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Why Are Shotguns So Expensive?


Matt Griffin

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I know this probably sounds like I'm trolling this forum, but I really don't understand how O/U shotguns have gotten so expensive.

I can appreciate things like scrollwork and inlay, and a nice stock vs. a synthetic. But for the life of me, I can't see how you can go from 500$ for a smoothbore gun to 5000$, when the 500$ gun seems to be flawless in function and fit.

What is the difference between, say, a Ruger Red Label and a top-end Beretta?

H.

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At the local Trap & Skeet Range the stuff your talking about, and used, is going for that and sometimes a lot more than the $5K - $10K range.

Why?

The companies charge a lot when it's new, not that many are made, and folks are willing to pay the price.

Really, it's the same as the difference between a Glock and an S_I. One is 500 bucks, the other is 4x-5x that price when ready to run. Folks are willing to pay the price, and thats after a G35 was used to win this years Limited Nationals. Are they worth the price? If the buyer thinks they are worth what the seller is asking, then they are to that buyer and seller.

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I know this probably sounds like I'm trolling this forum, but I really don't understand how O/U shotguns have gotten so expensive.

I can appreciate things like scrollwork and inlay, and a nice stock vs. a synthetic. But for the life of me, I can't see how you can go from 500$ for a smoothbore gun to 5000$, when the 500$ gun seems to be flawless in function and fit.

What is the difference between, say, a Ruger Red Label and a top-end Beretta?

H.

Apples and Oranges...

Ruger Red Label - cast receiver, partially handmade in America and somewhat expensive

Top of the line EELL Beretta - forged receiver, totally handmade and 100% hand engraved, polished and finished by (arguably) the finest, most skilled craftsmen in Italy, if not all of Europe. Quite expensive...

ETA: Don't even get me started about the differences in wood for stocks :ph34r: suffice to say that a highly figured piece of wood carries a high price tag.

Think in terms of a Ford F-150 vs. Maserati Quattroporte

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I shoot with a guy who's runs his Kohler like no other. I borrowed a guy's Kreigoff once and found that everything just seems to point, shoot, swing, etc. better with the big dollar shotguns.

That said, nothing about trap/skeet/sporting clays/5-Stand is cheap. All of them are super expensive and put IPSC to shame in the sense of dollars you can spend.

When I finally get around to picking up a dedicated trap/skeet/SC/5S gun, it'll probably be a Browning and definitely a "clays" gun (i.e. ported).

Rich

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I have asked the same questions! I finally got a straight answer. As my wife, daughter and I were in the factory Blaser store in SA during the world skeet finals. I ask what makes these 3 shotguns so expensive. They were the same receiver and barrels. One was 5300, 9300, 15000. He looked at me and said the wood! I said what!!!! He told me that the wood was from a 300 year old tree in some forest in Europe that I had never heard of. It was pretty but not 10000 dollars pretty! My daughter's shotgun coach told me one time that for some people the look of the stock was everything!

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I have asked the same questions! I finally got a straight answer. As my wife, daughter and I were in the factory Blaser store in SA during the world skeet finals. I ask what makes these 3 shotguns so expensive. They were the same receiver and barrels. One was 5300, 9300, 15000. He looked at me and said the wood! I said what!!!! He told me that the wood was from a 300 year old tree in some forest in Europe that I had never heard of. It was pretty but not 10000 dollars pretty! My daughter's shotgun coach told me one time that for some people the look of the stock was everything!

When I was younger and not as wise as maybe now, I had a Beretta 682 restocked to my specs with a piece of English Exhibition walnut...the blank cost 2000 and the labor took 14 months and cost more than the blank...finally got it, it was super, looked great, fit like a glove and pointed where I looked...first time I shot clays with it I took it to a range and set it into the stand while I signed in...a piece of clay pigeon from the practice range hit the forend and stuck a chip of clay bird in it..I was distraught...shot it for about a year and sold it...never to repeat the performance again...now shoot 682 factory wood...no changes...if I get a ding..ok...but NOTHING is more beautiful on a gun than great walnut...

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first time I shot clays with it I took it to a range and

Isn't that always the way!?!

My sister, years ago, scrimped and saved to buy a Porsche. Got a great used one, on which the original gold metallic paint was crazed. She coulda taken it to [wherever] and had them paint it, but she wanted it done *right*, so she took it to a speciality shop where they did the whole thing: base coats, color coats, glitter coats, clear coats, hand-sanding in between, the whole nine yards. It was absolutely gorgeous...

... except for the place where a kid on a bicycle scraped the passenger side door, the very day she brought it home from the shop.

It's enought to make one cry.

B

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first time I shot clays with it I took it to a range and

Isn't that always the way!?!

My sister, years ago, scrimped and saved to buy a Porsche. Got a great used one, on which the original gold metallic paint was crazed. She coulda taken it to [wherever] and had them paint it, but she wanted it done *right*, so she took it to a speciality shop where they did the whole thing: base coats, color coats, glitter coats, clear coats, hand-sanding in between, the whole nine yards. It was absolutely gorgeous...

... except for the place where a kid on a bicycle scraped the passenger side door, the very day she brought it home from the shop.

