The excitement, if you want to call it that, of riding shotgun on a payroll-carrying stagecoach headed to a rough-and-tumble crew of miners may be distant history, but judging the sale of side-by-side shotguns there’s still plenty of that flavor to be found at the firing line. Sign up for a cowboy action match, and the experience gets even spicier.
The popularity isn’t exclusively a product of nostalgia, though. Enthusiasts understand the design’s simple method of operation can be advantageous when it comes to home defense.
Stoeger’s Coach Gun was the top choice for enthusiasts looking for a side-by-side shotgun in 2019, according to volume of purchases made through the services of GunBroker.com. The shotgun claimed first-place honors again in 2020—when personal safety concerns were at an all-time high, as well as the number people shopping for their first gun.
This break-action shotgun has all the features to keep it atop that list. Hammers are internal and each come with an automatic tang safety. A lever atop at the rear of the receiver opens the action when it’s time to extract and load. They are available in soft-shooting .410-Bore, as well as 12- and 20-gauge. MSRPs are $449 throughout the line, with the exception of three models wearing polished nickel triggers. They run $549. Regardless of shotshell, they have 3" chambers.
All have wood furniture, either A-grade satin walnut or black-finished hardwood. Overall length is 36.5" and weights run between 6.3 and 6.5 lbs. Twelve gauges are the heaviest in the line.
Barrels are 20", with a brass bead up front for sighting. Choke tubes come with each and—if the constriction doesn’t fit your needs—Stoeger offers different versions. You can even select between a single- or double-trigger model. Metalwork is either blued or matte or polished nickel.