Over-and-under shotguns are the most popular type of break-action shotgun on the market today. They're more popular than side-by-side or single-shot break action shotguns combined. Over-unders are where functionality and weight exist in harmony.
Most hunters interested in double-barrel over-unders are upland bird hunters, which means you're carrying your hunting firearm of choice several miles. Depending on where you upland hunt, this could mean dragging your gun through the Appalachians in search of ruffed grouse or hefting it around while you wade through a western sagebrush sea full of prairie grouse. As a result, you probably don't want to hunt birds with a 10-pound gun.
Over-under shotguns check several boxes for upland hunters: They typically weigh less than 7 pounds, can only carry two rounds in the chamber when the legal limit is 3, and are easy to tell when they're out of commission (i.e., the action is broken open and the firearm is safe). The third point is especially important when upland hunting, since accidental discharge can put your hunting dog at risk.
Price tags don't have to be a barrier to hunting in the uplands or shooting trap and skeet at your local range. If you're in the market for an over-and-under (also called 'over-under' or 'O/U') but don't want to drop $2,000 on a new shotgun, you'll be happy to hear there are plenty of top over-under shotguns for under $850. You might not find a Benelli, Beretta, Franchi, or a Browning Citori on this list, but here are some picks that will effectively harvest birds, break clays, and won't hurt your wallet.
The Best Over-Under Shotguns Under $800 in 2023
- The Best Value Over-Under Shotgun: TriStar Trinity
- The Nicest-Looking Budget Over-Under Shotgun: Stevens Model 555
- The Most Versatile Over-Under Shotgun: CZ Teal
- The Best Budget Over-Under Shotgun: Tristar Upland Hunter
- The Best Over-Under Shotgun for Beginners: Charles Daly 202
- The Best Affordable Over-Under Shotgun Full Setup: Mossberg Silver Reserve
The Best Value Over-Under Shotgun
Top Pick: TriStar Trinity
Weight: 6.3 to 6.9 lbs | Barrel Length: 26 or 28 inches
The TriStar Trinity is the highest-quality over-under shotgun at an affordable price point. In addition to being highly functional and reliable, this shotgun can be trusted to shoot straight. This is truly a fantastic gun for its value.
The TriStar Trinity is made in Turkey and can be purchased in 12-, 20-, and 16-gauge with a 26- or 28-inch barrel. It also comes with five choke tubes, which means you don't need to buy an aftermarket choke tube to use this gun to its full capabilities. Depending on the gauge, this gun weighs between 6.3 and 6.9 pounds, which isn't too shabby for a solid, budget-friendly O/U like this. The oiled walnut stock and the acid-etched receiver also make it easy on the eyes.
- Comes with all five choke tubes
- Weight is a nice balance between functionality and recoil absorption
- Very high quality for its price point
- May be sensitive to rain and other natural elements
TriStar Trinity - $720
The Nicest-Looking Budget Option
Top Pick: Stevens Model 555
Weight: 5.5 to 6.6 lbs | Barrel Length: 26 or 28 inches
The Savage name is automatically associated with high-quality firearms at a more affordable price. As a division of Savage, Stevens has ensured that legacy holds with its Model 555. The aesthetics of an affordable over-under shotgun are sometimes sacrificed to provide a durable and accurate gun. However, the 555 by Stevens retains a sleek and classic design with its oil-finished walnut stock, ventilated rib, and carbon steel barrel.
This gun is offered in .410 bore and 12-, 16-, 20- and 28-gauge. The 555 has a unique mechanical trigger system, where the second barrel trigger is set immediately following the trigger pull of the first barrel. While some over-unders operate on an inertia system—which works by use of the gun's recoil—I tend to prefer the consistency of Stevens' mechanical operation. With a retail price of $729, this gun sits on the higher end of the list. But give it a try, and you'll see why it's worth every penny.
- Has a sleek design that wasn't sacrificed to make this gun more affordable
- 20 gauge is very light, just 5.5 lbs
- Has shell extractors, not ejectors
- Uses a mechanical trigger system, not an inertia-based trigger system
Stevens Model 555 - $750
The Most Versatile Over-Under Shotgun
Top Pick: CZ Teal
Weight: 7 to 8 lbs | Barrel Length: 28 inches
CZ-USA designed this gun to shoulder flawlessly and swing quickly on fast birds like teal and grouse. You'll find that true the next time you hunt early-season teal, grouse, and even pheasants with the Teal. It is impressively versatile and comfortable. It also performs well on larger, open-water birds like mallards and canvasbacks.
The solid mid rib on this gun was a nice touch that gives this gun a nostalgic feel, which I respect. The tang safety also allows this model to be ambidextrous.
You will find a few extra bells and whistles on this gun. The big selling point here is that it is usually offered at or under $600 from most retailers, so it's hard to find anything wrong with it.
CZ Teal - $660
The Best Budget Over-Under Shotgun
Top Pick: Tristar Upland Hunter
Weight: 7.2 lbs | Barrel Length: 28 inches
The TriStar is quite possibly the biggest "steal" on the market right now regarding over-and-under shotguns. The Upland Hunter by TriStar is a super lightweight model that swings extremely easily and shoulders rather well for its price point. It uses ejectors instead of extractors, which you might prefer greatly when on a hunt but not quite as much at the range. Your mileage on that may vary.
This break-action gun features a chrome-lined chamber and barrel, which allows for tighter and more consistent patterns. With its vent top and mid rib, fiber-optic sight, and acid-etched receiver, TriStar went above and beyond to ensure this gun was of the highest quality for the price range. This gun retails for $479 and could be sold for over $700.
