Guns are fickle, and so are the hunters that shoot them. You have your favorite gun, and more importantly, you have the reasons why it’s your favorite gun. Men are passionate about the weapons they use in the field, just as passionate as the trucks they drive, and the women they love.
Perhaps the most common question I am asked is, “Why do you shoot an over and under for duck hunting?” So, I thought I’d answer that here and now.
No, I’m not going to try and convince you to shoot a double barrel. Yes, I do think you’ll see my logic at the end of this as to why I believe the O/U is a great choice for your next waterfowl purchase. After all, it’s Christmas, and it’s not too late to introduce this gun into the equation.
For starters, let’s get the hard data on the table and work from there. The gun I use is a Mossberg Maverick Hunter, 12 gauge, Over and Under, 3” chamber, 28” barrels, synthetic stock and forearm. If you want to see it for yourself, click the gun image and it’ll take you there.
My gun was wrapped in Mossy Oak Duck Blind by Camo-Solutions who specializes in Over/Under wrapping capabilities, and it was worth every penny because they did an amazing job. (www.Camo-Solutions.com)
That’s the weapon.
Here’s the reasons.
Over/Under Shotguns Are Easy To Clean. In fact, they are very easy to clean. I have yet to encounter any genre of hunting that tortures a weapon like duck hunting. I honestly believe I could strap my gun to my shoulder, never remover it for an entire hunt, and still find grime in the gun somewhere, somehow. Delta mud is like a chigger: it just shows up unannounced and makes a lasting impression.
Ask my wife and she’ll tell you I’m a sucker for anything that is low-maintenance. I’d put Astroturf in my front yard if our homeowner’s association would allow it. That’s how much I hate mowing the yard. Low-maintenance fits my personality, and low maintenance is what an O/U is all about my brother. I clean my gun after every hunt, and an O/U can be cleaned in about 3 minutes if the hunt wasn’t too terribly nasty.
Confidence Is A Big Deal. I cannot tell you why, but for some reason, I feel confident with an Over/Under. Yes, I know there should really be no difference in any gun you shoot when it comes to theory, but in practicality, you know as well as I do that there are some guns you just feel better about than others.
I’ve noticed that my sight lines seem to be more clean when it comes to an O/U. I grew up a point and shoot guy. Meaning, I wasn’t born wing shooting like many guys I know. In my family we were deer hunters and eventually graduated to adding lots of turkey hunting to the mix. I grew up looking down the barrel, putting a bead on something, and pulling the trigger. So, you can imagine that I can have some rough days fighting muscle memory when it comes to following through on a duck. When a man feels confident, he doesn’t think about mechanics as much. Confidence brings with it peace of mind, and that’s what I need on a hunt, so that’s why an O/U is beside me on a duck hunt.
Third Shots Seem To Elude Me. Perhaps you’ve found a different experience, but I’d venture to say that 90% of the time a third shot for me is just a steel-clad prayer tossed to the heavens. If I don’t get the green head in the first two attempts, it’s normally not going to happen anyway. Especially when you factor in several other guys in the hole who are blasting along with you. Those third shots are usually a ducks that are on the edge of, or completely beyond, the range of your gun anyway.
Again, that’s just my experience, and it may not be yours. Two shots seem to be plenty for me.
Reduced Fear Of Failure. An Over/Under obviously has much fewer working and moving parts than a semi-automatic, or even a pump for that matter. There’s not a lot that can go wrong with an O/U and that has turned out to be a blessing to me on many hunts.
Would I shoot a semi-automatic? Absolutely. And, I may go there one day. I honestly like them, but right now, I’m comfortable with two barrels, two shots, and one less thing that can go wrong in a sport that seems to love Murphy’s Law.
Blind Insights is a soul perspective into the life of waterfowl hunters written and produced by Jason Cruise. Jason is a published author and also the host of Spring Chronicles on Sportsman Channel. www.JasonCruise.com and @JasonLCruise on Twitter.