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How heavy is too heavy?


PeterHenry
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So, I'm very fond of my traditional light weight side by sides- but I'm also coming to realise that they kick like hell with steel shot.

I have also got a lovely (but perhaps not quite as lovely) Browning 425 Special Waterfowl that I shoot very well (by my standard) with.

Now - prior experience tells me that I cannot change between the two at will, so I was thinking of maybe sticking to using the Browning for everything. Its great for decoying, its great for driven shooting and its great for ducks - however, at 8lb 4oz its quite a heavy thing to lug around all day.

So my question is - calling on the collective knowledge of pigeon watch - is a gun of that weight reasonably practical to go rough shooting with? Previous experience tells me its heavy but just about manageable - but would it likely become easier as I get use to it? Or just become a drag?

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I'll repeat what was said to me thirty plus years ago when the fad for lughtweight stalking rifles was in full swing with twenty-two inch barrels not much thicker than a bodkin. The "Featherweight" fetish if you like!

It's easier and cheaper to loose a pound from your belly fat that it is to loose a pound from your gun. So "lugging" is a relative think. And of course twenty-five one ounce cartridges will weight six ounces less than twenty-five one and a quarter ounce cartridges. So yes you can soon loose those ounces either from your belly fat or from the gear you carry.

IMHO it isn't what it weighs it is how it balances. A well put together "heavy" gun will handle superbly. A badly put together lightweight gun will be a joy to carry yet will handle, when bring it up to track swing through and fire like the proverbial weaver's beam. I would hope that Browning know enough about what they are doing that the balance is in order.

Finally "spread the load"! A gunslip with a wider strap or padded strap that doesn't slip about on your shoulder will benefit and, as said, lighten the load. Ditch any heavy leather cartridge belt and invest in a good cordura nylon type. And do you really need barrels designed for 3 1/2" cartridges if it is only ever firing 70mm "Super Steel" or 3" steel?

It may be time to decide on a compromise in seeking a slightly lighter weight yet steel proofed for "Super Steel" O/U? Lightest of all of course might be...I don't know...to go single barrel self-loading?

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I would look at what steel you are shooting through your side by side. My aya yeoman doesn't beat me up when putting 32gram 3s through it and its well under 7lbs in weight.  Also bear in mind these are cheap GB rapid steel, so the bargain basement cartridge and they seem to be fine.

What volume of cartridges will you be shooting and what ranges will you be shooting your game at? I think before making a decision on the gun you may be better looking at what cartridge will better suit your shooting rather than change the gun. For walked up/rough shooting there should be lighter steel loads that will do the job perfectly well without rattling the fillings loose.

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But surely it depends what steel cartridges you are using. See my post on the Eley Ecowad 20g I used at the weekend. No notable recoil in my Guerini and 24g killing at sensible ranges. So a gun at around 6lb 12 oz is surely not too much to lug around for walked up.  Gearing up to a 12 at a little over 7lb would probably also be okay if you aren’t going for punchy cartridges but I wouldn’t want to do walked up with one over 8lb. Surely it’s about balancing gun weight against cartridge but then it always was to shoot comfortably and stay mobile.

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Since we stopped using lead for wildfowl over 20 years ago virtually all my U.K. ducks and geese have been shot with Express 32gram steel through a Spanish box lock, 26 inch weighing 6 pounds 6 ounces. Recoil? What recoil?  I have also used it for geese abroad with 36 gram loads and did not notice any extra recoil. My driven game gun is a Lightweight London side lock weighing 6 pounds 2 ounces. I also have a Spanish side lock which weighs 6 pounds 12 ounces,   6 3/4 pounds, and to me that feels really, really heavy to carry. You can keep your 7 pound plus guns!

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as above but no point in me getting into this argument as I shoot 410 almost exclusively and will reload non toxic when I have to.  I have loades some bismuth and also shot some Eley Bismuth and at sensible ranges they kill the same as lead if you put the bird in the pattern.  I don't have an ego to scratch so 35-45 yrds is my limit.

6lb gun and a days cartridges in the pocket takes some beating.

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I use my 6lbs 2ozs S x S with 28 grams of 6 for game shooting and a ProSport weighing almost 9 lbs. for my clayshooting and can switch between both of those and also a semi auto, without issue. That also includes the single triggers and the double triggers and the auto/manual safety catches. The only time that I occasionally get caught out is if using the S x S on clays, in a pre game season warm up, the auto safe can catch me out. I have switched the leather carrying straps on my gun slips for leather rifle slings. They are wider and spread the weight across my shoulder better, they also have a convenient thumb hole which, when used, helps stop the strap slipping off my shoulder. Just use the gun that you are more comfortable shooting and do not 'overthink' the issue. 

