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Over-Under vs. Side-by-Side: What Shotgun is the Right Fit?

Posted by Team Armscor on Jan 5, 2017

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There are several varieties of shotguns, from pump-action to side-by-sides to semi-automatics. Two popular options for hunting birds are the side-by-side and over-under options.

But what’s the difference, and which one is your ideal fit? Read on to find out.

The Side-by-Side

A side-by-side shotgun utilizes two barrels, and, as the name implies, the barrels are situated horizontally. This setup can also be used to lead moving targets by visually using the distance between the edge of the leading barrel and the sight bead as a natural reference point.

The Over-Under

Again, as implied by the name, the barrels are situated vertically as opposed to horizontally. Over-unders generally weigh more than other side-by-sides. This can be a double-edged sword for some; the extra weight can help with recoil control, but you also have to haul around the extra weight. If the extra weight doesn’t bother you, then it’s a win-win. The narrower sight plane can also help the shooter keep the muzzle on target.

If you’re interested in an over-under, check out our S40 model here.

Mutual Benefits

Unlike other shotguns, both these types give you the peace of mind of not having to worry about a bad cycling and missing a chance to take a shot at a bird or clay. You also don’t have to bend down to pick up your shells.

Another significant benefit of both of these styles of shotgun is the ability to have two different types of chokes - the wider choke being used for closer shots and the narrower one for longer, follow-up shots.


Check out the shotguns that Armscor-RIA has to offer here.

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Topics: Firearm Facts