Good guns for under a grand

ask the experts

ask the experts - Credit: Archant

Mike Yardley advises us on some good guns that you can buy for less than £1,000

Q: Being new to shooting I am looking to purchase a new 12-bore over-and-under, but in the ‘less than £1,000’ price bracket. Could you give me some suggestions of makes that are worth looking at, and ones that I should try to avoid, as I’ve noticed there are quite a few in that range. I’ll be using it mainly for clays and some rough shooting…

MIKE YARDLEY replies: When you have a limited budget, the first question to ask is whether to buy new or second-hand. With a budget of £1,000, the best call might be to buy a base-grade model from one of the industry giants – Beretta or Browning – in ‘nearly new’ condition. These guns are virtually indestructible, given normal care, and hold their money well into the future. That said, you can buy new big-brand semi-autos around, or in some cases substantially under, the £1,000 mark. I am a great fan of semis and if driven game shooting is not your thing, they are worth serious consideration for pigeons of all varieties, as well as work on the marsh.

Other gun options – and it’s not an exhaustive list – would be new over-and-unders by Franchi, Bettinsoli, Webley & Scott, Yildiz, Baikal and Revo. My call here would probably be the Franchi Alcione at £945 (Franchi is a Beretta-owned company and the gun comes with a three-year warranty. Twelve and 20-bores are on offer with 28” or 30” barrels. The Alcione is steel shot proofed, has 3” chambers, and is multi-choked (five supplied). Left-handed models are available too. I have shot the 12-bore gun a number of times and it is a good solid workhorse – nothing very fancy, but no vices either.

The Turkish-made Webley & Scott 900 offered good value and its replacement, the 950, is still a smidgen under £650 and must rate as a good buy. There is also a new, rather smart Italian-made Model 1000, which will come in just under a grand and which I will be testing soon. I have also been impressed with the bang-for-buck ratio of Turkish Akkar guns – the Double Crown 206 (which was called the Churchill) has an RRP of £925.

As part of my research I asked my gun-dealer friend, Stephen Battaglia of Park Street Guns, what he had on his shelves at the moment. He highlighted a Beretta 686 28” multi-choke at £995, and a mint Browning 325 at £975. He also told me of his good experience of the Webley 900s. He thought they offered especially good value.

One final point: whatever you buy, make sure it fits you! If necessary, put a little of your budget aside for alterations.