Do you want an extra boost to your firepower when you’re going out for skeet or trap shooting? With a double barrel shotgun, you can choose to either spare a shot for another clay pigeon, or blast away with a dual shot to double your strength.
While using a double barrel shotgun, you want the most firepower you can get while not going overboard in the price department. You also want to be sure the shotgun is safe and won’t cause you any serious injury from recoil. We’ve picked out the best of the bunch for you.
Why Use a Double Barrel Shotgun?
Look around the country and you’ll find fans of double barrel shotguns from multiple generations. There’s a reason the image of this gun is engrained in the minds of American culture, from movies to video games. The double barrel shotgun exerts an image of power, and it makes sense, because the power of two shells at once is enough to take down any target you can imagine.
Although they suffer from a serious lack of ammo capacity (two in the chamber and that’s it), you won’t need to worry about that when you’re aiming at clay pigeons. When looking for a double barrel shotgun for skeet and trap shooting, you’ll want to find one that is as accurate as it is powerful.
The more accuracy you get with a double barrel shotgun, the less time you will have to spend reloading each chamber. Granted, you’re in no rush to finish with clay pigeon targets, but that doesn’t mean you want to take forever with the reloading process every two shots.
In terms of power, the double barrel shotgun is unmatched at close range, but the scattershot from a distance can cause your shots to miss if they aren’t packed by enough firepower. Finding a double barrel shotgun with the appropriate power level ensures that you’ll blast each of your targets out of the sky.
How Did We Choose Each Double Barrel Shotgun?
Choosing the best double barrel shotgun for skeet and target shooting required us to take a careful look at the value of each gun. If you’re planning on shooting targets on a regular basis, you’ll be spending money on other things like automatic launchers and clay targets. The less money you have to drop on accessories, the more you’ll have to use toward your shotgun.
Of course, we haven’t forgotten about the performance factor of each double barrel shotgun either. How does it handle, and how will you feel when using it as a target shooter? The answers all lie in our list below, where you will find at least one shotgun for your own personal use.
Mossberg Silver Reserve
Not only is the Mossberg Silver Reserve a great weapon for target practice, but it looks gorgeous in your hands. This engraved shotgun comes in 12, 20, and .410 caliber gauges. Barrel length measures 26 or 28 inches and weighs a slim 7.5 pounds.
The functionality of the Mossberg isn’t just cosmetic. The barrels are lined with chrome, and the safety is tang-mounted for an added layer of security. Even though the barrels are pretty lengthy compared to some other double barrel shotguns on the market, this helps to improve your accuracy when you’re working with clay pigeons.
You can choose one of the three gauges depending on how much spread you wish to aim with your shots. This is definitely one of the pricier double barrels on our list, as it will run around the $1100-$1200 range. That said, if you want to look good while perfecting your shots, the Mossberg Silver Reserve might be your answer.
Tristar Hunter EX 410
If you aren’t the biggest person in the world and struggle a bit with larger calibers, the Tristar Hunter might be the double barrel shotgun you’ve been searching for. Weighing only 5.7 pounds and with a .410 caliber, this light weapon doesn’t even feel like a shotgun at first, much less one that contains a second barrel.
Along with its small frame, you’re looking at one of the guns on this list with the least amount of recoil. Anyone with shoulder problems or who simply cannot handle that much recoil should give the Tristar Hunter a shot. Not only will this reduce the need for adjusting to severe recoil, but by default, this will improve your accuracy. Your shoulders will remain still and you’ll be able to zoom in with a better feel for your target.
It should be noted that the lighter stature of this shotgun means that it won’t pack the firepower normally associated with a double barrel. However, if your number one priority is having a lighter weapon, you’re in luck with the Tristar Hunter.
CZ Southpaw Sterling
Are you left-handed and have felt like your needs aren’t met by a lot of gun manufacturers out there? The CZ Southpaw Sterling has been designed with lefties in mind, and you’ll feel the difference as soon as you wrap your arms around this gun. Our own left-handed reviewers were amazed at how natural this felt when they gripped it for the first time.
The 12-gauge, 30-inch Southpaw Sterling is incredibly reliable thanks to the reputation of manufacturer CZ, a known expert in shotguns. The gun weighs about the standard for a double barrel unit, coming in at 7.5 pounds. You won’t need any more than $1000 to pick up a Southpaw Sterling.
While we don’t think that right-handed gun owners will find anything special about this, those who shoot from the left are in for a treat. As you go through this list, even if you choose something else, keep the Sterling in mind for your southpaw skeet shooting friends.
ATI Road Agent
Do you have children who are just beginning to learn about shooting? If you’re concerned about the safety of anyone operating a double barrel shotgun, the ATI Road Agent is a wonderful choice for first-timers. It’s extremely light at only 5.3 pounds and carries a short barrel length of 18.5 inches.
