As the name suggests, a side-by-side is a double-barreled shotgun
with the two barrels mounted next to each other in a horizontal configuration.
Certainly when most people hear the phrases "double barrel" or
"doublegun," they're mentally picturing the classic side-by-side.
This design, in one form or another, dates back hundreds of years, but was
truly raised to an artform in the 1800s. When wingshooting, the ability to
get off more than one shot can be critical to quickly dispatching game and
putting it on the table. Before more recent repeating shotguns (such as
pumps and autoloaders)
came along, the double gun was the hunter's best bet for handling fast
maneuvering birds or explosive covey
The side-by-side has become such a tradition in upland hunting that even
those who have purchased their ideal over-under
or repeater will rarely go too long without acquiring at least a modest
double gun. There are times, such as in hunt tests,
where a breach loading gun is
expected or even required. But mostly, there is an undeniable romance to the
double gun that makes it a must have for every upland hunter.