October 2008

Over/Under Shotguns for Less Than $1000: Lanber Is Best Buy

Our testers gave Lanber’s 2097 a thumb’s up. We would buy it ahead of Remington’s SPR310S and Mossberg’s Onyx Reserve.

The over/under shotgun stacks one barrel above the other and is loaded by hinging the breechface away from the barrel for direct access to the chambers. They are favored for their simplicity, accuracy, and reliability. In most cases, a hefty price tag reflects superior materials and precision fit.

In a category that can demand a five-figure entry fee, we wanted to see if we could get into the over/under club for substantially less. Toward that goal, we tested three new 12 gauges with walnut furniture: the $770 Remington SPR310S, originating from Russia; the $756 Mossberg Onyx Reserve Sporting, imported from Turkey, and the Spanish-made $1099 Lanber 2097 Sporting Lux.

We sought to judge each shotgun on looks, fit, finish, and performance. To test the latter, we patterned each shotgun from the standard distance of 40 yards with an eye on shot density and how true our pattern stayed to point of aim. We patterned the shotguns with their Improved Cylinder chokes, which were common to all three. To check pattern density with the IC choke, we shot one target load and one field load. We chose Remington’s R12HD8 ShurShot Heavy Dove load, a 2.75-inch round with 1 1/8 ounces of No. 8 shot rated at a velocity of 1255 fps. For the skeet and trap range, we picked our favorite round, Rio’s TLT32. This was also a 2.75-inch round loaded with 1 1/8-ounce of No. 8s, but with one-half dram equivalent less powder. Velocity of the TLT32 was rated at about 1155 fps.

To evaluate where the guns put their charges, we shot three rounds into the center of a patterning target with a 30-inch-diameter circle. We then divided the circle into four equal quadrants and read the pattern and calculated the pattern density. Here is what we learned.

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