More and more american shotgun manufactures are discontinuing double guns and here is the reason why.
Many of us have a fancy for double guns. There’s a large community of upland hunters set on scoring an LC Smith or Parkers Bros (just to name a couple), but more recently we have seen some more modern doubles fade from the gun shelves at our local gun shops.
Take Ruger’s Red Label, a gun many of youth and adults alike would buy off the shelf as a serious work gun. In 2011 Ruger removed the Red label from its line up leaving many of us scratching our heads in wonder. It became only more confusing when they came back with it in 2014 and pulled it once again by the end of the year.
The gun had a long history, from its introduction in 1977 to the release of the highly coveted .28 Gauge in 1994. Now in 2016, finding a Red Label is a collector’s gun hunt on used gun shelves and private gun sales. Remington pulled their double guns from their catalog as well. With little to no explanation two American classic gun manufactures had abandoned the upland hunters go to work guns.
Recently in a conversation with an unnamed regional sales manager for a major gun company I asked the question. Why aren’t they producing double guns anymore? Truthfully I did not know what to expect for an answer or maybe had never really thought about it.
The answer was that of business. With the cost of production and the demand for double guns it has become no longer economically sound to make them. The real interesting aspect coming from the fact that double guns require a lot of hands on human craftsmanship making production difficult and extremely costly. Add in the fact that only around 1000 are sold in a year, where classic machine assembly line pumps, and semi-automatics number in the thousands per a month and the double gun is a bad business model (US manufactures).
It all makes sense from a business perspective, but the ultimate curve ball came in 2014 as other gun companies dumped their doubles, Savage announced the release of the Stevens 555 Over and Under Shotgun. I could not help but pick up the .410 at an easy suggested retail price of $692 just for the throwback value of having a .410 again like when I was a young kid. Never mind the lack of guilt I will feel when it breaks my fall down the side of mountain in northern New England looking for my latest grouse cover.
Ironically when I was talking to the regional sales rep from the other company my eyes caught the new 28 Gauge that Savage released in August. I practically jumped to grab it almost giddy (now embarrassed from my reaction in front of him). An excitingly easy entry cost for a gauge I have always wanted to get to know.
Now many of these guns have a long road to go to up the ante over some more rare and collectible discontinued double guns. Though the truth seems to be that these American iconic gun producers have no intentions in giving us over the counter double guns anytime in the near future. Adding another line of doubles to the nostalgic lives of upland hunters.