It's enought to make one cry.

B

Yep, I felt like crying.... ;)

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Just to set the record straight having been a sponsored Skeet and Sporting Clays shooter for 25+ years. The Beretta 687 eell is not a "handmade gun".

The price of quality O/U is in line with 3-4000 open guns if you look at what you get. On the low end of the scale in guns that can take the abuse of competitive shotgun shooting is the excellent Beretta 682 series. I have several Krieghoff, Perazzi and Kolar O/U that top out in the mid $30,000 range. This is due to the wood , engraving and gold inlays. A standard model Krieghoff, Perazzi or Kolar is in the $7500-8000 range. When you compare that to a custom open or limited pistol they are certainly in line. (Remember you have to get two barrels to shoot to the same POI with a shotgun not just one like a pistol. LOL)

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I really don't regard base model O/U's as being that outlandishly expensive.

How do the Beretta 682's compare with the Citori actions? The Citori ergonomics fit me nearly perfectly, but they do seem to be a little maintenance prone and finding people to fix them ain't always easy...

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<_< I is more than just the wood. a $500 OU has steel in the barrels like a $25 1911 barrel yes it works , but not as good as it could. For the extra $$$ you get barrels that swing and shoot consistent. A cheep gun may end up shooting 2feet off when it heets up.

Leather seats in a nice car are just like the cheep seats in a Chev PU ...Right? = does the same thing.

it has ben a while since I shot much Sporting ...but if you gave me the $500 shotgun for free , but I HAD to shoot it for 300 birds. I would pass. If I had to shoot it for 200 birds I would pass. IF I only had to shoot it for 100 birds ? yep ok :

That said plenty of very nice -useable shotgun can be had for under $2,000 to $1,500 range. I think the Browning is a good value. Bereta's 682 is over priced.

But ...I don't know nothing

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<_< I is more than just the wood. a $500 OU has steel in the barrels like a $25 1911 barrel yes it works , but not as good as it could. For the extra $$$ you get barrels that swing and shoot consistent. A cheep gun may end up shooting 2feet off when it heets up.

Leather seats in a nice car are just like the cheep seats in a Chev PU ...Right? = does the same thing.

it has ben a while since I shot much Sporting ...but if you gave me the $500 shotgun for free , but I HAD to shoot it for 300 birds. I would pass. If I had to shoot it for 200 birds I would pass. IF I only had to shoot it for 100 birds ? yep ok :

That said plenty of very nice -useable shotgun can be had for under $2,000 to $1,500 range. I think the Browning is a good value. Bereta's 682 is over priced.

But ...I don't know nothing

On the contrary, you've pointed out a functional difference, which counts a lot more in my mind. Thanks for the info. And thanks to everyone, I'm starting to understand. It seems that from 500$ to 2000$, there's quite a bit of fit and material difference, as well as craftsmanship, then after 2000$ you're paying mostly for appearance and component rarity. That is, you should be able to find a shotgun at 2000$ that will not hold you back in any way, whereas a 500$ shotgun will eventually have one limitation or another, fit or function.

Makes more sense now.

H.

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Since ya'll are talking expensive, at the SHOT show a few years ago, Preazzi had 4 four gun sets on display starting @ $220,000 up to $470,000. INCREDIBLE!! Out on the racks for anyone to handle; fondle would be more appropriate for these guns.

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:D

Since ya'll are talking expensive, at the SHOT show a few years ago, Preazzi had 4 four gun sets on display starting @ $220,000 up to $470,000. INCREDIBLE!! Out on the racks for anyone to handle; fondle would be more appropriate for these guns.

:D A few years back.... Ok 7 + years back A buddy and I shoot the Sporting Nat = over several Rainy wet days. The kind of days you set your gun in the rack upside down so that the water will not pudel up in the triger group.

any way One Gentalman had a VERY nice gun and though nothing of shooting it in the rain.

Stuart thought it cost near $10,000 I said Over $25,000 = ONe of his friends herd us and said -No over $30,000 ...and that gun is not even one of his real nice ones. NAW the rain wont hurt it at all :o I still shoot the Browning I was useing that year, but I don't like takeing it out in the rain B)

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The Beretta 687 eell is not a "handmade gun".

Ok, so "handmade" is probably a bit over the top...

However, in the context of the initial question, the work of the individual craftsman on a higher end gun such as a Beretta EELL versus a Ruger is significant component of the cost of both guns. There should be no doubt that the Beretta spends a considerable amount of time on a gunmakers' bench.

As a further example of labor costs contributing to the bottom line total, Ruger's new Gold Label side by side had a 20% plus price increase for 2007 mostly due to the large amount of hands-on work and time required to craft the barrels.

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Aside from the reasons mentioned above, one reason O/Us have jumped in price is the devaluation of the dollar. Most of all the "highend" O/Us come from Europe. I believe the dollar has lost almost 35% of it's value in the last 3 years alone. That's a lot on big ticket items and adds up quick.

The $500 O/Us are a relatively new "line" that's come into the country. I've only handled them, but I am completely confident they won't hold up to even a modest amount of shooting in competition. Could be wrong...but! ;) For competition, it would be like buying a "highpoint" to compete in production class IMHO. It will fire, but how effective and for how long you can probably guess.