- Excellent entry-level O/U shotgun that is well worth every penny
- Has shell ejectors, not extractors
- Turkish walnut stock is easy on the eyes
- Once you become proficient with this gun, you might pine for an upgrade
Tristar Upland Hunter - $400
The Best Over-Under Shotgun for Beginners
Top Pick: Charles Daly 202
Weight: 7.3 lbs | Barrel Length: 28 inches
Charles Daly described this gun with two words: "Unbeatable value." This gun can be found at several retailers for around $420, making it an excellent option for beginners while providing the quality and feel that even an avid bird hunter would appreciate.
This gun features a checkered walnut stock and forend, a fixed fiber-optic sight, and a single-selective mechanical trigger system. The 202 20-gauge model weighs only 6.4 pounds, making it lightweight and solid enough to shoulder quickly and easily. At this weight, carrying for long days in the field will be easier. While this gun might not turn heads, it feels great and shoots just as well as an over-under at a higher price point.
- Excellent shotgun to help you break into the world of over/unders, sporting clays, or upland hunting
- Looks leave something to be desired
- Aluminum receiver may wear out over time
- Known for having a lot of recoil when shooting 3-inch shells
Charles Daly 202 - $470
The Best Affordable Over-Under Shotgun Full Setup
Top Pick: Mossberg Silver Reserve
Weight: 7.5 lbs | Barrel Length: 28 inches
Mossberg launched the American-made Silver Reserve to lead the market in affordable, highly durable, reliable O/U shotguns. Available in both black walnut and synthetic stocks, this shotgun is offered in .410 bore, 12-, 20-, and 28-gauge models.
This gun features shell extractors, corrosion-resistant chrome-lined barrels and chambers, a tang safety selector, and dual locking lugs. Both 26- and 28-inch barrel lengths are available. There's a lot of extra value here, as Mossberg includes a set of five chokes standard with each purchase. The details on this gun are something you would expect from brands such as Browning and Beretta, but Mossberg offers this kit at a much better price point: $777.
- Comes with bells and whistles
- Available in several different gauges and barrel lengths
- More affordable than the Gold Reserve because it has extractors, not shell ejectors
- Walnut stock is low-grade
Mossberg Silver Reserve - $820
What to Look For When Buying An Over-Under Shotgun
If you're shopping for an over-and-under for yourself or another fellow shotgun enthusiast, keep a few things in mind. Features like weight, materials, gauge, barrel length, and fit shouldn't be overlooked.
The weight of a hunting shotgun is arguably the most important feature. If your over-and-under weighs 7.5 pounds or more, you're simply not going to want to take it hunting. Just hiking around with it will tire you out quickly, and shotguns are harder to shoulder when your arms are exhausted from carrying them.
Depending on your frame, look for over-under shotguns in the 5-7 pound range. Smaller-framed shooters should really consider looking in the 5-6 pound range. You don't want your shotgun to be so light that the recoil is ridiculous, but you also don't want it to be so heavy that you hate lugging it around.
Like any gun, the materials your O/U is made of are worth considering. Are you planning on hunting upland birds in dry areas without scratchy plants? Then, a classic wooden stock is just right for you. Are you planning on hunting in the snow or even waterfowl hunting with your over-under? Then, even if it isn't as stylish as an oiled walnut stock, a synthetic stock may be the way to go. Before buying, consider what the O/U you're considering buying is made out of and how well those materials will perform in your hunting grounds.
One of the most important features of your over-under is its gauge. The larger the number, the smaller the gauge; for example, a 12-gauge shotgun is the largest gauge readily available on the market, and a 28-gauge shotgun is one of the smallest gauges.
The most popular shotgun gauge is 12-gauge. The 20 gauge's popularity is just behind the 12 gauge's. Sixteen and 28 gauge are less common, but ammo for these gauges is still pretty easy to find. Most folks prefer 12 gauges because they have the most bang for their buck. Their shells are the largest, which means they've got the most pellets packed inside. As a result, this gauge is great for beginners. However, because it requires the most steel to manufacture, it's also the heaviest gauge.
Twenty gauges are lighter than 12 gauges, but their ammo has fewer pellets. Twenty-eight gauges have even fewer pellets yet. However, 28-gauges are very light compared to their 12-gauge relatives, and connecting on birds and clays with a 28-gauge is a sign of true marksmanship.
This feature definitely gets into the weeds when it comes to shotgun preferences, but it's worth mentioning for a couple of reasons. First of all, longer barrel lengths mean that your shotgun shot will stay in the barrel longer, which increases your shot's velocity. However, longer barrels are heavier and get hung up on branches and bushes more often. Shorter barrels sacrifice a little bit of velocity for less weight and less shotgun being toted around in the woods.
Smaller framed hunters might find themselves preferencing a 26-inch barrel. However, those who have bigger frames or don't mind carrying around a few extra ounces of steel might prefer a 28-inch barrel.
How your shotgun fits your body plays a huge role in how naturally you mount your shotgun. If your shotgun doesn't fit you, your eye may not align to the sights correctly, meaning you miss more shots than you make regardless of what your target is. This can be incredibly frustrating.
When shopping for O/Us, remember that most are manufactured for a 5' 10" man weighing 180 pounds. If this isn't you, you might consider over-unders with an adjustable stock and comb or even scheduling a gun fitting before your shotgun purchase.
Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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