In the history of the Italian shotgun the side by side certainly holds a place of utter importance among the double barrel shotguns.
Double barrel shotgun: no one escapes the spell of the side by side.
Upon hearing this word, any hunter, younger or older as they may be, feels some sense of reverence.
Not just respect, but the need to show that respect up, because reverence to be considered as such, must always be evident.
Indeed, the side by side shotgun is regarded all over the place as the ultimate hunting firearm– not only in the Italianshotgun – and has safely overcome the transition from muzzle-loading to back-loading, from black powder to the most modern technology.
Elegant and refined, the side by side shotgun is to the imagination of the hunting world what can be called an “evergreen classic” with timeless appeal.
How many young people, with a brand-new game license or about to take one, have looked in the dreamy eye of their father or even grandfather while telling of the adventures they had using a side by side?
Countries such as Italy, France and England see this type of weapon as an icon of hunting tradition.
As far back as 1800, there were two main types of side by side shotguns: the oldest with visible external hammers and a more modern type, the same in use today, with invisible internal hammers or so-called “hammerless“.
When was the modern side by side shotgun born?
The side by side (or double barrel shotgun) is a break action shotgun with two parallel barrels.
Although it is a weapon manufactured all over the world, the English and the Italian double-barrels are the most famous ones when it comes to design and construction.
As far back as 1875, the patent filed by Anson & Deeley established the conception of the first modern side by side in history, with internal hammers or “hammerless”.
The weapon was the result of a movement of the barrels – which were opened and lowered – and the mechanics was made of a few sturdy pieces located within the receiver.
A solution that has made this mechanical operation simple and ingenious, the most used in the last 150 years.
What types of hunting are performed using a double barrel shotgun?
With a side-by-side barrel arrangement, the side by side shotgun provides a much wider aiming view.
Indeed, it is possible to frame the target much faster, thanks to the large horizontal plane of the two barrels.
This makes the side by side shotguns particularly appreciated when hunting in confined spaces, such as the woods or the Mediterranean maquis, in drives and hunting with pointer dogs – quail or pheasant, for example – where shots are taken at a short distance and the wider barrel plane makes it easier for the shooter to quickly target the wild game.
This hunting firearm is loved both for its instinct and for its speed of aiming, more specifically for woodcock hunting, characterized by hit shots in the thick vegetation of the woods and at close distances.
In addition, the two barrels have the advantage of a configuration with different chokes.
According to the hunter’s habits, the modern side by side shotguns can be configured with one or two triggers: the double-trigger versions act on the barrels independently, whereas the single-trigger versions operate the first (less choked) barrel and then the next.
Franchi side by side Esprit
What are the characteristics of the Franchi’s double barrel shotgun?
Among the Italian side by side shotguns, we find Esprit.
The names of Franchi’s side by side shotguns have always drawn attention to our tradition: Albatros, Astore and especially Montecarlo. Today’s side by side is Esprit, French translation of spirit, but also ingenuity as for the mechanism it is based on.
Esprit belongs to the “hammerless” type of shotguns.
It is a modern hunting shotgun with a classic look, but still with a modern-added feel.
Sleek and elegant in appearance, it is a modern hunting shotgun which, while maintaining a classic appearance, has a contemporary character.
Esprit is quick and instinctive in sudden aiming and perfect for hit shots, thanks to the wider base formed by the two barrels and the rib.
This Franchi’s double barrel shotgun is available in 12, 20, 28 and .410 gauge.
Built on the Evolved Ergonom-X ergonomic platform, this side by side shotgun is extremely ergonomic and natural in the shouldering.
Thanks to its low weight, from 2.9 kg in 12gauge to 2,450 kg in the smallest .410 gauge, it is particularly agile in swing and suitable for lateral movements made with the shotgun shouldered, due to its low weight.
These features, combined with the short barrel, make it the perfect ally for the exciting days of woodcock hunting.
The receiver is elegant in aesthetics, because it features tortoise-steel finish and spinning shapes, thanks to the round body outline, which embellishes the shotgun with class and essentials.
The woods are Grade 3 oil finished. The stock is available either with a pistol grip or in the more traditional version with English style stock.
The rubber recoil pad shines with the characteristic Franchi orange and reduces the recoil on shooting.
With Esprit, the side by side shotgun tradition evolves and turns into contemporary lines with perfect ergonomics, offering every hunter absolute pleasure.
Giulia Taboga with the double barrel shotgun Franchi Esprit
The side by side shotgun: timeless passion
Despite the many technical developments in the hunting shotgun world, the side by side shotgun is still a cult object for hunters of all ages, so much so that in recent years we have witnessed a revival of the double-barrels, thanks to its intrinsic qualities, but also because so many small-scale chambered have been proposed at more affordable prices.
Certainly, in this long and fortunate history, the Made in Italy always remains a guarantee of quality and reliability, and among the Italian shotgun world the side by side is the choice of many hunters, even younger ones, still attached to the charm of tradition.
Because hunting is also and above all the story of the many hunters before us and of all those who will come tomorrow, a precious and shared wealth, a passion that will see no end.