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Thread: Husqvarna Model 17 side-by-side shotgun: can't hit the broadside of a barn

  1. #1
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    Question Husqvarna Model 17 side-by-side shotgun: can't hit the broadside of a barn

    Hi, all.

    This past winter I purchased a Husqvarna Model 17 side-by-side shotgun from Allan's Armory. It's a gorgeous gun and in great condition, even considering its 1942 vintage. I tore it apart and completely cleaned everything - from a mechanical perspective it functions as well as any Swedish long arm would be expected to function.







    Took it out to the range for some clay bustin' in preparation for the pending upland bird seasons here in North Dakota. I took along some 2 1/2" shells I picked up from RST (Falcon Lites, loaded with 7/8 oz of #8 shot) and had two boxes of clay pigeons. There were three of us shooting and I went first - couldn't hit a damned thing. 0 for 5 in the first 5 tosses. Managed to squeak out a couple of partial hits after that (I know - a hit is a hit) and then handed the gun off to my friends to see if they could do any better. Nope. One friend did about as well as I did, the other did worse. Picked up my 12 gauge Citori 725 Field O/U and the standard Winchester target loads I brought along and proceeded to dust one clay after another.

    This was my first time ever shooting a side-by-side shotgun. And the first time I've ever used 2 1/2 shells. Are side-by-sides really that much more difficult to shoot? My initial thought was that I was spending too much time concentrating on manipulating two separate triggers (this is the first gun I've ever shot that had two triggers), but after the first couple of shots it seemed pretty natural to me. It really had all three of us scratching our heads because none of us were very good with the thing. Does anyone have any ideas or tips/suggestions for shooting a side-by-side? Or is it really just a matter of getting out there any doing it? I've never had such a hard time with a new firearm before - usually they're all somewhat similar. Variations on a theme, as it were. But this was completely different and unexpected.

    I love having the Model 17 in the collection but now I think I'll be sticking with the Citori 725 for field work this season. But I would like to give this Husqvarna another chance since I think it would be most-excellent to take some pheasant in North Dakota with a shotgun made in Sweden in 1942.

    Cheers,

    ~ Greg ~
    "Any people whatsoever have the right to abolish the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right." -- Abraham Lincoln, 4 July 1848

  2. #2
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    may be the stock configuration is putting you behind and low in your swing...
    pattern it on a large paper
    but...swing to a center point marked shoot as fast as at moving target
    ...follow through with your swing too.....

    see where your printing??? ahead, low,...maybe?
    it will give you a little idea of face fit, comb fit...

    do you the pull through shoot method?
    aim ahead wait shoot?
    GOD<><SAVE THE CONSTITUTION / STATES RIGHTS><>NRA

  3. #3

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    How is it choked? Go out and pattern it. I have seen some HVA shotguns choked 40 to 50 thousandths which would be extra, extra, extra full. A number of gunsmiths can open it to something more usable for wingshooting. My favorite model 51 is choked 3 & 9 thousandths. For me, less choke is better but then most of my shooting is done over a dog up close.
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  4. #4

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  5. #5
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    I didn't see any markings on the barrels to indicate the actual chokes. No numbers and no stars (I thought some European makers used a star sytem to ID chokes?), but if my digital calipers can be trusted then the right barrel's choke is .697" (17.73mm) and the left barrel choke is .671" (17.05mm). I found a site that listed the 12 gauge fixed choke of .695" would be considered Improved Modified. It didn't list any fixed 12 gauge chokes at .671". The site is here: http://randywakeman.com/Choke%20and%...el%20Specs.htm

    I've not patterned it, so I guess I will need to do that regardless. As for shooting style, I try to follow the clay, lead, shoot, and follow through (i.e. follow the dust/debris a bit) to help set up the second shot if it's needed.

    Ken - thanks for that link. I'll have to check those shells out, too. I wasn't all that impressed with the RST loads - I also bought some in 2 3/4" for the Citori (Lites, 1oz #9 shot) and they seemed inconsistent. Most RST loads are a bit lighter (the 2 1/2" Falcon Lites were listed at 1200 fps and the 2 3/4" Lites were listed at 1150 fps), but the standard Winchester target loads got a lot better results from the Citori.

    Thanks, all!

