Over and under vs side by side shotguns and bolt action vs semi-auto rifles

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When every serious clay-competition, including Olympic disciplines was won by those using over and under shotguns it is clear for everybody that those guns have some advantages in front of the classical side by side.

Now let see what are the advantages and if they matter in the hunting fields.
1. They are heavier and provide more inertia for the swing and more absorption of the recoil.
2. They have a single sighting plane, making aiming of the targets more easier.
3. They have big foreends, single triggers and pistol grips, so hand placement is more accurate and consistent.
4. They tend to have modern chambers, allowing them to cope with a wide range of loads including steel.
5. The recoil is felt differently, so the first barrel recoil is low in the shoulder, producing less barrel flip than a side-by-side and thus allowing a far more accurate second shot.
6. The last major advantage in my opinion is the over and under have multiple choke while side by side or made with fixed choke.

Let say you want to hunt quails, you will obviously use cylinder choke while a geese hunter will definitely use full choke. Despite the technical advantages of the over and under, we all know people who shoot brillianty with side by side.


If decision about shotguns is much easier the things are different with rifles.
Bolt action and semi auto rifles are both excellent choices for a primary rifle, however deciding which is best for you requires knowing something about pros and cons of both types of guns.

Bolt action pros:

– Reliability: This is probably the greatest advantage of the bolt action rifles against semiautomatics. . The mechanism of bolt action gun is extremely simple and failess. Not much can go wrong, while semiautomatics can be extremely vulnerable to failures.

-Accuracy: There are a lot of discussion over the internet about this subject, but if we compare apples with apples, the bolt action rifles are more accurate than semi-autos. Period! But this is not some much of advantage when we talk about hunting. The hunter behind the gun is much more important. Both rifles are more accurate than human factor can do.

-Versatility: Bolt action rifles are available in virtually any caliber imaginable. When we talk about big bore calibers used in danger game in Africa this is a real advantage. Also rare calibers for collectors are find only in bolt action rifles.

hunting-rifleBolt action cons:

-Recoil: the bolt action rifle have a bigger recoil always. But you can always use a muzzle brake.
-Rate of fire: No matter how much you will practice you will never get the same rate of fire with a bolt action rifle as with a semi-auto rifle. But unless you are on a driven hunt, probably will not need it.

Semi auto pros:

-Recoil: Recoil is a very important factor in accuracy of the hunt. Even if the recoil doesn’t affect the accuracy of the bullet directly, for sure he affects the shooter. Single fact of knowing that an unpleasant event will follow the trigger pusing can make us to miss the shot, especially when we are talking about big caliber. Unfortunately very big calibers are not used for semi-auto.

-Rate of fire: In my humble opinion, this advantage is for driven hunts when animals appears running and you have to be very quick. One second can make the difference between one killed with a bolt action rifle and two or even 3 bors killed with a semi-auto rifle.

Conclusion. Which rifle is better?

There is no clear answer to that question for sure. I think the rifle choice will always depends on the hunter.


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