Historically from "memory", the plain grade high end guns like Perazzi/kreighoff were 3 times the price of the high quality machine made shotguns form Browing and Beretta...give or take. From my experience, I would expect the Browning/Beretta to be as reliable as the highend, but need rebuilding sooner...after 50,000-100,000 rounds(maybe) and spending a third less than the highends. Service levels and options are substantial for the highend and generally poor for the mass produced IMO...big surprise. :D Perazzi is particulary good and Kreighoff is, well...German so they will do what they want!! :P

Browning/Beretta "grab you" when they go from hunting models to Sporting/skeet/trap, etc.

For Browning the same "action" gun can vary $800- $1,000 because of a different stock design, some choke tubes, and a "name". That's marketing and the "American way". ;) I'd do the same.

Same for Beretta, but they have some "design" differences between their old 686/682 receivers, etc so the price can double. And double again for their "semi-custom" DT line of shotguns. And more than double again for their "hand built" SO series. I "bet" they use CNC machines for much of the operations on the expensive lines also. B)

One more point to consider; profit margins are high on highend guns because they don't sell many. They need that to survive with low numbers. No different than the semi-custom handgun makers.

Sorry, that was long.

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I really don't regard base model O/U's as being that outlandishly expensive.

How do the Beretta 682's compare with the Citori actions? The Citori ergonomics fit me nearly perfectly, but they do seem to be a little maintenance prone and finding people to fix them ain't always easy...

Don't know how they compare as in being made differently, but I have over 80K rounds thru my 682 with NO problems at all...

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It's parts too that are costly.... I have a Browning BT-99 and a BT-100 trap gun.

few years back I was at the trap range had my BT-99 leaning up in the rack with all the rest of the shooters guns, left a few minutes and come back. the forearm was cracked on the 99 from where someone knocked it off the rack......replacement cost was 430.00 just for the forearm!!!

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So...what does one get in going up from the 682 to a DT in the Beretta line? Do you really need the detachable trigger, or is that a "I'm at the Olympics, so I might as well be driving a Cadillac" thing?

I need to find a book or an article that shows all the differences between the actions. You certainly can't understand what makes one better than another based on the manufacturer's product brochures. Peeeyoooo!

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Detachable triggers are nice, but not the "fix" because if you are in the Olympics, and your gun breaks, you have 3 minutes to "fix it" or you shoot on a different squad and lose a "target". Meaning, the detachable is good if you break a trigger component. If you break a firing pin you are out of luck. So, bring two identical guns. ;)

The DT(box-lock) has a lot more handwork done than the 682. It's exterior "look" and barrel lockup is similar to their "hand built" SO series(side-locks) which retail for $15,000 I believe...that's the plain grade. :D The DT which used to be the "ASE90" was their answer to the Perazzi in quality and price. Several steps above the 682, but much cheaper than their hand built SO series.

You would notice the difference between the two in "fit and finish" without question. The DT or any high-end should/will go more rounds before a rebuild. Reliability should be the same for a certain amount of rounds. You won't break any more targets with a DT than a 682 given equal fit and balance.

Similar to any sport, the truly "committed" :lol: , that spend a great deal of time, money, targets, shooting, etc begin to appreciate the finer "tools" of the sport. Some are real and some imagined, i.e. marketing, promotion, etc. But, there are differences that may or may not be worth the money.

Google Clayshooting magazine and go to the English version and read through the gun tests.

Probably some of the best "gun-tests" I've read from a competitor perspective.

As always, just IMHO. ;)

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Last year I decided I wanted an O/U bad enough to part with the money. I went to several stores and also to our range. I tried several different guns. I started out at the lower end of the price scale figuring I don’t shoot a lot of clays. Well the Ruger just didn’t fit. I next went through several other guns including a couple Berettas, they didn’t’ fit either. They were too long for me. I kept catching the stock on my shoulder. The Browning Citori XS Special I wound up with was ideal. The difference is in the length form the palm swell to the butt plate, it is just a bit shorter. The adjustable trigger length and the adjustable stock round out the package for me.

I can shoot this gun. It points, it swings and if I can get the time I think I will actually get to be pretty darned not bad with it.

Jim

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Part of this is currency exchange rates. Some Italian guns such as Franchi are a great value, partly because the Italian Lira got fixed to the Eurodollar at a very low rate. Just the opposite happened in Germany, with the high Deutchmark further elevating the already expesnive Kreighofs, etc. I find the Brownings made by Miraku to be fair value, partly because the Japanese Yen is fairly representative of average consumer prices, but I do concede that mid to high-end shotguns go up in price a lot more than comparable quality handguns and rifles.

Inovation such as newer materials, adjustable high-ribs, variants of recoil-operated triggers (recoil switches a single trigger to the other barrel) are often still under patent and therefore either made by one manufacturer or subject to licence fees. Handguns (especially the 1911 and variants) and rifles usually use designs in the public domain and those that are proprietary often do not have a significant advantage, except to meet police or military specifications. Proprietary guns made for police or military still have to be priced fairly to meet law enforcement and military budgets.

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