    ~ Greg ~
    "Any people whatsoever have the right to abolish the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right." -- Abraham Lincoln, 4 July 1848

  6. #6

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    The chokes are not marked on the barrels.
    Without knowing what the cyl section of the barrel before choke is it does no good to just measure the choked part at the muzzle. The real choke is the difference between the measurements. But lets assume for a moment your barrel is close to .727/.728 (about avg for most guns) in which case you have about 30 thousandths in the right and 56 in the left or really Full in the right and stupid full in the left.
    Great for shooting a squirrel out of the top of the tallest tree but hard to hit a flying bird.
    I would try the spreader loads and maybe have the chokes opened.
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  7. #7
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    Ah. I see. Last winter I was using chokes in the Citori that were too open and I couldn't get consistent hits on the clays. When I tightened them up a bit things got a lot easier, especially at longer distances. I guess this Model 17 is the exact opposite? Though with super tight chokes like that I would have thought hitting things at farther distances would be easier. But perhaps it's also the difference between an older 2 1/2" load and a more modern 2 3/4" load? I'm still somewhat new to this sort of shotgunning, so I think I need more practice behind the triggers of this Model 17 before I can really say there's something wrong with anything other than the shooter.

    I just bought to boxes of the Spred-R 12 Ga. English 2.5" with #6 shot and two boxes with #7.5. I'll see how those pattern compared to the RST shells. If it makes a huge difference in patterns perhaps I won't need to go to the drastic step of having a smithy bore out the barrels. (I had messing with C&Rs like that.)

    Raises a question in my mind, though. Why would the Swedes have made shotguns with such tight chokes? Did they do something different with shotgun loads back in the 1904s?

    Thanks again.

    ~ Greg ~
    "Any people whatsoever have the right to abolish the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right." -- Abraham Lincoln, 4 July 1848

  8. #8

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    In Sweden most shotguns are not used for wing shooting, more often the hunted game is roe deer, european hare, capercaillie etc where a tighter choke is preferred. Very tight chokes are common in HVA shotguns, especially the early guns.

    I use a lot of 2 1/2" RST shells (16 & 12ga) , avg year I will shoot 150-200 pheasants with them and no problems
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  9. #9
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    I try to follow the clay, lead, shoot, and follow through too!
    I try to let clays go out farther with extra tight chokes ...to spread shot patters a bit..
    GOD<><SAVE THE CONSTITUTION / STATES RIGHTS><>NRA

  10. #10
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    What is the muzzle velocity of the 2 1/2 in shells? How does it compare to the shells you are used to shooting in your Citori? Chances are it is slower and you will need to increase your lead in addition to the problems created by a tighter choke.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobVZ View Post
    What is the muzzle velocity of the 2 1/2 in shells? How does it compare to the shells you are used to shooting in your Citori? Chances are it is slower and you will need to increase your lead in addition to the problems created by a tighter choke.
    The RST 2 1/2" Falcon Lites were listed at 1200 fps. The RST 2 3/4" Lites were listed at 1150 and the two 2 3/4" Winchester loads I was using were listed at 1200 and 1250 fps.

    Cheers,

    ~ Greg ~
    "Any people whatsoever have the right to abolish the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right." -- Abraham Lincoln, 4 July 1848

  12. #12
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    I agree with those that said the chokes might be tighter than most. My model 103 had some tight chokes that I had opened up. Also, shooting a light SxS is much different than a heavier o/u. I shoot my SxS guns better with a more instinctive method: start swinging on the bird (focus on the bird), about the time the stock hits my cheek, I pull the trigger and keep swinging through. This works best for me with SxS guns. I do a more deliberate mount, follow, swing through method with my pump, semi and o/u guns with clays. Try it with some spreader loads and let us know how you do. Keep practicing, the older SxS guns are great fun to hunt and shoot.

    Take care,

    Mike
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  13. #13
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    I have several Husqvarna underlever hammer doubles and have used them for all differents types of shotgun shooting I do -- waterfowl, desert quail, trap -- and same with several Husqvarna toplever hammer doubles. I have also used extensively an original Browning Citori since 1974, when I bought it. These three types of shotguns handle VERY differently for me. I learned to shoot each type quite wel -- BUT, I had to learn what was required to shoot each type well.

    I don't share the comments of other posters here about the "tight chokes" of Husqvarna hammer doubles -- I prefer tight chokes (my guns are choked full and 1/2, both 12 and 16 bore), in part because I can use the 28 gram loads that ALL these Husqvarna hammer doubles were designed to shoot/pattern very well. Note that 28 gram "HV" loads have been standard hunting loads, including waterfowl, for well over 100 years in Europe, etc. -- they kill very well, including with Bi-Sn shot on ducks and geese to 40+ meters.

    My toplever hammer doubles, Husqvarna and Sauer, are my most deadly hunting shotguns, even more so than my Citori, which weights at least half a kg more and patterns heavier loads quite well. My favorite underlever, a Husqvarna M15 12X65, is almost as deadly and has accounted for many limits of ducks over decoys.

    Niklas

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