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 riba feature that we consider to be on the plus side of the tally sheet.
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&Ws 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.
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.