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3 hours ago, enfieldspares said:

I'll repeat what was said to me thirty plus years ago when the fad for lughtweight stalking rifles was in full swing with twenty-two inch barrels not much thicker than a bodkin. The "Featherweight" fetish if you like!

It's easier and cheaper to loose a pound from your belly fat that it is to loose a pound from your gun. So "lugging" is a relative think. And of course twenty-five one ounce cartridges will weight six ounces less than twenty-five one and a quarter ounce cartridges. So yes you can soon loose those ounces either from your belly fat or from the gear you carry.

IMHO it isn't what it weighs it is how it balances. A well put together "heavy" gun will handle superbly. A badly put together lightweight gun will be a joy to carry yet will handle, when bring it up to track swing through and fire like the proverbial weaver's beam. I would hope that Browning know enough about what they are doing that the balance is in order.

Finally "spread the load"! A gunslip with a wider strap or padded strap that doesn't slip about on your shoulder will benefit and, as said, lighten the load. Ditch any heavy leather cartridge belt and invest in a good cordura nylon type. And do you really need barrels designed for 3 1/2" cartridges if it is only ever firing 70mm "Super Steel" or 3" steel?

It may be time to decide on a compromise in seeking a slightly lighter weight yet steel proofed for "Super Steel" O/U? Lightest of all of course might be...I don't know...to go single barrel self-loading?

Good advice. 

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5 hours ago, TIGHTCHOKE said:

Only if you've been to the gym regularly!  :good:

Thays one tick in the 'now box then - I try and avoid gyms like the plague.

4 hours ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

Hello, fit a quality Shoulder strap ?

Good suggestion 👍

4 hours ago, enfieldspares said:

I'll repeat what was said to me thirty plus years ago when the fad for lughtweight stalking rifles was in full swing with twenty-two inch barrels not much thicker than a bodkin. The "Featherweight" fetish if you like!

It's easier and cheaper to loose a pound from your belly fat that it is to loose a pound from your gun. So "lugging" is a relative think. And of course twenty-five one ounce cartridges will weight six ounces less than twenty-five one and a quarter ounce cartridges. So yes you can soon loose those ounces either from your belly fat or from the gear you carry.

IMHO it isn't what it weighs it is how it balances. A well put together "heavy" gun will handle superbly. A badly put together lightweight gun will be a joy to carry yet will handle, when bring it up to track swing through and fire like the proverbial weaver's beam. I would hope that Browning know enough about what they are doing that the balance is in order.

Finally "spread the load"! A gunslip with a wider strap or padded strap that doesn't slip about on your shoulder will benefit and, as said, lighten the load. Ditch any heavy leather cartridge belt and invest in a good cordura nylon type. And do you really need barrels designed for 3 1/2" cartridges if it is only ever firing 70mm "Super Steel" or 3" steel?

It may be time to decide on a compromise in seeking a slightly lighter weight yet steel proofed for "Super Steel" O/U? Lightest of all of course might be...I don't know...to go single barrel self-loading?

Thats all good advice and you make some excellent points - but I lost track somewhere towards the end if the last paragraph unfortunately. Lots to think about on weight savings elsewhere though.

4 hours ago, Rob85 said:

I would look at what steel you are shooting through your side by side. My aya yeoman doesn't beat me up when putting 32gram 3s through it and its well under 7lbs in weight.  Also bear in mind these are cheap GB rapid steel, so the bargain basement cartridge and they seem to be fine.

What volume of cartridges will you be shooting and what ranges will you be shooting your game at? I think before making a decision on the gun you may be better looking at what cartridge will better suit your shooting rather than change the gun. For walked up/rough shooting there should be lighter steel loads that will do the job perfectly well without rattling the fillings loose.

Well, most of my shooting is at very traditional heights - certainly no more than 40 yards at most - and not in great volume as far as game shooting is concerned. Somewhat higher volume for pigeons (mainly decoyed). I take on board what you say about lighter cartridges for walked up and probably decoying - that may well solve a big part of the problem.

4 hours ago, Dave at kelton said:

But surely it depends what steel cartridges you are using. See my post on the Eley Ecowad 20g I used at the weekend. No notable recoil in my Guerini and 24g killing at sensible ranges. So a gun at around 6lb 12 oz is surely not too much to lug around for walked up.  Gearing up to a 12 at a little over 7lb would probably also be okay if you aren’t going for punchy cartridges but I wouldn’t want to do walked up with one over 8lb. Surely it’s about balancing gun weight against cartridge but then it always was to shoot comfortably and stay mobile.

