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Location: Somewhere Up There
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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

For all those that shoot an O/U, which barrel do you have selected to fire first and why? I bought a Browning Citori Lightning since it fit me like a glove and I have always liked the feel of these guns, but it's my first experience beyond the good old Remington 870. Any advice appreciated.

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

Modified and improved barrels on mine. For upland birds and grouse I use the improved first.

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

A few trap shooters I know swear by the bottom barrell with the thought that there is less recoil...I can't really tell. Even when I'm shooting trap I shoot top first....both my barrells are full choke....I shoot an average of 23/25 so somethings working ok. When I hunt I shoot top first...perhaps its just that that is the barrel I'm sighting down...who knows....but, for what it's worth...trap shooters often shoot bottom....

I'm certain this rambling will be of little assistance...sorry about that Think

Don Fischer's picture
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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

Most open choke first. Your first shot will usually be the closest you get. Shoot your tight barrel first and miss and the bird may well be out of range of the open barrel.

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

Bottom barrel first with more open choke then top barrel second with more restrictive choke. Chokes of your choice. I like to use an improved cylinder on botton and a modified on top. The logic being that on the first shot the bird will be closer, any follow up shot on that same bird will have to be tighter to be more effective since the bird will have flown farther away by the time you make that follow up shot. It's easier to point your top barrel at a more distant target than the bottom barrel.

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

I heard the 'bottom first' thing from a couple of trap shooters also and saving the top barrel for a sighting a more distant target makes sense to me. I'm more of a fair weather bird hunter so I never really thought about it until I bought one. Thanks for all the good replies!

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

Now that I think about it I'll buy into the recoil issue too, but my opinion is that you will actually get less muzzle jump from the lower barrel (which results in lower perceived recoil) but not less actual recoil. The reason being that the closer the thrust line (the center of the barrel) is to the pivot point (somewhere at the center of the shoulder), there will be less jump.

For example, if you push straight down the center of a pipe against a brick wall it will only go straight into the wall. But if you push against the top of the pipe hard enough it will eventually rise to escape the force. Now imagine pushing against the top of the pipe but at the other end only the bottom quarter of the pipe is pushing against the top edge of the wall. It will really want to rise more readily now that we've raised the thrust line (the top of the pipe) above the pivot point (the lower quarter of the pipe that is on the top edge of the brick wall). Just a thought anyway. Brick Wall,)

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

For hunting upland gamebirds, WesternHunter has it exactly correct. Bottom/open first, top/tighter second. Citori is a great gun. Sold one to a friend a while back and have regrets ever since. By the way, if you are shooting incoming birds like ducks or doves reverse that order but keep the chokes the same. Two trigger guns are set-up bottom=front trigger and top=back trigger.

Make sense?

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

This all depends what you are hunting,and how you hunt them!

most double barreled shotguns, today, have screw-in choke tubes, so you can make the order of choke the way YOU want it. That being said, It is easier on your gun, over time to shoot the bottom barrel first, so assumeing screw-ins, I change the choke tubes depending on what, and how I'm hunting.

If hunting doves on a stack tank, with birds flying in, or pass shooting ducks over dekes, then I put the tight choke in the bottom, of an O/U, or right barrel od a S/S. The reason for this is, most birds will be coming in in pairs or more, so the tight choke will be fired first( bottom for O/U, or rt barrel for the S/S) because the first bird will be fired on farther out, and the second will slide in another 5 yards or so, before he can turn, needing the more open choke, (being closer)top barrel, or left barrel second.

Reverse that for walking up birds like Quail, and Pheasant, then the most open choke will be fired first, and if they get up in a pair or more, the second shot needs the thghter choke!

On an O/U, the barrel that is easiest on the gun is the bottom barrel, because it is closer to the henge pin, so doesn't try to rotate as much as the top barrel, and more times than not, only one shot is fired, so this way the bottom barrel gets fried most, increasing your guns "ON FACE" life!

The fireing of the right barrel first on a S/S double is because most who like S/S double shotguns, also like S/S double rifles, and they are correctly fired rt barrel first, because that is the way they are regulated, by the makers. The S/S shotgun, and double rifles are usually fitted with two triggers, and the front trigger fires the rt barrel, and that is the proper first shot with a double rifle, so the S/S double shotgun guy, needs to build muscle memory, so he doesn't screw up when shooting a double rifle on a cape Buffalo, and make a mistake! On the shotgun the only draw back is a missed bird, but, on the Buffalo, it may mean the bull NOT missing you!

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Over / Under Shotguns: Which Barrel First?

Great tips - you guys gave me some things I'd never even thought about. So far I can't say enough about the Citori. I'd been looking at them for a long time and walked into Gander Mountain and there sat a non cataloged model that just called my name. The tips are much appreciated especially since I'm leaning toward a lot more bird hunting this year.

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