Why are Some American Companies Dumping Double Guns?

Written by | Bird Hunting Articles

double guns

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.

Last modified: May 31, 2017

20 Responses to :
Why are Some American Companies Dumping Double Guns?

  1. jeff says:

    only a 1000 double guns a year? You mean US manufactures ?

    1. Project Upland says:

      Yes U.S. Manufactures. Will note in the article! Thank you

  2. Wade M. Lariviere says:

    There is a nostalgic feeling shooting a classic over under or side by side over a finished Gundog. It’s sad that American manufacturers have given up to the European gun makers simply because of numbers sold. Seems to me that at twice the price or much more, the sale of a classic collector gun that will be handed down to great grandchildren should be reason enough.

    1. larry says:

      I agree with you 100%

  3. Jim says:

    I’ve been in a couple of the big name outdoor stores lately and the number of shotguns of all types that are on display has dropped. Basically unless it is a handgun or an AR platform there is a lot less to see these days.

  4. Darrel says:

    I just purchased a CZ 20 gauge side by side, shot it for the first time at a RGS fun shoot yesterdaty and loved the feel of it, but didn’t score well but had a great time. I also have same gun in a 28 gauge and maybe I should look for a 16 gauge? Never can own too many classic shotguns!

    1. Jeff Guith says:

      I have the Browning Citori Lightning in 12, 16, 20, and 28 gauge. All 26″ barrels. Geese to grouse, widgeon to woodcock, turkey to teal; I have the perfect gun for that.

  5. Ji5 says:

    Love my RL 28

  6. nick says:

    I just wish that the big names would bring back the 16 gauge but i guess that is just wishful thinking as well.

  7. Keenan Dunnigan says:

    I find it very sad that double guns have just about been discontinued all together. There’s nothing a classic double that offers durability and dependability for generations. Look at the Lc’s, Parkers, Ithacas etc. These guns have lasted generations and are still used today because of the craftsmanship that went into them. A very poor excuse in my opinion that this particular representative gave, mentioning the cost and how much work goes into making one and how little are sold. There is ZERO craftsmanship in most modern shotguns that are manufactured today which is very sad. It seems as if the gun companies are only out for the money in your wallet which is a shame. I hope to one day see the bigger gun manufacturers put out a line of double guns with the classic look is upland hunters love.

    1. CW says:

      I have become a break action double fan for many reasons. I find handling in the field as well as care at the end of the day are easier than other repeating platforms. When introducing a new shooter to clays. Safety and simple operation are an asset. I am glad to see Savage has found a way to introduce an other economic firearm to the market. I use a double when duck hunting. Most of the time the third shot is just a sky bust. It seems I have one less double than I need.

  8. GrizG says:

    Fortunately decent imported SxS guns are still available for under $2K… The Dickinson and CZ brands come to mind. I’ve got several of both brands and find the English stocked, double trigger, Dickison guns in 20 and 410 to be my favorites. I used the 20 on a preserve hunt (won at an RGS banquet) to take pheasants two days ago and all birds fell to a single shot. The birds were taken over pointing Brits and not a single bird was missed. I need to replace my CZ 28 gauge as my son has claimed that as his own… As such another Dickinson is on my shopping list!

    Meanwhile my Citoris have become safe queens as the light and quick SxSs are so nice to carry on grouse, woodcock, quail, chukar and pheasant hunts… all the Browning, Remington, and Ithaca pumps are long gun!

  9. Two Triggers says:

    One more factor to consider is that the number of used doubles on the market meets much of the demand from traditional hunters and collectors, who tend to prefer older guns anyway. Those who care about aesthetics, craftsmanship, history and tradition, it’s hard to get excited about a gun built a few months ago by computers and machines, and identical to thousands of others. The downside to most old doubles and even classic “singles” like the A5 and Model 12 is that they don’t mix well with hot, super-high-pressure modern loads and/or steel shot, both of which can batter and wear them out. It’s not hard to find appropriate ammo, but you need to be selective and aware of your gun’s limitations.

  10. Clays And Birds says:

    The RL was pulled because of quality issues. It was/is a running joke. I know one person who worked for them and was offered a sponsorship for shooting sports and turned it down because of the gun quality. He hates the gun so much he would rather pay for his own shells.

    Living in NH, I don’t know one person who has ever been looking for or described a RL as something to covet. There are plenty of options out there if you want a nice O/U. You can find used Beretta SP1 for 1500 or less.

    Browning has a few options as well and even more with the new stuff from shot show. They are making less throw away guns and opting for long term investment pieces.

  11. Mitch says:

    I didn’t realize Ruger had stopped making the Red Label. I’ll be keeping an even closer eye on my 28 Gauge with English stock.

    1. Mitch Morrison says:

      Agree I have a Ruger 28 gauge that is the perfect grouse gun Lightweight , quick to the shoulder with the English stock and plenty of knockdown power. I have fond mrmories of my first double a few years ago hunting the Chippewa National Forest My granddaughter will enjoy this gun in not too manny years

  12. jeff says:

    I am a sales rep for a double gun manufacturer who recently attended Pheasants Forever Pheasant Fest and I must say the interest was immense. I see no slowing down of interest and anticipate a 10-15% increase in sales this year.

  13. Joe szydlowski says:

    The problem is the interest alone in Upland hunting is just not there. My interest and doubles this highly I own quite a few I think that if you go to an RGS shoot place you and you look the average age is north of 45 years old there’s not that many kids doing it and you have to look at a business perspective for the gun manufacturers that date they got to make a profit. If you look at the European market which make far superior guns they don’t make that many because most of their guns are all mostly handmade and far superior to what we get here in America they are more expensive but a much better product

  14. JIM KISSICK says:

    When I was 15-35 I used auto 20’s to pile up bird count. I graduated to O/U’s, then to smaller gauge SXS’s. I have given my autos to my grandsons where they continue to keep ammo companies in business. I now at age 70 cherish my days afield with a light SXS and my English Setters. I find I feel better carrying a classic older Double than something with so many moving parts and a lot less feel.

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