Over and under or side by side: the advantages of stacked barrells


Every serious clay shooting competition, including the Olympic disciplines, are won by those using over and under shotguns.

Is it because it has inherent technical advantages that cannot be matched by a traditional side by side shotgun?

These are the following qualities commonly associated with over and under barrells

  • They have a single sighting plane – but why does that work when so often we’re not conscious of it
  • They are heavier, and provide more inertia for the swing and better absorption of recoil
  • They have big fore ends, single triggers and pistol grips, so hand placement is more accurate and consistent
  • They have longer chambers, allowing them to cope with a wide variety of cartridges, and loads including steel shot
  • The recoil is felt differently, Firing the bottom first barrel means recoil is lower in the shoulder, producing less barrel flip than a side-by-side and thus allowing a far more accurate second shot

“Shooting is very much a ‘hand to eye’ co-ordination sport, your eyes watch the bird and this feeds information to your brain, which works out distance, speed and line.”

Focusing on the bird helps this and the harder you focus the better you shoot. If, however, your eyes are prevented in any way from total focus on the target you will miss.

With an over and under you have a much better view of the bird when the gun is mounted due to the gun’s single sighting plane.

Our eyes are inclined to try and look at the closest thing, i.e. the barrels.

The more the barrels intrude into our vision, even our peripheral vision, the more our eyes will want to look at them and not the bird.

If you look at the barrels and not at the bird you’ll usually miss. That’s why shooting an over and under is 30% easier than with a side by side.

There is no doubt that the vast majority of shooters shoot better with an over and under than a side by side.

Whether you are looking for clay shooting, archery, quad biking, rage buggies or team building events, we are at hand to help and advise. Contact Andy Tarr on 07727 238 526 or email Safe and Sound Clay Pigeon Shooting at andy@safeandsoundclaypigeonshooting.com.