Most importantly, the ATI Road Agent contains a mechanism that decocks the shotgun. While you are loading the weapon, or when you disengage the hammers while the gun is loaded, the Road Agent will automatically activate the safety. This is a priceless feature when you’re teaching someone who might not be as familiar with guns as you or other seasoned shooters.
With such a focus on safety, this isn’t going to win any awards for raw firepower. It’s one of the weaker weapons we tested, but if you’re worried about safety first, this is a no-brainer. It also doesn’t cost as much as some of the more deluxe double barrel shotguns we have seen.
Winchester Model 101 Sporting
Mention the name Winchester to anyone who has fired a gun and they’ll probably have an opinion on such a recognizable brand. For us, it’s a reputable company that has carried a long tradition of classic guns with superior firepower and handling.
In the case of the Winchester Model 101, you can expect an incredibly accurate shotgun that comes with a high cost. Indeed, this is one of the most expensive double barrel shotguns we have seen. You’ll need at least $1800 if you want to add this weapon to your safe.
The Model 101 weighs a little over 7 pounds and carries a 28-inch barrel. With an adjustable trigger shoe, you’re able to customize this gun a little more than the other on the list. You can also change the trigger pull’s length, and your handling will be even better with the included recoil pad.
This is a deluxe weapon, to be sure. Not everyone will make use of all of the extra features included in the Winchester Model 101. For those that can appreciate the crafting that went into this gun, they may have made their decision already.
Mossberg Maverick HS12
Other critics have noted the Maverick HS12 as a perfect weapon for self-defense. While we don’t disagree with this, its shortcomings in security are no problem when you’re out shooting targets in a safe environment.
The Maverick HS12 is a 12-gauge double barrel shotgun with an 18.5-inch barrel length. Coming in at just under $600, it’s a fantastic value that functions admirably when you’re out targeting clay pigeons. It’s just over 6 pounds in weight, and it’s noticeably shorter in length compared to other more powerful shotguns.
This model does not automatically eject spent shells, but if you’re just shooting targets, this won’t be a problem since you’ll be launching them yourself. Although the added safety of the Road Agent still wins out in our safety standards, the Mossberg Maverick HS12 makes for an excellent choice for the novice skeet and trap shooter.
Stoeger Coach Gun
If you’re a no-frills type of shooter, you might like the incredibly basic architecture behind the Stoeger Coach Gun. Thanks to a lack of any additional features or accessories, you can find this double barrel shotgun for as little as $400.
The Stoeger Coach Gun looks and sounds just like its namesake, resembling the older coach guns of yesteryear. Because of this, you won’t find anything like accessory rails available for modification. What you will get is a 20-inch shotgun available in three separate gauges, weighing 7 pounds.
Skeet and trap shooters who don’t mind sacrificing upgrade options for ease of use will love the Coach Gun. If you know someone who enjoys simplicity and straight-to-the-point design rather than what they would consider unnecessary add-ons, this is the gun for them.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best Double Barrel Shotgun for Skeet and Trap Shooting
While each gun on this list has its individual strengths and drawbacks, we find ourselves drawn to one in particular that serves the needs of almost everyone we could think of.
It might be a little heavier of a burden on your wallet, but we can’t deny the quality behind the Winchester Model 101 Sporting shotgun. It comes with a rich history behind the Winchester name, but this double barrel shotgun more than lives up to its namesake.
The Winchester includes tiny features that might seem excessive, but once you use them, you won’t want to go anywhere else to find a shotgun.
We can’t discount the CZ Southpaw Sterling, either. The best part about this shotgun, aside from the obvious benefit for left-handed shooters, is how it feels for right-handed people. Even though it was engineered to fit the grip of people who use their left hand, those who are right-handed won’t feel any discernible difference.
Right-handers can enjoy the quality of the CZ Southpaw, clearly demonstrated through the design choices that CZ made for the exterior of the gun. Pinpoint accuracy that we noticed while shooting the gun certainly doesn’t hurt its credibility either.
Finally, we recommend the ATI Road Agent for anyone who has never fired a shotgun before, or for younger shooters. The automatic safety lock is a feature that you’ll start to wish you had in every gun for your children or students.
Conclusion and Buying a Double Barrel Shotgun for Skeet and Trap Shooting
We hope you’ve found one of the double barrel shotguns on this list to be the perfect choice for you. Once you figure out which one you like the best, you have several options on where to make your purchase. You could start with big retailers like Cabela’s or WalMart, or shop for your next purchase online.
If you decide to purchase online, be sure to check with each store about their shipping policies, as well as the legality of shipping a gun to your state. The amount for shipping could also increase depending on the size of the barrel, so be sure to look out for free shipping offers while you’re at it.