October 14, 2008

Smith & Wesson Elite Gold Grade I 20 Gauge

Introduced into the field gun market in January 2007, this gun had 26-inch barrels and an overall length of 43.5 inches. The length of pull on the stock, which featured a checkered butt rather than a recoil pad or butt plate, was 14.6 inches, and the gun weighed 6.5 pounds.

Our shooters said the shotgun was quick and smooth into each target. There were no problems mounting the gun into shooting position, but we would have preferred a pad or plate to prevent slippage. This could be accomplished by a short trip to a nearby gunsmith if the S&W owner prefers practicality over classic appearance.

The drop at the comb of 1.5 inches and a drop at the heel of 2.25 inches were within the acceptable range and provided a good sight picture down the solid rib. We noted that there is both a mid-bead and a white front bead on the rib—a feature that we consider to be on the plus side of the tally sheet.

Smith & Wesson Elite Gold

Courtesy Gun Tests

We did have minor concerns about the checkered butt on the stock (not to everyone’s taste) and the price tag, but came to the conclusion that the Smith & Wesson shotgun is worth the extra $400 and change.

Both the S&W and the L.C. Smith models did not offer a barrel selector, so the right barrel always fired first. Not a major problem, even with the S&W’s fixed chokes of improved cylinder and modified, but worth noting.

We found that the trigger pull on the right barrel of the S&W was 6 pounds, while the left barrel touched off at 6.25 pounds. Both were crisp and clean touch offs.

We also liked the way the S&W ejected shells up and out of the chambers with a smooth, solid stroke. Side-by-side shotguns, because of their design, can be loaded and unloaded quicker than their over-and-under counterparts. That is just one more factor we enjoyed when handling this shotgun.

Smith & Wesson Elite Gold

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The English-style stock (note there is no buttplate or recoil pad) was both attractive and functional. even with the checkered butt, recoil was acceptable with game loads. Still, we would have preferred a recoil pad.

Because of the wider sight picture down the barrels, there was a little adjustment required in shooting birds and targets with both the test guns. After relearning how to shoot a double barrel, our target hits were solid and convincing with the S&W.

Factoring in the quality appearance and smooth handling ability of the S&W, we have no problem in recommending this firearm for shooters interested in a trip down memory lane.

Comments (3)

How can S&W call this "elite" when they don't even bother to include a butt pad? Is this an attitude reflected in their stock price?

Common guys, you can do better than that!

Posted by: General Mayhem | November 3, 2008 3:15 PM    Report this comment

The problem with posting prices is that it can vary widely over country. Best they can do is post suggested retail. In the gun shop I work part time we generally beat suggested retail, but even that can vary as far as percentage.

Posted by: Swede62 | October 27, 2008 3:37 PM    Report this comment

One reason I quit taking certain gun magazines is because they would not post a price in their stories. Make that same mistake and I will quit this one too.

Posted by: Markbo | October 17, 2008 11:01 AM    Report this comment

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