- Double guns: Side by Side Double Barreled Shotguns and SxS Double Rifles

The 1996 SHOT Show Review

by David C. Weber

My trip started with the usual "Your flight has been canceled" indicator flashing briskly at me on the very cold morning of January 12th . I would only have a day and a half at the SHOT Show and it looked like heavy snow in Chicago had prevented the first leg of my trek to go off as planned. After a half dozen cups of coffee, and after what seemed to be an eternity of dead time at the Greater Rochester International Airport (They have one flight that goes to Toronto hence; "International"), I was off!

I arrived in Dallas about 12:00pm and drove like mad to get to the show. I had previously arranged for an exhibitor badge through some friends I have at Fujinon. (They make some wonderful binoculars!!). If you have never been to a SHOT Show; I can only say that for the true firearms enthusiast it is like you died and went to heaven. There in one spot, at one time, firearms manufacturers from all over the world come together to exhibit their wares.

You'll find everything from that futuristic semi-automatic laser light weapon from Lasermax. To the fine Sharps pattern rifles of Shiloh Manufacturing. And pretty much everything in between.

I began my annual quest through the show in search of the latest in Double Guns. Here is what I stumbled across in no particular order: (I apologize in advance if I missed anybody, the show is huge. And as I previously indicated my time there was cut short by some travel delays. Also, I am not a professional photographer and neither were most of the people I handed my camera to. In fact most were much worse than I could ever be...)


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At the GSI booth; I saw some old friends. And checked out some new Merkel guns too! The highlight of their exhibit for me was the slick little Model 147E in 28 gauge. I already have a big brother 147E in 12 Gauge and the 28 would nestle right up to it in my gun cabinet!

Dakota Arms:

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New this year to the world of Double Guns is the Dakota American Classic. Its a beautiful example of American craftsmanship with flawless engraving and gorgeous wood. If you have a mind to second mortgage your house, you could own one of these beautiful firearms. But, you had better hurry they are a limited production item!

Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing:

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New this year for the A.H. Fox line of doubles is their availability in several gauges. Previously only available in 20 gauge, these fine doubles can now be had in 16, 28, and .410. Also, from their parent company; Galzans, several newly completed Over and Under's with engraving so fine you would swear they had High Definition-TV installed in the receiver's sideplates! You really have to see these fine firearms to appreciate them.

Watson Brothers:

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The British firm of Watson was on hand with several Custom guns. Both side-by-side, and O/U are available. These are truly premium arms and would grace the most demanding sportsman's collection.

Aguirre Y Aranzabal (AYA):

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The Spanish firm of AYA had several of its classic side-by-sides on display. From intermediate level boxlocks , to tastefully engraved sidelocks each a joy to handle.


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One of Italy's oldest gunmakers the firm of V. Bernardelli is still going strong. They featured a complete line of Side-by-sides. I had an opportunity to examine a beautiful H&H type sidelock with exceptionally nice engraving.


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Those Germans really know quality! The Wonderful O/U Shotguns from this fine maker were displayed with authority. Also, new from Krieghoff this year is a line of double rifles. I had an opportunity to examine a variety of grades. Lets just say there is one on my Christmas list for 1996!


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Although most of Beretta's recent ventures take the form of a sporting O/U shotgun, there were a couple of additional goodies at the Beretta both. Their new Sable series O/U double rifles based upon the existing Beretta 20 gauge O/U boxlock frame, as well as a good sampling of guns from their custom shop were on display. I had an opportunity to examine a fine model 455 double rifle in 500 Nitro Express. I can honestly say it's one hell of a gun.


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Browning, another manufacturer content with the current popularity of the O/U, had several new models designed for the sport shooter. The new Light Sporting 802 ES O/U was hanging on the rack with its new extended choke tubes. As well as a sampling of finely engraved O/U's from their custom shop.

* A brief note to all you BPCR shooters. Browning has a new model 1885 Black Powder Cartridge Rifle! And although its not a double gun it did catch my eye. Available in both .45-70 and .40-65 completely outfitted for the serious long range competitor. This is going to be one hot seller for Browning.


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In a surprise move the Japanese firm of SKB is putting a new, or should I say old side-by-side back on the market. Not imported since 1992 the Model 385 will be available this year in 20 or 28 gauge. Including choke tubes, single selective trigger and either a straight, or pistol grip stock. It is a limited run so if you need a nice entry level side-by-side now is the time. Also, if anyone is looking for one of those quickly disappearing Parker Reproductions, the staff at SKB has informed me that they have about twenty specimens left in various gauges and stock combinations at close out prices.


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At the Ruger booth several cased and engraved Woodside's were on display, as well as a wall full of Red Label's in various configurations. Their little 28 gauge is one sweet handling O/U and should make a fine upland bird gun. Also, this little 28 gauge Ruger would make a great first gun for one of your children, or even a good excuse to get the wife out on the skeet or sporting field. (Hint: if they choose not to pursue the sport you end up with a great little gun...a true win/win situation!)


Remington's new entry for 96 is the Model 396 O/U. It is available in both a Skeet and Sporting configuration. It came to the shoulder quickly and swung with authority. I have a soft spot for Remington guns, as I cut my first 25 straight at Trap with a good old Model 1100. I have since sold the gun; the 396 looks like a good excuse to get a Remington back into my collection.

Connecticut Valley Classics:

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The old Winchester 101 O/U action is still with us in the form of the various O/U's from Connecticut Valley Classics. They had some upper end guns on display with exceptional wood. Definitely worth a look from you clay's shooters!


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A relative youngster in the firearms business Perazzi in existence since only 1952 has set several of the current standards in the manufacture of fine shotguns. For the sport shooter they are the one to beat. At this years SHOT show they had one of the most impressive displays of fine firearms one could imagine. The above picture does not do them justice! I can only comment that I would be very happy to own any of the fine guns they had on display.

Well that's all I could find while jogging down the isles of SHOT 96. I hope to be at next years show with a bit more time on my hands.....Good Shooting! home
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