buttons to push to select which barrel to fire first, just slide the finger to the proper trigger and pull. When shooting clay targets, a single trigger is fine, but in the field, nothing is as versatile as a two-trigger gun.

The SO is supplied with five screw-in choke tubes; one each in cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, and full choke constriction, along with a tube wrench. The barrels are fully chrome lined and approved for steel shot. The gun as tested  is chambered for two and three-quarters or three inch twenty gauge shells. The SO is also offered with a variety of barrel lengths and chambered for 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges and .410 bore. 

The test gun has a nice, straight-grained walnut stock with cut checkering, and displays very good wood-to-metal fit. The butt pad is of a soft rubber, with a hard rubber heel piece to avoid hanging up on clothing during the mounting of the gun. The action when new was rather stiff to open, as are most new double guns, but became easier with use. The tang-mounted safety is of the non-automatic type, and performed flawlessly throughout the test. The gun was fired with a wide variety of twenty gauge shells, without a failure of any kind. Overall, the gun is very well fitted and finished, and appears to be made from quality materials.

That pretty well sums up the subjective review of the shotgun, leaving the objective qualities, which is a little more difficult to explain. It is hard to explain the "feel" of a shotgun, but that is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a good two-pipe for upland hunting and clay busting.  The Huglu SO, to me, just plain feels right. The gun is lively and quick handling, but the 28 inch barrels give it just  enough forward balance to swing well, without feeling whippy. The gun balances 1.6 inches forward of the barrel hinge, placing the weight between the hands, as it should be.

The SO in twenty gauge weighs six and one-half pounds, but feels even lighter, due to the excellent balance. The stock is slightly cast for a right handed shooter, but it pointed dead-on for me, and I shoot from the left shoulder. The combination of weight, balance, and overall feel makes the Huglu a joy to carry and shoot. It has none of that chunky feel of some double guns. In fact, the Huglu SO has the looks and feel of shotguns costing thousands of dollars more. Huglu USA offers a wide assortment of shotguns, with options such as full engraving, polished blued barrels, and automatic selective ejectors.

The SO as tested is priced at under 700 bucks, including shipping. Check out Huglu USA's complete line of fine shotguns online at: www.huglushotgunsusa.com

For a really good double-barreled shotgun that won't break the bank, I recommend the Huglu SO.

Jeff Quinn


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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Huglu USA's SO grade side-by-side double, shown with necessary accoutrements. The Huglu USA gun is a classic double, lightweight, easy to handle, and well-built.

 

 

The Huglu USA SO is equipped with screw-in choke tubes in cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, and full, along with a tube wrench. The gun shot very well to point-of-aim at game ranges with all chokes over extensive testing by the author.

 

 

The Huglu USA gun exhibits very good wood-to-metal fit, and well-executed hand-cut checkering. Not to be confused with the rather crude Huglu products brought home by returning servicemen in the past, Huglu USA's guns are very well built for the discriminating American market.

 

 

Good workmanship is also shown by the tasteful, well-executed engraving of the SO grade gun. Attention to detail usually found on guns costing several times the Huglu USA's price is evidenced by such subtleties as the aligned screw slots.

 

 

The Huglu USA SO grade gun comes standard with double triggers and extractors, both preferred by the author. Single selective triggers and ejectors are available for those who prefer them.

 

 

The precisely-built action of the Huglu USA gun features a well-fitted Greener type crossbolt locking system, insuring a tight, reliable lockup.

 

 

Another nice touch is the soft rubber recoil pad with a hard rubber heel insert, allowing quick and precise shouldering of the gun in the field.

 

 

Huglu USA's SO grade is an excellent double with the clean lines of a classic game gun. Fine workmanship, exceptional handling qualities, and tasteful ornamentation make the Huglu USA gun a fine value for today's shooter.