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
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
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
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.
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