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I recently had the opportunity to attend a skeet shoot...

where I was able to shoot several over/under shotguns. I got to shoot both a 12- and a 20-gauge at skeet and a few birds.

On the skeet range, I probably shot about 10 different makes, and I kept going back to the two Savage Stevens Goldwing models in both 12- and 20-gauge. When I first spied the table that had all of these guns displayed, there were a few that really stood out in appearance – some that must have set someone back a couple of month’s wages – and one that I was pretty sure cost more than I made last year.

I was able to shoot them all, and after firing all of them a few times, my hands kept returning to the two Savages. They were not the prettiest, and not even close to being the most expensive, but I really enjoyed the way they shot and the way they shouldered.

One other thing I really liked was, after shooting a box through each (the 20- and 12-gauge), I had not missed a clay pigeon – and I will be the first to say I am not a real good shot with any shotgun when I am shooting at a moving target. So you can see why I kept reaching for these two shotguns.

Here are a few things I really liked about both Goldwings. As I mentioned earlier, both shouldered just right for me, and when I brought my face to the wood to acquire the target, it was like these guns had been custom fitted to me, although they had not.

Looking down the top of the ventilated rib, I was able to easily line up the two gold sight beads, and the natural alignment was just right for me. Both guns felt really comfortable when I swung them to follow the targets.

I also really liked the empty shell ejection feature, as these Goldwings do not spit the empties out when you break open the gun. A few of the guns I shot that day spit the empties out several feet, and I was always going back to pick them up off of the ground.

When I broke open the Savage, it pushed the empties out of the chamber an inch or so, which allowed me to get a hold of them and toss them in the trash can without having to get out of the box and pick them up off the ground.

The barrels have a satin finish which sort of absorbed the sunlight. Even when shooting in bright sunlight, there was no reflection off the barrel, as was the case with some of the other guns I shot that day. I shot one that had such a shiny, mirror-like finish on the barrel that it interfered with the target a few times.

The Savage has a nice, soft, solid recoil pad that did its job in eliminating most of the felt recoil. And, with the recoil pad being solid, you do not have to worry about it getting compressed when you store the gun butt-down in your safe or gun cabinet.

The wood was nice-looking and evenly finished with nice-looking checkering from the rear of the receiver all the way down to the pistol grip. The forearm also had the same attractive checkering, and the forearm was a Schnabel style that fit my hand just right.

It also has a barrel selector on the tang safety switch, which is a neat feature if you have different choke tubes in this shotgun and are using it for wing-shooting. This switch allows you to shoot either the top or bottom barrel first.

Both the single trigger and the inlaid birds on the side of the receiver are gold, which adds a nice touch to this fine-shooting shotgun.

Several choke tubes and a choke tube wrench come with these guns, allowing you to shoot from full to skeet. There are several aftermarket companies that also make choke tubes for these shotguns.

For the shotgunner that would like a shotgun that works great on the skeet range and in the woods, this would be a good pick. Both the 12- and 20-gauge allow the shooter to use 2-3/4- or 3-inch shells, and with the 26-inch barrel you should have plenty of range with magnum loads to reach out there and put some ducks in the freezer.

With the choice of 12-, 20-, 28- and a youth model 20-gauge, Savage makes a gun for everyone. With a retail price of around $600 and a street price in the $500 range, there is no reason not to have a couple.

A couple? Yes, a couple! Maybe one in 12-gauge and one in 20-gauge. Or, if you can find a deal on a used one, grab a .410. Savage originally made a few of these in .410, but if you want this gauge now, you will have to find a used one. Maybe if you look real hard you will find a new one that someone has been holding on to.

In my book, there is only one thing wrong with a .410 – the COST of ammo. Why is it that .410 shells cost almost twice as much as 12-gauge shells? You have less shot, powder, plastic hull and metal base. I would probably have a couple of .410s if the ammo was the same price as 12- or 20-gauge. But for now, I will have to limit my shotgun selection to 12- and 20-gauge.

Overall, I found the Savage Stevens Goldwing in both 12- and 20-gauge to be darn good shooters. Did I forget to mention that after this shoot, I just had to have one? One? Heck. I liked these so much and couldn’t decide if I wanted the 12- or the 20-gauge, so I got one of each!

I guess I will have to find a place to go shoot some birds when the season opens this year. I have already run about 10 boxes through the 12-gauge, and in the next week or so, I will be back at the skeet range with the 20-gauge. Practice, practice, practice. Maybe if I spend long hours practicing, I will be as good a shot as I was when I was a kid.

If you have an opportunity to check one of these out, do so, and I believe you will like what you see. I did.

Shoot Straight, Shoot Safe and Remember: If all guns were treated as if they were loaded, there would be NO MORE accidental shootings.


Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”