Thats true 👍 

3 hours ago, London Best said:

Since we stopped using lead for wildfowl over 20 years ago virtually all my U.K. ducks and geese have been shot with Express 32gram steel through a Spanish box lock, 26 inch weighing 6 pounds 6 ounces. Recoil? What recoil?  I have also used it for geese abroad with 36 gram loads and did not notice any extra recoil. My driven game gun is a Lightweight London side lock weighing 6 pounds 2 ounces. I also have a Spanish side lock which weighs 6 pounds 12 ounces,   6 3/4 pounds, and to me that feels really, really heavy to carry. You can keep your 7 pound plus guns!

Good point - I only have the one heavy gun, the rest sound very similar to yours. There is a good change that I perhaps need to man up a bit.

2 hours ago, Walker570 said:

as above but no point in me getting into this argument as I shoot 410 almost exclusively and will reload non toxic when I have to.  I have loades some bismuth and also shot some Eley Bismuth and at sensible ranges they kill the same as lead if you put the bird in the pattern.  I don't have an ego to scratch so 35-45 yrds is my limit.

6lb gun and a days cartridges in the pocket takes some beating.

I do use bismuth and rate it very highly - but wonderful stuff as it is, it can add up pretty quickly.

2 hours ago, Westley said:

I use my 6lbs 2ozs S x S with 28 grams of 6 for game shooting and a ProSport weighing almost 9 lbs. for my clayshooting and can switch between both of those and also a semi auto, without issue. That also includes the single triggers and the double triggers and the auto/manual safety catches. The only time that I occasionally get caught out is if using the S x S on clays, in a pre game season warm up, the auto safe can catch me out. I have switched the leather carrying straps on my gun slips for leather rifle slings. They are wider and spread the weight across my shoulder better, they also have a convenient thumb hole which, when used, helps stop the strap slipping off my shoulder. Just use the gun that you are more comfortable shooting and do not 'overthink' the issue. 

Good advice - though I have tried to switch between the two. Maybe I need more practice on the clays - it certainly wouldent hurt.

1 hour ago, Scully said:

Good advice. 

👍

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19 hours ago, PeterHenry said:

So, I'm very fond of my traditional light weight side by sides- but I'm also coming to realise that they kick like hell with steel shot.

I have also got a lovely (but perhaps not quite as lovely) Browning 425 Special Waterfowl that I shoot very well (by my standard) with.

Now - prior experience tells me that I cannot change between the two at will, so I was thinking of maybe sticking to using the Browning for everything. Its great for decoying, its great for driven shooting and its great for ducks - however, at 8lb 4oz its quite a heavy thing to lug around all day.

So my question is - calling on the collective knowledge of pigeon watch - is a gun of that weight reasonably practical to go rough shooting with? Previous experience tells me its heavy but just about manageable - but would it likely become easier as I get use to it? Or just become a drag?

Judging by your post you don’t do much walking with the browning if your decoying,standing at a peg for driven pheasants, and sitting waiting on duck I think it would probably be a problem if you were walking up pheasants etc I use a aya no3 magnum best of both worlds get to use a  side by side And next to no recoil for steel shot even using 3inch gamebore mammoth cartridges I have shot a browning 425 waterfowl I do think there great guns build like tanks 

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1 hour ago, Gerry78 said:

Judging by your post you don’t do much walking with the browning if your decoying,standing at a peg for driven pheasants, and sitting waiting on duck I think it would probably be a problem if you were walking up pheasants etc I use a aya no3 magnum best of both worlds get to use a  side by side And next to no recoil for steel shot even using 3inch gamebore mammoth cartridges I have shot a browning 425 waterfowl I do think there great guns build like tanks 

Your right, I don't do much walked up with the browning - but I am a member of a little walked up syndicate which is mainly ducks, pheseants and snipe. 

I think I may end up buying myself an electric clay trap and putting in a lot of effort with both types of gun so I can swap them about more easily.

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5 minutes ago, PeterHenry said:

Your right, I don't do much walked up with the browning - but I am a member of a little walked up syndicate which is mainly ducks, pheseants and snipe. 

I think I may end up buying myself an electric clay trap and putting in a lot of effort with both types of gun so I can swap them about more easily.

👍👍

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