Short barreled side-by-side shotguns are classic defense guns and still maintain popularity today. Here’s how to slick them up for improved use.
by RK Campbell
Coach guns are double barrel side-by-side shotguns with relatively short barrels. The blunderbuss was used to protect European coaches but the most famous coach guns were those used to protect Wells Fargo lines in America. Most are chambered in 12 gauge but some are chambered for the smaller 20 gauge. These shotguns have much utility when well made. They are useful for home defense, for close up hunting, and cowboy action shooting.
Typical coach guns available today include the European American Armory Bounty Hunter and the Stoeger Coach Gun. These are generally superior and better made than the Chinese double barrel shotguns with exposed hammers while being designed for affordable production. This means that some corners may be cut in order to provide a shotgun that is reliable but may not be as smooth as we would like. When the shotgun is intended for competition shooting the shotgun needs to be smoothed considerably. What follows is a basic procedure. The shotgun used here is the Stoeger Coach Gun as manufactured by E.R. Amantino (Boito) in Veranópolis, Brazil and marketed by Stoeger, a corporate entity linked to Beretta and Benelli.
Operating the shotgun is simple. A lever on the receiver is moved to unlock the barrels and let them swing down. The shotgun is loaded one chamber at a time, the action closed and made ready to fire once the safety is moved to the fire position. The safety is an automatic type actuated when the shotgun is broken open. Some competitors do not like this for cowboy action shooting but for most it is a good feature that aids safe handling. After the shotgun is fired the action is broken open and the shells are removed one at a time. There is an ejector but it isn’t automatic, so manual extraction is the rule.
There are complaints with the Stoeger Coach Gun that do not mean much in….
Read more in the April 2019 issue.