With more and more game shooters in the UK moving from their old non-steel-proof shotguns to modern steel-proof guns, what’s the best over-and-under shotgun for the money and is it proofed for shooting steel shot?
Gunshop owner Ian Hodge of Ian Hodge Fieldsports talks through his bestsellers. The Beretta Silver Pigeon 3 might exceed a £2,000 limit but these brands will provide a quality gun without breaking the bank, as Ian explains: Lincoln shotguns, Caesar Guerini Maxum, Browning 525 SL, Marocchi Finn 612, Bettinsoli shotguns and Beretta’s 686 White Onyx Sporting all make Ian’s list.
As we move towards shooting steel shot in the UK, shooters want a modern shotgun that’s proofed for steel. So what are the options if you’re spending under £2,000?
“I like to keep a big selection of guns on the rack for customers to choose from, but most people go for Browning or Beretta,” says Ian Hodge, who runs the fabulous Ian Hodge Field Sports near Wadebridge in Cornwall. “Those two account for 80% of our sales, partly because they hold their value well. After that it would be the Lincolns, the Marocchis, and to a lesser extent the Bettinsolis.”
Perhaps the most popular gun in the sub-£2,000 bracket is the Beretta Silver Pigeon.
“Most people come into the shop and ask to see a Silver Pigeon,” says Ian. “They don’t always buy one, but they’ve heard about it. Fortunately the Silver Pigeon tends to fit most people well, so long as they’re averagely built. It’s affordable and it won’t let you down.”
An alternative is the Beretta White Onyx, which is very similar to the Silver Pigeon but with a slightly plainer finish.
“This one’s well within the £2,000 price range – and like all our new Berettas it comes with a 10-year warranty at no extra charge,” Ian adds.
Another popular choice is the Browning 525, with an action that goes back to 1925 when it was the first mass-produced over-and-under shotgun: “It’s a little bulkier, so sometimes a bigger chap will prefer the feel of it. Like the Berettas it’s available in Field and Sporter versions, and again it comes with a 10-year warranty.”
After those, the Lincoln is probably the next most popular, followed by Marocchi and Bettinsoli.
“Sometimes I think we offer too much choice,” says Ian. “If we only kept ten guns on the rack the customers would find it easier to choose between them!”
Find out more at the Ian Hodge Fieldsports website
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