Gun Digest
 

5 Affordable Over/Under Shotguns Worth A Shot (2021)

Over/Under shotguns tend to cost a lot of money. But there are some affordable double-barreled gems available nearly any shooter can work into their budget.

What are some economical over/unders?

There are over/under shotguns out there that cost more than I paid for our three-bedroom brick ranch house in 1961. These would be the likes of Krieghoff, Kolar, Perazzi and others. Similarly, there are used side-by-sides, especially old English types, that in current-day prices can cost as much as a Southern California fixer-upper. This is not about such double guns.

The game plan here is to tell you about several over/unders and a side-by-side that won’t break your bank, melt your plastic or get you in too much Dutch with your spouse. There aren’t too many hunters, upland specialists and waterfowlers who wouldn’t love to see a nice double gun in their gun safe — as well as be proud to carry one come November. So, let’s start with CZ-USA and their flagship hunting over/under shotgun.

CZ Redhead Premier

CZ is short for the Czech Republic company that the “C” and the “Z” in the company name are too hard for Americans to pronounce, so this is made simple with CZ — with CZ-USA the American importer of their many products. This company’s most traditional and most long-term products have to be their bolt-action centerfire rifles. But CZ also makes a complete line of rifles, plus Dan Wesson handguns and other firearms-related products. CZ’s many shotgun models are imported from Turkey.

But let’s get back to that CZ flagship over/under — the Redhead Premier. Of special interest, this model is not only available in 12, 20, 28 and .410 — each of these gauge receivers is delivered in their own size frame, which means the 12 gauge is made on one size receiver, the 20 on a smaller receiver and on down the line with the 28 and .410.

The CZ Redhead Premier features a bright satin receiver, a bit of engraving, as well as a classic-style Turkish walnut stock. Both the 12- and 20-gauge guns come in either 26- or 28-inch barrels, and five flush-mounted screw-in chokes are included — all at a suggested retail of less than a grand!

I missed the SHOT Show when the Turkish-made double guns were first introduced, then imported by a company called Armsco — the doubles made by Huglu in Turkey — the same maker that CZ now uses for their double-gun imports. But I did make the next SHOT Show, and the Armsco booth was the first I visited because I had been told of these over/unders and side-by-sides. I was so impressed that I eventually bought five of these doubles.

There’s fine laser-cut checkering on today’s CZ Redhead, a solid 8mm mid-rib (so no brush can accumulate while bulling thickets), a top rib, extractors and pistol grip that does not have a lot of re-curve. Thus, Prince of Wales style on that grip. There are 3-inch chambers in the 12, 20 and .410 CZ Redhead Premiers, with 2¾-inchers in the 28 bore. Both the 28 and the .410 come only with 28-inch barrels (probably CZ’s most popular length in all four gauges).

There’s a single extractor instead of ejectors on all gauges — plus the 12, 20 and 28 come with screw chokes, and the .410 with fixed Modified and Full. Those tight chokes, I think, are a mistake. Screw-in chokes or more open ones are required in the .410 for most shooters. Otherwise patterns are too tiny, especially at regular upland distances.

The length of pull has been updated at 14.5 inches, the drop at comb 1⅜ inches and the drop at heel is 2¼ inches. Triggers are mechanical, and the thumb safety is manual. Weight in the 12 gauge runs an average of 7.7 pounds, depending a bit on density of the walnut. Don’t expect a lot of walnut figure, but do expect wood strength.

What does a $12,000 over/under have over one like the CZ Redhead Premier that costs less than $1,000? The Redhead is a hunting gun, though it can be used plenty on any clay target field. Hunting guns are simply not shot all that much when compared to a competition over/under that might be shot 20,000 times per year for decades! I doubt the Redhead will hold up to that type of long-term punishment.

Plus, on a $14,000 shotgun, there tends to be better fit and finish — a higher grade of walnut — as well as many other factors that increase costs. Still, if you're looking for a double gun that you want to hunt with, this CZ Redhead Premier and the others that will follow are definitely worth your consideration.


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